Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

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Nov 2015

Wed 11 Nov 2015
Lizzie Jones as Lady Margaret Beaufort. 1st Countess of Derby

Dressed in a costume that befitted a 15th century lady Lizzie Jones made her annual appearance for the society. A fitting atmosphere was created by interludes of mandolin music in the setting of St Laurenceís church.
As an only child of John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, Margaret became the richest heiress in the country when he died. With royal blood flowing through her veins, all her descendants were of the House of Lancaster, her situation attracted special attention from the king. He arranged for her to married at just 7 years old. However, at the age of 12 he arranged another marriage for her, to Edmund Tudor, aged 26 and soon became pregnant and gave birth to a son, Henry.

Widowed at age 13 a third marriage was soon arranged but her son was left in Wales to be brought up by an uncle.
Lizzie spoke in the first person but occasionally raising a mask to her face she spoke in a different tone that questioned aspects of Margaretís life.
And her life was one of preparing her son to take his place on Englandís throne. Seen as a threat by the Yorkists, Harry was sent to safety of France.

By her late twenties she was on her fourth marriage to Thomas Stanley, her protector, and this was the beginning of her life at Lathom House, near Ormskirk.
She continued to plot her sonís return and the then king, Richard III, accused her of treason. Due to her husbandís connection with Richard she escaped death.

With the twists and turns of the Wars of the Roses, Richard met his death at Bosworth. Thomas Stanleyís army was decisive in winning the day for Henry, Margaretís son. He went on to become Henry VII and Margaret was instrumental in his marriage to Elizabeth of York, so creating peace between the two warring factions.
It is not without foundation that Lizzie said Margaret was the most important woman of the age. The night was another success for Lizzie.

Peter Robinson.

Tue 10 Nov 2015
William Taylor on Private William Tomlinson Ė Indian Mutiny
and the Second Opium War


Although advertised as a talk about Private William Tomlinson and the Crimean war, William announced at the beginning that his talk would, in fact, concern the same man and action he saw in the Indian Mutiny and the Second Opium War.
William told how William Tomlinsonís army pay book came into his possession and the information it held about this soldierís much travelled army service.

Born in Salford in 1831 he became a ribbon weaver trader by trade. Itís uncertain why, but in November 1857 he enlisted in the army, whilst living in Macclesfield.
By mid 1858 he had joined his regiment in India and saw action towards the end of the Indian Mutiny or as the Indians called it, the First War of Independence. William spoke of the complex set of circumstances that led to the conflict in India that included, the British attitude and treatment towards Indians, rebellion against the British run East India Company, religious slights and conflicts within private armies.
Following this he transferred to the East Surrey Regiment and sailed to China, by this time experiencing the second of three Opium Wars. Britain had a central role in initiating conflict with China due to its disdain towards British overtures to sell them goods. Britain turned to opium as means of trade with China, which the Chinese fought against.

Bill Taylor

Other foreign powers joined Britain in trying to force the Chinese into opening up for trade. Private Tomlinson was part of an Anglo French force in 1860 that took Peking (Beijing) and sacked its Summer Palace. For the Chinese the Opium Wars heralded its century of shame, as they call it, due to foreign intervention in its own affairs.
As for Private Tomlinson he stayed in China until late 1863 and bought himself out of the army for £18 on his return to England the following year.
An enlightening evening, not just about the life of a soldier in the 19th century but of the impact Britain had on other nations that have not forgotten what we did.

Peter Robinson

Sun 22 Nov 2015
Lucas Green Anti-aircraft gun base, Whittle-le-Woods.


The Lucas Green Anti-aircraft gun base, Whittle-le-Woods has been excavated and preserved within the new Redrow Housing development. It was excavated in Feb 2013.
Access is via the A6/Dunham Dr roundabout just north of the Moss Lane junction, Whittle-le-Woods. Leave the A6 then turn left onto Dunham Road and keep going to the new Magill Close.



The excavation in 2013 with a Bofors gun superimposed.

The information board.


Nov 2015
Eaves Lane Bus Depot, Chorley


Many thanks to CHAS member John Harrison for scanning in the attached document about the closure of the Eaves Lane Bus Depot, Chorley. John obtained permission from Chris Nelson of the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust to use the document.