|John Mansel, a direct descendant of one of William the Conqueror's followers, master of Queen's College, Cambridge, was Rector of Wigan.
In August, 1246, a charter was granted to John Mansel by King Henry III. The charter gave the borough market privileges and self-governing byelaws, making it one of the four original royal Boroughs of Lancashire, equal to Liverpool, Lancaster and Preston - Wigan market is still going strong today, over 750 years later.
The charter is in Latin with a few Anglo-Saxon and Norse words which did not readily translate:
|Henry, by the Grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy, Aquitaine and Count of Angers; to all archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, justices, sheriffs, chief ministers, and bailiffs, and his faithful subjects greeting; Know ye that we have granted, and by this, our charter confirmed for us and our heirs to our beloved and faithful, John Mansel, parson of the Church of Wigan, that his lands at Wygayun may be a borough for ever, and that the burgesses of the same borough may have a Guild Merchant, with a treasury and other liberties and free customs to that Guild belonging, and that no one who is not of that Guild, may make any merchandise in the aforesaid borough, unless by the will of the same burgesses. We have also granted to the same burgesses and their heirs that they may have rights of local jurisdiction, admission, and attachment within the said borough, and that they may come and go freely, and be free throughout our whole land, and through all parts of the sea, from toll, custom, passage, pontage, and stallage, and that no Counties or Wapentakes shall have any influence on the tenures which they hold within the borough aforesaid. We have also granted to the same burgesses and heirs, that whatsoever traders shall come to the borough aforesaid with their merchandise, of whatsoever place they shall be, foreigners, or others, who shall be of our peace, or of our leave, shall come into our land, may come safely and securely to the aforesaid borough with their merchandise, and safely there may stay and safely from thence may return by doing there the right and due customs; we do also prohibit that no one may do injury or damage, or molestation, unto the aforesaid burgesses, upon forfeiture of £10. Wherefore we do will and firmly command for us and our heirs that the aforesaid manor of Wigan be a borough for ever, and that the aforesaid burgesses may have the aforesaid Guild Merchant, with an entry fee and with the other liberties and free customs to that Guild belonging, and that they may have all other liberties and free customs and quittances as is aforesaid.|
Witnesses hereto:- Richard Earl of Cornwall, our brother, Roger le Pygot, Earl of Norfolk, Peter de Saband, William de Ferrers, Ralph Fit Nichol, William de Cantilupo, John de Plesset, Paul Peyner, Robert de Mustengros, Bartholemy Peche and others. Given by our hand at Woodstock, the 26th day of August, in the 30th year of our reign.