The parish of Prescot
Introduction, church and charities

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Victoria County History

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William Farrer & J. Brownbill (editors)

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1907

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341-348

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'The parish of Prescot: Introduction, church and charities', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3 (1907), pp. 341-348. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41343 Date accessed: 22 September 2014.


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PRESCOT

I—WHISTON WINDLE CUERDLEY
PRESCOT PARR DITTON
SUTTON RAINFORD BOLD
ECCLESTON II—WIDNES GREAT SANKEY
RAINHILL CRONTON PENKETH

The ancient parish of Prescot was very extensive, comprising fifteen townships and having a total area of 37,221 acres. From early times, however, the southern half of the parish was considered a separate chapelry, with Farnworth as centre; from it, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, Great Sankey was cut off to form a chapelry by itself.

The townships were thus arranged for the county lay: Prescot Division, paying twenty parts out of thirty-nine, had four quarters, each paying the same, viz. (i) Prescot, Whiston, and Rainhill; (ii) Eccleston and Rainford; (iii) Windle and Parr; (iv) Sutton. Farnworth Division, paying the other nineteen parts, had four quarters and a half, viz. (i) Widnes with Appleton; (ii) Bold; (iii) Cuerdley and Cronton; (iv) Ditton and Penketh; each of these quarters paid the same amount, and the half quarter was Great Sankey, which paid half of what a quarter paid. There were further rules for the division of the contribution from each quarter among the separate townships. (fn. 1) The more ancient fifteenth was levied thus: Whiston 20s., Sutton 40s. 8d., Eccleston 29s. 8d., Rainhill 26s. 6¼d., Windle 25s. 6½d., Parr 14s. 4d., Rainford 23s. 4d., and Widnes with Appleton 49s. 4d., Ditton 40s., Bold 59s. 6¼d., Cuerdley 34s. 6¼d., Sankey with Penketh 35s. 8d., Cronton 27s. 4d. (fn. 2)

The history of the parish has been comparatively uneventful. No Roman or other early remains have been found here. The Bolds were for long the leading family resident in it; Sir John Bold was governor of Conway Castle in the first part of the fifteenth century. By 1600 the family had conformed to Protestantism, and during the Civil War the youthful squire adhered to the Parliament, but seems to have taken no active part in the strife. The Ecclestons and many of the smaller families persevered in professing the Roman Catholic faith, (fn. 3) and suffered accordingly, alike from king and Parliament; John Travers was executed in 1586 for his share in the Babington plot, and the Jesuit father Thomas Holland for his priesthood in 1642. On the other hand, Roger Holland was burnt at Smithfield in 1558. Generally speaking, the gentry took the royal side in the Civil War, including Protestant families like the Ashtons of Penketh. Nonconformity was, however, very prevalent in the seventeenth century, and the Revolution seems to have been accepted without demur, so that the risings of 1715 and 1745 found no noteworthy supporters, except perhaps Basil Thomas Eccleston.

In modern times great manufacturing towns have grown up at St. Helens and Widnes, which have altered the character of the district. The town of Prescot has also some manufactures, though it has lost its ancient relative importance.

The agricultural land in the parish is (1905) occupied as follows: Arable land, 25,130 acres; permanent grass, 3,146; woods and plantations, 928. (fn. 4)

The most noteworthy of its natives appear to be William Smith, bishop of Lincoln, co-founder of Brasenose College, Oxford; Archbishop Bancroft; and John Philip Kemble, the Shakespearian actor.

Pennant, who crossed the parish from Warrington to Knowsley in 1773, after noticing the Sankey Canal and mentioning Bewsey Hall and Bold Hall, proceeds: 'The parish of Prescot commences at Sankey Bridges: eight miles further is the town, seated on a hill, and well-built and flourishing; the intervening country flat and full of hedge-rows; and the whole parish rich in collieries.' (fn. 5) The Rev. William MacRitchie, a Presbyterian minister, passed through it in 1795 on his way from Liverpool and writes: 'Breathe again the air of the country. See on the rising grounds above a view of Cheshire and the Welsh mountains towards Snowdon and Anglesey. At Prescot pass by, on the left, Knowsley, seat of Lord Derby. A large pottery work carried on at Prescot of clay found in its neighbourhood.' (fn. 6)

CHURCH

The church of our Lady stands on the south side of the town, where the ground falls considerably to south and west. It has a chancel with south vestry, north organchamber and vestry, a nave with aisles and a west tower and stone spire. The chancel is of the same width as the nave, 28 ft., and is 56 ft. long, the nave being 96 ft. long. Little evidence remains of the early history of the building, but the base of the south wall of the chancel may be ancient, and the north vestry is probably of the fifteenth century. With these exceptions the whole church was rebuilt in 1610 in a plain Gothic style, and the west tower dates from 1729, apparently replacing an older tower, while in 1818 the aisles were enlarged and altered. The outer stonework of the church is entirely modern, and the south vestry is an addition of 1900. In spite of the many modern alterations the church is of considerable interest. The chancel has a set of black oak stalls dated 1636, three returned on each side of the entrance to the chancel, three against the south wall, and two against the north. All have misericordes, but the carving beneath the seats has been removed. The fronts and standards are well carved, and the benches in front of the stalls are supported at intervals by turned balusters. The altar rails are also of the seventeenth century, and are returned westward in the middle of their length, giving kneeling space for communicants on three sides, while against the north and south walls are benches backed with seventeenth-century panelling. A bench-end on the north side seems to belong to an earlier date than any of the rest of the woodwork in the chancel. Against the north wall is an effigy placed upright, with a panel of heraldry over it, and the initials I O and the motto 'Veritas Vincit.' It commemorates John Ogle of Whiston. Near the effigy is a good example of a seventeenth-century poor-box. The roof of the chancel is not old, though following old work in its detail; and the chancel arch is modern.

The nave has north and south arcades of five bays with octagonal pillars, plainly moulded capitals, and pointed arches of one chamfered order, which, in spite of their Gothic form, doubtless date from the rebuilding of 1610, and have over them a low clearstory, with ten three-light square-headed windows on each side, and over the chancel arch a five-light window of the same character between two three-light windows at a slightly lower level. The nave roof is a fine example, with alternate tie and hammer beams with carved brackets, and wind-braces to the purlins. On one of the beams is the inscription, 'Thomas Bold, knight, 1610.'

