Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Jan 2017 Feb 2017 Mar 2017 Apr 2017 May 2017 Jun 2017
Jul 2017 Aug 2017 Sep 2017 Oct 2017 Nov 2017 Dec 2017
Nov 2017

Thu 23 Nov 2017
Lizzie Jones presents Pepys Diaries


Attending any presentation by Lizzie Jones is not just entertaining but extremely informative with many historical gems included. This evening at Chorley’s Trinity Church Lizzie and Neil gave us an amazing insight into the 17th century world of Samuel Pepys. Although he is most famous for his diaries they only documented 9 years of his long life. He wrote the diaries between the ages of 26 to 35 years of age and continued to live on to the age of 70.
The diaries were written in a mix of languages and shorthand.
His wife Elizabeth died at the age of 29 and Pepys didn’t re-marry. From lowly beginnings he was educated at Huntingdon Grammar School, the same school that Oliver Cromwell attended though not at the same time!

Neil and Lizzie

His early working life was assisting Sir Edward Montagu. Pepys went on to be a major administrator and organiser in the Admiralty and could be said to have set op the foundations for the modern Navy.
Pepys was one of the most important civil servants of his age and was also a widely cultivated man, taking an interest in books, music, the theatre, science & female company.
His diaries are the only account of how the administration was set up. His fortunes increased and he documented his worth in his diaries.

Neil (Pepys) and Lizzie (narrator)

1660 worth £300, 1662 worth £650, 1663 worth £800, 1664 worth £1,349, 1666, £6,200. Probably the equivalent of a millionaire today.
He was well connected with royalty and a close adviser to the King, Charles II. However, he preferred the company of the King’s brother James – Duke of York. Charles II died in 1685 at the age of 54 and James succeeded him, becoming James II of England
Everyday life was documented including the great fire of London in Sept. 1666.
After Charles II was defeated at the Battle of Worcester in 1651 at the end of the Civil War he escaped into exile.

Samuel Pepys FRS (1633–1703)

The later part was spent in Amsterdam where he was very impressed with their sailing vessels or yachts. The King returned to England and was restored to the throne in 1660. The Burgomaster of Amsterdam presented him with the Yacht Mary which became the first Royal Yacht. Charles was very impressed with it and Pepys referred to his infatuation in his diary.

Elisabeth Pepys
(Élisabeth de St. Michel)

Some of the guns from the Mary

The Royal Yacht 'Mary'

On August 15, 1660, Pepys records:
"To the office, and after dinner by water to White Hall, where I found the King gone this morning by five of the clock to see a Dutch pleasure-boat below bridge where he dines, and my Lord with him, the King do tire all his people that are about him with early rising since he came."
The Royal family continued the Royal Yacht tradition and since 1660 there have been 84 Royal Yachts, the last being HMY Brittannia which was decommissioned in 1997 and not replaced.
The ‘Mary’ eventually went into naval service and was wrecks off the Skerries, Anglesey in 1675. An interesting Chorley connection is that in 1971 a team of divers from Chorley Sub-Aqua Club found a Dutch bronze canon from the wreck. Further investigation revealed the rest of the ships contents and full complement of 8 bronze canon, 2 Dutch and 6 English. They are all now in the Merseyside Maritime Museum.


Tue 14 Nov 2017
Three Lancashire Suffragettes by Maria Sumner


Regarding votes for women it was certainly, ‘radical up north’. Lancashire women suffered harsh working conditions and poverty, so it was unsurprising the Manchester born Emmaline Pankhurst had many followers.

A Preston woman, Edith Rigby, was a follower of Pankhurst and became a member of the fledgling Labour Party. Married to a doctor she lived on Winckley Square. Her activities included helping local poor children, which drew objections from wives of the men who lived there.

She led an unconventional life such as treating her servants as equals and was the first female in the town to own and ride a bicycle.

Emmaline Pankhurst

Her activities, though, became more militant, such as committing arson, which led to her imprisonment on 6 occasions. Hunger strikes led to her being force fed. Over time her health was badly affected and her activities ceased.

Later in the struggle Ada Chew, over in Burnley, also supported the cause but opposed militant tactics. She had travelled widely across Britain campaigning for women’s rights. Being a pacifist, she refused to carry out war work during world war one. However, this saw the end of her political work.

Edith Rigby

Edith Rigby plaque in Winkley Square

Lord Leverhulme's Roynton Cottage at Rivington.
It was burned down by Rigby 7 July 1913

The former home of Edith Rigby, Winkley Square, Preston
A pacifist and closely allied to Ada Chew was Manchester born Selina Cooper. She worked in textile mills and campaigned for the improvement of women’s working conditions and suffrage. She took part in partitioning parliament and gained a national reputation as a respected speaker. She was elected to Nelson town council and became a magistrate.

It was due to the efforts of women like these and many others that full suffrage for women was won in 1928. And it was Maria who helped us bring them to our attention.