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Slaughter of the Mayor of Preston

Transcript from Lancashire: Leyland - Registers of christenings, weddings, and burials, 1653-1710

Henry. fil. Mr Adami Morte,

This is probably the second son of Mr. Adam Mort, by his second wife. The name occurs in the Preston Guild Roll of 1642. The Mortís belonged to the neighbourhood of Bolton, and held the estates of Dam House, Highfield Hall in Farnworth and Smith Fold in Hulton.

The gentleman here mentioned was the third son of Adam Mort, senior, of Bolton, and Jennet, d. and h. of Thomas Mort, of Dam House.

He became a burgess of Preston, and married firstly, Elizabeth, d. of Seth Bushell of Preston, by whom he had one son (Seth Mort, born 1624) and a daughter Jennet.

For his second wife he married Elizabeth, d. of Sir Thomas Tildesley, by whom he had five sons and a daughter, all of whom were young children in 1642.

This alliance may perhaps explain the very prominent part taken by him on the side of the King when most of his fellow-citizens inclined towards the Parliamentary side. He was elected Mayor of Preston in Oct 1642, but seems to have been too busy mustering men for the King to be able or willing to attend to civic affairs.

Upon his refusal to repair to the town to take the necessary oaths the Council declared him "contumacious," and imposed a fine of 100 marks to be forthwith levied on his goods. Mr. Mort seems to have assumed the position of Mayor while the King's party was in temporary ascendancy.

The Parliamentary forces, however, succeeded in carrying the town by assault in Feb 1642-3, and in gallantly opposing their entrance Mr. Mort was slain.

In a letter addressed by the Rev. John Tilsley, pastor of Dean (who was present on this occasion), to "an eminent Divine in London," we find him saying:
"And as if men must have been singled out for slaughter we could scarce have picked out better, the Major [i.e. Mayor] . . . that was resolute to desperateness in this cause, that had oftentimes been heard sweare He would fire the town ere he gave it up, and beginne with his own house, &c."
(Cf. Abram's Memorials of Preston Guilds, &c., &c.)

The funds obtained by the subsidy granted on Preston Moor (£8,700) were to have been entrusted to the High Sheriff, Adam Mort, and others.

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