Sun 27 Jul 2008
Society visit to
Stonyhurst College and it's links with Chorley.
We arrived at
Stonyhurst College in beautiful sunny weather. The college is
situated high on Longridge Fell to the west of Whalley. It is a
catholic college teaching to Jesuit principles. Tours are only
possible during the summer break and we had a conducted tour
booked. There were too many people for one guide so we had to
split into two parties.
The school was originally founded in 1593 at St Omer in
Flanders. At the time penal laws prohibited Catholic education
in England. After moving to Bruges in 1762 and Liège in 1773 it
finally located to Stonyhurst Hall in 1794. Today the school
provides boarding and day education to approximately four
hundred and fifty boys and girls aged 13-18. On an adjacent
site, its preparatory school, St. Mary's Hall, provides
education for boys and girls aged 3-13.
Many notable people have been educated there. Two of the most
notable were the actor Charles Laughton (1899 – 1962) and Sir
Arthur Conan Coyle (1859 – 1930). Some of Conan Doyles
inspiration for his Sherlock Holmes stores, first published in
1887, came from Stonyhurst. At the college with him were pupils
called Moriarty, Watson and Sherlock!
evidence of a building on the site is from 1372 when John de
Bayley was licensed to have an oratory there. The oldest portion
of the extant buildings was completed by Bayley's descendents,
the Shireburn family. Richard Shireburn began building the Hall,
whilst his grandson Nicholas extended it, constructing the
ponds, avenue and gardens. Upon his death, the estate passed to
his wife and then to their sole heir, Mary, the Duchess of
Norfolk. In 1754, it was inherited by her cousin Thomas Weld of
Lulworth (see Joan's note at the end), an old boy of the school
when it was at Liege. He donated the buildings, with thirty
acres of land, in 1794 to the Society of Jesus.
Wikipedia for some of the historical info. B.H.
Part of the Victorian extension.
The magnificently impressive
also known as the Chapel of the Angels. One of the first people
to photograph it was
Roger Fenton (1819 - 1869) a Lancashire born pioneering British
photographer and one of the first war photographers. Some of his
most notable pictures were taken in the Crimea in 1855.
Students names carved in an old desk. Just up from the
centre is the name A Doyle. Better know in later life as
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the author of Sherlock Holmes.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859
Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes
The Duchess of Norfolk's
Why did the Duchess of Norfolk own
land in Chorley? The answer goes back to the 14th century, when
the division of the manor gave one share to the Shireburne
family of Stonyhurst. Sir Richard Shireburne’s descendant, Mary
Shireburne, born in 1692, married Thomas the 8th Duke of Norfolk
in 1709, and at the time of their marriage was sole heiress to
the Shireburne estates which covered large areas of Chorley,
from Market Street to Common Bank and Astley to Gillibrand. When
Thomas died in 1732, childless, his widow Mary remarried later
that year. She lived, without issue, until 1754. The Stonyhurst
estates passed, by the terms of her will, to Thomas Weld, (son
of Mary's aunt Elizabeth (Shireburne) Weld,) in 1754. He was
already living in Lulworth Castle and not in need of an extra
'house'. Thomas was an 'old boy' of St. Omers, Catholic
priesthood, and donated Stonyhurst to the Society of Jesus
(Jesuits) in 1794. Thomas Weld died suddenly at Stonyhurst where
2 of his sons also died, one of them, John, being it's Rector.
Thomas had 9 sons and 6 daughters.
Father John Chadwick, who was ordained in 1752, returned from
Douai College in France, to Ladywell nr.Preston, and he was
encouraged by Fr. Brockholes, his predecessor at Burgh Hall, to
continue the development of that community. The Chapel at the
Chadwick family home had become the centre of worship, not only
for the local gentry, but also for their tenants and workers.
When he came permanently, in 1770, he saw the chapel was too
small for the ever growing congregation. So he set about raising
money for a more 'comfortable' accommodation for the Catholics
of the district, at a suitable site. He approached Edward Weld.
a wealthy land owner of these parts who granted him lease of the
land and farm called Thurston Hodsons, on the Chadwick estate,
for the project. By 1774 having raised money to alter the farm
buildings suitably, Fr. Chadwick offered Mass for the first time
in the new Weld Bank Church, which was dedicated to St. Gregory
the Great. Fr. Chadwick died in 1802 and was succeeded by Fr.
Richard Thompson. His first request to buy the land at Weld Bank
was refused by Thomas Weld, (other earlier plans had also fallen
through) yet in 1810 the son of Thomas Weld, (another Thomas)
who was later to become Cardinal Weld, gave Fr. Thompson the
title to the lands on which the present church stands.
After a most interesting afternoon at Stonyhurst College we now
seem to have the connection between the College and the Weld
family and the Weld Bank area of Chorley.
