Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

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Jan 2012 Feb 2012 Mar 2012 Apr 2012 May 2012 Jun 2012
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Thu 29 Nov 2012
Lizzie Jones – ‘Farewell to Lord Derby’ and the Battle of Wigan Lane.

Over 100 people filled the Chorley Unitarian Chapel on Park Street to capacity on Thursday evening 29 Nov 2012. It was the venue of Lizzie Jones’s character presentation to Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society members and friends. Doreen Jolly started the evening with a potted history of the chapel’s beginnings and its connections with the subject of the evening’s story, Lord Derby.

Lizzie Jones, firstly, set the record straight by explaining she was not, contrary to rumours, retiring and this was not going to be her final talk. She added that for 20 years she has done a different character talk each year and does not envisage doing any more characters. She does, however, intend to carry on giving talks in the future so this will not be her last.

The Unitarian Chapel is packed to capacity

Lizzie Jones as the 1650s innkeeper of the Dog Inn, Wigan.

Lizzie then set the scene for this evening’s talk by explaining the period costume she was wearing, which was that of, what she called, a woman of the working poor of the mid 17th century. In actual fact an innkeeper of the Dog Inn, which, during the Civil War, was located at the top of Standishgate in the centre of Wigan.

Her character, as an innkeeper, would have lived in a prosperous and industrious town. There would always be travellers staying at the inn as Wigan was on a main north-south route. Market days, too, would bring in many customers to the inn and, naturally, was a source of news from around the area and from further afield for the townsfolk.

The conflict in the country had, however, affected Wigan and it was going through tough times. It was a defeated town and was in the hands of the Roundheads.

Lizzie gave the date of the 25 August 1651 as the start of her story regarding Lord Derby. News had arrived that the new King Charles had raised an army in Scotland. Lord Derby, a Royalist, well known to the people of Wigan and the innkeeper, in particular, was at Standish with soldiers and a conflict ensued with Roundheads. It finished with the Roundheads defeating the Royalists and Lord Derby seeking refuge in the inn. He received shelter, food and drink from the innkeeper although having a £500 reward on his head before making his escape to fight another day.

Lizzie Jones in costume.

That day came soon at the battle of Worcester where Lord Derby was caught and was brought to Bolton to be executed. Lizzie’s description of the time immediately before he was beheaded was made against the background sound of tolling bells from nearby St Laurence’s church.

Lizzie’s story and the packed pews of the Unitarian Chapel made for a successful combination for an evening’s entertainment and thanks must go to all concerned.

Peter Robinson

Nov 2012
Liz has sent in the following link to a fascinating article about Article by Maurice Rigby about Robert Egan, a Chorley man who was born in Standish Street, Chorley, on September 20 1846. Robert had a rough upbringing and left Chorley to stow away on a ship from Liverpool in 1862. He enlisted in the Confederate Navy and had a mixed career. After 1863 little is known until about him until 1901 when he surfaced again in a Chorley Workhouse on Eaves Lane. He remained there until his death on July 10 1907 aged 61. He was buried in common ground at Chorley Cemetery.


Tue 13 Nov 2012
Dr Annemarie McAllister – Temperance Movement – Band of Hope

Annemarie is an academic at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) with particular interest of the working class movement of emancipation, its history and its memories. The temperance movement and, in particular the Band of Hope, which concerned children, was at the forefront of this movement.

The question was raised of why did children need temperance? During the 19th century children were victims of poverty and violence that stemmed in lots of ways from drink. The temperance movement saw children as ‘shock troops’ and ‘little soldiers’ in the war against the ‘demon drink’. Children were encouraged to pester adults to stop drinking and were placed at pub doors in order to stop people entering.

The Drunkard's Progress
From the first glass to the grave.

The Band of Hope was formed in Leeds in 1843 with the aim to band together for hope for the future. It was a successful non-denominational organisation.

Membership grew rapidly and children were accepted from 7 years old. They were awarded a medal for 1 year’s service with a bar awarded for the 6 following years. After 7 years service they were received a long service award.

By the end of the 19th century national membership had reached 3.5 million and consisted of 3,371 groups or bands. Local areas banded together and Chorley had 1,500 members. However, the largest regional band was Lancashire/Cheshire, which was also the richest. In 1902 a bazaar to raise funds was held at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester and it lasted for 3 days.

The Band of Hope involved whole families and was a lifestyle, not just a group of which to be a member. Its activities included the publication of magazines, the running of football teams, brass bands and choral singing. Other groups such as the Boys and Girls Life Brigades started from the Band of Hope.

Its strength began to fade slowly in the early part of the 20th century but remained an important organisation. It was, however, the Second World War that saw the death of the Band of Hope. There followed an explosion of drink and temperance just became less fashionable.

Eventually by 1985 with changing times a shrinking membership it re-launched itself with a change of name to Hope UK. This caused a big split within the movement but it continues to this day. However, it is a fraction of what it was before and does not offer the support system it did.

Annemarie’s illuminating talk explained how the Band of Hope transformed the lives of millions of children, especially in the north. The lively question and answer session showed just how much this movement still lives on clearly in the memories of many of those who were present.

Peter Robinson