Chapter 10 - Court Cases
There are a number of documents in Lancashire Archives that make reference to various trials subsequent to the election. Unfortunately they are rarely dated and it isn’t always obvious which court case they refer to. The records in the PRO (Discovery) document the Kings Bench cases more thoroughly but are more difficult to find. Occasional comments appear in the newspapers so, for instance, on August 23rd the Manchester Mercury prints a note from Lancaster Assizes stating that William Hargreaves & John Margerson were being prosecuted for rioting in Blackburn. The second part of the article also mentions that James Holden, Michael Clegg, Jude Harrison, Edward Pickup, Henry Law & John Ainsworth charged with rioting in Preston. As we will see later most of these individuals appear in the town clerks (John Nabb) records.
Case against Leicester & Standish
Probably, as a way of trying to balance out the anti-Burgoyne court cases, some Prestonians swore depositions against Leicester & Standish. Richard Sallom, a commissioner for oaths, collected sworn depositions (1) at Preston the 14th of June, 1768. These were taken from Job Devis, Innkeeper, John Heaton, slater, Joseph Turner, weaver and Mary Barnes the wife of Henry Barnes, parish Clerk. They all signed the following statements.
During all or the Greatest part of the last Winter a Great Number of Disorderly p[er]sons in the Int. of or professing themselves to be ffriends of Sir Peter Leicester and Sir ffrank Standish Baronets who had there to for offered themselves as Candidates to Represent the Borough of Preston afd in parliament ffrequently assembled tog[eth]er in the Night time in a Riotous manner doing Very great Injuries and Violences to the persons of sev[era]l other Inhabitants of the said Borough who were in the Int[erest]. of John Burgoyne Esq.
Specifically the previous statements refer to an incident that occurred on Saturday, 7th November, 1767 when “50 or upwards” entered the house of Job Devis and
broke open Several Doors, broke several Windows, Chairs and other ffurniture and assaulted, beat and abused sev[era]l p[er]sons their in the said House and Comitted Divers other Outrages and Violence.
This date is quite early in the election process. Most sources have the violence reaching its peak in January and February 1768.
They continue with:-
Sir ffrank Standish and William Hulton in the said County Esqr. were present in the street opposite the same House and appeared Very active in inciting and Encouraging the said Mob
The final straw (and small beer compared to other outrages)
Sir ffrank Standish Carrying a fflambeau (flaming torch) in his hand and the said John Smalley Repeatedly Crying out aloud if any man calls out Burgoyne knock him down
As mentioned above, Mary Barnes was the wife of the Parish Clerk and, since the Hoghtons were patrons of the Parish Church (now the Minster,) it isn’t surprising that she is giving out the pro Hoghton & Burgoyne line.
Another set of depositions (2) were taken from John fforgey, Richard Leach & John Bradley on the 20th day of June 1768 before J. Yates - taken in his chambers in Serjeants Inn, London . In this they stated that
during all or the greatest part of the last Winter a great number of disorderly persons in the Int. of Sir Peter Leicester and Sir. Ffrank Standish Barts……….frequently assembled together in the night time in a riotous and Tumultuous manner armed with clubs, bludgeons hooped with Iron and Iron spikes fixed to the end of them, axes, hammers and other offensive and destructive weapons and comitted very great violences and outrages upon the persons and properties of several other Inhabitants of the said Borough who were in the Int. of John Burgoyne Esq.
And that persons supporting Sir Frank Standish were
often distributing money amongst the said rioters
John fforgey then describes an event on the 23rd January, 1768 where he was pursued by several persons and escaped into the Black Bull. A few minutes later a large mob of people gathered outside the Church. Sir Frank Standish and others, including Alexander Nowell then appeared out of the King’s Arms in Church Street and Nowell proceeded to give orders to James Heald and Henry Brewer the younger, two of the ringleaders of the said mob. According to the testimony the mob started arguing amongst themselves so Sir Frank Standish came out and said:-
“my brave fellows don't fall out amongst yourselves but when you meet with any of the other party knock them down and drive them to the Devil & go into ffishergate, break into their Houses and play Hell with them”
The mob then went to the Mitre (the house of Thomas Topping*) in Fishergate and did considerable damage. Early the next morning they attacked the house and shop of Wm Stuart, bookseller, and did further considerable damage. Another incident was described where John Burgoyne was walking down Church gate when Sir Frank Standish started throwing stones from the upstairs windows of the Red Lion.
