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ONGE, with Alkrington, forms one of the townships in the old parish of Prestwich, and contains one thousand one hundred and fifty-five acres. The Domesday Survey has no reference to any part of the parish, and it is not until late in the fourteenth century that we find any trace of Tonge as a place-name in Prestwich.

In 7 Edward II. (1313-14) a fine was levied at Westminster, between Adam de Prestwich and Thomas de Wolveley, concerning inter alia the manor of Alkrington, and in the 16 Henry VI. (1437-8) Henry de Tonge was plaintiff in a suit in which he prayed for execution of this fine; the defendant was Robert de Langley, who was an undoubted descendant of Alice de Wolveley (sister of Thomas de Wolveley), and his plea was that Henry de Tonge was an illegitimate son, and therefore not heir to


any portion of the estates of the Wolveleys. The plaintiff claimed to be the son of Henry de Tonge, the son of Henry, the son of Thomas, the son of Alice de Wolveley.* This descent has been accepted by the late Canon Raines and the author of the Memorials of Prestwich Church; it is, however, not correct, as recent research shows that beyond a shadow of a doubt Thomas de Wolveley, the son of Alice de Wolveley, had issue only two daughters, one of whom married Robert de Holland and the other died unmarried.† Nevertheless, the Tonge family were in some way related to the Wolveleys, as will appear presently.

From the Post-Mort. Inquis. of Henry, son of Henry, son of Thomas de Alkrington, taken 12th August, 1394, it appears that he died on 27th June, 1390, seized of two messuages and certain lands in Alkrington, called Tonge, held of the duchy in fee by military service, and that Henry, his son and heir, was at the taking of the Inquis. three years old; ‡ when the proof of his was given, however, he was said to have been baptised at Middleton Church on the Monday after the Feast of St. Michael's, 12 Richard II. (5th October, 1388).§ During his minority the estate was held by Ralph de Radcliffe.|| This Henry was the first to be described as de Tonge, and he was the father of the Henry de Tonge party to the suit just referred to in 1437-8. The correct pedigree is, therefore, as follows:

* Lanc. Inquisitions. Townley MSS., p. 508,' No. 2,163, and No. 2,097;

also Raines MSS., xiii. 172.

+ Lanc. Inquis.

No. 199.

Lanc. Inquis.

Townley MSS., p. 508; No. 2,168, D. fo. 9, and p. 76,

Townley MSS., p. 473, No. 2,097, D. fo. 14.

§ Lanc. Inquis. Townley MSS., p. 505, No. 2,151, D. fo. 23. || Rot. Pat. Joh'es Duc. Lanc.



Henry de Alkrington=
died 27th June, 1390.

Henry de Tonge=

baptised 1388.

Henry de Tonge,

living 1459-60.

It may be presumed that at this period, say the close of the fourteenth century, the family was settled at Tonge, and that one of the two messuages formed the family residence.

Henry de Tonge was living in 38 Henry VI. (1459-60), when Thomas de Langley, under-sheriff of the county, was accused of doing great trespass on his lands at Tonge. This Henry de Tonge had at least two sons, viz., Richard, his son and heir, and Henry; the former, in 16 Edward IV. (1476-7), granted to his brother certain houses and lands in Tonge for his life, and a few years later (1481) John de Langley became bound to him (Richard) in £100 to stand to an award concerning a messuage of land called Tong, in Alkrington, and Tong Moor; apparently the arbitration not having proved satisfactory both parties agreed to appeal to the assizes at Lancaster, when John de Langley quoted the fine of 1314, and Richard Tonge pleaded that he was cousin and heir to Thomas, son of Alice Wolveley, and the jury taking the same view he obtained the verdict.* Richard de Tonge died in or shortly before 1501 seized of messuages and land in

* Title Deeds.

Tonge, and his son and heir was Thomas de Tonge, then aged eighteen years.* This Thomas Tonge died 16th February, 1542, and at the time of his death he held in fee three messuages, fifty acres of land, six acres of meadow, four acres of wood, and one hundred acres of moss and moor, called Tonge Moor; he held the whole of the king as of the duchy for the hundredth part of a knight's fee; his son and heir was John Tonge, then aged thirty years. John Tonge married Dorothy, daughter of Roger Downes, Esq., in 1547.‡

John Tonge died 31st July, 5 Edward VI. (1551), leaving a will dated 13th June in the same year, in which he is described as "of Tonge, Gentleman,” and, after reciting that he held his messuage and lands in Tonge of the king as part of the duchy by knight's service and the hundreth part of a Knight's fee, he sets forth that he had by his deed granted and conveyed to Robert Downes, John Downes, Lawrence Downes, and Sir Richard Thyrlwynde, clerk, certain lands in trust for Dorothy Downes, daughter of Roger Downes, Esq., for his life, with remainder to Ellen, Dorothy, and Johanna Tonge, his three daughters, and also land, being on the heights of Tonge, called The Hardfelt, with the garden, houses, &c., belonging him, to be held until his son Richard attained his majority; to Richard Tonge, his half brother, he left sufficient moss and torves within his moss of Tonge, "yerely to bron wth his house," also thirty"lodes of torves" annually.

Richard, the son of John, was at this time only two years old.§ Richard Tonge died 10th November, 12

* Inq. Post-Mort., 17 Henry VII., No. 81, Record Office.
+ Inq. Post-Mort., 34 Henry VIII., Record Office.
Title Deeds, Marriage Settlement.
§ Duchy Records. Inq. Post-Mort., Edward VI.,

ix. 7.

Elizabeth (1570), when he was only just of age, leaving a son, Christopher, aged two years,* during whose minority the estate was granted to Gilbert Sherrington, gentleman, who released the same to Thomas Leigh, of Alcrington, gentleman. In the life of the young heir to the Tonge estate there was a somewhat romantic episode, the particulars of which are recited in a deed dated in the 32 Elizabeth (1589-90), which sets forth that Thomas Leigh, having the wardship of Christopher Tonge, and "not having the fear of God before his eyes," "by threats and otherways," gave "Christopher Tonge to understand that Peter Heywood, of Heywood, his Uncle, would do nothing for him, whereby his lands would be lost," and thus prevailed upon him, when only fifteen years of age, to marry a "notorious harlot," one Katherine Jackson, by whom he himself had had several children. Whereupon Peter Heywood, on behalf of Christopher Tonge, exhibited a bill of complaint in the Court of Wards, and called witnesses to prove the incontinency of Katherine Jackson, alias Tonge, and, the Bishop of Chester's attention being drawn to the case, a divorce was granted in 1583.† Some few years afterwards Christopher Tonge married Jane, the daughter of William Bamford, of Bamford, gentleman, and in 1590, to secure his wife's jointure and prevent the children of Katherine, his former wife, inheriting his lands, he settled his estates on his father-in-law, William Bamford, and his brother-in-law, William Bamford, to certain uses.‡

Christopher Tonge died 10th February, 43 Elizabeth (1601). No will has been discovered, but shortly before his death he made a bill of sale of his goods and chattels

* Duchy Records. Inq. Post-Mort., Elizabeth, xii. 9.

Title Deeds. Raines MSS., xiii. 174. Mention is made of his two aunts, Jane Tonge and Ellen-? + Title Deeds.

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