The aisles of the nave have nothing of interest to show except some stone tablets let into the walls; one in the north aisle with the arms of Bold and 'T. B. 1610' (for Thomas Bold), and three in the south aisle, namely, one with the crowned arms of Derby and de Vere quarterly, with W. D. for William, sixth earl of Derby and king of Man; another, dated 1610, with the Bold arms and 'H. B., M. B.' (for Henry and Margaret Bold); and a third, with the Gerard coat, inscribed 'Sir T. G. Kt.' They are all of good workmanship, and form a distinctly unusual feature, and it is possible that they were here set up to record those who contributed to the rebuilding of 1610. In the south aisle also are the royal arms of George III. The west tower, though rather coarse in detail, is of good proportion, and has round-headed belfry windows of two lights flanked by Doric pilasters, and over them a heavy cornice with a group of three vases at each angle of the tower. Above is a tall stone spire with three tiers of spire lights, of Gothic form. In the second stage of the tower is a circular window on the west face, and above it an inscription recording the building of the tower, 'Conditum an° domni 1729'; while in the ground stage is a three-light west window with two plain circles in the head, and below it a square-headed west doorway, the head of which is level with the tall, moulded plinth of the tower. (fn. 7)

The fittings of the church other than those already noted are modern, the reredos in the chancel being a very good piece of work. The eighteenth-century font is of marble, tazza-shaped, with a fluted bowl, on which is an inscription recording its gift by William Halsnead.

The plate consists of two silver communion cups of 1663, with two flagons of the same date, and two patens of 1723 and 1738 respectively.

There are eight bells by Mears of London, 1845.

The registers begin in 1580.

The dial in the churchyard is mentioned in 1663. (fn. 8)

ADVOWSON

The advowson was one of the appurtenances of the manor of Whiston, held by the Forester of Lancaster; (fn. 9) it descended from the Gernets to the Dacres, (fn. 10) and was acquired from Ranulf de Dacre about 1374 or 1375 by Sir John de Nevill, lord of Raby. (fn. 11) In December, 1391, Ralph de Nevill of Raby exchanged it for the advowsons of Staindrop and Brancepeth in the bishopric of Durham, John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, becoming patron of Prescot. (fn. 12) The advowson descended with the crown until conferred by Henry VI on his new college of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Nicholas at Cambridge in 1445. (fn. 13) From that time to the present the right of patronage has belonged to King's College, together with the manor of Prescot. The rectory was appropriated to the college in October, 1448, a vicarage being ordained. (fn. 14)

The annual value of the rectory was assessed at £40 in 1291. (fn. 15) Fifty years later the value of the ninth of sheaves, wool, and lambs, was declared to be £50. (fn. 16) In the time of Henry VIII the vicarage was valued at £24 0s. 9d. net. (fn. 17) From the report of the Commonwealth surveyors in 1650 it appears that King's College had farmed out the rectory to the vicar of Prescot, the earl of Derby, and others, so that they received but a small share of the revenue, the vicarage having about £60 from small tithes, as well as a house with 2½ acres of land. Various subdivisions were recommended. (fn. 18)

Bishop Gastrell in 1719 found the vicarage worth £140 a year. (fn. 19) The gross value is now stated as £650, but the district attached to the parish church has become practically restricted to little more than the town of Prescot.

The following is a list of the rectors and vicars:

Rectors
Date Name Patron Cause of Vacancy
c. 1200 Patrick (fn. 20)
c. 1245 Richard (fn. 21)
1266 Mr. Alan le Breton (fn. 22) Bp. of Lichfield
c. 1303 Eustace de Cottesbech (fn. 23)
13 May, 1309 William de Dacre (fn. 24) Sir Wm. de Dacre and Joan his wife d. Eust. de Cottesbech
5 May, 1346 Ranulf de Dacre (fn. 25) Sir Wm. de Dacre d. W. de Dacre
18 Apl. 1375 John Fairfax (fn. 26) Sir John de Nevill res. R. de Dacre
25 June, 1393 Mr. William de Ashton (fn. 27) John duke of Lancaster d. John Fairfax
23 Oct. 1403 Mr. Edmund Lacy (fn. 28) The King d. W. de Ashton
28 Apl. 1417 Philip Morgan, J.U.D. (fn. 29) "
(?) 1419 Robert Gilbert, S.T.P. (fn. 30)
6 Nov. 1436 Richard Praty, S.T.P. (fn. 31) The King cons. R. Gilbert
2 Aug. 1438 Stephen Wilton, Decr. D. (fn. 32) The King cons. of R. Gilbert
4 Nov. 1441 William Booth (fn. 33) exch. with S. Wilton
Vicars
c. 1448 Ralph Duckworth, D.D. (fn. 34)
6 July 1471 Richard Lincoln, S.T.B. (fn. 35) Thos. Cliff, by grant of King's College res. R. Duckworth
7 Aug. 1492 Robert Hacomblene, D.D. (fn. 36) King's College
c. 1509 Robert Noke, M.A. (fn. 37)
14 Dec. 1529 Simon Matthew, B.D. (fn. 38) King's College
15 April, 1541 Robert Brassey, D.D. (fn. 39) " d. S. Matthew
25 Dec. 1558 William Whitlock, D.D. (fn. 40) " d. R. Brassey
26 Dec. 1583 Thomas Mead, M.A. (fn. 41) " d. W. Whitlock
5 Dec. 1616 John Alden, B.D. (fn. 42) " d. T. Mead
21 Feb. 1642–3 Richard Day, B.D. (fn. 43) " d. J. Alden
June, 1650 Edward Larking, M.A. (fn. 44) " d. R. Day
22 Aug. 1650 John Withins, M.A. (fn. 45) " "
8 Nov. 1662
29 June, 1667 Abraham Ball, M.A. (fn. 46) " d. J. Withins
24 July, 1677 Edward Goodall, M.A. (fn. 47) " d. A. Ball
18 July, 1690 John Legge, M.A. (fn. 48) " res. E. Goodall
18 Mar. 1691–2 Thomas Bryan, M.A. (fn. 49) " d. John Legge
8 May, 1700 Francis Bere, M.A. (fn. 50) King's College res. T. Bryan
28 July, 1722 Benjamin Clarke, M.A. (fn. 51) " d. F. Bere
18 Sept. 1730 Augustine Gwyn, M.A. (fn. 52) " d. B. Clarke
11 July, 1776 Samuel Sewell, M.A. (fn. 53) " d. A. Gwyn
11 July, 1815 Charles George Thomas Driffield, M.A. (fn. 54) " d. S. Sewell
9 Dec. 1848 Charles Chapman, M.A. (fn. 55) " d. C. G. T. Driffield
28 July, 1849 Lewis William Sampson, M.A. (fn. 56) " d. C. Chapman
24 Jan. 1883 Henry Alexander Macnaghten, M.A. (fn. 57) " d. L. W. Sampson
2 Feb. 1887 Harry Mitchell, M.A. (fn. 58) " res. H. A. Macnaghten

The rectors were usually prominent men; as, after the patronage came into the possession of the dukes of Lancaster and the kings, the benefice was bestowed as a reward of public service. These busy officials probably never visited Prescot, discharging their duties by a resident curate. (fn. 59) Hence the bestowal of the rectory on King's College was no loss to the parish, though the new vicars, sometimes men of importance in the university and holding other benefices, were probably not seen much oftener by their parishioners than the old rectors. The first account of the resident clergy of the parish is supplied by the Clergy List of 1541–2. (fn. 60) The vicar of that time is known to have resided at least occasionally; he paid a curate. There were three chantry priests; also chaplains or curates at Rainford and Farnworth. Two priests were paid by John Eccleston, three lived 'de stipite,' and one, Ralph Richardson, by the profits of lands. There was thus a staff of thirteen clergy serving the parish church, the four chapels and three chantries, and private oratories. Eleven, including the vicar, appeared at the visitation of 1548; two of them had been chantry priests, but four of the names were fresh, so that three or four of those living here in 1541 had disappeared, by death or migration. Three others are named under Farnworth. (fn. 61)

