Baronet of Sefton, and third Viscount Molyneux of Maryborough in Ireland, born 1624; died 1699. He joined the Royalist army at the outbreak of the civil war, and served with his brother, the second viscount, in the Lancashire Regiment, which was mostly Catholic, through almost all the fighting from Manchester (1642) to Worcester (1651). After succeeding to the title he, as a well-known Catholic cavalier, experienced very harsh treatment from the victors; and the family estates suffered severely. It was not until the reign of James II that his fortunes improved. He was then made Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, and was one of the few who fought with any success on James's side against the Prince of Orange, for he seized and held the town of Chester, until all further resistance was in vain. Some years later he was arrested on a fictitious charge of treason, called "The Lancashire plot", was imprisoned in the Tower with other Catholics, but upon trial was victoriously acquitted (1694).
Many other members of this notable and conspicuously Catholic family deserve mention. John Molyneux, of Melling, was a constant confessor for the Faith under Queen Elizabeth, and his son and grandson both died in arms fighting for King Charles at Newbury. Father Thomas Molyneux, S.J., probably of Alt Grange, Ince Blundell, was a confessor of the Faith at the time of Oates's Plot, meeting death from ill-treatment in Morpeth gaol, 12 January, 1681. The family is of itself exceedingly interesting. It came from Moulineaux in Seine Inferieure about the time of the Conquest, and can be shown to have held the manor of Sefton without interruption from about 1100 to the present day, while other branches of the family (of which those of Haughton in Nottinghamshire and Castle Dillon in Ireland are the most conspicuous) have spread all over the world. The main stem remained staunch through the worst times. William, seventh viscount, was a Jesuit, and there were in his time not less than seven Molyneux in the Society of Jesus alone. Arms: azure, a cross moline, or.
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