Tyger's Head Books

Skirmishes at Wigan and Blackburn

In Lancashire on January 1 at 10:41 pm

Sunday 1 Jan 1642/3 ¹ || The Parliament forces about Manchester under the command of Collonell Holland, and Master Egerton and others, issued out with some 3000 horse and foote towards Wiggon, met with 600. men, or thereabouts, of the Earle of Darbies forces in Legh, and set upon them, and fought three houres with them upon disadvantages: the enemies being equall in number, and fortified with houses and trenches; our men shot downe their houses and workes, and after entred the towne, and tooke two Captaines two Liuetenants, 180. souldiers, and good store of armes, besides colours and drummes, the rest fled, and we lost not a man, the Earle himselfe was in Wiggon at the same time with his owne troope, and other of his forces within foure miles of Legh, but had no minde to meete Colonell Holland; but as we here since, tooke his troope of horse and went to Latham his owne house, which we esteeme a valiant exploit.

The Parliament forces at Blackburne, under command of Master Shaickway for the Parliament, wherein was 500. armed men, and some 500 with other weapons, were beset with Sir Gilbert Houghton, and Sir John Girlington, and Master Clifton, and all the great Papists in that part of the Countie, and being to the number of 6000. men and horse; and the Parliament forces they presently made to their trenches, which they had made before the towne for their owne defence, and they fought against the power that was come against them, beate their enemy, and slew seven of them; and the day being farre spent, the night approaching, they ceased for that time, and in the night the towne sent out to the number of twenty Musqueteeres as a spie, and they approaching night to Sir Gilbert and the others, let fly at them, and presently came to the towne againe, and morning approaching, Sir Gilbert came, and let flie a peece of Ordnance at them, and demanded the towne, and seeing their resolution to fight it out, he departed.

It is credibly reported by Letters intercepted in that County, and the Papists in such abundance rising, that the quarrell is onely whither Protestants or Papists, and they are resolved to die every man before they would yeeld. Our souldiers are confident one to beate ten, for they fight it out at all meetings, and God protects us, they are most of them fled for Religion from all parts of the Country, having forsaken their wives, children, and estates, to maintaine the generall cause, and we are resolved to live and die, though but few, yet they seek place of us; and though our estates be daily exposed to ruine, yet we shall not yeeld without the consent of both houses. || Humphrey Blunden – Speciall Passages and Certain Informations

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¹ From 1155 to 1751 England used the Julian calendar, under which the new year did not start until March 25. Thus a seventeenth century document giving a date in February 1642 almost certainly means, to us, February 1643: for the document writer the year 1642 had not yet ended, whereas we would have switched to 1643 on January 1. To avoid any confusion on this blog, all dates between January 1 and March 24 inclusive will be styled “year/year” (e.g. 1642/3), indicating contemporary date/modern date.

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