Rev. Thomas Withnell was nominated to the living of Deane by George III in 1766, and instituted the following year. At the October meeting of churchwardens, when the church rate was agreed upon, he presided and signed the minutes as "Tho. Withnell, vicar." For the next three years he was not present at these meetings, which were signed by "Thos. Borrowdale, curate." Although he had been instituted to the benefice of Deane, he also held the living of Billinge, near Wigan, and in 1772 a public meeting was held, and the "Rev. Mr. Withnell" was required to qualify himself according to law "to receive the Rents and profits of the Vicarage of Dean," failing which legal proceedings were to be taken against him. Evidently the vicar did so qualify himself, or some compromise was agreed upon, for he held the living of Billinge and remained Vicar of Deane until his death in the year 1776.