The effect of the changes made under Edward VI becomes manifest in the visitation list of 1554; the vicar and his curate alone remained at Prescot, and the curate at Farnworth, the staff of thirteen having been reduced to three. (fn. 62) Very little improvement was effected by Bishops Cotes and Scott, the list of 1562 showing the vicar and three assistants at Prescot, and a curate at Farnworth. (fn. 63) Next year showed a decline; the vicar was absent in London, but the curate and the schoolmaster appeared; as also those of Farnworth. (fn. 64) The minimum seems to have been reached in 1565, when neither the vicar nor the curate of Farnworth appeared, the curate of Prescot being the only representative. (fn. 65)

In 1590 the vicar was described as a preacher; there was also a preacher at Rainford, but the chapels at St. Helens and Farnworth had only readers. (fn. 66) Two years later it was alleged that the vicar and curate did not catechize the youth; Mr. Mead 'appeared and stated that every Sunday and holiday he did interpret upon some parcel of Scripture both before and after noon,' but he was ordered to catechize also. The churchwardens were ordered to provide 'a decent communion table' before Christmas, also a 'fair linen cloth' for it; to use the perambulations and to make a presentment of offenders. (fn. 67) No change is revealed by a report made about 1610, but the vicar was the only 'preacher' in the parish. (fn. 68)

The parliamentary authorities temporarily expelled Mr. Day. Articles were presented against him in 1645, but he did not appear, having 'deserted' the place, and it was next year ordered that the 'rectory' should stand sequestered to the use of some godly and orthodox divine until the vicar should submit. It appeared that he had some scruples of conscience as to taking the Solemn League and Covenant. (fn. 69) Afterwards he was able to satisfy the authorities and was restored to the full enjoyment of the vicarage. (fn. 70) His successor, John Withins, conformed in 1662.

From this time onward the vicars, except Edward Goodall, do not call for special mention. It is noticeable that at the visitation in May, 1691, no clergy appeared from this parish (fn. 71) ; the chapels of Rainford, Great Sankey, and St. Helens were then in the hands of Presbyterians. The schoolmaster, Henry Wareing, licensed a year before, was the only representative. (fn. 72)

CHARITIES

A grammar school was founded here before 1600. The charities, usually for particular districts or townships, are very numerous (fn. 73) The old almshouses were founded by Oliver Lyme in 1707, for poor persons in Prescot and Whiston. (fn. 74) For Prescot itself were the benefactions of the Rev. Samuel Sewell, John Lyon, Sir Thomas Birch, and others. (fn. 75) A number of charities are united under the control of the chief officers of the township, but the intentions of the several benefactors are, as far as possible, respected in the distribution. In 1861 Eleanora Atherton bequeathed £4,500 for the erection of almshouses. (fn. 76)

For Eccleston Richard Holland, Priscilla Pyke, and others left various sums. (fn. 77) Rainhill received 20s. from a gift by William Glover. (fn. 78) Whiston had a special benefaction from James and Samuel Ashton, and shares in others. (fn. 79)

To Rainford Thomas Lyon left his estate, and there were other donations. (fn. 80) Windle benefited by the gifts of Thomas Taylor, Richard Holland, and others; (fn. 81) and more substantially by land granted by Sarah Cowley in 1714, resulting in the establishment of the Cowley Schools. (fn. 82) Parr received some small benefactions. (fn. 83) Sutton shared certain charities with Bold and Windle. (fn. 84)

In Farnworth division numerous small sums have been left for charitable purposes in Widnes at different times, more particularly by the Rev. Richard Garnet. (fn. 85) Bold has a poor's stock and other moneys. (fn. 86) Cronton received gifts from T. Windle, Margaret Wright, and others; (fn. 87) an endowment exists, dating from 1794, for the relief of poor housekeepers. (fn. 88) Cuerdley once had a small poor's stock, which has been lost. (fn. 89) Great Sankey and Penketh had a similar stock, and received other benefactions. (fn. 90)

