Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

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Jan 2018 Feb 2018 Mar 2018 Apr 2018 May 2018 Jun 2018
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Jun 2018

Sat 02nd June 2018
Official opening of the fountain in Astley Park and dedication to Rosemary Boyd


In Astley Park, Chorley there has been a fountain by the access road from Ackhurst Lodge since the grounds and gardens were constructed in the 18th Century. The volunteer group ‘Friends of Astley Park’ have been working hard for some time to refurbish the fountain and bring it back to life. The original gravity feed of water comes from a nearby pond but has been blocked for many years. The original cast iron supply pipe with lead sealed spigot and socket joints has now been cleared and able to supply the fountain without the need of a pump, using nothing more than gravity.

Councillor Roy Lees, Mayor of Chorley Councillor Margaret Lees and Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP for Chorley.

One of the original researcher into the history of the fountain was Rosemary Boyd (1943 – 2017) who died last year. Rosemary was a well-known historian and naturalist and so it was a fitting tribute to fix a stone plaque in her memory before the fountain was officially opened this morning Sat 2 June 2018 by Chorley’s Mayor Councillor Margaret Lees. The Mayor was accompanied by her consort and husband Councillor Roy Lees. Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP for Chorley also attended as well as representatives from some of the groups that Rosemary was a member of.

Dedicated to the memory of Rosemary Boyd





Tue 12th June 2018
'IN A MONASTERY GARDEN Speaker Elaine Taylor

The Venerable Bede 673-735 A.D. who was a monk at Furness Abbey, where the monks also were builders, plumbers and moat diggers. They also had
grain stores, vines and trees and much of this remains today.

Cartmel Priory was saved from destruction during the Reformation, and still retain their beautiful lands and gardens. At most monasteries in this
time, large families who couldn’t support all their children often offered 1 or 2 of the elder children to the church, where they would be fed and
protected, and put to useful work in the monasteries and gardens. Other monasteries in this area, i.e. Whalley, Lancaster, Upholland and Burscough
also provided shelter and work.

St. Benedict 480-543 A.D. also worked in the chapel, cloisters and in the fields.

Canterbury 1165 A.D. A large conduit plan of the cathedral gives details of plumbing and the water system. Herbs, vegetables and fruit were grown
on the lands, but there were no potatoes until 1500s.

Rievaulx Abbey monastery had bookshelves all around the cloisters. The Persian garden plan had 4 rivers of life flowing away from the monastery.
The monks worked in the orchards and fields and tended lillies for early pollen for the bees.

Ampleforth collected apples, cherries, pears, peaches, nectarines, figs, quince and berries. Henry IV preserved Quince, in syrup, for his wedding.
Mulberry and Blackberry juice were used for ink. Chestnut flour was substituted for wheat flour. On fish days salted sea fish was provided for
travellers, as monasteries were also a stopping off point for rest and refreshment.

The gardens, in the monasteries next to the Infirmary housed poultry and the cemetery was also an orchard. They grew healing herbs for infusions
and to gargle with and made tinctures from syrup, extracted essential oils for salves and poultices. Lillies were used for foot treatment. The
monks experienced ‘blood letting’ 6 times a year. The infirm and aged monks were looked after very well.

The infirmary cloisters at Westminster Abbey, was planted with white flowers. There were also benefits for the monks of a summer house, archery
and bowling. The Sacristan shop was used for decorating the church and beeswax was used in candlemaking. Lovage, celery and fennel were used to
flavour soups.

Wirral cathedral (Bishops Palace) replanted vines, as St. Benedict had said ‘Monks should not have wine!! Various flowers were used for colouring
and dyeing : cow parsley- Yellow: woad – Blue: parsley – Green: dandelion – Magenta: The abbots garden was discovered by archaeologists and was
very prestigious and its cost was 25 pounds in 1300s

The Dynham Tapestries, Duke of Bergundy, were made of wool and silk in the 1480s. The Black death took its toll in 1348, when two thirds of the
monks perished, because they tended the sick and dying.

Mount Grace Priory York 1398, is well worth a visit. Some monks had the added advantage of being in receipt of a pension!!!

Just to mention Elaine (speaker) was a friend of Rosemary Boyd and together they found old maps and put the history together for the Astley
Fountain. Rosemary carried on with her search and was at the forefront of the restoration. So this is a perfect conclusion and a memorium to
Rosemary, for her interest in all things historical and archaeological, and her dedication to the project.