Wigan, Ancient and Loyal

History taken from the "Ancient and Loyal" booklet, 1930.

Best viewed on a desktop. Smaller screens will have to scroll horizontally.

The Ancient Charter of the Borough - image

The Ancient Charter of the Borough - text

THE earliest incorporation of the Town is mentioned in the report of the Norry King of Arms in 1613, that "The Towne and Bourrough of Wiggin was antiently incorporated by the most noble Kinge, Kinge Hen, the first, in the first year of his raygne," (i.e., 1100) a certified copy of which document is now in the Public Library, but no contemporary record survives.

IN the two centuries following the Conquest, Wigan made such substantial progress that in 1246, the Lord and Rector, John Maunsel, obtained the Charter from the King creating the town "a free borough forever." Maunsel was a favourite of the King, and was thus able to secure a very liberal grant of privileges more far reaching than any town in Lancashire had hitherto received, except the King's own town of Liverpool. Indeed, the Wigan Charter, with its full grant of judicial autonomy and freedom from county suit, its Treasury, its Guild-Merchant, etc., was modelled on the Charter given to Liverpool a few years earlier in 1229. Its reception was a great day for Wigan, and necessitated a corresponding Charter from the Lord of the Manor creating a body of free Burgesses. These were created by making certain citizens tenants in perpetuity at a rent of twelvepence per annum.

OTHER Charters granted to Wigan were as follows :-


1st Hen. I.


30th Hen. III. 26th Aug., 1246
42nd Hen. III.
20th Edw. I.
7th Edw. II.
3rd. Edw. III.
24th Edw. III.
2nd. Rich. II.
1st Hen. IV.
1st Hen. V.
27th Eliz.
14th Chas. II.
1st James II.
2nd Will. IV.
4th Will. IV.
20th April,
7th June,
18th Oct.
4th Aug.
2nd Nov.
10th May,
7th May,
16th May,
25th Feb.,
16th Feb.,
10th June,

* (Cited in a Visitation of the College of Heralds. Issued in the Reign of James I.)

THE motto of the town "Ancient and Loyal" has its authority from the Charter of Charles II. in which Wigan is designated by the King "an ancient borough" and granted "a special token of our favour for its loyalty to us," the phrase being used as an epithet for the town as early as 1683.

THE illustration given is that of the Charter of Edward II., and is dated 7th June, 1314.