From An Inventory of Non-Conformist Chapels and Meeting Houses in the North of England By Christopher Stell
Risley Presbyterian Chapel in Colour
The Presbyterian society which first met here was formed by Thomas Risley, a Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford, who resigned his Fellowship on the passing of the 1662 Act of Uniformity. Although shortly after this event he accepted episcopal ordination, he was unwilling to proceed further and returned to his estate at Culcheth where he practised medicine and engaged in private preaching. In 1689 a barn at Culcheth was registered as a meeting-house and in 1706-7 the chapel was erected 'upon a piece of land called Fifty Croft in Cross Lane, in Culchett, near the dwelling-house of the said Thomas Risley'.
Risley died in 1716 and was succeeded in the ministry by his son John. Under subsequent ministers the society came to accept heterodox doctrines until, in 1838, following a successful petition for the removal of the then Unitarian minister and trustees, the building passed into the care of what became the Presbyterian Church of England.
Interior of Risley Presbyterian Chapel in Colour
The chapel has walls of brickwork, and the roof is covered with stone slates. It comprises a nave (38.5 ft by 20ft) and chancel (13.75 ft by 15ft) in orthodox E-W alignment. The principal alterations have been the replacement of the N and S windows of the nave, probably after 1892 and perhaps as late as 1914, and the rebuilding of the chancel arch and insertion of a W doorway in 1953.
The chancel has an original E window with segmental-arched head and wooden frame of three lights; a similar window in the N wall has been blocked. Throughout the 19th century and later the chancel appears to have been divided from the nave by a partition of vertical boarding on the E side of the chancel arch and to have served as a vestry. Photographs of the arch before its rebuilding show a wide depressed arch with central keystone of early 18th century character clearly intended to be open.
The nave is of three bays and has externally to N and S a brick platband of two courses which formerly continued above segmental-arched windows. The roof structure, partly concealed until 1953 by an inserted plaster ceiling, comprises two king-post trusses and curved wind-braces above and below each purlin. The carpenters' assembly marks are in Arabic numerals. On the W gable is a square wooden bell-cote.
Bell: one, in bell-cote, with date 1718, initials R. A. below and name 'Wiggan' opposite, for Ralph Ashton of Wigan.
Collecting Shovel: one, with ogee-shaped opening to square box, short handle, 19th-century.
Monuments: in burial ground S of chapel (1) Rev. Thomas Risley M.A ., 1716, table-tomb with late 19th-century inscription; (2) Rev. John Risley A.M ., 1743, Hannah his wife, 1730, and Hannah their daughter,1723, raised slab.
Pulpit: octagonal, with two tiers of fielded panels, early 18th-century.
Seating: box-pews with knob finials to ends next to centre aisle, partly remade but incorporating fielded-panelled doors carved with initials and dates I. W. 1706, R.L. 1706, 1759, P.D. 1706. I.P ., [ ]06, C.H. I.C. [ ]706.
(Chapel closed September 1971 and immediately demolished; burial-ground remains)
Notice is hereby given, that application is intended to made to Parliament, in the next Sessions, for leave to bring in a Bill, to make a rail or tram road or roads into, through, to and from the town and borough of Liverpool, into, through, to and from the town of Manchester, both in the county palatine of Lancaster, with certain branch rail or trans road or roads to be connected therewith, and that the same is, or are intended to pass into, through, to, and from the several boroughs, parishes, townships, and places of Liverpool, Everton, Kirkdale, Walton, Wavertree, Childwall, West Derby, Knowsley, Prescot, Huyton or Highton, Whiston, Cronton, Torbock, Rainhill, Eccliston, Saint Helens, Sutton, Parr, Haydock, bold, Burton Wood, Newton-in-the-Willows, Winwick, Leigh, Kenyon, Croft, Culcheth, Astley, Chat Moss, Wooding, Worsley, Barton-upon-Irwell, Swinton or Winton, Monton, Eccles, Pendleton, Salford, and Manchester, in the county palatine of Lancaster, or some of them. Dated the twenty-eighth day of August, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-two.
1828 Plan showing a proposed railway line and signed by Robert Stephenson. Picture courtesy of Parliamentary Archives
One of the most famous of the railway engineering works was Stephenson's 'floating' railway across Chat Moss, an undertaking that one contemporary engineer declared 'no man in his senses would attempt'.
