Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

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Jan 2011 Feb 2011 Mar 2011 Apr 2011 May 2011 Jun 2011
Jul 2011 Aug 2011 Sep 2011 Oct 2011 Nov 2011 Dec 2011
Aug 2011
Thu 25 Aug 2011
360th anniversary of the Battle of Wigan Lane

To mark the 360th anniversary of the Battle of Wigan Lane the Chorley Guardian printed a report on the battle in their Flashback section. For those who missed it the text is below.

Anyone approaching Chorley from the south along the A6 Bolton Road will be familiar with the junction of Wigan Lane and Frederick’s Ice Cream shop. There is nothing to indicate that 360 years ago this area played a crucial part in the ending of the English Civil War in 1651.
After 9 years of intermittent fighting one of the final conflicts began in Lancashire with the Battle of Wigan Lane.
It was fought on 25th August 1651 between the Royalists under the command of the Earl of Derby and elements of Cromwell’s New Model Army under the command of Colonel Robert Lilburne.

Chorley Guardian Wed 31 Aug 2011

The junction of Wigan Lane and Bolton Road on a sunny Thu 25 Aug 2011, 360 years after the Battle of Wigan Lane. The people enjoying their ice creams outside Frederick's will certainly be unaware of the vicious battle which started near where they are sitting

Colonel Lilburn and his army were camped around Brindle and Hoghton while the Earl of Derby was in Wigan after marching from Preston.
Colonel Lilburn with about 1,000 Parliamentarian troops left Brindle and headed through Chorley towards Wigan hoping to track the Earl of Derby’s 1,400 Royalist troops as they proceeded south. Derby had other ideas and decided to confront Lilburn. A running skirmish began in Wigan Lane at the Chorley end and ran towards Wigan town. The full battle followed and the fighting was extremely fierce. Over 300 were killed and 400 taken prisoner but Colonel Lilburn was eventually victorious. The Earl of Derby was wounded but survived. He had two horses shot from under him and his breastplate armour had saved him from seven shots. His faithful supporter, Sir Thomas Tyldesley, also had his horse shot from under him but while rejoining the fighting was cut down and killed.
Sir Thomas Tyldesley was a well respected soldier and often referred to as ‘The Finest Knight in England.’ 28 years after his death, Alexander Rigby, his standard bearer, erected a stone monument to his memory at the spot where he fell on the outskirts of Wigan. It still stands to this day on Wigan Lane across from the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary.
The Earl of Derby survived to fight with King Charles II at the Battle of Worcester 9 days later on 3rd Sept 1651. Here the 16,000 Royalist forces of the King were overwhelmed and defeated by Cromwell’s 28,000 strong ‘New Model Army.’
The King survived and escaped into exile, hiding in the Boscobel Royal Oak tree. He was restored to the throne 9 years later in 1660. Unfortunately James Stanley, the 7th Earl of Derby, was captured, tried and executed in Bolton on 15th Oct 1651.

Sir Thomas Tyldesley

Sir Thomas Tyldesley's memorial in Wigan


Sun 21 Aug 2011
Field Walk - Black Brook and  Cowling - by John Harrison

Blackbrook Field Walk
On Sunday 21st August 11 members of the Society joined John Harrison for a walk around parts of Healey and the Black Brook valley. The area was once part of the Healey hunting park. This suffered on several occasions in medieval times from Scottish raids, but that was nothing compared to the changes brought about through industrialisation. The attraction, first for corn milling, and later for logwood grinding, printing and bleaching, was the supply of water in the valley. Whilst a large part of this came down Black Brook there were other supplies, such as the stream off Healey Nab feeding Lower Healey top lodge, and the mill race fed from a stream near Heapey Printworks that travelled all the way to the other lodge at Lower Healey.
The period of industrialisation was itself a period of continuous change; Lower Healey moved from Bleachworks to carpet works; Crosse Hall Corn Mill later processed logwood and Madder. Owners came and went, often in quick succession, and business names changed with them. There is therefore scope for confusion, in having two Cowling Bridges, and in the stretched out area of Crosse Hall and it’s intermingling on Crosse Hall Street with Cowling.

Black Brook where it had been
straightened prior to 1848

Sadly, a part of the walk was spent looking at places and trying to imagine what had been there; this included the former Bagganley Hall and Crosse Hall, the sides of the Nab drying the products of bleach works, and what Crosse Hall as an area might have looked like before John Rennie put his canal through the valley. Early OS maps helped our understanding of the area, supplemented by a few early photographs.
Of what is left, perhaps the waterways provide the most interest; the magnificent mill race feeding Lower Healey; the straightened Black Brook with its weirs between Bagganley and Crosse Hall and Rennie’s wonderful Black Brook Aqueduct with its huge, low single arch.

There were tales of some of the people who lived and worked in the area; the “generosity” of workers to their manager at Lower Healey; the child workers at Lower Healey hiding in a hedge from a factory inspector; the generosity of Richard Cobden, one of the nations great Victorians, to his employees and their families (Whatever happened to the bust of Cobden that used to grace Chorley Library?); the joke elections of a “mayor” in Crosse Hall (a century before Ken Livingstone!).
As always on our fieldwalks the collective wisdom of the group was called upon to solve problems. In this case we found how domestic water was supplied and stored at Lower Healey farm.
The afternoon was largely fine and when it did rain, it was quickly driven off by the sight of our macs and umbrellas!

John Harrison

Bagganley Hall before its demolition for the motorway.

Cowling Mill, Cowling Bridge Print Works and Hall i' th' Wood Mill c1918

Site of the old Talbot Cotton Mill on the banks of Black Brook


Happy historians.

Tue 09 Aug 2011
Keith Gledhill on the Lord Lieutenancy and Vice Lord Lieutenancy of Lancashire

Keith made a welcome return to speak to the society after almost exactly 2 years. The position of the Office of Lord Lieutenancy of Lancashire was created in Tudor times. It has military origins and controlled the militia and looked after law and order aim. In short, the monarch’s representative in that particular part of the country.

The office’s main responsibility now is overall control of visits of the Royal family and escorting royal visitors to Lancashire. Other responsibilities include the presenting of medals and awards on behalf of the Sovereign at County Hall and the advising and vetting of nominations for honours. This would involve consulting with deputies around the county.

Other roles include the participation in civic, voluntary and social activities within the lieutenancy and leading the local magistracy as chairman of the Advisory Committee on Justices of the Peace. There are over 1,000 magistrates in Lancashire.

Keith Gledhill

The current Lord Lieutenant is Lord Shuttleworth whose family came from Gawthorpe Hall, near Burnley and as the holder of this office is expected to serve until the age of 75. The office holder would also be involved in charitable trusts.

The Lord Lieutenant has a Vice Lord Lieutenant who acts in the absence of the Lord Lieutenant. There are also between 30 to 40 deputies who, amongst other things, vet the nominations for honours.

Keith served as Vice Lord Lieutenant from 2002 to 2005. Keith’s first duty was in 2002 when he had to attend Westminster Abbey for a special service for Lord Lieutenants. Keith went on to serve up a number of colourful anecdotes in that role. These included personal meetings with Prince Charles and Princess Anne that enabled Keith to give his personal insight.

Keith, as in 2009, provided an entertaining evening of interesting facts and chat and, if required, could have gone to much later in the evening.

P. Robinson