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.)
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.
There are also some extra miscellaneous notes inside, such as this one written by Thomas Blackburne in 1810.
The Cotton Factory Times
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.
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.
Neolithic Man in Irlam
NOTE ON A FIND BY MR. T. R. MORROW IN THE ALLUVIUM OF THE 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 following account of a find of sufficient importance to be laid before the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society as a fragment of the prehistory of the Manchester district.
The circumstances were that in digging for the foundation of a power-house for the Partington Steel and Iron Company, at Irlam, it was found necessary to pass through the alluvial deposits of the Mersey down into the solid rock. These presented the following section (fig. I).
The strata are of the usual alluvial type of the lower Mersey-the finer sediments deposited by the river being the silts, marls, and sands, based on the coarser gravel that rests on the bunter sandstones below.
In this section, at a point 32ft. from the surface and 12ft. above sea-level, a flat discoidal waterworn implement apparently of coal-measure sandstone was discovered (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 stick with sand, starting from the outsides and meeting in the middle.
It is 5 1/16 in. long, 4.4in. broad, and 1.5in. thick.
It belongs to the group of perforated stones that were used in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages for net-sinkers or weights for nets or for the heads of hammers. From its large size it probably belongs to the former class, and from the character of the perforation, I feel inclined to refer it to the Neolithic Age.
The interest of this discovery consists in the fact that it proves the presence of man in the district during the time of the accumulation of the lower gravel in the stream of the Irwell, that took place under different physical conditions to those now met with, and at a time when the current was swifter than that to which the upper finer sediments covering the gravel are due.
The find 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.
Relics at Newchurch Parish Church
from 'The History of the Parish of Newchurch'
Cheyvonne Bower is a local historian with a passion for the past.