The bleak waste of Chat Moss had long been notorious in the county of Lancashire. It had defied several attempts over the years to drain and cultivate it and was home to vipers. A giant spongy mass of bog-moss, it rose above the surrounding countryside like the dome of a giant jellyfish.
The treacherous bog would not bear the weight of either a man or a horse; it was over 30ft deep in some places, and four miles across. Stephenson's assistant John Dixon slipped off a wooden plank while inspecting the ground, and nearly disappeared for good; he had to be rescued by the navvies.
The engineers and men approached the problem logically. The navvies fastened wooden boards to their shoes to spread out their weight and stop them sinking; next, they constructed heather walkways for their wheelbarrows and the wagons. Light rails were laid down on this path. Young lads pushed one-ton wagons laden with building materials along the rails, and according to Stephenson's biographer Samuel Smiles, they could trot across all four miles of the Moss in just over half an hour.
Stephenson ordered drains to be cut on either side of the track route; around 200 men were needed for this section. It was frustrating work; in many places, whenever the men dug a drain, the Moss quickly filled it up with water again. So a kind of 'pipe' drain was constructed using empty tar barrels joined end to end, weighted down with clay so they wouldn't rise up again. But the railway line, of course, had to support the weight of a full-size locomotive and wagons. Once the ground had firmed sufficiently after drainage, hurdles 9ft wide and 4ft broad, interspersed with heather, formed a kind of floating base. A 2ft layer of gravel or ballast was piled on this, topped by wooden sleepers, on which the track was laid.
View of the Railway Across Chat Moss, 1831. Engraved by Henry Pyall after a painting by Thomas Talbot Bury
To the dismay of the men and the railway directors, and despite all their efforts to prevent it, the Moss swiftly gobbled up whole sections of their new embankment. Worst of all was the embankment which had to support the line at the Manchester end of the bog. Turf-cutters, men and boys, skinned the moss nearby with sharp spades called 'tommy-spades', and dried the turf into cakes, which were then tipped into the hole to help form the embankment. The men tipped in hundreds of wagonloads of dry moss in order to fill it up, to no avail; it seemed as if they were feeding a bottomless pit.
The tipping went on for weeks, but Stephenson encouraged the men to persevere. They worked day and night until at last the Moss was conquered; his vision of a floating railway was now a reality, and a lasting monument to the navvies hard work. £28,000 (£2.6 million today) was the total cost for the Chat Moss crossing - £820,000 (£77 million today) being the cost for the whole railway.
The Opening of the Railway
Before the official opening of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway, there was much controversy over which design of locomotive to use. The story of the Rainhill trials in October 1829 and the triumph of Stephenson's Rocket is well known. Rocket achieved a then revolutionary speed of 29mph (unladen) and won the £ 500 prize.
The next year an 'immense multitude' gathered to witness the grand opening ceremony at Liverpool on 15th September; the cheering crowds saw the wonderful engines, covered with flags and carrying many passengers, speed down the line with 'arrow-like swiftness'.
Stephenson's Locomotive, Rocket
The day was marred by a dreadful accident at Parkside, when William Huskisson, M P for Liverpool, unluckily fell under the wheels of the advancing Rocket, and was fatally injured. The Duke of Wellington wanted the festivities cancelled, but after much hand-wringing by the authorities and railway directors, fears over public order meant the procession of engines eventually continued their journey to Manchester. Here they received a mixed reception as political protestors tried to make their presence felt. Radical sympathisers waved banners and some of the wagons had stones thrown at them by weavers. A tablet was later displayed in his memory.
Tablet dedicated to William Huskisson
The railway opened to passenger traffic the next day, conveying 130 people to Manchester for seven shillings a head, in an hour and thirty-two minutes.
The Railway Age was here.
(Extracted and edited from NARROW WINDOWS, NARROW LIVES by Sue Wilkes)
I recently read a story written in the mid 20th Century that the Crossfield Estate in Irlam was so-called because it was the site of one of many ancient crosses leading the way to the nearest church. Having not seen any evidence for this, I set out to research this story and see what I could find out.
I came across a volume of The Manchester and Lancashire Antiquarian Society from 1904 and found within a detailed chapter which is probably the source of this story. The facts speak for themselves - this 'could' be the case, but there isn't really any evidence for it. However, the chapter is very interesting to any local inhabitants.
The Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society Vol.XXll-1904 The Ancient Crosses of Lancashire-The Hundred of Salford by Henry Taylor
A series of crosses once stood on the principal roads leading out of some of the ancient towns of the county, as at Preston and Ulverston. Such a series apparently once existed on the old road from Manchester through Pendleton to Eccles, Patricroft, and beyond.
It is not improbable that several of them were erected for devotional purposes. In mediaeval times, and especially after the Wars of the Roses, ruffianly robbers filled the country districts, bent on the plunder of merchants, who it is well known often prayed for a safe journey at wayside crosses.
I assume that the first cross stood on White Cross Bank, one mile west of the Manchester marketplace. The next would be at the end of Cross Lane, half a mile west from the preceding. Another half mile would bring the traveller to Pendleton Green, on which a cross stood before the present church was built.
Eccles is two miles beyond Pendleton, and here were two crosses in the marketplace. There may have been others between these villages. Patricroft is a mile west from Eccles. In all probability a cross, dedicated to St. Patrick, once stood here.
Proceeding from Patricroft, on the ancient road to Warrington, Barton Old Hall is reached at a distance of a full half mile. The ancient cross discovered here by Mr. Rowbotham is described later in these pages. The site of another cross is probably recorded by the words ''Cross Field," which we find on the ordnance map on the north side of this road-two miles south-west from Barton Cross and about half a mile short of the village of Higher Irlam.
This road skirts the vast morass called Chat Moss, a dangerous place for travellers in the old times, and this cross (and possibly others of which there is now no record) may have been placed here as guides to travellers.
Barton Old Hall
BARTON CROSS – Barton Old Hall, surrounded by a moat, was on the north side of the main road, half a mile south-west from Patricroft, and about one hundred and fifty yards east of Salt Eye Brook.
In the volume for 1893 of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society Mr. Rowbotham gives a suggested restoration of an ancient cross which at one time evidently stood near this old hall. In 1886 he discovered a portion of the shaft, which had recently been dug up not far from the hall, close to Salt Eye Brook. The head of the cross, a sculptured stone, was built into the wall of an outbuilding at Barton Hall. Mr. Rowbotham writes: "The subject of the sculpture is very singular and exhibits the crowned figure of the Supreme seated within a well-carved niche and supporting a crucifix. The trefoil-cusped head of the niche is surmounted by two pinnacles and a central finial ornamented with crockets. Apparently, the artist intended the principal figure to be represented with hands upraised in the act of benediction, but these members are now lost. Heads of crosses of this type are almost invariably sculptured on all the four faces, and I believe the Barton stone was thus formerly embellished. Two of its faces are buried deep in the old ten-inch brick wall and cannot be examined.In the accompanying restoration I have endeavoured to give some idea of the appearance which this venerable landmark of our faith may have presented, when first it rose above the wayside, close by the edge of the once formidable Chat Moss."
There is some probability that Thomas del Boothe who is said to have built the chapel on Salford Bridge for the repose of his soul, who also founded a chantry in Eccles Church, and who lived at Barton Hall, may have erected this cross. He died in the last quarter of the fourteenth century.
(Barton Old Hall was demolished in 1879 and where it once stood is now Gardner and Sons Engineering. The parts of the cross are now said to be in Eccles Parish Church.)
LADY WELL – Cadishead. The partial disappearance of this spring is due mainly to the formation of the Manchester Ship Canal, which caused a disturbance in the natural drainage of the district about fifteen years ago.
Mr.Basil R.Tucker, of Cadishead, informs me that in his boyhood the Lady Well was a spring of pure sparkling water of much repute. It is a simple spring, under a hawthorn hedge, staked round with timber. The water used to gush out from a bank of glacial clay and gravel. The meadow opposite bears the name of Mill Hill. The site is about half a mile nearly due west from the village of Cadishead, and the same distance north west from the Mersey.
In the next few weeks there will be a new sign erected at Croft Unitarian Chapel on Lady Lane. This is being funded by Croft Parish Council – Thanks to Norman Partington for assisting with this. Ste Plumb has kindly offered to put up the sign, saving on labour costs. Thank you so much!
A sample sign showing where it will be
Burial Records from Croft and Risley
All of the baptisms and the marriage from the Croft Unitarian Chapel and Risley Chapel register are already available for members to search online at mlfhs.uk. The burials have also now been submitted and will be online soon. It only costs £15 per year to join the Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society. They have thousands of records available and it is a charity run completely by volunteers.
Of course I am also willing to help anybody with requests whenever I am not too busy.