*Thomas Topping was one of the voters rejected by the Mayor and would have voted for Burgoyne and Hoghton.
It is a pity that more of the landlords mentioned in any of the depositions voted in the election since that would have provided a convenient way of looking for bias. Presumably the landlords kept quiet so that they could attract custom from all parties.
By the time these depositions were taken all three deponents were living in London and, no doubt, under the influence of Colonel Burgoyne. In spite of these depositions no prosecutions ensued against Leicester & Standish.
Cases against Burgoyne
Gornall V Burgoyne, Lutwidge, Wilson, Ward & Pickup in the King's Bench
Lancaster Assizes cover several cases claiming damages against Burgoyne and others. Jack Gornall, who was the innkeeper at the Sun Inn (probably the one in Church Street but there was another Sun Inn situated in Mains Sprit Wiend), sued Burgoyne for an incident that took place on Ash Wednesday, 1768, the 17th of February. This was around the same time period that is referred to later in the case of the King V Burgoyne and others that took place at the King’s Bench. Unfortunately, apart from the pre-trial depositions or statements, no proceedings from this trial remain and it would take nearly three years for the case to come to trial.
The majority of the statements (3) relate to the mob breaking into and wrecking the Sun Inn. Some goods were also stolen.
Several witnesses gave evidence against Burgoyne, building up a strong case for him being the focal point of the mob behaviour. Mr Henry Hieronimous Deacon stated that when the mob came into Town
Defendants Burgoyne and Lutwidge came upon Lord Stranges steps, took of their Hats and paid their respects to the mob and shaked some of them by the hand
Thomas Arnott & Henry Brewer gave very similar accounts
Deft. Burgoyne (with a pistol in his hand) and Lutwidge went up the street a little after the mob and that they stop't at the sign of the Dog - That mob returned thither and that Deft. Burgoyne Harangued them from that window and told them (amongst other things) they were all his Friends and come to support him for which he was obliged to them And after waiving his hands he said "My lads go your way and if any one insults you defend yourselves and do not want either for Meat or Drink."
Mary Tyrer said that
Deft. Burgoyne on Saturday the 20th being asked by the mob whether they might fall upon Mr Pedders House said stay your hands for an house & if they will not then comply they might level the Town.
The Pedder family had long been associated with the Corporation in Preston. Edward Pedder had been the Mayor in 1763 and his son, also called Edward, was a major manufacturer in the town.
Bridget Wilcox describes what happened to her master’s house
Upon hearing the mob break into the parlour run up stairs where she staid until they went away. When she came down stairs she found every thing in the parlour taken away & destroyed to wit, stone chimney piece, fire grate, tongs and poker, one large oval oak table, 2 snap tables, two cupboards, 20 chairs and upwards.
In one of the cupboards plts China was kept and there was China in it at the time the mob broke into the Room but what quantity witness knows not. In the Kitchen 1 Dozen chairs, tongs & ffire poker she found taken away. That her mistress thro' fear lay at a neighbours house. That plt was absent 4 or 5 days. That plt durst not repair his house for a long time nor durst not brew but sent for liquor to other public Houses.
Aaron Troughton provides a very comprehensive description of the mob entering a house (or, more likely, one of the pubs since Jack Gornall was the landlord of the Sun Inn).
That on the 17th February, 1768 about 4 o'clock in the afternoon Sarah Arkwright came to witness who worked for pl[ain]t[iff]s as a cooper and told witness that Mr Wilson was sending the mob to plts House & desired him to lock the Door & bolt the window shutters. That he imediately bolted the window shutters and went to the street Door when Mary Tyrer came to him and told him to shut the Door for the Mob was coming and that Wilson had sent them. That witness then heard the mob approaching calling aloud out. "Lye up Lads now for Gornalls" upon wch witness shut & bolted the street door & went into the house & imediately heard the mob attack the ffront of the House upon which witness run up into the Garrot & looked down & saw mob endeavouring to force open the window shutters.
