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Adam Mort’s estate, 1650
A fulsome account of Adam Mort’s estate comes from one of his deeds known as a common recovery, which he made on March 6th 1650. It refers to Damhouse as "newly erected" and its 70 acres of land. Some 27 acres had been acquired from the Coldales and added to the demesne of the Hall. All the tenants are recorded, with sometimes their ancillary trade. Thomas Guest was ironmonger, William Guest of Dene Common and Giles Sanderson, brick makers, Thomas Langley, fustian weaver, James Berry, tailor, Gilbert Smith, collier, and William Guest, bricksetter. The largest area of tenant holding was 16 acres and the smallest two, but these were probably of the large measure. Adam Mort’s free rents were 18d. out of Peel; 6s. from Morley’s. 13s. 4d. from the lands of James Dicconson in Tyldesley and most interesting of all 13s. 4d. issuing out of the holding of Edmund Leyland in Tyldesley, the inheritance of Thomas Tyldesley, Esquire.

This evidence points to some connection between the Leyland’s in Tyldesley and the great family of Tyldesleys - Morley’s, who inherited the Hall in 1564. Tyldesley Leyland’s appear very early in history. Robert, was alive in 1341 and Edmund, who paid his quit rent to Adam Mort died in 1663. Another fact of interest was that the manorial part of Bedford purchased by Adam Mort the grandfather from Thomas Sergeant was known in 1650 as Sergeants House and tenanted then by Elizabeth Shuttleworth, widow. A condensation of this deed is given at the end.

For the maintenance of a younger son 1651
Adam Mort the grandson on June 2nd 1651 made a deed of annuity in favour of his third son Adam. The grant, still surviving and bearing the well-formed signature of the builder of Damhouse is interesting in these aspects. The annuity was for £20 and this may be regarded at that time as income sufficient for the support of a Mort son. This charge was defined out of well-earmarked properties and protected by the right of distrait, if left unpaid for more than one month and for each default there was a penalty of 40s. The properties supporting the annuity were Damhouse, its barns and outbuildings, the park demesne ands 70 acres of Astley land. Added to the security were the seven acres bought from William Cowdale, all land let to Ralf Cowdale and Tyldesley House in Bedford with its eleven acres. But this annuity was payable only after the father's death and if the son in the meantime was provided for by a stock of money the annuity was to be void.

Royalist William Bradshaw 1653
Bradshaw lived at the isolated homestead on the Mossland, which was a close neighbour of Morley’s and naturally he was much influenced, religiously and politically by the leanings and persuasion of the gentry of Morley’s. He opposed Parliament and for his opposition paid dearly by having two thirds of his Astley property confiscated. In the bitter humiliation of defeat, when he could see no other course, he petitioned to pay what fine the Roundhead Commissioners would impose and asked for the order of confiscation to be lifted. This he did as a recusant on December 30, 1653. Later on in 1667 he was in trouble again. He had refused to pay hearth tax and the collector had seized some of his goods and taken them to Leigh. Another of Bradshaw’s friends who was a Royalist was James Green. His little house held on lease from the Tyldesleys was taken from him.

Pitched on the common 1654
Elizabeth Marsh had been born in Astley. About Mayday last she left and went to live in Rainford, where she taught children to sew for about six or seven months. While there she gave birth to a child and immediate upon her recovery the inhabitants of that town put her, the child and all her worldly goods on a cart, brought her to Astley and pitched the lot on the common. The Astley overseers of the poor transmitted her petition for relief to the justices at Wigan, leaving it in their discretion what sum most meet to allow her.

Adam Mort’s court, October 24th 1654
This court met under the steward William Gerrard; the jury returned that Thomas Tyldesley had died about the month of September (the day was August 25, the day of the battle). Widow Katharine Guest, undertenant at Morley’s appeared for the young heir, Edward. Richard Shuttieworth of Bedford was also under age and John Whittell, clerk of the court appeared for him. The other free suitors did not turn up. Again the meare or division between Astley and Bedford was under discussion; it was in great decay through the growth of wath within trees southward and dangerous for cattle on both sides. The matter was left with Adam Mort and Henry Slater of Lightoaks to agree to the ditch being scoured as far as the great brook (the Glaze) and to be kept clear by the tenants of Wath Close and Starkeys Tenement. Another meare boundary between Astley and Boothstown was a stone in the brook Ellenbrook under an alder in John Sothem's hedge. Katharine Guest had to repair the bridge over the brook in Morley’s Hey; it was too narrow and needed a rail. William Bradshaw’s bridge over the stream near his house off Great Moss Lane was dangerous at flood times and the footway much travelled over. Fleet Platt was too low and narrow. Miles Birchall, Katharine Guest and John Whittell were to repair it before a given day. William Bolton's hedge near the barn door of the lord of the manor was grown too high and was a hindrance to the winnowing of corn. He was commanded to cut it lower. The foreman of the court baron was Hugh Bolton: he stepped down into the court to be charged for not making a stile to mark off the Towns Meadow from widow Green's croft. The two overseers of the highways John Raphson and Oliver Whalley were told that Toad Leach Platt was insufficient and that they should not be allowed to go out of office until it had been repaired.

Next item, six ale housekeepers were fined for breaking the assize of bread and ale; their names were Thomas Birchall, William Guest, Henry Tonge, Alice Smith, Thomas Howell, and Alice Makant. Thomas Parkinson had retained a fine of 2s. 6d. paid for cattle trespass by Jennet Penkethman; a young mare of John Johnson of Bedford had strayed on the manor, for this a fine of 5s. Thomas Birchall paid 12d. for a cow trespass on the common and Ruth Worsley owed 6d. For a like trespass, which was paid into court for her by Oliver Whalley. The jury was then discharged and a new one sworn in for the court leet business. This proved too lengthy and an adjournment was made to November 21, when the township officers were elected.

John Grundy's stroke, 1656
Grundy was a labourer at Mr. Ecciestods brickyard. Sometime before Michaelmas, 1656, he was stricken with paralysis all down one side. Green died in 1673; he is described as a tradesman, one who with packhorse and side saddle frequented fairs to sell his products. He combined farming with cottage spinning and the wares he sold were flaxen yam, cotton yam, cotton wool and fustian ends. The full value of these in his home in March, 1673, was £21 6s. a quarter of his personal estate. His eldest son was Thomas, the second Henry and daughter Alice took all goods and the Town Meadow Field. Green spun his "s of yam on four spinning wheels; at times he made up warps for the websters, which he set up in his Astley shop, using his warping posts and swifts.

John Edge and his faithful servant, 1673
Edge who threw open his Astley home to fugitives from the great plague was a husbandman, who died in 1673 and who, viewed across the centuries appears a kind and well disposed countryman. He left his brother William of Atherton five yards of linen cloth, cost to be ten pence a yard to make himself a pair of shifts each year. To John, son of his dead nephew Thomas Edge, he gave him forty shillings towards the renewal of his lease under Mr. Mort. Then after other legacies, he gave the rest to Anne Bradshaw, who had been his diligent and painstaking servant and who had taken care of him during his sickness. His estate came to £66 9s. and of this £17 10s. was owed by John Cowdall, who was to be quit of any interest, if he paid up within a year. Other borrowers from him were Lambert Scott £10, and the village tailor, Oliver Whalley £2. Among the furniture in his Astley home were books, an hour-glass and in the outbuildings a black mare and a flock of geese.

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