Now that Culcheth Library is set to re-open, Livewire have had a change of heart since rejecting my offer of help with a local history section.
They have asked if I would like to be part of a group helping to make the most of the local collections in the library, working with Culture Warrington to see what can be offered. Of course, my answer was yes. I will share any information once I have it.
In October last year (2022) my heart must have skipped a beat when I finally held in my hands the original register of Risley Chapel and Croft Unitarian Chapel. (I will be eternally grateful to David Shallcross at Chowbent Chapel for all of his help.)
The Original Register
I had been told repeatedly that it was lost, but I just couldn’t accept that. I already knew most of what was written inside it, as the person to last handle it was John Bulmer in 1979, who had transcribed most of the listings. It is something different though, to see the handwriting of all these people that I have researched for so long.
There are an extra 26 baptisms, 18 burials and 1 marriage to add to the previous transcription, which I am in the process of doing. I have also digitally scanned every page with any writing on, to make a permanent record for the future.
The register has now been returned to safekeeping and I thought I would share with you all a couple of details from the book.
The register was bought for Risley Chapel and has entries from 1787 onwards. When the Unitarians were ejected in 1838, they took the register with them, and it was in use until the last entry in 1958.
The cover is missing and what remains is in very poor shape. Not all of the events over time have been recorded in the register, mainly I think because of the many different ministers – there are nearly 70.
Some of the handwriting is beautiful, for example the titles for different parts of the book.
Only one marriage is recorded, though I know there were many more, from marriage certificates and newspaper entries. The chapel was registered for weddings in 1846. The one marriage entry is from 1947.
One of the earliest baptisms is from February 1787 and was Betty, the daughter of John and Betty Monks.
Original entry for the baptism of Betty Monks
There are also some extra miscellaneous notes inside, such as this one written by Thomas Blackburne in 1810.
The Cotton Factory Times was a weekly British newspaper, aimed at cotton mill workers in Lancashire and Cheshire. It ran from 1885 – 1937.
Here are a selection of articles featuring local places and people.
Friday 22nd June 1894
Outing – On Saturday afternoon the foremen of Messrs. T Barnes and Co., Farnworth Cotton Mills, had their annual picnic to Croft, near Warrington. In a first-class turnout a start was made from Gladstone Road at 115, and on reaching Chat Moss Hotel a stop was made for one hour while the party had a game at bowls and refreshments.
They then commenced the journey to Croft, which was reached about 430. A first-class knife and fork tea was partaken of at the Horse Shoe Inn. After tea a few had a ramble in the country, and the others enjoyed themselves on the green with bowls, etc. The return journey was commenced at 845, and the party arrived home about 1145 well pleased with their out.
Friday 17th June 1892
FATAL ACCIDENT TO AN OVERLOOKER – On Friday evening James Vanse, aged 43, overlooker, at the Daisy Bank Mill, Culcheth, near Leigh, went up a ladder to get something out of the spout, when the ladder slipped and he fell to the ground and sustained injuries to his head, from which he died the same night.
The inquest was held on Monday afternoon, when a verdict of accidental death was returned.
The Daisy Bank Mill, Culcheth. Photo courtesy of Jeni Poole.
Friday 13th April 1906 Accident – Early on Saturday morning a tape weaver named Miss Ellen Collier, of Warrington Road, Glazebury, and employed at Messrs. Gill and Hartley’s, Glazebury Mill, was following her employment when she got her right arm entangled, with the result that it was broken just above the wrist.
Friday 18th September 1891
SHOCKING SUICIDE OF A WEAVER – The operatives employed at the Glazebury Weaving Shed of Messrs. Gill and Hartley, near Leigh, were thrown into a state of consternation on Tuesday evening by the intelligence that a weaver, employed at the mill, named Richard Massey, had shot himself at his residence, Fowley Common, where he resided with a man named Taylor.
Taylor went home about 11 o’clock on Tuesday night, and went to bed without getting a light. After being in bed some time, he called out to Massey, but, receiving no answer, he struck a light, and found his fellow lodger stretched on the floor dead, with a bullet through his head.
Deceased had apparently tied a piece of string to the trigger of a gun, and so shot himself. Massey, who was nearly fifty years of age, had lately been very depressed, and had frequently threatened to put an end to his life.