Footnotes

1 Gregson, Fragments (ed. Harland), 16, 22. The whole parish paid 7–48ths of the contribution required from the hundred.
2 Ibid. 18; a total of £21 6s. 5¼d. when the hundred paid £106 9s. 6d.
3 John Lister, a seminary priest, was captured at Prescot in 1585, very soon after being sent to England, and imprisoned for many years; Misc. (Cath. Rec. Soc.), ii, 241, 273, 279.
4 The following are details in acres supplied by Board of Agriculture:—
                                Arable             Grass             Woods
Prescot           3,036                 603                       136
Prescot       16,118             1,768                       366
Sutton             1,634                   334                       24
Eccleston   1,982                   170                       167
Windle           1,733                   200                       235
Parr                         627                       71                         —
5 Downing to Alston Moor, 21
6 Antiquary, xxxii, 139.
7 There is a view in Gregson's Fragments, 173; see also Glynne, Lancs. Churches (Chet. Soc.), 63. For armorial notes, made about 1590, see Trans. Hist. Soc. xxxiii, 247. An old font, said to have belonged to Prescot, is now in Roby churchyard, used as a flower-pot; ibid. (New Ser.), xvii, 72.
8 Adam Martindale (Chet. Soc.), 172.
9 Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 43–4, 188.
10 Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 192, 68 n.
11 Lich. Epis. Reg. iv, fol. 87b.
12 Ibid. vi, fol. 57; also Duchy of Lanc. Great Cowcher, i, fol. 70, n. 44; fol. 69, n. 43. See Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxii, App. p. 361.
13 The grant was made 6 Aug. 1445 (Pat. 23 Hen. VI, pt. xxii), and was specially exempted from subsequent Acts of resumption; Parl. R. v, 92, 523; vi, 91.
14 Lich. Reg. x, fol. 64–8b. There is a local story attributing the vicarage to the king's disgust at finding the rector so wealthy as to be able to shoe his horses with silver; Gregson, Fragments, 173.
15 Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 249.
16 Inq. Nonarum (Rec. Com.), 40. The various townships contributed as follows: Rainhill, 60s.; Whiston with Prescot, 50s.; Eccleston, £4; Rainford, Windle, and Parr, 60s. each; Sutton, £4 10s.; Bold, £5 8s. 4d.; Ditton with Penketh the same; Appleton, £7 1s. 8d.; Sankey, £2 13s. 4d.; Cuerdley, £3 8s. 4d.; Cronton, 60s.
17 Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 220. The bishop received 13s. 4d. a year, and the archdeacon 15s. 4d. The vicarage house was worth 5s. a year. There were three chantries in the parish.
18 Commonwealth Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 70–9.
19 Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 203. There were four wardens, one named by the vicar for Prescot, Whiston, and Rainhill, in turn; and others for Sutton (1), Eccleston and Rainford (1), and Windle and Parr (1), these being named by the 'eight men.' There were 735 families, and the number of 'papists' was 372. The account made in 1767, and preserved in Chester Diocesan Registry, gives 1,294 'Papists,' in Prescot and St. Helens, there being four priests known, viz. Joseph Bamand at Windle, Philip Butler at Parr, Mr. Weldon and Mr. Conyers at Eccleston.
20 Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 350–4. Patrick is not actually described as 'parson' of Prescot, but he is included among the clergy, as is shown by his name appearing before that of Richard, son of Henry de Lathom. From another deed Patrick and Richard seem to have been clerks at Prescot in 1191; Whalley Coucher (Chet. Soc.), i, 40. Richard, clerk of Prescot, appears earlier (1177) as paying a fine of 1 mark for a breach of the forest laws; Lancs. Pipe R. 38.
21 Whalley Coucher, iii, 809. Patrick de Prescot and Richard are named as preceding rectors in pleas by Alan le Breton; De Banc. R. 59, m. 31; 92, m. 138.
22 It appears that Alan le Breton was presented to Prescot by Roger bishop of Lichfield, who by some lapse was patron for that turn in 1266; Alan was already rector of Coddington, and was allowed to hold Prescot also in consideration of the numerous and heavy labours and grave perils he had undergone for the bishop and his church. This grant was recited in the ratification of it by Walter, the bishop in 1299; Lich. Epis. Reg. i, fol. 22. Alan was made treasurer of Lichfield Cathedral about 1276, and retained the office till his death in June, 1306; Le Neve's Fasti, i, 581. His tenure of Prescot was marked by a series of contentions with his secular neighbours respecting church lands; Assize R. 1265, m. 5; 1268, m. 19d.; 1277, m. 31d.; 408, m. 17d. Bishop Walter specially noticed these efforts for the benefit of the church of Prescot, its rights and liberties having been almost lost by the negligence of preceding rectors and its property alienated, and encouraged him to go forward in his task of recovery and reformation. In one matter his zeal seems to have been excessive; for in 1386–7 a successor, John Fairfax, had to give twenty marks for the king's pardon, Alan le Breton having acquired lands for the church (without licence) from Richard de Churchlee; Fines R. 190, m. 3; Assize R. 1271, m. 11d.
23 Alan le Breton appears to have resigned Prescot in 1303, in which year he called upon Master John le Norreys of Lichfield for an account of the time he had acted as his bailiff at Prescot; De Banc. R. 148, m. 176d. Eustace de Cottesbech is mentioned as rector in 1304 (ibid. R. 152, m. 180); he was rector of Halton in 1303; ibid. R. 148, m. 19d. There was a sequestration in 1308, the bishop granting the custody to William de Tatham and Roger de Shelton; Lich. Reg. i, fol. 56b. The rector had been appointed chamberlain and receiver in Scotland by Edward II in Sept. 1307; Cal. Docs. relating to Scotland, ii. 2. He was dead in Feb. 1308–9; ibid. p. 14. He is mentioned a number of times in the Close and Patent Rolls of the first years of Edward II and probably spent most of his time in Scotland.
24 William de Dacre was clericus on appointment; Lich. Reg. i, fol. 57; was ordained subdeacon in the following Lent; ibid. i, fol. 109b. Nine years later he received permission to be absent for a year's study (ibid. i, fol. 85b); this was renewed in 1320 (ibid. i, fol. 87b). Two years later he seems for a time to have resigned the rectory, for John Bone was instituted on 29 July, 1322, the patrons being Henry de Tunstall and Joan de Dacre his wife, 'with the permission of John, prior of Burscough'; ibid. ii, fol. 99. William de Dacre, however, continued rector until his death, being so styled in 1325; De Banc. R. 257, m. 148. Complaint was made in 1330 of a violent breach of sanctuary at Prescot church; Coram Rege R. 302, Rex, m. 6d.
25 Lich. Epis. Reg. ii, fol. 119. Ranulf de Dacre in 1361 became head of the family, and was summoned to Parliament as Lord Dacre; he died in 1375, probably soon after his resignation; see G. E. C. Complete Peerage, iii, 1. In Aug. 1350, Clement VI confirmed to Ralph de Dacre the church of Prescot, to which he had been instituted three years previously, when five months under the canonical age; Cal. Papal Letters, iii, 397. He died intestate; De Banc. R. 463, m. 142d.
26 Lich. Epis. Reg. iv, fol. 87b. Sir Ranulf, having sold the advowson, retired to allow the new patron to exercise his right. John Fairfax was a younger son of William Fairfax of Walton, near York. His will, dated at Prescot 7 June, 1393, and proved a week later, shows that he was a man of some wealth. He wished to be buried in the church of Walton, where he founded a chantry, and gave directions as to his funeral and its attendant dinner. To Prescot he bequeathed £10 for the stone bell-tower recently built, and a great breviary with musical notes according to the use of Sarum; legacies were also made to Sir Thomas Gerard and Maud his wife, to John Gerard, the testator's godson, and to Richard, son of Henry de Bold; Test. Ebor. (Surtees Soc.), i, 186–190. There is a deed of his in P. R. O. Anct. D. B. 3522.
