Saturday 20 April 2013

The Tyldesley Monument — Wigan Lane

The Tyldesley Monument marks the place where Sir Thomas Tyldesley 1612-1651 fell during the Battle of Wigan Lane on 25 August 1651. It was erected in 1679 by Alexander Rigby, who had served as Cornet under Tyldesley. 

As recorded in Past Forward in April 2013, the inscription on the Tyldesley Monument has been changed on at least two occasions over the years. The earliest transcription traced to date is that which appeared in Adams's Weekly Courant on Tuesday 29 May 1750:
To the Printer of the Chester Courant.
When you have Room and Convenience, you may if you please, insert in your Courant what is here sent you, by
Yours &c.
For many Years, I have had frequent Occasions to travel from Cheshire, thorough Wigan, to the North-East Parts of Lancashire, and in my Journies, always with due Regard, took Notice of a Column placed about a quarter of a Mile to the North of Wigan, in the Hedge or Fence on the East Side of Wigan Lane; this, about seventy Years ago, was erected to the Memory of an approved Warrior, and gallant Loyalist, who about thirty Years before on that very Spot, bravely died courageously Fighting for his rightful Prince, who was then in Arms near the Center of England, endeavouring to recover his Kingdoms from an horrid and bloody Usurpation.
The Pillar was of hewn Stone, plain and quadrangular, rising from a projecting Base; and on its Top upon the Neck of a Conic Pedestal, a Stone Globe, on the Front of it towards the West, was a Vacancy of about eighteen Inches Square, and two Inches deep, which seem'd to have contained some inscribed Marble, or flat Stone, which had been injuriously sheered off ; yet the Column was left, and still served to perpetuate the Fame of the worthy Gentleman, who, in that Place, so honourably but immaturely fell.
Some Time ago I was again passing that Way, and to my no little Surprize, observed that this Monument itself was likewise taken down and totally moved away, so that even its Situation is not now to be discerned.
It seemed strange to me, that this Column should be ordered to be destroyed, as it was intended to commemorate as remarkable an Action, as most that happen'd during those Civil Wars;  and especially as it made mention of that noble and valiant Commander, who was the Glory of Lancashire (not to say of Britain) and likewise the Honour of his ancient Race, viz.
"James, the Seventh Earl of Derby, who (as justly saith a modern Genealogist) was a Person highly accomplish'd with Learning, Prudence, Loyalty and Valour, whereof he gave signal Proofs on several Occasions in the Civil Wars ; especially in that memorable Encounter in Wigan-Lane, where with 600 Horse, he maintain'd a Fight of two Hours, against 3000 Horse and Foot commanded by Colonel Lilburne; and though, in that Action, he receiv'd seven Shots on his Breast Plate, thirteen Cuts on his Beaver, five or six Wounds on his Arms and Shoulders, and had two Horses kill'd under him, yet he made his Way to his Sovereign King Charles the Second, then at Worcester."
As I have a Regard for Inscriptions, Memorials, &c., I was very desirous to come at Sight of what had been once placed here, and after much Trouble and Enquiry, at length got Intelligence of it, and was inform'd that it had been for several Years hid in a little Alehouse, not far distant from its once proper Station. It was a black Marble, of the Dimensions of the Hollow-Square above described; the Letters had been gilded, but now much injured, yet with some Difficulty I could make out the Inscription, which is lineally and literally as follows: 
A high Act of Gratitude erected this Monument, & conveighs the
Memory of SIR THOMAS TYLDESLEY to Posterity.
Who served K. C. 1st as Left: Col: at Edghill Battell; after rais'd
Regiments of Horse, Foot & Dragoons.
And for the desperate Storming Burton upon Trent,
Over a Bridge of 36 Arches,
Received the Honour of Knighthood.
He also served in all the Wars in great Commands;
Was Governour of Litchfield
And followed the Fortune of the Crown through the 3 Kingdoms.
Would never compound with the Rebels, though strongly invested
And on the 25th of Aug: Anno 1650,
Was here Slain, commanding as Major General under the E: of DERBY;
To whom the gratefull Erector,
ALEX. RIGBY, Esq. was Cornet 
And when he was High Sheriff of the County of Lancaster
Anno 1679, placed this high Obligation
On the whole Family of the TYLDESLEYS.
It will be noted that the year of the Battle of Wigan Lane is inaccurately given as 1650 rather than 1651. It is not known whether this was an error in the inscription or in the transcription. However when the monument was re-erected the error was repeated on the brass plate which replaced the marble plaque.

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