Friday 26th March 1897
ACCIDENT TO A SCAVENGER – An alarming accident happened at No. 3 spinning room of the No. 1 mill of the Mather Lane Spinning Co., on Tuesday morning, about half-past ten, to a scavenger residing at Warrington Road, Glazebury, named William Johnson. He was new to his work, and he went under the carriage as the wheel was going up, with the result that his hips were crushed and the sinews ruptured. He was immediately conveyed to Dr. King’s, who attended to his injuries, and he is progressing as favourably as can be expected.
Friday 23rd February 1906 Marriage – On Saturday afternoon, at the Newchurch Parish Church, in the presence of a large number of relatives and friends, the marriage was celebrated of Miss Maggie Yates and Mr. Thomas Gould, both mill operatives, and residing at Culcheth.
The bride is employed as a weaver and the bridegroom as a twister at the Daisy Bank Manufacturing Co.’s mill, Culcheth. A good number of their workmates were present at the dinner, which was served at the house of the bride, after which a pleasant evening was spent. The happy couple have been the recipients of numerous and useful presents.
NOTE ON A FIND BY MR. T. R.MORROW IN THE ALLUVIUM OFTHE MERSEY AT IRLAM
BY W. BOYD DAWKINS, D.Sc., F.R.S., HON. PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER From - Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society Volume 29, 1911
I am indebted to Mr. T. R. Morrow for the followingaccount of a find of sufficient importance to belaid before the Lancashire and Cheshire AntiquarianSociety as a fragment of the prehistory of the Manchesterdistrict.
The circumstances were that in digging for the foundation of a power-house for the Partington Steel andIron Company, at Irlam, it was found necessary to passthrough the alluvial deposits of the Mersey down into thesolid rock. These presented the following section (fig. I).
The strata are of the usual alluvial type of the lowerMersey-the finer sediments deposited by the river beingthe silts, marls, and sands, based on the coarser gravelthat rests on the bunter sandstones below. In this section, at a point 32ft. from the surfaceand 12ft. above sea-level, a flat discoidal waterwornimplement apparently of coal-measure sandstone wasdiscovered (fig. 2), perforated in the centre, the perforation narrowing towards the inside, as is generally the case with holes in stone, made by the rotation of a stickwith sand, starting from the outsides and meeting in themiddle. It is 5 1/16 in. long, 4.4in. broad, and 1.5in. thick.
It belongs to the group of perforated stones that wereused in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages for net-sinkers orweights for nets or for the heads of hammers. Fromits large size it probably belongs to the former class, and from the character of the perforation, I feel inclinedto refer it to the Neolithic Age. The interest of this discovery consists in the fact thatit proves the presence of man in the district during thetime of the accumulation of the lower gravel in thestream of the Irwell, that took place under differentphysical conditions to those now met with, and at a time when the current was swifter than that to which theupper finer sediments covering the gravel are due. Thefind stands, in relation to the surface, just as the human remains found in the excavation for the Preston docks, and the implements met with in the submarine forests of Cardiff, and the coasts of Somerset, near Minehead and Porlock, are related to the surface of the existing alluvia in each district-with this sole difference that, in the latter cases, the forests have sunk beneath the sea since they were the hunting grounds of man. It is probable that Lancashire also stood at a higher lever at the time of the deposit of the ground at Irlam than it does now, and that the coarser materials of which it is composed were carried down from the upper reaches by the greater swiftness of the Mersey due to the greater fall. From all these considerations, I conclude that the find at Irlam belongs to the earliest phase of the occupation of Lancashire by Neolithic man.
from 'The History of the Parish of Newchurch' by Rev. Oscar Plant, first published 1928
Among the discoveries which were made was a pew out of the ancient Church, which the Rector has hadfixed in the Church porch. It had, presumably, been removed fromthe gallery of the old Church before it was destroyed by fire and beenused as a garden seat.
A number of old name plates from the pewswere also found in a cupboard at the Rectory. The old Churchcontained a number of square box-like sittings or pews, dating from1717 onwards, and the name plates indicate various old families whooccupied them. These have been mounted and placed on an oakpanel in the clergy vestry.
Other relies of past centuries found at theRectory were the old keys, used when the Rev. Thomas Wilson, whobecame Bishop of Sodor and Man, was in charge. These, too, have been mounted on brass discs and dated 1663.
Bishop Wilson (Colourised Image)
A set of six old prints, going back to 1721, were also discovered, and these have been suitably framed in oak by Mr. Plant and are interesting to look upon in the clergy vestry.