In 1389 the king, for reasons unknown, presented William Strickland to the rectory; Cal. Pat. 1388–92, p. 90.
27 Lich. Epis. Reg. vi, fol. 57. He was canon of Lincoln from 1388, and for a time (1390) was dean of St. Martin's le Grand; Le Neve's Fasti, ii, 158–63. He was also prebendary of Lichfield; ibid. i, 601; Cal. of Pat. 1388–92, p. 295. It appears he was of the family of Ashton of Croston, relations of the Winwicks; ibid. 1386–9, p. 10; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 1, m. 25b.
28 Lich. Epis. Reg. vii, fol. 91. Master of University Coll. Oxf. 1398; prebendary of Hereford and Lincoln; dean of Chapel Royal under Henry V, bishop of Hereford 1417, and of Exeter 1420 to 1455; Le Neve's Fasti; Dict. Nat. Biog.
29 Lich. Epis. Reg. viii, fol. 19. No reason is given for the vacancy, but Edmund de Lacy was consecrated to Hereford 18 April, 1417; Le Neve, i, 464. Dr. Philip Morgan was continually employed on foreign missions, 1414 to 1418; prebendary of Lincoln 1416; bishop of Worcester and privy councillor 1419; elected archbishop of York 1423, but translated by the pope to Ely in 1426; vigilant in putting down clerical abuses; Le Neve's Fasti; Dict. Nat. Biog.
30 The name of this rector is known only by the record of appointment of his successors. He was a man of distinction; warden of Merton Coll. Oxf. from 1417 to 1421; held prebends in York and Lincoln; was at different times precentor of Salisbury, archdeacon of Durham, treasurer and dean of York; and finally became bishop of London, when 'in consideration of his great virtue and knowledge and the services he had rendered to Henry V and the reigning king' he was allowed to go to Rome in person to obtain confirmation of his election. He died in 1448; see Le Neve's Fasti, ii, 296, &c.
31 On Gilbert's promotion to the see of London he may have been allowed to retain Prescot for a time, or else the Lichfield registrar made a slip in his record; for two years later a second presentation was made, the same reason for the vacancy being assigned.
Richard Praty, whose institution to Prescot may have been null, is described as 'Sacre Pagine Professor'; Lich. Epis. Reg. ix, fol. 123; in 1438 he, being dean of the Chapel Royal and chancellor of Salisbury, was made bishop of Chichester; Le Neve's Fasti, i, 246.
32 Lich. Epis. Reg. ix, fol. 123b. He was prebendary of London and Lincoln, and archdeacon successively of Middlesex, Salisbury, and Cleveland, dying in June, 1457; Le Neve's Fasti, iii, 147, &c.
33 Lich. Epis. Reg. ix, fol. 125. The admission took place on 9 Nov. William Booth was then canon of Salisbury; he became rector of Leigh (q.v.) in 1445, bishop of Lichfield in 1447, and archbishop of York in 1452. He died in 1464; Le Neve's Fasti, i, 553, &c. In his will he left a manual and a missal to Prescot; Test. Ebor. ii, 266.
34 The succession at this point is not quite certain.
One of the early episcopal acts of the last-named rector was to sanction the appropriation of Prescot to King's College and to ordain a vicarage there. The first vicar, Dr. Ralph Duckworth, who may have also been the last rector, stayed for twenty years or more, and from several notices in the registers it appears that he frequently or usually resided. In 1453 he was associated with Archdeacon Stanley and others in an inquiry concerning various defaults in Burscough Priory; in 1457 and 1459 he inquired concerning frays in Wigan and Lowe churchyards; in 1459 also taking part in an inquiry as to the condition of Walton church; Lich. Epis. Reg. xi, fol. 50, 91b; xii, fol. 124b, 125.
35 Ibid. xii, fol. 106. He was a fellow of King's Coll. Cam. See Grace Book A. (Luard Mem.), p. 52, 77. For his 'caution' he deposited a volume of Chrysostom.
36 From this time there is a list of the vicars printed by Gregson (Fragments, 174, 175) from one said to have been compiled by Mr. Bere, probably the vicar in 1700. It has been compared with the books at King's College. For biographical notices of the later vicars see Baines, Lancs. (ed. Croston), v, 6. Assistance has been given to the editors by the Rev. F. G. Paterson, M.A., lately curate of the parish, in the general history of the township, and more especially in compiling the accounts of the vicars.
Robert Hacomblene in 1509 became provost of King's, which he had entered in 1462. He died in 1528, and was buried in the College Chapel. Cooper, Athenae Cantab. i, 34; Dict. Nat. Biog.
37 Robert Noke's tenure of the vicarage is doubtful; he entered King's College in 1500, became prebendary of York and Southwell, and died in 1529; Le Neve, Fasti, iii, 167, 427. For his degrees see Grace Book B. (Luard Mem.), i. He is mentioned as having been rector in 1521 in a suit as to tithes; Ch. Goods, 1552, p. 81 (quoting Piccope MSS.). In 1523 Cardinal Wolsey expressed a wish to have him as subdean of his chapel, but Bishop West, in sending him, expressed a doubt as to the suitability of the appointment; L. and P. Hen. VIII, iv, 10.
38 Lich. Epis. Reg. xiii-xiv, fol. 65b. No reason is given for the vacancy. Simon Matthew went to King's Coll. in 1513, held other benefices, and was prebendary of St. Paul's; he appears to have taken an active part in the Anglican Reformation of Henry VIII's time, and some of his sermons have been printed; Cooper, Athenae Cantab. i, 78, 533.
39 Lich. Epis. Reg. xiii-xiv, fol. 38b. A Robert Brassey was vicar of Friston in Sussex in 1534; Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 341. For Prescot firstfruits were paid 13 April, 1541; Lancs. and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 407. Though he retained his benefice through the reign of Edward VI he appears to have adhered to the ancient order and was made provost of King's in 1556. He retained this benefice; and in 1554 was resident, for he was invited to take part in the discussions with George Marsh at Lathom House; Foxe, Acts and Monuments (ed. Cattley), vii, 42. He was of King's Coll.; B.A. 1530; D.D. 1557. He died a week before Queen Mary, on 10 Nov. 1558, and was buried in the College Chapel, where there is a brass. See Cooper, Athenæ Cantab. i, 182.
40 Act books at Chester. Dr. Whitlock was also beneficed elsewhere, and was prebendary of Lichfield 1561 to 1583; Le Neve, Fasti, i, 594. He entered King's Coll. in 1537; B.A. 1542; B.D. 1553. Though he became an adherent of the new system in religion he appears to have had antiquarian tastes, and published books on the history of Lichfield; Cooper, Athenae Cantab. i, 485; Dict. Nat. Biog.
41 Educated at King's Coll. and became vice-provost. Firstfruits paid 17 Jan. 1583–4. He was chaplain to Henry Stanley earl of Derby, and afterwards to Robert Devereux earl of Essex, this clearly indicating his theological standpoint.
42 From this time the institutions have been taken from the Institution Books P.R.O. as printed in Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Notes, i, ii. Firstfruits were paid 21 Jan. 1616–7. John Alden entered King's in 1592. He acted as justice of the peace in Lancashire. A decision was made by the bishop of Chester in 1619 concerning repairs, the election of churchwardens, &c. as between the people of Prescot and those of Farnworth; Kenyon MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), 25.
43 Firstfruits paid 11 April, 1643. Day was admitted to King's College in 1622. His will was proved at Chester in 1650.