Upon which witness threw down 4 or 5 stones in order to drive the mob away, but in vain, several of them entered the House & threw the Furniture into the Street, to wit, one large oval table, 2 snap tables, 2 cupboards & several chairs some broken glass and also the ffine grate tongs and poker, When witness came down stairs which was not untill after the mob were gone from before the House he found the parlour quite laid open the windows, window shutters and part of the wall below together with all the Furniture & the stone chimney piece quite broken & destroyed.
In the Kitchen he found almost everything destroyed or taken away to wit chairs, 12 pint glasses, 12 pint mugs, tongs and fire poker. That plt just about the time witness was told the mob was coming left his House thro' fear and was absent about 4 or 3 days. That plts wife was under such fear the House being so exposed and laid upon that she left it and lay at a neighbours House.
That plt. when he returned durst not repair his House as 100's of the mob were continued in Town nor did he repair it until the April following. That plt for some time durst not Brew but sent for Liquor to other publick Houses and lost a great many customers not being able to accomodate them properly.
More than one witness declared that they
Heard the Deft. Burgoyne harrangue the mob at the Dog window the day they came in & that amongst other things told them not to medle with Mr Parkers House for that he lay on his Death bed but said they might use their pleasure elsewhere.
Elizabeth Coupe describes payments to the rioters
She saw Deft. Lutwidge standing in the Church Street and there she stood very near to him when he was applied to for money by two young men who had Bludgeons in their hands who said they had been in Preston one of them one day only and the other of them a day and an half to which Deft. Lutwidge answered that 9d a day was enough for them as they were but young and accordingly gave them 18d between them and said you must come again when that is done. That witness told one of the Lads they worked for a good master to which they both answered they did and that mobbing was a fine trade for they had both meat drink and good pay.
John Coupe heard how the mob was given money for beer
Coupe heard Deft. Burgoyne from the Dog window tell the mob not to meddle with Mr Parker that he being on his death bed but that they might use their pleasure elsewhere. Witness was in Preston on the 17th February 1768 and speaks to Wilson sending the mob to plts House was also in Preston on the 18th of February & there saw a large mob who had clubs and bludgeons in their hands and that he saw several of the mob go up to Deft. Lutwidge and heard them ask him for money & that Deft. Lutwidge thereupon gave one of them some silver and told him to go to the sign of the Legs of Man and divide it amongst them and make themselves merry but not to get drunk for if they did so they would not be capable of doing any Business;
That same day he saw Deft. Lutwidge in company with Deft. Burgoyne and that as they past by the mob opposite the sign of the Kings arms in Preston some of the mob shaked hands with them and that both the sd Defts. sd to the mob very well my Lads you do well.
Thomas Holland gave some of the background to the rioters
.....Mr Lutwidge sent him & asked him to go an Errand for him & to get as many men as he co[ul]d and went to Brindle & raised 100 there & from thence to Moulden Water.....
Then he went to see Colonel Burgoyne and said that
.....he was either four or five & fifty shillings out of pocket & desired def[endan]t Burgoyne to pay him who said "you must go to Mr Shawe my agent and he will pay you".
The Manchester Mercury for Tuesday, April 9th, 1771 summarized the end of the case with:-
On Friday fortnight, ended at Lancaster, after 18 hours, the cause between John Gornall, innkeeper, plaintiff and Col. Burgoyne, defendant; when the jury gave a verdict of £80 with costs for the Plaintiff, for the damages he sustained at the Late Election in Preston.
This had been a long wait (more than three years from the original offence) and it may well have been a pyrrhic victory. The records for St Johns Church show a John Gornall dying early in the following year.
King V Burgoyne and others
On the national stage, this was the court case that attracted the most attention and, at least after the final judgement, the most widely reported.
In the Corporation "White Book" (4) dated the 3rd of August, 1768, there is the following resolution:-
"Agreed and Ordered that Mr. Mayor be at liberty to subscribe one hundred guineas for and on behalf of the Corporation towards defraying the expense of prosecuting such persons who already are or shall be discovered to have been concerned in the Outrages and violences lately committed within this borough by the mobs; and further that the said sum of one hundred guineas be paid by the bailiffs out of the corporation revenue to the solicitor carrying on such prosecution, or in case that shall not have sufficient for that purpose then that the said sum of one hundred guineas be taken up at interest upon bond under the common seal of the borough."
