Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

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Jan 2011 Feb 2011 Mar 2011 Apr 2011 May 2011 Jun 2011
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Nov 2011

Sat 26 Nov 2011
Museum of Lancashire re-opens

The Museum of Lancashire, Stanley St., Preston, re-opened on Sat 26th Nov. 2011. I thought we would go along and view the improvements. We were very impressed with the improved entrance section. There were new additions i.e. The Gold Thread Works machine and badges, and an old decorated fish and chip range, all tiled, coal fed and very colourful. There is also a cafeteria in the entrance area, very useful. A lot of the other exhibits, were old faithfuls but very nice to re visit, none the less. But the STAR OF THE SHOW, as far as C.H.A.S. are concerned, thanks to our own Julie ( and Dot Boughton, of course) was the display from the flints collection which was given to C.H.A.S. a few years ago. It stood out like a star. (I am biased, of course.)


Thu 24 Nov 2011
Lizzie Jones at Astley Hall performs 'Mary Queen of Scots'

On Thu 24 Nov 2011 Lizzie Jones made a very welcome return to Astley Hall to give her presentation ‘Mary Queen of Scots’ covering the life of Mary Stuart from her birth in 1542 at Linlithgow Palace, Scotland to her imprisonment at Tutbury Castle near Derby. The event was organised by Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society who have been arranging annual visits to Astley Hall by Lizzie for many years.
Astley’s Great Hall was filled to capacity as Lizzie, dressed as Mary Stuart Queen of Scots, gave a captivating and moving monologue of her life so far.
She assumed the position of Mary after 15 years of captivity and currently imprisoned in the cold and uncomfortable Tutbury Castle.
The life of Mary was filled with tragedy and political intrigue. Her father King James V of Scots died 6 days after Mary was born and Mary subsequently became Queen Mary I, Queen of Scots. To protect her from various political plots she was taken to France to marry Francis II, son of the King. The following year in 1558 the King died so Francis became King and Mary the Queen Consort of France. Sadly Francis died in 1560 so Mary returned to Scotland in 1561. She was still Queen of the Scots and proceeded to try and unite the various factions in her country.

Lizzie Jones at Astley Hall as Mary Stuart

Mary Queen of Scots while in captivity.

At the same time the English throne was occupied by Queen Elizabeth I and Elizabeth was concerned by an earlier claim to the English throne by Mary, who was her cousin. Another major concern was that Mary wanted to return the English Protestant Church to the Roman Catholic faith. Mary’s Roman Catholic faith stayed with her all her life but she always said she had no wish to impose in on England.
In 1565 Mary married Henry Stuart also known as Lord Darnley. The marriage was not a success but they had a son James who eventually became King James VI of Scotland and on the death of Elizabeth I of England became King James I of England in 1603. King James visited the Chorley area in 1617 when he visited Hoghton Tower.
Political intrigue continued in Scotland and Mary was imprisoned in her own country. She managed to escape to England in 1568, hoping that her cousin Elizabeth would help her to return to Scotland. Unfortunately the only reception she received was 19 years imprisonment in various castles and houses culminating in her execution at Fortheringhay Castle in 1587.
Her execution was as a result of a shady conspiracy called the Babington plot. This is where another Chorley link was pointed out.
In 1586, a man called Anthony Babington devised a plot to kill Elizabeth, rescue Mary and then see her as the next Queen of England. The plot was real but it is debatable whether Mary knew of it.
Queen Elizabeth’s spies found out about the plot and Babington and his associates were tried, found guilty and executed in September 1586. One of Babington’s associates was Chorley’s own John Charnock (1551 – 1587). He was executed on 21 Sept 1586. Mary was also tried, found guilty and executed on 8 February 1587. One of the consequences of the dubious trial and execution was the anger felt in Catholic countries, especially Spain. The following year in 1588 King Philip II of Spain sent his Spanish Armada to invade England and hopefully remove Elizabeth from power. The attack failed and England remained under the reign of Elizabeth.


Tue 08 Nov 2011
Kevin Illingworth – Vernacular Buildings in Lancashire

Kevin, who has a strong connection with the society, spoke about, mainly, 16th and 17th century architecture. He made the trip over from his Hebden Bridge home to give us a taste of architectural styles that covered the traditional area of Lancashire.

He started with timber-framed buildings and gave 2 fine examples with the barn at Causeway Farm, Hoghton, which is late C15th early C16th, and has 4 cruck-trusses. Next came Harrock Hall Barn, Wrightington, of a similar date and with 7 cruck-trusses. These were followed by the box-framed Mawdesley Hall and Rawcliffe Hall (Fylde). Indeed, many of these buildings featured in the latest Pevsner guide to North Lancashire. Kevin stated that there are more timber-framed buildings in Lancashire than people realise. The steeply pitched roofs of cruck buildings were usually thatched, but flagstones often covered the roofs of box-framed buildings. Local straw for thatching is now unavailable except for 37 acres of wheat grown at Shepley, near Huddersfield. Reed also comes from other areas, such as Norfolk and the Firth of Tay, and is imported from several European countries such as France, or even China. The cruck barn at Tatton Old Hall was re-thatched with Chinese reed in 2010. Scotch Green Farmhouse at Inglewhite has a roof covered of reed from Perpignan, France.


Generally, though, Kevin said there were 4 different styles of architecture in Lancashire from this time, Lake District, West Riding (Rochdale area), North Midlands (Warrington) and an Irish style (West Lancashire coastal area).

Stone buildings came next and Kevin showed numerous examples of houses and halls in east Lancashire. These included stone porches with jettied, or oversailing upper storeys, of which there are similar numbers in Pennine Lancashire and Yorkshire, but rarely found elsewhere. Interesting gargoyle waterspouts featured on several buildings around the Rochdale/Littleborough area.

Causeway Farm, Hoghton

Kevin’s deep knowledge about his subject and particular eye for detail was displayed in his explanation of Shuttleworth Hall, near Burnley, a fine example of typical Lancashire/Yorkshire Pennine gentry house. He brought out the subtle differences in architectural style from area to area. Heck posts, whose role was to support a large smokehood beam, were sometimes carved with a St. Andrew’s Cross and roll-mouldings in order to ward off witches and evil spirits. These were called witch-posts, and four farmhouses containing witch-posts have now been identified in East Lancashire. In addition, a horizontal witch-beam can be seen in the Boar’s Head Public House in Newchurch, Rawtenstall, not far from 2 houses with a witch-post. A witch-post can be seen. In-situ, in the re-erected Stang End Farmhouse at Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole, North Yorkshire. Peculiar to Lancashire though was a 2 storey porch with staircase; an example is at Bury Fold, Darwen.

Finally, Kevin gave us some examples of brickwork, of which Samlesbury Hall was the earliest dated 1545. His examples came thick and fast and included more fine halls, farmhouses, public houses, decorated brickwork and chimneys from across Lancashire and the Lake District.

Unfortunately, Kevin ran out of time but not out of his passion for his subject that made for an excellent evening that was well received by those present.

Peter Robinson, with additions from Kevin Illingworth