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The Mort family history
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Story of the Mort family copied from the book ĎOld houses & Old Families' History of the Parish of Preston.

Editors note - Some of the language used in this story is in old English and as such, I have tried not to alter too much of the original wording. So no, I havenít forgotten how to use the spell check. The era difference may make the thread of the story sometimes difficult to read and understand, but I will attempt to explain some of the terminology as an appendix. It may prove useful to read the appendix first, but I will leave that up to you!

The Mort's part in the siege of Preston:

Although the Mortís entered a pedigree of four generations at the Heralds Visitation in 1664 - 65, they were not an old Preston family. In the sixteenth century there appear to have been two branches of Mortís living in the parish of Leigh.

Thomas Mort (the representative of one of these), purchased the ancient house in Tyldesley then called Dam house (now known as Astley Manor) in 1594 from one of the Andersonís of Lostock. This same Thomas Mort had issue, a daughter and an heiress Jennet, who on the 16th May 1586 married at Leigh, Adam Mort of Bolton. Adam was probably the son of Thomas Mort, whose widow Lettice in 1612, laid claim to certain lands in Little Bolton, which were part of her dower on her first marriage with Robert Boulton. See *1

Adam Mort is described by Dugdale in one pedigree as of Tyldesley and in another as of Bolton. And second son of Thomas Mort of Highfield Hall in Farnworth in the Parish of Dean, who was heir-at-law to Dr Thomas Mort, Chancellor to the Bishop of Chester.

Adam Mort was the founder of Astley Chapel in Leigh and at the close of his life lived at Tyldesley. His wife Jennet was buried at Leigh 3rd February 1622-23. Adam died about the year 1630 and his Will was proved at Chester 19th May 1631. Adam had issue:

Thomas who married Margaret (daughter and sole heiress of Robert Smith of Smithfold in Hulton near Bolton) had issue, these being: Adam of Damhouse, Thomas, Robert, Jennet, Mary and Jane. In 1734 Damhouse was sold by Thomas Mort to his cousin Thomas Sutton. Richard died before his father leaving issue: George, Margaret and Bridget.

Adam was baptised 30th August 1601; he came to Preston when quite young man and was admitted to the Court Roll in 1622 on the payment of a fine of 8 pence (being described as Adam Morte Junior). He was apprenticed to one of the leading drapers of the town and in 1636 was admitted a member of the Draper company. Shortly after coming to Preston he married (16th February 1621-22) Elizabeth. See *2 She was the daughter of Seth Bushell of Preston, a draper who died in June 1626. He later took a second wife also called Elizabeth and daughter of Sir Thomas Tildesley, Knight, Attorney-General for Lancashire.

Adam Morte was one of the persecutors of James Martin; the Vicar of Preston in 1633 - who described him as a rich burgomaster.

When the application to renew the Charter of Incorporation was made in 1635, Adam Mort was one of those who advanced money towards the necessary expenses. See *3

In October 1642, Adam Mort was elected Mayor. Although he was a strong Royalist and the retiring Mayor an equally pronounced Parliamentarian, for some reason probably connected with this Mort, declined to act or take the required oath and on the 18th October the Council, considering this an indignitie and disgrace, put upon the Corporation and 'lest others in like Kynd' should become refractory and disobedient to execute the office, fined him in the sum of 100 Marks (which was to be forthwith levied on his goods and chattels. See *4

Adam Mort (probably on the Kings business) soon after this absented himself from the town, whereupon the Council, considering that in those Ďtroublesome tymesí many dangers might arise. Agreed to indemnify Edmund Werden, the retiring Mayor, from any 'charges, suits or troubles' which might arise until Adam Mort took the oath or until the next election of Mayor.

Within a few weeks after this, the refractory Mayor - elect took upon him the office to which he had been elected, probably having been advised that by doing so he could further the interests of the Royalists with whom he was now in close touch. On the 10th December 1642, there was a meeting at Preston, when there was present the Earl of Derby, Lord General of the County, Sir John Girlington, High Sheriff, Alexander Rigby of Burgh, and others - when it was agreed to raise £8,700 in the county for the purpose of carrying on the war and it was further agreed that ĎAdam Mortí gentleman Major of Preston, be one of the Treasurers and that he and Alexander Rigby of Burgh be collectors for the Hundred of Amounderness. See *5 The siege of Preston in the February following has already been described. The gallant action of Mort on that occasion is described by an eye witness, who wrote 'and as men must have been singled out for the slaughter, we could scarcely have picked out better the Major (that was resolute to desperatenesse in the cause that had ofttimes been heard swere that Ďhe would fire the towne ere he gave it up and beginner with his own houseí was slain. See *6

Another version is that Mort killed one of the Collonellís (Sir John Seaton) men with a push of his pike but after lost his own life for it together with his son. Another account is that the ĎMayor of the towne' Mr Adam Mort, came up to the soldiers very fearsly but was sleyn in a short space. See *7

It was not the fact that Mortís son was slain at this siege; his eldest son Seth was only then aged twenty (and survived his father many years), and his other sons (by his second wife) were all children and moreover, the parish register recording the burial on the 10th February of ĎAdam Morte Senior - Mayor of Prestoní makes no reference to his son.

Adam Mort had issue by his first wife:

  1. Seth, of whom presently;
  2. Jennet, who married Henry Marsden of Gisburn in the county of York. She was living in 1652;
  3. Richard, who was living in 1653 but was dead or removed from Preston in 1662;
  4. Henry, who was living at Preston in 1642, but not on the Burgess Role of 1662;
  5. Edward, who was a grocer in the town of Preston. St the Court Leet on 2nd November 1653 he was called upon to enter into a recognizance of £50 to appear at the next Court and in the meantime to keep the peace of the Commonwealth, against Valentyne Robinson, gent. On the 18th April following, his recognizance was forfeited, not only for non-appearance, but because on the 30th January preceding he had assaulted Alexander Breres in Eaves Lane, near Chorley and with his rapier drawn pursued him, and upon his leaping from his mare he had stabbed his rapier into the body of the said mare, of which wound she presently died. See *8 He was living in Preston in 1662.
  6. William was baptised at Preston 21st July 1633, he was on the Burgess Roll in 1662.
  7. Adam, baptised at Preston 21st September 1634 was on the Guild Roll of 1662.
  8. Anne, of whom nothing is known.

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