by Eleanor Johnson
In 1479 there was a quarrel between the Gerard family of Bryn and the Standish and Langtree families. The trouble seems to have flared up in Wigan on Easter Monday between members of these families backed by their retainers. There were some broken heads, but by May 10th Sir Thomas Gerard of Bryn had given a bond to Alexander Standish that, on penalty of , he, Sir Thomas Gerard of Bryn “together with Thomas Gerard of Ince, William Gerard of Ince, Seth Gerard, brother to the said Thomas of Ince, Hugh Hyndeley, Robert son of the said Hugh and John Molyneux of Haukeley” undertook that they would “no bodile harme do ner procur to be done by theym to the said Alexander, Gilbert Longetre, Laurence and Hugh Standish in their matter against the said Thomas Gerard, Kt”.
However, the affair was not settled and three weeks later Alexander had got the Abbott of Norton and others friends to support him and to affirm that he had sworn on oath that he was innocent of any intention to start an affray. In the words of the Abbot in his declaration, dated1st June 1779, “forasmuch as it is medefull and meretory to ber wyttenys in treuth wher a man is deffamed unrightfully to restor hym to his good name – we John , Abbot of Norton, Richard Ashton Kt, Thomas Danyell, Laurence Longetre Esqs: John Botler, Perys Danyell and many others declare for truth that Alexander Standyssh Esq: by virtue of an official letter, excusit hym apon a boke and cursit hym if he were glty that he not come to Wigan on Blake monday to th’intent to make no fray to be made on none of the Kyng’s pepull, and a steven (uproar) made on Ester evyn in Wigan between the said Alexander and Thomas Gerard of Ynce to mete on the said Moday in Wygan to sporte hym and drynke with the said Thomas and his frendes” (Black Monday or Easter Moday was said to be so called from Easter Moday 14th April 1360 when Edward III was outside Paris with his army and the day became so dark with mist and hail and was so bitterly cold and windy that many men and horses perished.)
Evidently the affray could not lightly be forgotten and the affair must have been brought before Thomas, Lord Stanley for a decision as to the culpability and liability for damages, for a year after the event, in 1480, a deed was drawn up recording his judgement. He decided that “greater offence and hurt” had been done to the Standish and Langtree partythan by them and he ordered that Sir Thomas Gerard should pay the fellowship of Alexander Standish .10s.8d. to be distributed proportionately to those who had had “blody strokys” at the feast of St. Martin in Winter; or in four payments, the first 54s.2d. to be paid within twelve days of the feast of St. Martin, a like sum at the Nativity of St. John Baptist, and the same sums at the same feasts next ensuing. Also Sir Thomas was to pay 40s. to Laurence Standish for such hurt as he had of the fellowship of the said Sir Thomas; and to Gilbert Langtree for his own hurts and 10s. for his tenants and servants who had “blody stroks”