There is a colour in the prints which cannot be matched to-day. They represent: The Birth of Christ; the Wise Men; the Sermon on the Mount; Mary and Martha; Martyrdom of Stephen; Elijah carried up to Heaven. There is also a rare photo-print of the Archbishop of York, Dr. Cosmo Gordon Lang, D.D ., who has now been translated to the Archbishopric of Canterbury, and is now the Primate of all England.
PRE- REFORMATION CHALICE
Newchurch has one of the most interesting histories, which architecture has preserved, and possesses Communion plate of great value.
The silver Communion cup of peculiar design was given by Dr. Richard Sherlock, Rector of Winwick, to his nephew, Bishop Wilson. The vessel stands six and a half inches high and measures four and a half inches across the top, as well as across the base. It is of the wineglass shape, and bears traces of gilding on the outside. The cup has been hammered out by a local smith from a pre-Reformation chalice.
Examination by a magnifying glass reveals distinct signs of a cross, which frequently occurs on one side of the bowl of such chalices. The cup is somewhat roughly fashioned and bears no hallmark. It holds the most honoured place in the list of local church plate, and is one of the very few known examples of pre-Reformation chalices in the world.
It is a connecting link, both in material and in features of design, between the typical pre-Reformation chalice and the post-Reformation Communion cup.
Besides the ancient Communion cup, the paten in use is of a very quaint type, and is slightly bent and out of shape. The handsome silver flagon is a magnificent specimen of church plate, bearing the date of 1763, though probably much older. It was bequeathed to the Church by Edward Leech in his will dated 13th November, 1760, and proved at Chester on February 23rd, three years later.
The two ancient collecting boxes, dated 1663, were usedin the Parish Church by the wardens. In thosedays the boxes were only handed to the squire, thedoctor and one or two other leading members of the parish and congregation, and gold coins were nearly always contributed.
Three piecesof gold in those days were more than sufficient to meet the Churchexpenses for a month, money going much further in spending valuethan it does to-day. Collections in Church were monthly, or as required. The wardens knew how much they wanted, and before the offerings were presented at the Holy Table, they would tilt the boxes and look at the coins to ascertain if there was sufficient. If the amount was notenough for their purposes they would proceed to collect from otherworshippers in Church.
CONSTABLES' TRUNCHEONS AND HAND-GRIPS
Three constables' truncheons and hand-grips were discovered in the old parish chest, which in 1909 had not been opened for 20 years, owing to the loss of the keys. They belong to the reigns of King George IV. (1820), King William IV. (1830), and Queen Victoria (1837).
These truncheons were assigned by the ruling monarchs to the High Sheriff of the county, who was entrusted with the execution of the law. The High Sheriff then handed over the truncheons to the squires of the villages, who, in turn, sought out some worthy villager to act as constable and keep order, presenting him with a truncheon, hand-grip and a key as aids to carrying out his duties.
The earliest constable's account book in the village chest at Newchurch is dated 1813.* *there is a list of the village constables available at Culcheth Library, dated 1665 - 1776
REGULAR "BOBBIES" AND "PEELERS"
It was Sir Robert Peel who introduced the improved system of police-first into Ireland as Secretary, by the institution of the regular Irish Constabulary, nick-named after him "Peelers", for the protectionof life and property, and later, both during the reign of Queen Victoria,he introduced a Bill in Parliament establishing the Metropolitan Police,followed in due course by the extension of the principle to the provinces- by the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 to boroughs, and by Actsof 1839 and 1840 the formation of a paid county police force waspermitted by the Justices, and made compulsory after an interval of15 years by the Police Act of 1856.
Originally intended maybe as acompliment to Sir Robert Peel, police officers are still occasionallyspoken of as "Bobbies". It was not, however, until 1909 that thethree old truncheons and hand-grips which had been previously used inthe village, were presented to the Rector and Wardens by the ParishCouncil of Culcheth for safe keeping in the vestry of the Parish Church.
As we know, Ellen lost both of her parents, James and Margaret Yates, within a few weeks of each other, in early 1870. The next we know of Ellen is the April 1871 Census, where she is still at home with her brother James as the head of household.
She must have been in a state of distress and confusion during the time of the census, as just four months later, she gave birth to a baby girl. The girl was born at Hop Yard Farm, Croft and was named Margaret. No father is on the birth certificate, thus no baptism is registered.
