Thank you for your kind words. This task should have been quite easy and for that reason I am not inclined to give up on Humphrey !
The contention over the administration of his estate is so similarto other litigation I have read that whilst I do not believe his family and mine are related ( no ancestor of mine ever lived in the Parish of Wigan) I began to feel a certain "empathy" with his family and so became much more interested in them.
Edmund Atherton (died 1613) is referred to in a land dispute in 1596 as the son of Humphrey and Alice Atherton ref National Archive , Palatine of Lancaster,Feet of Fines (dont ask) bundle 59 manuscript 21. Edward Winstanley and Humphrey Atherton were in dispute over some land in Winstanley and the matter was resolved upon the grant of some land in Billinge to Humphrey and when Edmund dies he is indeed possesed of some land in Billinge. The noted historian, W Farrar(decd) infact had these deeds and documents and it appears to me that a retired associate of mine had seen them many years agobecause he was able to tell me Humphrey (B 1607) assigns his lands to Eliz, his sister.
There are many refs to men namedHumphrey and Edmund Atherton in the late middle ages .I do not know who was the father of the Humphrey who was living in 1596. IT SHOULD IN NO CIRCUMSTANCES BE ASSUMED THAT HE IS RELATED TO THE ATHERTONS OF ATHERTON. ATHERTON IS A PLACE NAME! Lots of people will have adopted it as a surname .