References, with kind permission from Jim Heyes, 'A History of
and also from the Weldbank Story.
Joan D. July 2008
Fri 18 Jul 2008
This is Chorley’s Crown
Jewel…or should it be Heapey’s?
by John Harrison
In the adjacent
photograph is a pair of Roman Silver Trumpet Fibula brooches on
display in the British Museum. Christine photographed them on a
visit in May 2008. The display told us that they were 2nd
century AD, from Chorley, Lancs! Imagine our excitement!! The
display explained that “Many brooches were functional and used
for fastening clothing. They were worn by men and women. The
fibula (safety-pin) form developed long before the Roman period,
and existed in a variety of plain and decorative forms. The wide
range of types in the 1st and 2nd centuries included some that
were characteristically Romano-British, such as the trumpet (or
Backworth) type. The majority of fibulae are made of copper
alloys, sometimes enamelled or plated with other metals;
precious-metal examples are rare. Note that, when worn, fibulae
were normally pinned at an oblique angle with the spring or
hinge end downwards. Some types were worn in pairs with a
connecting chain or cord.” Adjacent to the display was a board
of script headed “Gold and Silver Hoards” which stated that “the
precious metal hoards of the first to third centuries AD from
Britain, though less spectacular than some of the late
Romano-British treasures, are of considerable archaeological
importance. The interpretation of hoards is often difficult, and
it is seldom possible to infer the ownership and purpose of such
a deposit or the reasons for its concealment and non-recovery.”.
Below the script a map of Britain identifies the hoards for this
period. Chorley is the only place identified in the North West
photo by Christine Harrison
emailed the British Museum to see if anything else is known
about this piece, whether it was part of an isolated find/gift
or whether it was part of a collection of pieces. My reply from
the Curator of Romano-British Collections confirmed that they
were two identical silver brooches which were found with their
linking chain. They were purchased by the British Museum from a
Mr. J Hall in 1850, apparently as an isolated item. That was all
that I could be told although I was also referred to Catherine
Johns book “The Jewellery of Roman Britain” (1996).
The book was certainly useful. It identifies the chain which
joins the pair of silver trumpet brooches from Chorley as being
silver foxtail and describes it as “a fine specimen”. (Foxtail
is a term used by modern Jeweller. They are loop-in-loop chains
that give the appearance of a smooth round-sectioned cord with a
knitted or plaited surface. Construction was a complex
operation.)“ The manufacture of the more intricate foxtail
chains would have been more difficult in silver than in gold,
and surviving examples are not common.” Silver was less common
as a material for chains/necklaces in this period. (Johns pp
recent photo supplied by the British Museum.
'Copyright Trustees of the British Museum'
In writing about
Trumpet Brooches, Catherine Johns states that although they had
identifiable continental predecessors, “in their true form they
were a characteristically Romano-British design…they survive in
very considerable numbers and were clearly in extremely
widespread use during their heyday…. The name derives from the
swelling expansion of the head, thought to be reminiscent of a
trumpet mouth….Two pairs of trumpet brooches from Lancashire (Chorley)”and
Northumberland respectively and a single example from Carmarthen
illustrate the type at its finest in precious metal.” The
patterns on what Catherine Johns describes as “the beautiful
pair of silver trumpet brooches from Chorley” was “cast in crisp
relief.”. She believed that the chain was long enough to be worn
in a double festoon between the two brooches. “The Chorley
brooches are slender and elegant, with sharp fluted mouldings on
the lower part of the bow and raised zig-zag and milled
mouldings at the central acanthus knob and foot. The one
surviving head-loop also has a plate with rows of milled or
beaded relief. They give an impression of highly developed and
sophisticated taste.” They were found with coins that date their
burial to around AD 140. (Johns pp 160-162).
Apart from this rich detail about the chain and brooches
Catherine Johns’s book has a photograph of them (owned by the
British Museum). It is Figure 7.7 “Pair of silver
trumpet-brooches from Chorley, Lancashire, with the fine silver
foxtail chain which was worn with them. There is some damage and
loss to both the brooches and the chain, but they are of
exceptional quality. Length of lower brooch 6.6cm.”
printed in bold above is my way of highlighting and emphasising
the importance of these items particularly to Chorley, but also
regionally and nationally.
The story should not stop here .
Who was Mr. J Hall who sold the chain and brooches to the
Would it ever be possible to borrow the chain and brooches for
display in Chorley, perhaps with an expert to talk about them
and put them into context?
Shouldn’t there be copy of Catherine Johns’s book available for
Chorley folk to see in Chorley library (second hand copies go at
upwards of £40 (p and p included)? My copy had to come from John
Rylands Library in Manchester.
