Thomas Tyldesley 1657-1715

Tyldesley DiaryThomas Tyldesley, the son of Edward Tyldesley, of Tyldesley, Morleys, Myerscough Lodge, and Fox Hall, Lancashire, and grandson of Sir Thomas Tyldesley, the famous royalist general was born on 3 April 1657.

An ardent Jacobite, much is known of his life, as he left a diary for the years 1712-1714.

Unfortunately, as reported by Dalya Alberge in The Times on 14 May 2007 and 29 December 2007 the manuscript of the Tyldesley Diary was badly damaged whilst in the custody of the British Library. The picture above shows the same page, before and after the damage.

Further information is available in the British Library's Press Release of 23 May 2007 and the BBC report of 29 December 2007. The British Library has kindly agreed to carry out conservation work on the manuscript, but has refused to disclose the full version of its internal report on the matter.

Thomas Tyldesley was educated at St. Omer's. In 1679 he married Eleanor, daughter and coheiress of Thomas Holcroft, of Holcroft Hall, Lancashire. They had ten children:

  • Edward Tyldesley born 1679
  • Fleetwood Tyldesley born 1682
  • Mary Tyldesley born 1684
  • Ann Tyldesley born 1685
  • Eleanor Tyldesley born 1686
  • Ann Tyldesley born 1687
  • Thomas Tyldesley born 1688
  • James Tyldesley born 1690
  • Frances Tyldesley
  • Elizabeth Tyldesley

Thomas BloodBy this marriage the Tyldesleys were to acquire Holcroft Hall, which was only sold on the death of Thomas' grandson, James Tyldesley. Curiously the marriage also brought the Tyldesleys a connection with Thomas Blood. Blood had switched to the Parliamentarian side in the Civil War and notoriously attempted to steal the crown jewels on 9 May 1671. Mary Holcroft, Eleanor's aunt, had married Thomas Blood in 1650.

After Eleanor's death in 1693, Thomas Tyldesley married Agatha, daughter of William Winckley of Banister Hall. They had three children:

  • Charles Tyldesley born 1696
  • Agatha Tyldesley
  • Winifred Tyldesley born 1701

Upon the revolution of 1688 Thomas Tyldesley took part in a movement in support of James II. at Chester. However, when William of Orange landed in Brixham with a Dutch army on 5 November 1688, support for James II waned. On 11 December 1688 James II was apprehended in Kent attempting to flee the country. He was allowed to leave for France on 23 December 1688 and was granted a palace and a pension by Louis XIV. William and his wife Mary, daughter of James II, were crowned together at Westminster Abbey on 11 April 1689.

Thomas Tyldesley continued to hope for the return of James II and was clearly seen as a threat by William and Mary. In May 1690 a proclamation was issued naming him and two other members of the family:

Whereas Their Majesties have received Information upon Oath, That the Persons herein after particularly named, have Conspired together, and With divers other Disaffected Persons, to raise rebellion, and for that purpose have made Provision of Arms, and have Listed themselves in several Regiments, Troops and Companies, under pretence of Commissions from the late King James; Their Majesties have thought fit, by the Advice of Their Privy Council, to Issue out this Their Royal Proclamation, and do hereby strictly Charge and Command Thomas Tildesley, Moleneux, Tempest, Towneley, Garlington, Standish, Gerrards, Thomas Tildesley, Son Ralph Tildesley... and every of them, forthwith to Render themselves to some one of Of Their Majesties Justices of the Peace. And in case they do not Render themselves, There Majesties do hereby Require and Command all Their Loving Subjects to Discover, Take and Apprehend them wherever they may be found, and to carry them before the next Justice of the Peace or Chief Magistrate, who are hereby required to Commit them to the next Goal, there to remain until they be delivered by due course of Law. And Their Majesties do hereby Require the said Justice or other Magistrate, immediately to give Notice thereof to Them or Their Council. And Their Majesties do hereby give Notice to all Persons that shall Conceal the Persons above named, or any of them, or be Aiding or Assisting in the Concealing of them, or furthering their Escape, That they shall be Proceeded against for such their Offence with the utmost Severity according to Law.