Birth Certificate of Margaret Yates
Margaret had been born prematurely and sadly only lived for one month. Ellen's brother James registered the death.
Death certificate of Margaret Yates
James registered the death on 9th September, stating it had happened that day, but the burial register for Croft Unitarian Chapel says that she died on 7th and was buried on 8th September. I can only assume that she was buried in the family grave, though the name is not on the stone - perhaps because she was illegitimate.
Three Years Later
Somehow, Ellen struggled through the next three years, but must have been overwhelmed with emotion on the weekend that would have been her daughters third birthday. After work on Saturday 8th August 1874, she drowned herself in a marl pit and was found the next day.
Extracts from 'The Buildings of England South Lancashire' by Nikolaus Pevsner
The Buildings of England is an unrivalled series of comprehensive architectural guides covering every English county all periods from prehistoric times to the present day. The South Lancashire volume was first published in 1969.
UNITARIAN CHURCH, Bolton Old Road. Built in 1721 as a Presbyterian chapel. Enlarged in 1901. Brick with arched windows in two tiers. Nice open cupola. Bulgy stone gatepiers.
ST MARY, Liverpool Road. 1891 by J. Lowe. No tower. The W end is incomplete.
WESLEYAN CHAPEL, Liverpool Road. 1873-4. Red brick with a pedimental gable. Italianate, if anything.
On the W side of the road is one three-bay Georgian house with a column-porch.
CHRIST CHURCH, Lady Lane. 1832-3 by Blore, a Commissioners’ church. It cost £1457. Red sandstone, S W steeple with wholly incorrect spire of quite an enterprising design. Lancet windows and short chancel. The galleries have been removed.
ST LEWIS (R.C.), Little Town. 1826-7. Brick, to the E the church, to the W and flush with it the priest’s house. The latter has a chequer front and a doorway with recessed columns, the former arched windows and a W pediment and pedimented W porch. The E wall inside is distinguished by pilasters, as the Catholics liked it.
HOLY TRINITY, Newchurch. 1904-5 by Travers & Ramsden. Incredibly retardataire. This brand of neo-Norman might be 1850. – BRASS. A brass inscription to Elizabeth Egerton 1646 is signed John Sale sculpsit – an oddity of the first order.
LITTLE WOOLDEN HALL, 1 ½ m. WSW. Brick, c.1800. A seven bay front with the three middle bays a little recessed. Niches l. and r. of the doorway.
Glazebrook STATION. With gables with divers patterns to the bargeboards. The water basin with dock leaf is dated 1872.
HURST HALL. Mr Jeffrey Howarth allowed me to mention the barn, which must have been the hall of a house and seems to date from the C15. It has heavy timbers: tie-beams on arched braces, cusped kingposts and cusped raking queenposts, and three tiers of quatrefoiled wind-braces.
LIGHT OAKS HALL. The E side is spectacular, evidently possible only if the house was originally much larger. It consists of a five-plus-five-light transomed window on the ground floor with the doorway close to it, a window of the same size above the other, and five-light windows with transoms further on on the r. There is a date 1657 inside and that suits the façade fragment. See image above.
ST HELEN. 1735 the body of the church, and perhaps the cupola. All other detail 1882.
ST JOHN BAPTIST. Liverpool Road, Jenny Green, Higher Irlam. 1865-6 by J. Medland Taylor. Small, with a crossing tower with broach spire, very short transepts, and an apse. The W wall has a most unorthodox rose-window. Internally the Taylor touch is the crossing arches of voussoirs of alternating thickness – just as in certain Georgian door surrounds. And whereas this motif is used simply and straightforwardly in the arches of the S windows, in the crossing arches it is done in two orders. Inside the roof timbers start very low, and the church is made lighter by dormers in the roof.
ST TERESA (R.C.), Liverpool and Astley Roads. 1903 by Oswald Hill.
ATOMIC ENERGY AUTHORITY SITE. A Large area with a number of big blocks with curtain walls. 1956 etc. They are by T. L. Viney and R. S. Brocklesby. Two large, six-storeyed office blocks plus laboratories and a reactor.
MYDDLETON HALL, 1m. E. Dated 1658, but the gables evidently C19. Brick. The front is symmetrical, with one recessed bay between two projecting bays. Mullioned-and-transomed windows. MYDDLETON HALL FARMHOUSE (Or Delph House). Dated 1657. Not symmetrical, with a little raised brick decoration.