Is this truly a “Chorley” find? Jim Heyes in his “History of
Chorley” (P5) refers to a chain with two brooches weighing about
four ounces having been found with a hoard of roman coins at the
top of a stone quarry near Heapey Church. This was a
much-publicised find in 1835, ie 15 years before the sale to the
British Museum. Jim Heyes refers to the chain and brooches as
now being in the British Museum. Should we not be advising the
British Museum that although Heapey is now part of Chorley, it
has never been part of the historic town and parish of Chorley?
In 1835 it would have been part of the parish of Leyland.
18 July 2008
Another photo of the brooch which was in the CHAS
archive some years ago but is now 'lost' to the society.
Fri 18 Jul 2008
A visit to the Heritage
Cubes Project, Beamish Museum Regional Resource Centre, County
by Boyd Harris
On Wed 18 June
2008 I attended the Community Archives Development Group
conference at the University College, London. One of the
speakers was Helen Barker of the Beamish Museum Regional
Resource Centre, County Durham. The subject was the ‘Heritage
Cubes Project’ which meant nothing to me. Within a short time I
knew what it was all about. At the Regional Resource Centre is a
huge building of 3 massive climate controlled rooms. These are
used for storage for museums and libraries in the region.
However, part of the space has been made available for local
groups to store their artefacts safely. I contacted Helen about
visiting the project to see it first hand. On Fri 18 July I
arrived for my pre-arranged visit. Those artefacts which local
groups used to keep in members’ attics, spare rooms and under
beds are now stored in freely available metal containers
(heritage cubes). The service is provided free to the groups and
publicly accessible exhibition space is also provided adjacent
to the store.
a heritage cube.
One of the climate controlled rooms.
The Heritage Cubes are stored on the shelves on the right.
The exhibition room.
The Research Centre reception and computer room.
While I was
there a local group were in the process of accessing their cube
and preparing an exhibition. It was interesting to see that most
organic material such as wood, textiles and paper has to be
frozen for about 2 weeks before storage. This kills any microbes
which may cause the artefact to deteriorate in storage.
Some groups with cubes are Durham Scouts, North East Police
History Society, Embroiderers Guild and the Northern Archaeology
Group. As far as I am aware this is the only example of a cubes
project. Wouldn’t it be great if Lancashire had one?
The Resource Centre also holds the photographic and sound
archives for the area. These are accessible on computer
terminals and are fully searchable by location and key words. I
was particularly impressed with the sound archive which has the
ability to listen to the recording via headphones (unfortunately
not working when I was there) and also the transcript of the
recording available on screen.
The rest of the
huge Beamish museum is adjacent to the Resource Centre but I
didn’t have time to visit it. A good excuse to return in the
One of the Beamish exhibits.
Mon 07 Jul 2008
Glen Atkinson at Leyland
visited Leyland Historical Society to give his presentation.
‘Victorian Paper’ or more accurately ‘What the Victorian
For historical research the local newspapers are a goldmine of
information and Glen said that whatever you are looking for you
will always find something else twice as interesting. So many
fascinating and amusing articles were referred to. Our current
‘blame and claim’ culture is nothing new. The Victorians got
there first with such claims as injury because of the sudden
braking of a train in 1886.
Justice was swiftly administered and one case was detailed of a
man who killed a woman with a shotgun. He was tried, sentenced
and hanged within three weeks.
In 1858 there was even a celebrity steeplejack. After
successfully repairing the Farnworth Gasworks Chimney he did
acrobatics around the top of the chimney and then slid from the
top to the ground on a rope, suspended by one hand and setting
fireworks off with the other. It was conducted in front of a
public audience and people were asked for cash donations to
witness the spectacle.
Glen in relaxed pose
Leyland Historical Society on the Shield Room, Civic Centre,
West Paddock, Leyland.
Wed 02 Jul 2008
At Wigan Archaeological
Bernard Champness of Manchester Regional Industrial
Archaeological Society presented “St Francis of Ancoates, a
history of the early development of the Internal Combustion
Engine and the Crossley Brothers”.n
was set up in 1867 by brothers Francis (1839-97) and William
J.(1844-1911). Francis, with help from his uncle, bought the
engineering business of John M Dunlop at Great Marlborough
Street in Manchester city centre, including manufacturing pumps,
presses, and small steam engines. The early development of the
internal combustion engine was a mix of ideas and research by
various people and one person can't be credited the invention.
Nikolaus August Otto (1832-1891) gave his name to the
four-stroke engine cycle which he developed with Eugen Langen
(1833-1895) in 1876.
One of many Crossley legacies, a Crossley bus.
Thanks to the
Crossley-Motors website for the image.
An 1890s half horsepower hot tube ignition gas engine
died in 1897 and an estimated 10-15,000 mourners lined the route
to Philips Park Cemetery. He did many good works during his life
and was even known to give £20 notes to the poor. Unfortunately
some were then accused of theft as that amount of money could
not have been legitimately earned by them in those days.