Lancashire and Cheshire Letters of Roman Catholics

Scope and Content

A collection of letters and papers connected with Roman Catholic affairs and containing private correspondence relating to the families of Hoghton of Hoghton, Hoghton of Park Hall, Dalton of Thurnam, and others. Descriptive catalogue added.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Hoghton family acquired the lordship of Hoghton, between Blackburn and Preston in Lancashire, in the early fourteenth century, although the family's connections with the area can be traced back to the early thirteenth century. A member of the family first represented Lancashire in parliament in 1322. Thomas Hoghton erected Hoghton Tower in around 1564. He was vehemently anti-Protestant, and entertained William Allen, who was later created cardinal, when he visited Lancashire to stir up Roman Catholics. At the beginning of the Elizabethan persecutions, Thomas Hoghton fled to Antwerp and his estates were seized. Richard Hoghton (1570-1630), however, conformed to the Church of England. He was knighted in 1600, created a baronet in 1611, and served as MP for Lancashire in 1601 and 1603-4. His son Sir Gilbert Hoghton (d. 1647) was a prominent royalist who took part in the siege of Manchester.

Sir Henry Hoghton, fifth baronet (1676-1768), landowner and politician was the eldest surviving son of Sir Charles Hoghton, fourth baronet (c.1644-1710), politician. He was MP for Preston in 1710-13, 1715-22, and 1727-41, and for East Looe in 1724-7. He was active in organizing Lancashire resistance to the Jacobite rising of 1715 and was rewarded with a lucrative commissionership for the sale of forfeited estates. He was Walpole's judge-advocate-general from 1734 until his defeat at the general election of 1741. During the 1745 rising he and his family took refuge in Yorkshire. His subsequent rigorous proceedings as a magistrate against Catholics were quashed by the government. He died at Walton Hall on 23 February 1768.

Source: D.R. Fisher, 'Hoghton, Sir Henry, sixth baronet (1728-1795)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press -

Access Information

The collection is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by the John Rylands Library from G. Gregory of Bath in November 1913.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan and Jo Humpleby, project archivists, with reference to:

  • William Farrer and J. Brownbill (eds), The Victoria history of the county of Lancaster, volume 6 (London: Constable, 1911), pp. 36-47;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on Sir Henry Hoghton.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (English MS 213).

Related Material

Lancashire Record Office holds family and estate papers of the De Hoghton family, 16th-20th centuries, comprising title deeds, surveys and manorial records, estate and family correspondence and papers (ref.: GB 055 DDHO ), along with those of the Dalton family and related material (ref.: GB 055 DDDA, DDHD, DDX 1631). It also holds a letter-book of Sir George Hoghton as lord lieutenant for Lancashire, 1625-41 (ref.: GB 0055 DDN ).