44 Commonwealth Ch. Surv. 71. He was son of John Larking, prebendary of Rochester; admitted to King's Coll., becoming fellow; M.A. 1647; described as 'a very troublesome man in this college in the year 1650'; became rector of Dunton in 1653, and of Limpsfield in 1655; author of Speculum Patrum, 1659. From the records of King's Coll.; also Cal. of S.P. Dom. 1660–1, p. 165.
45 Educated at King's Coll., entering in 1639. He was presented 'on the death of R. Day,' Larking not having been instituted. He married Day's widow; Dugdale, Visitat. (Chet. Soc.), 223. On his conforming in 1662 a new presentation seems to have been required; probably he had not been episcopally ordained.
46 Entered King's Coll. 1650.
47 Entered King's Coll. in 1661 and became fellow; M.A. 1670. In the time of James II he was received into communion with the Roman Church, but retained his benefice until 1690, when he resigned it. His subsequent career is unknown. His delay in resigning caused great indignation, and 5s. 8d. was paid to the ringers when the news came that he was 'quite outed.' He was the subject of a controversial tract by Thomas Marsden, vicar of Walton; Gillow, Bibl. Dict. of Engl. Cath. ii, 523.
48 Educated at King's Coll.; M.A. 1683. He resided at Prescot during his short tenure of the benefice.
49 Of King's Coll.; M.A. 1685; fellow. He resided at Prescot during his first year, but not afterwards, Christopher Marsden of Farnworth being left in charge.
50 Educated at King's Coll.; M.A. 1692.
51 Admitted to King's Coll. 1696; M.A. 1704; became senior fellow. At Prescot he built the vicarage house. He is said to have been 'one of the Suffolk curates for many years.'
52 Educated at King's Coll.; M.A. 1723; fellow. His son William became principal of Brasenose Coll. Oxford, in 1770, but died shortly afterwards; Foster, Alumni Oxon.
53 Educated at King's Coll.; M.A. 1762; senior fellow. There is a monument in the church recording his benefactions to Prescot, Liverpool, and Windsor.
54 Educated at King's Coll.; M.A. 1798; fellow. He was also vicar of Little Maplestead in Essex.
55 Of King's Coll.; M.A. 1834; fellow. He committed suicide shortly after being presented and never resided.
56 Admitted to King's Coll.; M.A. 1834; fellow. He lived in London until the bishop compelled him to reside; the parishioners held a mock funeral, by way of showing their resentment at his absence.
57 Of King's Coll.; M.A. 1875. He was vicar of Wentworth, 1877 to 1882, and in 1886 was appointed rector of Tankersley in Yorks.
58 Of Emmanuel Coll. Camb.; M.A. 1886. Mr. Mitchell was vicar of Peak Forest from 1875 till 1881, when he was presented to St. John's, Pemberton. He was made rural dean of Prescot, 1890, and canon of Liverpool, 1893.
59 William Brinklow, rector of Mancetter, was appointed to hear the confessions of the parishioners in 1395; Lich. Epis. Reg. vi, fol. 132b.
60 Printed by the Rec. Soc. of Lancs. and Ches. 15.
61 Visit. List at Chester.
For the church ornaments at this time see Ch. Gds. 1552 (Chet. Soc.), ii, 80; and Raines, Chantries (Chet. Soc), 270, 279.
62 List at the Chester diocesan registry. In his decree as to Farnworth, Bishop Cotes said of Prescot church: 'There is so great ruins and deformities and dilapidations in the roofs, ornaments, walls, and windows that unless speedy remedy be taken the said church is in a short time likely to fall down to the ground.'
63 Ibid. The vicar, William Whitlock, appeared and subscribed, as did Robert Nelson; but Ralph Richardson who appeared, did not subscribe. The curate of Rainford's name is not entered; possibly he had relinquished his post. In 1559 Robert Nelson, curate, had refused to appear at the visitation; Gee, Elizabethan Clergy.
64 Visit. List. There was also a blank, with the words 'cur. de Raynforth' following; so that while the services were supposed to be maintained no one was in charge.
65 Ibid.
66 Gibson's Lydiate Hall, p. 248 (quoting S. P. Dom. Eliz. ccxxxv, n. 4).
67 Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), x, 189. The offences named are adultery and like sins; marriage without banns; playing cards 'on the Sabbath day' at home at the time of evening prayer; and having a child baptized by some missionary priest.
68 Kenyon MSS. 13.
69 Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 11, &c. From 1644 to 1647 he lived as a fellow commoner at Trinity Hall, Camb.; Hall's Catalogue in King's Coll.
70 Plund. Mins. Accts. i, 47, 55–8. The committee of the county of Cambridge had in 1643 certified that Mr. Day was 'of a pious life and no way delinquent or ill-affected.' It appeared that he had some duties at King's Coll., and he professed his apprehension that it was not safe for him to live at Prescot, 'in regard of the wars and of the king's forces then frequent in those parts.' In 1650, the new vicar not having come down, the schoolmaster of Farnworth supplied his place, receiving 15s. for every Lord's day he officiated; Commonwealth Ch. Surv. 71.
71 Thomas Wells was curate in 1689 and 'conformable'; Kenyon MSS. 230.
72 Visit. list at Chester.
73 The particulars given in the following notes are taken from the report on the Endowed Charities of Prescot, exclusive of the borough of St. Helens, made in 1902, supplemented by that of the commissioners of 1829. The report for St. Helens was issued in 1905. Some earlier particulars will be found in Bishop Gastrell's Notitia Cest. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 205–15.
74 Jonathan Case, lord of the manor of Whiston, conveyed part of the waste to Oliver Lyme in 1708, and almshouses were erected, a sum of £500 being the endowment. After the founder's death his sister, Ellen Glover, claimed the money but continued the foundation, trustees being appointed. In 1753 William Part left £50 to the almshouses. In 1828 there were twenty-seven of these houses, of which eight were rented by the townships of Whiston and Prescot: the almspeople were appointed by the trustees, each having 2s. 6d. a week and an allowance of coal. The income was £172 15s. chiefly derived from farms in Eccleston. A further endowment of £1,000 was received in 1877 from Elizabeth Atherton. Leases for working the coal under the lands belonging to the charity have been made since 1892, and the gross income is £305. The almshouses, now somewhat dilapidated, form a row on the Prescot and Rainhill road, the oldest portion dating from 1708. They are occupied by twenty-eight persons, nearly all women, who receive weekly allowances varying from 3s. 6d. to 4s. 6d.
75 The Rev. Samuel Sewell, vicar of Prescot, gave in 1815 £200 to the grammar school, £800 to the Sunday school, £700 for almshouses, and £400 towards establishing a fever ward. The fever ward not being practicable it was purposed to apply the money to the almshouses. The endowment for these was void in law, but Sir John Sewell, a residuary legatee, undertook to give £700. This was carried out, and in all six almshouses were built in 1830 and 1850. The occupants are women, and each receives 3s. 6d. a week.
John Lyon, who built a school at St. Helens, gave in 1670 a house called Linaker's at Upton in Widnes to William Glover, charging it with annual payments to preaching ministers at St. Helens, Rainford, Farnworth, and Childwall, the schoolmasters at St. Helens and Rainford, and the poor of Windle, Rainford, Upton, Farnworth, Halewood, and Prescot, amounting in all to £12. The payments continue to be made.
