|Richard Heywood was the son of Oliver Heywood, of Little Lever, by his wife, Alice Hutton, of Breightmet, in the parish of Bolton, and was born at Little Lever in 1656. He was a freeholder, and was largely engaged in commerce. He was twice married, first to Alice Critchlaw, of Longworth, in the parish of Bolton, and secondly, to Margaret Brereton. He had a numerous family, the particulars of which are brought down to a recent date in Foster's "Lancashire Pedigrees."|
During the taking of Bolton by Prince Rupert's army, his library, which had been removed from his dwelling-house by one of his daughters for safety, was unfortunately lost.
He died much respected, and in the diary of his son, the Rev. Oliver Heywood, B.A., for the year 1677, is the following entry:
"At last God hath put an end to the long and afflicted days of my dear, tender-hearted father; he died March 1, aged about 82. I may say of him as is recorded by Abraham, that 'he gave up the Ghost and died in a good old age, an old man full of years; and was gathered unto his people': and as Isaac and Ishmael buried him in a cave, so my dear brother and I buried our beloved father. O my soul, hast thou not some tears to shed at the funeral of a father? Nature binds thee to some workings of affection, and grace helps to regulate them. Thou has parted with a father, and is this nothing? God would not have such a providence pass without observation and improvement. Thou hast buried a father that provided food and rainment for thee in thy younger days, a father that was at great care and charge of they education, both in the best schools of the neighbourhood and at the university; but all this was small compared with the inward and anxious workings of his heart for thee, which thou didst never so feelingly know till thou hast of late felt the same towards thy own. O what instructions, exhortations, and admonisions didst thou receive from him! What prayers did he put up for thee, and what grief did he feel at thy failings! What jealousy he had of me when he came to visit me at Cambridge! What charge did he leave with my tutor concerning me, and how gladly did he welcome any hopes of my well-doing! What solicitude he had concerning my settlement! and thouh he had been at a great expense in my education, yet how fearful was he lest I should enter the ministry unfit! This induced him to make provisions for my residence in Mr. Angier's family; but Providence called me to this place. Even then he did not leave me, but followed me with his counsels and prayers to his dying day. O what a father! Few have the like! Though I can truly say, I have studied to requite him, and though nothing I could do for him too much in his straits, yet I have fallen far short of a full recompense. He had a tender love for me, and I hope the remembrance of it will not be quickly worn away from my mind. My gracious Lord also hath not left me comfortless concerning my dear, deceased father. Blessed be God that his hoary head was found in the ways of righteousness, and that we have good reasons for hope that he sleeps in Jesus, and will have a happy resurrection; and what can we desire more? O Lord, raise up a succession of God-fearing worshippers; and as thou hast been my father's God, and my God, and the God of my dear companion now at rest, so continue to be my God and guide to death, and be the God of my children, and children's children, even to a thousand generations."
The following is a copy of the inscription on his tombstone:
"Here lyeth the body of Richard Heywood, of Little Lever: who had followed the Lord sixty-four years in Christian profession and practice through various conditions: at last fell asleep, MArch 1, 1676-7, in the 81st year of his age. 'Then(?) let the weary be at rest.'"