A second proclamation appears to have been issued on the same day in similar terms, and named the three Tyldesleys along with additional names and details. Thomas Tyldesley nevertheless remained unswerving in his loyalties. A secret chamber was constructed at Fox Hall where it was intended that James II could be concealed on his hoped-for return. Fishwick gives further details:

[Fox Hall] was erected by Edward Tyldesley of Morley (the son of Sir Thomas Tyldesley, slain at Wigan, Lancashire, in 1651) in the time of Charles II. It was originally a small three-gabled building, with a small tower at one side of it. The walls were made of sea-shore cobble stones, and were of great thickness. Over the main entrance was engraved " Seris factura nepotibus," a motto which Edward Tyldesley expected would be his own, as his name was down on the list of " Knights of the Royal Oak," which Charles II at one time proposed to create as a means of rewarding the faithful supporters of the Stuarts. Over the south gateway was inserted a stone on which was chiselled a pelican feeding her young, round which was inscribed “Tantum valet amor regiae et patriae." Inside the hall was a priest's hiding place, long known as the "king's cupboard," tradition saying that it was erected for King James (who, however, never came there) during the plots of 1690 and 1694. During the rebellion of 1715 Fox Hall was a private rendezvous for Popish recusants.

Fox Hall was the first substantial building on what was then deserted coastline but is now Blackpool. For many years parts of its structure remained in the form of a public house owned by Seeds and later by Bass. Despite its significance in Blackpool's history it was demolished in the 1990s and replaced with a building of no interest or merita. Adjoining streets - Tyldesley Road and Rigby Road - give some pointer to the past.

Both Thomas Tyldesley and other members of the family participated in the Mock Corporation of Walton Le Dale, which was founded in 1701 and in its early years had strong Jacobite connections. Dr Thomas Tyldesley - probably the Diarist - was "Tester" to the Corporation from 1704 to 1706. John Tyldesley was "Sergeant" in 1707 and Thomas Tyldesley was "Slut-kisser" in 1708.

In 1713, Thomas Tyldesley notes that he paid 2s 6d to have repairs carried out to the monument to his grandfather, Sir Thomas Tyldesley:

October 9.—Alday in the towne. Gave Hen. Hosfeild towards reparing the stone brooken, weh was the inscription on ye monimentt ffor Sr Tho : Tyldesley, 2s. 6d. In the eivening went to Mr. Beardsworth's, who went in quest of a prisonr runaway; spent 1s. in wine, and 4d. in ale; soe too beed.

The diary also records his preparations for the 1715 rebellion. Towards the end of 1713 he had his sword and gun repaired:

25 September 1713 —Mr. Parkinson pd all att Leigh ; ffrom thence to Manchestr ; spent 1s. with Mr. Hunter and George Woods, and 6d. ffor my sword mending; thence to Houlme.

31 October 1713 —Gave the servantts 4s.; soe to Wigan ; pd 5s. 6d. ffor a gun stockeing and locking; spent 3s. 6d. on Doctr ffrances Wortington and ye gunsmith.

Queen Anne died on 1 August 1714. News of her death - long awaited as a possible trigger for rebellion - reached Thomas Tyldesley on 4 August 1714. He joined with friends to celebrate with a pig roast:

4 August 1714 —Went about 12 to meet Ned Winckley, younge Lord, Gabr Hesketh, Hen. Whittingham, and Esqre Hadocke, who brought the news that Queen A: dyed, Sunday morning betwixt 7 and 8. Wee spent 2s. each, beeing invitted to a pige feast. Soe to Lodge.

Thomas Tyldesley died at Myerscough Lodge on 26 January 1715, aged 57 and was buried at Garstang.

  1. The Tyldesley Diary. Personal Records of Thomas Tyldesley (grandson of Sir Thomas Tyldesley the Royalist), during the years 1712-13-14, Joseph Gillow and Anthony Hewitson, Preston, 1873.
  2. History of the Tyldesleys of Lancashire, John Lunn, Altrincham 1966.
  3. Thomas Tyldesley 1657-1715, Chapter 6 of English Folk, Professor Wallace Notestein, 1938
  4. The History of the Parish of Bispham in the County of Lancaster, Henry Fishwick, 1887.