Ellen Siddall in 1729 gave her estate in Whiston, called Cumberley's or Cumberlane tenement, for the poor and the charity children of Prescot. The estate was sold in 1900, and the proceeds invested. Joshua Marrow in 1708 left his residuary estate, amounting to £400, towards binding poor children apprentices. This and other charitable funds appear to have been spent in rebuilding the town hall, the interest being paid out of rents and rates. In 1783 the known benefactions amounted to about £950, as follows:—Joshua Marrow, £400; Thomas Glover, £50; Mary Cross (a third of £50), £16 13s. 4d.; Margaret Norris, £20; Lawrence Webster, £10; Elizabeth Booth, £10; Ellen Siddall, arrears, £20; Anne Glover, £100; James Walton, £50; Edward Blundell, £50; Catherine Waring, £50; James Cross, £60; Nicholas Fazakerley, £50; Dr. Roper, £40; Robert Barrow £17 2s. 4d.; a company of comedians, £12 9s. This last entry is interesting. Some of these sums were for the benefit of the poor attending the services at the parish church. Dr. Roper's £40 was derived from the sale of wood from the racecourse, 1772; 'the interest of this sum has always been considered as applicable towards finding a dinner for the jury on the feast of Corpus Christi,' the court-leet day. The rents from the town hall, &c., amounted in 1828 to £79. Since 1829 the capital has been increased by £1,000 under Elizabeth Atherton's will in 1877, and £289, the capital of Siddall's charity, has been incorporated with the other charities. The gross income is over £130 a year.
William Marsh in 1723 charged 20s. upon his house, called Kenrick's, for the benefit of the poor of Prescot and Knowsley; this appears to have been lost about 1800. After a time payment was resumed, at first only for the Knowsley half, but since 1892 for the Prescot half. The money is added to the Public Charities as above. Anne Wainwright in 1818 left £100 for the benefit of poor persons attending the parish church. This also forms part of the Public Charities fund.
Mary Gwyn, 1821, left £90 for the poor. This is now represented by a Mersey Dock bond of £100, but the income has not been expended for many years. Anne France left £5 for bread, to be distributed on Good Friday; it has been incorporated with the General Charities, and the Good Friday distribution has ceased.
Elizabeth Chorley, by her will dated 1820, left money to various charities, including £200 to the poor in the Prescot almshouses. She was sister of John Chorley, and had sisters, Jane, Mary, and Frances. Jane Chorley, by her will of 1824, left £4,000 for charitable purposes, including a school for poor girls at Prescot; to this was to be added £1,400 received under the will of her sister Elizabeth. Frances Chorley, in 1849, also bequeathed £200 for coals and clothing for the poor. Part of these bequests was lost owing to the bankruptcy of the clerk, but the capital stocks at present are £554 for the Clothing Charity; £1,216 for the Ladies' Charity—this including many additional gifts; and £4,660 for the school. William Ackers, sailcloth manufacturer, in 1851 bequeathed £300 for an annual distribution of clothing. The administration is left to the vicar. Ellen Byron in 1872 left £100 for aged single women; the interest is distributed in clothing. Sir Thomas Bernard Birch in 1880 left £500 for the poor. The interest is distributed at Christmas-time in doles of coal.
76 They were a memorial to her sister Lucy, wife of Richard Willis, of Halsnead. The inmates are to be members of the Established Church. The almshouses, a handsome and substantial block of building near the old almshouses, were ready in 1862. Each married couple receives 8s. 6d. a week and each single person 5s. 6d.; and there are other allowances.
77 Henry Bispham, of Upholland, in 1720 and 1728, made benefactions for apprenticing poor boys, and for providing clothing for the poor in various townships, including Rainford, Windle, and Eccleston; a fuller account is given under Wigan. Richard Holland, by his will of 1713, left money for clothing the poor; and £13 10s. a year was the income in 1828. There is now a capital of £450 consols, and the income is spent in blankets for the poor.
Priscilla Pyke, in 1739, bequeathed £100 for a like purpose; this and other sums were lost by the failure of a bank in Liverpool, but Peter Moss, of Eccleston, one of the trustees, replaced this £100, entrusting it to Thomas West, who died in 1828, and £4 10s. as interest was paid by his son, James Underhill West. The capital is invested in consols. The charity has always been considered as for the benefit of Roman Catholics only, the recipients being now selected by the priest in charge of the Sacred Heart Church, St. Helens.
John Alcock, in 1653, left £50 towards apprenticing poor boys; Lawrence Webster £10 to the poor of Eccleston, Rainhill, and Whiston; Mary Cross £50 to the poor of Prescot, Eccleston, and Rainhill; and Eleanor Eccleston £100 to the poor. These charities, with the exception of the Prescot third of Mary Cross's gift, had been lost before 1828.
78 William Glover left 20s. a year to each of the townships of Rainhill, Cronton, and Whiston, charged on a meadow in the last-named. The money was paid until 1871, since which time payment has been refused. The meadow belongs to Mr. Willis of Halsnead.
79 In 1689 James Ashton, as carrying out the wishes of his brother Samuel, gave four cottages at the Hillock in Whiston, the rents to be applied to the relief of aged and impotent persons, at the discretion of the constables of the township. In 1828 of three cottages said to belong to the charity, one had been sold to the then 'new railway' from Liverpool to Manchester. There are now four cottages at the Hillock which belong to the charity. The net income, about £19, is distributed by the overseers at Christmas in money gifts.
By Richard Hawarden's will, 1600, the trustees of Prescot school were to pay 6s. 8d. a year to the poor of Whiston. On the sale of the premises from which the rent-charge was due, the purchaser (Captain Willis) redeemed it by a transfer of £13 6s. 8d. stock to the official trustees. The £10 left by Lawrence Webster had been lost between 1798 and 1828. Henry Case of Whiston, butcher, left a rentcharge of 20s. a year for the benefit of the poor; but nothing further is known of it or the land on which it was charged.
80 Thomas Lyon, of Rainford, in 1667 left his estate there, called Quakers, in thirds for the chapel, school, and poor housekeepers. In 1768 there was a poor's stock of £120, which was practically intact in 1828. The estate was sold in 1861 under an order of the Charity Commissioners, and the proceeds invested in £1,615 consols. The income of £49 is distributed in accordance with a scheme prepared in 1877—one-third to the vicar of Rainford; one-third to exhibitions for boys attending grammar schools, for which exhibitions there is no demand; and onethird to the poor, in the form of blankets, flannel, &c.
Bishop Gastrell (ii, 214) states that the old poor's stock was £42 10s., to which Mrs. A. Singleton had added £60. This was perhaps the nucleus of a sum of £175 supposed to be part of the Thomas Lyon fund, and so administered. David Grayson, in 1735, gave the interest of £20 to poor pipemakers' widows and orphans. This, in 1828, was represented by a charge of £1 a year on a house in Tithebarn Street, Liverpool, known as the 'Hole-in-the-Wall.' This payment was continued by James Birch as a private charity down to 1847, when it ceased. No one had ever been able to identify the 'Hole-inthe-Wall.' George Mather's charity had been lost, and £2 a year left by John Haydock was void in law.
James Barnett, by his will of 1832, left a sum represented by £229 consols, the interest of which is distributed in the same way as the clothing part of Thomas Lyon's charity. David Rosbotham, in 1857, left £200 for the poor, the interest of which is now paid to the overseers, who distribute it in doles of flannel, &c.
