Timeline, 1291

Pope Nicholas IV required all ecclesiastical livings to be valued and the income of Wigan Parish Church was given as £33 6s 8d.

The following extract is taken from The History of Wigan Vol I by David Sinclair, 1882.

The town was the rector's property, but after it was incorporated he bestowed, by charter in 1249, special privileges on the burgesses or members of the guild and to their heirs for ever, and the granted lands from thence became freehold property. Then every burgess was given five roods of land, in return for which certain services were to be rendered by them and their heirs to the rector and his heirs. Not only was this land given to them for cultivation, or purposes of trade, but they were allowed to take out of his woods, which were very extensive, timber for building as well as for firewood, by which the ground was cleared for cultivation, to the advantage of both parties. The principal food then was pork, and every burgess fed several swine for his household use. The lord of the manor gave them liberty to feed their swine in his forests. Moreover, every three weeks they were allowed to hold a court, in which questions of trade were legally settled by twelve jurymen appointed by, and from, themselves. For those times these were great privileges. These burgesses, however, were the rector's tenants, but could not be evicted except for the non-payment of their simple rent of threepence a quarter, and a further service to him of grinding at his mill to the extent of twenty measures without payment. Where these mills of the rector's were is not stated, but the likelihood is that they were built on the river Douglas (for they certainly were water-mills) at the end of Millgate Street, for which reason that street would receive its special name. As the rector from the earliest times has always been a large proprietor, the living must necessarily always have been a good one. In the year 1291 it was worth fifty marks (£33 6s 8d), but many a priest at that time, and for long afterwards, was considered well off when he had a salary of four or five pounds a year. When Thomas à Becket was Archdeacon of Canterbury he only had £100 a year.


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