Chapter 12 - Epilogue
There were no innocents in the 1768 election. On one side the Mayor and Corporation had abused their position by restricting the voting electorate; Leicester and Standish brought violent followers into Preston much to the distress of the inhabitants. The other side of the coin reveals that Hoghton and, especially, Burgoyne escalated the violence and, behind the scenes, the Derby family used their local power and political influence to manipulate the final result. As a consequence of the resurgence of Stanley influence, Prestons political scene went quiet and the days of rioting in the streets were left behind, but not quite forgotten. Subsequent years would put the voter requirements, with some minor tweaks, on a more traditional footing.
I would like to think it is that one document to be found in the Lancashire Archives, DDPd 11/51, which stands out. It opens up glimpses of ordinary people in Preston in 1768; the rich and the poor; their hopes, fears and humour; a chance of free beer and food for a couple of weeks; their relationships with family, employers and the gentry in the area; it also highlights individual connections between state and church. What might have started with the emotive word “riot” ended up revealing the everyday lives of the people of Preston and surrounding area. With this, a fascinating story ends.