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Rev. John Tilsley

Rev. John Tilsley, who also was curate under Richard Hardie, was made vicar by an Order of the House of Commons in 1643. His father was a tanner at Westhoughton. John Tilsley was a well-known Presbyterian. Presbyterianism was established by Parliament in 1647, and was accepted in an area round Manchester, but not in most parts of the country. During the Civil War, John Tilsley was with the Parliamentary forces, whether as chaplain or not is not clear. His letters were all of the progress of Sir John Seton's soldiers. The Royalists said of him that at the taking of Wigan he hung the communion plate of the parish church round his neck, saying it had served a popish idol. After the Restoration he was three times ejected from the living for not complying with the Act of Uniformity, and was once imprisoned in the Tower. He continued, however, to serve along with his successor, and resided at the Vicarage.

The following is an extract from "Annals of Manchester" (pdf 30mb) on page 69 under the year 1684.

Rev. John Tilsley, M.A., died December 12. He was born in 1614 and educated at Edinburgh University. His first professional employment was at Deane Church, as curate to the Rev. Alexander Horrocks. On January 4, 1642-3, he married Margaret, daughter of Ralph Chetham, brother of Humphrey the benefactor. Tilsley was with Sir John Seaton when he captured Preston, in Amounderness, and he wrote in a letter, which was published, an account of the capture, included in the Civil War Tracts. On the 10th August, 1643, he was appointed Vicar of Deane. On December 13, 1644, he was one of twenty-one ministers for ordaining ministers in the county of Lancaster. Tilsley took the Covenant and became a Presbyterian. In 1646 he published A True Copie of the Petition of Twelve Thousand Five Hundred and upwards of the Well-affected Gentlemen, Ministers, Freeholders, and others of the County Palatine of Lancaster. He was ejected from his benefice for refusing " The Engagement" of 1650, but was soon restored. By the will of Humphrey Chetham Tilsley was made one of the feoffees of his proposed hospital, and was also nominated one of the persons to purchase godly English books. By the Act of Uniformity he was ejected from his benefice, but he preached in various towns occasionally till his death. (Memoir of the Rev. John Tilsley, by J. E. Bailey, Leigh, 1884, not published.)

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