Extracts from the local press
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Article from Chorley Guardian 1924

The Chorley & District Historical Society held the first meeting of the present session in the Council Chamber at the Chorley Town Hall on Monday evening when Sir Henry F Hibbert Bart. C.A. presided over a fair attendance.

The Rev.P.J. Kirkby Rector of Chorley, produced the Parish Register of the last century for the inspection of the members, who might thus see the page from which it had been alleged that the name of Myles Standish had been erased. Cllr. C. Ashton apologised for the absence of Rev. T.C. Porteus, who, had he been present would have given some particulars of Myles Standish. Cllr. Ashton, however, explained that Myles Standish was the Captain of the 'Mayflower' which conveyed the pilgrims from this country to America where they founded the first colony. It had been stated that he had been born at Duxbury Hall, but Mr. Porteus declared that he came from another branch of the family who lived at Ormskirk. This was a very debatable point. Much had been written about page 39 in the Chorley Parish Register, which had it been intact, was said would have settled the question of the birthplace of Standish. As it was very little was known of the first 36 years of his life. One historian had remarked that the absence of the name from the page in the register might be due to the ravages of time, but most likely to the blundering fingers of persons, who had in their possession many broad acres, to which descendants of the family were entitled. It was thought that as late as the early part of the last century they went to work using pumice stone to erase the name of Myles Standish from the list of Baptisms and thus effectively preventing his heirs from claiming the estate. If that were true, the heirs were robbed of an estate of the value of 109,000.

John Wilson, a local historian of some years ago, who was keen on research work and careful in his statements - stated that he had examined the register, and page 39 had the appearance of having been tampered with. Nothing definite could be said as to where Myles Standish came from. The family trees which were in existence did not bear his name. They did not even know if he was a Puritan. Some of the family of Standish were Roman Catholic and Myles might also have been one. He was introduced to the Puritans, who sailed in the 'Mayflower' in a strange way. John Robinson, Pastor of the Pilgrims met Myles Standish a few times in a library, and came to the conclusion that he was the man they needed as a military leader. Myles Standish went with them, and one of the first things he had to do, in the new country, was to deal with a family by the name of Mayhew, concerning some land. It was interesting that a family of the same name, had in this generation, come to live at Duxbury.

The Rector considered that it was rather difficult to reconcile the appearance of the leaf in the Register with the use of pumice stone on it. To him it looked as if a layer had been taken off the page or two thin pages had been stuck together.

Canon Solloway, who was a Chorley man, but was now in Yorkshire, had told him that the Standish family were a branch of the Washington family, and the Standish Arms had in them a quartering of the Washington Arms. The latter contained Stars and Stripes which were the foundation of the American Flag. In the Standish Arms, to be seen in the Parish Church in one of the windows facing the North, also on the left hand side of the Chancel and in what was originally the Standish Pew, were quartering which contained Stars and two or three lines. Mr H. Howarth remarked that the discussion about the erasure of the name in the Parish Register, had arisen through the visit of and American lawyer to this country. He came to Chorley, saw the Register and went back and declared the book had been tampered with.


Last year some members of the Historical Society visited Cockersands Abbey, where excavations had been carried on and some interesting discoveries made. Mr. Howarth was asked to make a statement on the work:

The house of St. Marys-of-the-Marsh, Mr Howarth stated, was founded in 1190 and was one of three large pre monastratensian monasteries in Lancashire. It had a connection with this district, because it owned two or three farms at Charnock Richard. It was situated in a secluded place between the Lune and the Cocker. It was a much larger building than at first had been thought, the foundations which could be traced covering an area of about 5 acres. The excavators had been surprised to find a very old stone coffin in which were the remains, probably of one of the Abbots. Large masses of masonry had been discovered and also the great abbey drain. This was a substantial structure of red sandstone, so massively constructed, that it was probably this which gave rise to a local tradition to the effect that there was a subterranean passage between the Abbey and Thurnham Hall, which was more than 3 miles away. The Chapter House with its beautiful arches remained intact. The expenses of the work of excavation were being met by public subscription, and funds were needed.

Cllr. Baxendale moved a vote of thanks to the President, to the Mayor for the use of the room and to Mr. Howarth for his description of the work at Cockersands Abbey. Cllr. Leach J.P. seconded and remarked that he had come across a Chorley gentleman who said he could trace his descendants from the relative of one of the founders of the Abbey.
The motion was adopted.