81 Thomas Taylor, in 1684, gave property in Great Crosby to trustees for the benefit of the poor of Windle and Great Crosby. The land produced £50 a year in 1828. Richard Holland, in 1707, charged his land in Windle (Windle Ashes Farm, now owned by Mr. Richard Pilkington) with £5 a year for the poor. Oliver Denton charged land in Billinge with 10s. a year. William Heyes was supposed to be the benefactor on whose account £2 13s. 4d. a year was received for the poor from the 'King's Head' in St. Helens. Mary Egerton, in 1693, gave 20s. a year to the poor; this had since been paid by the owner of Hardshaw Hall. Samuel Clark left £100 for poor housekeepers; it was lent to the township and in 1828 £4 15s. was paid as interest. Peter Greenall, of St. Helens, in 1828 paid 10s. annually, charged on the Lower House in Hardshaw; the origin of this was unknown. With the exception of the two last-mentioned, which have been lost, the charities still exist; the combined income is distributed in money doles.
Three charities have been established since 1829: Mary Bolton, widow, in 1848 left £250 for the relief of the poor, aged, and infirm women. Catherine Garton, widow, in 1876 bequeathed £300 for poor widows. Edward Carr, formerly vicar of St. Helens, left £100 for the benefit of widows who had been communicants. The interest of these sums is distributed annually in money doles.
82 Sarah Cowley left £5 a year to Mrs. Anne Naylor, and 20s. to the Dissenting Minister at the New Chapel at St. Helens for preaching on New Year's Day and Midsummer Day. Further, she left her house and land to Joseph Gillibrand, at that time the 'Dissenting Minister,' in trust for the education of poor persons' children, and 'to find them with books, as the Love Book, the Primer, the Psalter, Testament, and Bible'; the surplus to be laid out in linen and clothes for them. A trust was formed in 1724. The great increase in income due to the opening of coal mines and the growth of St. Helens has been devoted to the present Cowley Schools, which have a gross income of £800.
83 Mary Egerton of Hardshaw, in 1693, left £1 a year to poor housekeepers in Parr. This was in 1828 distributed, together with the interest of a stock of £50, by Charles Orrell, in gifts of cloth and blanket. John Martin had contributed £20 of this stock, but the origin of the remainder was unknown. Nothing is now known of these gifts.
Joseph Greenough of Sutton, in 1877, left £50 a year. This is provided by railway stock in the hands of the Official Trustees. The income is distributed once a year in gifts of clothing and money.
84 The poor of Sutton share in the Greenoe (£22) and Heyes charities; widows also share in Catherine Garton's gift. Miss Eliza Brooks, in 1877, bequeathed £100 for the poor; the interest is added by the vicar to the sick and poor fund. A gift of £10 by Bryan Leay could not be traced in 1829.
85 The Rev. Richard Garnet, who died in 1764, left £200 for woollen cloth and useful books to poor Protestant families in Widnes. In 1868 the turnpike in which the fund had been invested ceased to pay interest, and part was lost, the present capital being £85 consols. The interest is distributed by the vicar of Farnworth.
At Barrow Green in Widnes was Knight's house, the rents of which had for fifty years before 1828 been applied to charitable gifts. The origin of this benefaction was unknown in 1828, when one Thomas Kidd was acting as trustee. In 1762 John Hargreaves paid to the copyholders of Widnes £10 left by Thomas Smith of Cuerdley, the interest to be paid off Knight's house. The present gross income is £21 15s., which is distributed once a year in money doles; 'it is stated that at one time the distribution was in ale.'
Bread charities were established by James Heyes in 1724, and by Thomas Windle, by charging estates in Halewood and Cronton respectively with sums of £5 4s. and £2 12s. The former charge is now paid by Lord Derby, and the latter by the tenant of a farm at Townend in Cronton. The sums are distributed in bread every Sunday. William Fenn, by his will, dated 1825, left his pew in Farnworth church, let at £2 2s. a year, in trust for the poor; he also left £50 to the Protestant Sunday schools. No rents are now payable for the pews in the church. The poor of Upton and Farnworth benefited by the charity of John Lyon, and those of Farnworth district by that of Ellen Greenoe, but 10s. from William Glover's estate has not been paid since 1815.
86 Ellen Greenoe, by her will of August, 1759, left all her lands in Sutton called Greenoe's to the minister and wardens of Farnworth chapel. In 1828 the land produced a rent of £12 12s. and of this 10s. was paid to the minister of Farnworth, 10s. to the minister of Tarleton, £1 to the poor of Farnworth, and the rest was divided equally between the poor of Bold and Sutton. The testatrix specially desired 10s. to be expended on books for the children, but this appears to have been a temporary use. The rent of the farm in 1898 was £35. The money is laid out in accordance with the testator's wishes, money doles being given. The 10s. for books is given to the managers of Bold School.
For Bold itself there was a poor's stock of £114, bearing interest at 4 per cent. arising chiefly from gifts of £50 by Peter Bold, and £40 by Thomas Haigh, a former steward of the Bold estates. The capital is still intact, and the interest, £5 2s. 6d., is distributed once a year in money doles.
87 Thomas Windle, jun., gave £2 10s. a year to the poor of Cronton; this is paid from an estate at Townend in Cronton. To it was formerly added £1 from the charity founded by William Glover, but payment has been refused since 1871. The Windle money is laid out in doles. Bread was given to poor widows of Cronton attending divine service at Farnworth on Christmas Day, Easter Day, and Whit Sunday. A distribution of bread continues; it is still paid for by a charge of 6s. on an estate called Norlands, partly in Widnes and partly in Cronton.
Up to 1797 a sum of £2 had been distributed by the overseer as interest of moneys left at various times by John Rowson, Henry Windle, and others, as also of 'Aughton's Dole.' No reason was known for the discontinuance of the payment. Margaret Wright left £10 for teaching children. Up to 1794 the sum of 9s. a year as interest had been paid by the overseers either for teaching or for school books, e.g. 'Markham's and Dillworth's spelling books.' This had been discontinued before 1829.
88 The estate consists of a small piece of land and a schoolroom and house upon it, a rent of £13 being charged for the house and land. Formerly this went to the relief of the poor rate, but the net income has lately been divided among poor housekeepers chosen by the parish council.
89 The stock amounted to £50 in 1774, but the trustees had died long before 1828, and nothing could be discovered as to the fate of the money, though something had been paid to the poor till about 1810. The origin of the stock was traced to Bishop Smith, who gave £10; to this £20 was added by John Martinscroft, and £20 'by Government.' No charities are now known to exist.
90 The poor's stock in 1735 was £27, of which £17 10s. was a benefaction by Ralph William Barnes; £7 10s. was added in 1811, as part of a gift by John Kerfoot. For this 26s. 6d. a year was paid as interest by the overseer, until about 1838, when the parish refused, on account of the new poor law. Another 4s. 6d. was derived from £5 left by Thomas Sixsmith in 1766, but was lost by bankruptcy about 1833. A further 20s., called 'Dutton's money,' was received from an estate at Appleton in Cheshire; the origin of the gift was unknown in 1829. The charge is still operative, and the money is given to poor widows.