The “White Book” contains Common Council records and, by default, is going to promote the Corporation/Tory view. At this stage the Council in the form of the Tory party had won the election but it was no doubt known that Hoghton and Burgoyne were starting the process of disputing this.
It is probable that this resolution that brought about the prosecution of Burgoyne et al at the Court of the King's Bench since affidavits were presented by Robert Moss (the mayor) and others. The other defendants in addition to John Burgoyne were Thomas Wilson, James Campbell, Thomas Barnes, Samuel Blinstone, Thomas Fish, William Shakeshaft, James Parr, Richard Winnell and Edward Harrison. These individuals were then ordered to appear before the Kings Bench (5).
The indictment (6) contains repeated phrases such as “being Persons of turbulent riotous and unruly Dispositions” and “wickedly maliciously and unlawfully break and destroy”. Throughout the indictment it was accepted that more than a hundred “other persons (whose names are as yet unknown)” were also responsible for the rioting and it is implied that these names may be added in the future.
The indictment also mentions the breaking into the houses of John Gurnall (presumably John Gornall mentioned previously,) William Dawson and Thomas Hodgkinson and destroying furniture; throwing stones and dirt at the houses of Nicholas Winckley, Richard Asheton, Robert Moss, John Smalley, Thomas Waterworth, John Fazakerly, Robert Salter and George Osbaldeston, breaking widows. It also contains references to the beating and wounding of William Dawson. All of this occurred around the 17th, 18th and 19th of February, 1768.
The following pleas (7) were entered:-
Lancashire. An Entry of Pleas of Not Guilty for John Burgoyne late of Preston in the County of Lancaster Esquire. Thomas Wilson late of the same place Grocer. James Campbell late of the same place Labourer. Thomas Barnes late of the same place Labourer. Samuel Blinston late of the same place Labourer. Thomas Fish late of the same place Labourer. William Shakeshaft late of the same place Chapman. James Parr late of the same place Barber. Richard Winnell late of the same place Yeoman and Edward Harrison late of the same place Gentleman for certain Tresspasses, Contempts, Riots, Routs, Unlawful Assemblies, Assaults and Misdemeanours whereof they are impeached.
This seems to have been the thrust behind the main prosecution against Burgoyne et al for the organizing of the riots but also the local cases that were also brought for damage to property.
Part of the Burgoyne’s response to the King’s Bench can be found in the London Magazine, or in the Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer, Volume 38. The full text can also be found in the election stubbs (8) but some of his comments are shown below. The dates for the offences being 13th and 17th February, 1768.
Burgoyne starts his defence with
"I have the heavy and the unexpected misfortune to stand at your bar, convicted of a crime, for which, had I been intentionally guilty, there would need no aggravation from the learned gentlemen who have supported this prosecution..."
Later he describes his entrance into the town
"the place was on the extreme outskirts of the town, totally dark; the ground calculated and judiciously chose for ambuscade and mischief; the assailants few in number, silent and separate; the weapons, some of which were stone and bricks, lodged in my chaise of eight or nine pound in weight..."
At one stage, Burgoyne describes suggesting that a number of special constables should be appointed from amongst the principal inhabitants of the town. These would patrol in pairs to control the rioting. Burgoyne then claims that the Mayor recanted on this idea due to its dubious legality.
Referring to the mob (which he calls a "concourse") he says
I knew a concourse was likely come into Town, not brought by the call or by the promises of the rewards of my friends, they wanted not these inducements, they were excited by general and voluntary resentment against the partial and overbearing conduct of the Corporation and by the Interference and Activity of the whole Popist Interest against me.
The circumstance of my appearing in the streets after this ???? with a pistol under my arms and another in my pocket has given foundation to most scandalous reports.
When responding to the prosecution witnesses he tries to discount their words saying they were
words of People who never kept a promise
Implying, perhaps, that these witnesses had originally been Hoghton & Burgoyne supporters but changed their allegiance.
He can't resist an anti-papist/Jacobite digs with the comment - possibly hoping that the Judge possessed similar sentiments.
