The Wanderings of Martha

QSP 1237-15 OPEN DAY 2003

Among the many thousands of documents in the Quarter Sessions Petitions at Lancashire Archives is this one, from 1724, which speaks for itself.

The examinacion of Martha Proctor, aged between 8 and 9 years…

being fround wandering and begging in the township of Eccleston and taken

up by Leonard Higham, constable of the said township, who (being too young

to take an Oath) declares that she was born in Preston, that her father’s name

was (blank) Proctor, that he was a tayler and kept several men at work in

Preston aforesaid, that he dy’d about 2 years ago. Since which time she has

liv’d with her mother till about a month ago, when her mother dy’d also. She

sayth her mother was bury’d by the overseer of the poor of Preston aforesaid

who sold her mother’s goods and took two pair of shoes, a scarlet (blank),

some headcloaths etc, from this informant and put her a pair of clogs on her

feet and sent her by his servant over Ribble and bid her to go into Longton

and tarry there, and threatn’d if she return’d to Preston any more he would put

her in the House of Correction. She went into Longdon and tarry’s there about

a fortnight and then stroll’s through Hoole, Tarleton, Rufforth, Burscough and

so to Ormskirk, and from thence wander’d back again into Eccleston

aforesaid.

[Lancashire Archives, QSP 1237/15]

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