Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views


December 2006


Thu 21 Dec 2006

Chorley Film Society held another of it's excellent shows at the Chorley Little Theatre. Today's theme was 'Silent Clowns' with classic silent films and piano accompaniment provided live on stage. Several members of Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society were there. The Laurel and Hardy film is one of the all time classics as they try to sell a Christmas tree. But before the main features we were shown a short film about the possible reasons Astley Hall was given to Chorley Borough. The film was made locally by local people.

Buster Keaton in Sherlock, Jr.  (1924)

Laurel and Hardy in Big Business (1929)

Laurel and Hardy in Big Business (1929)


Tue 19 Dec 2006


A note from the secretary.
With the Holbein exhibition being held at Tate Britain it was too good an opportunity to miss. Tate Britain is the building formerly know as the Tate Gallery and was substantially funded by ex-Chorley lad Sir Henry Tate (1819 - 1899). Photography inside the building is not permitted but I applied for permission, and it was granted. I only had an afternoon, which is nothing like enough to see all the exhibits. The Holbein exhibition finishes in Jan 2007 so I had to make sure I caught it in time. Hans Holbein the Younger (c. 1497-1543) was born in Bavaria and came to London in 1526. He painted many portraits at the court of Henry VIII and his drawings and paintings are well known for their incredible lifelike qualities. To see some of the drawings close up was an amazing experience.

Boyd Harris

Tate Britain, Millbank, London.


Interior view of Tate Britain

Interior view of Tate Britain

Interior view of Tate Britain

Portrait of Sir Thomas More,
by Hans Holbein the Younger (1527)
This image came from Wikipedia
so I hope it doesn't contravene copyright.

Interior view of Tate Britain


Mon 18 Dec 2006

Several members visited Darwen Archaeology Society to see another of Mike Clarke's excellent presentations on inland waterways and canals. The talk was called:
Early Canal Technology in Lancashire.

Mike also spoke about the civil engineer Thomas Steers (1672 - 1750) whose skills contributed greatly to early canal construction and many other structures.

Mike Clarke talks about:
Early Canal Technology in Lancashire

Tue 12 Dec 2006

Christmas quiz and social evening.

The annual Christmas quiz and social evening was started with a brief introduction by the Chair and a few items of business. Most of the artefacts of the John Winstanley collection were put on display for members to have a close look at. Liz had put an excellent quiz sheet together which nobody got completely right but the overall winners turned out to be the A-team on the top table. It was amusing to hear some of the wrong answers afterwards. The buffet was a combination of offerings from various members and was enjoyed by everybody.


Wed 6 Dec 2006

The Winter Queen.

There was a full house at Astley Hall, Chorley on Wednesday evening to see Lizzie Jones's performance of 'The Winter Queen'. The Queen referred to was Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James 1 of England. Lizzie managed to condense her life into 2 acts which covered an amazing life with many raised questions of 'what if?' The course of history could easily have gone several ways and all because of the presence of Elizabeth Stuart.

The audience awaits the 'Winter Queen'

Lizzie Jones as 'The Winter Queen'

A quick resume of her life from the Wikipedia on-line encyclopaedia is as follows:
Elisabeth, Electress Palatine and Queen of Bohemia (August 19, 1596 - February 13, 1662).
Born Princess Elizabeth Stuart of Scotland, was the eldest daughter to King James I of England (James VI of Scotland) and his Queen consort Anne of Denmark. She was thus sister to Charles I of England. With the demise of the Stuart dynasty in 1714, her direct descendants, the Hanoverian rulers, succeeded to the British throne.
At the time of Elizabeth's birth, her father was still the King of Scotland only. She was named in honour of the Queen of England, in an attempt by her father to flatter the old queen, whose kingdom he hoped to inherit. When the younger Elizabeth was six years old, in 1603, her namesake died and James succeeded to the thrones of England and Ireland, making his daughter a much more attractive bride.

Part of the intent of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was to put the nine year old Elizabeth onto the throne of England (and, presumably, Scotland) as a Catholic monarch, after assassinating her father and the Protestant English aristocracy. At the time of the plot she was staying at Coombe Abbey in Warwickshire, from where the conspirators planned to kidnap her.
On Feb. 14, 1613, she married Frederick V, then Elector of the Palatinate, and took up her place in the court at Heidelberg. Frederick was the leader of the association of Protestant princes in the Holy Roman Empire known as the Evangelical Union, and Elizabeth was married to him in an effort to increase James's ties to these princes. In 1619, Frederick was offered and accepted the crown of Bohemia, but his rule was brief, and Elizabeth became known as the "Winter Queen". She was also sometimes called "Queen of Hearts" because of her popularity.
Driven into exile, the couple took up residence in The Hague, and Frederick died in 1632. Elizabeth remained in Holland even after her son, Charles I Louis, regained his father's electorship in 1648. Following the Restoration of the British monarchy, she travelled to London to visit her nephew, King Charles II, and died while there. Her daughter was known later as Sophia of Hanover; pursuant to the English Act of Settlement 1701, the Electress Sophia and her issue were made heirs to the English (later British) throne, so that all monarchs of Great Britain from George I are descendants of Elizabeth's.

Elisabeth, Queen of Bohemia

Laura in the Astley Hall kitchen preparing drinks.




Tue 5 Dec 2006

A mystery on the Moors.

Above White Coppice is the ruin of Coppice Stile House.
I was recently told of an old cheese press top stone that had been abandoned nearby. I had a look and noticed an Ordnance Survey bench mark on it. These are always found on permanent features; building walls or stone outcrops. So how did one come to be on a moveable cheese press? Any ideas?

Previous occupants of Coppice Stile House c1890
the site is now just a pile of stones.

Cheese press top stone

The Ordnance Survey bench mark.


Mon 04 Dec 2006

The refurbished dam by the lake at Astley Hall is nearing completion. It's progress is at glacial speed so who knows when the path will re-open.

Work on the dam