"and that my friends had orange-coloured cockades in their hats."
Burgoyne admits to carrying arms on a couple of occasions.
"I sent for such arms as were necessary for self-defence..."
And later, on coming across rioters
"was obliged to take refuge in a house and send for pistols before I dared cross the way"
At the end of the case (9), the coroner and attorney, James Burrow, found two of the defendants, William Shakeshaft and James Parr, not guilty and released. All of the others were found guilty.
Burgoyne was fined £1000 and was to be imprisoned until the fine was paid. Needless to say; it was paid.
Wilson, Harrison & Winnell all fined £100 (or the alternative of being imprisoned for 3 calendar months).
James Campbell, Thomas Barnes, Samuel Blinstone and Thomas Fish were imprisoned for 6 calendar months. Dobson (10) explains the imprisonment rather than a fine being due to “their low circumstances” and without any resources to pay a fine.
The Gentlemans Magazine for June 1769 contains the following comment that on Saturday, May 6th, 1769
“the Court of King's Bench gave judgment in the case of the riot at the last General Election in Preston, when Mr. Justice Yates, after a most nervous and pathetic speech on the turpitude of riots, at elections, pronounced sentence; an officer [Col. Burgoyne] was fined £1,000; four other defendants, £100 each and three months' imprisonment; and three rioters, on account of their low circumstances, six months' imprisonment."
So, more than a year after the riots, Burgoyne has finally got his comeuppance - if only in a very minor way. £1000 would have been insignificant compared to the outlay of the election. One gets the impression that Justice Yates had to give the "party line" regarding riots but then eased back on the punishment.
Some local cases were mentioned against the rioters. John Nabb, the Town Clerk, kept detailed accounts of the election (11). Most of the rioters seem to have disappeared into the legal records. However, Nabb gives the following
Expense of apprehending Clegg of Darwen one of the rioters he being charged with Burglary – he and his wife being ____ riot.
The expense was £1. The area around Darwen/Moulding Water had been fruitful recruiting ground for the rioters on the Hoghton/Burgoyne side. Nabb's accounts continue with:-
Paid Dickinson & Bray towards the expense of conveyancing Judd Harrison a rioter to Gaol.
The cost of this was 5s. Another record describes the arresting of a rioter.
Paid towards expence of apprehending & conducting to Gaol Edwd Pickup of Moulding Water
This cost £1-3s-0d. Moulding Water being near Darwen. Presumably this was the “Pickup” mentioned in the Lancaster trial against Burgoyne.
Paid John Coup £6-5-0 to pay of a Debt and to prevent his goods be[in]g sold (he and his wife being material witnesses ag[ains]t Burgoyne)
Unfortunately this note doesn’t mention what is the specific case against Burgoyne.
One of the most intriguing cases concerns “Rutherford, an impudent ballad singer”. He instigated a case against Moss., esq. (presumably the mayor) and others. There is no mention of the details of the case but Nabb charged a not insignificant £51-16s-1d. Unfortunately I can find no further information on the case. Why should the “impudent” Rutherford be prosecuting Moss? Who was Rutherford?
In the case of the King against Leach and Clitherall, the “Defendant’s costs for a Riot before Lord Stranges House” came to £56-19s-10d.
The reverse case ie the King agt Burgoyne, Wilson and others is described as “Costs of Prosecution for a Riot in February 1768” and this came to £187-3s-2d.
1. Lancashire Archives – Depositions of Job Devis, etc – DDX 113/5
2. Lancashire Archives – Depositions of John fforgey, etc – DDX 113/6
3. Lancashire Archives – Gornall V Burgoyne - DDPR/135-13-37 – there are several copies of the same depositions (with slight variations) probably as a result of passing the information to the relevant parties.
4. Lancashire Archives – The White Book (1608-1781) - CNP 3/1/1
5. PRO KB 21/40
6. PRO KB 11/46
7. PRO – IND 6661
8. Lancashire Archives – Ms Book of Squibs/Stubbs - DDPr 131/7
9. PRO KB 28/268
10. W. Dobson. “History of the Parliamentary Representation of Preston”.
11. Lancashire Archives - Nabb Accounts - DDPd 11/53