Townships: Windle

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1907.

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'Townships: Windle', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, (London, 1907), pp. 371-377. British History Online [accessed 19 June 2024].

. "Townships: Windle", in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, (London, 1907) 371-377. British History Online, accessed June 19, 2024,

. "Townships: Windle", A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3, (London, 1907). 371-377. British History Online. Web. 19 June 2024,

In this section


Windhull, 1201, and common; Wyndhill, 1320; Wyndhyll, Wyndill, Wyndell, Wyndle, xvi century.

This township, stretching from east to west for over four miles, has a total area of 3,150 acres. (fn. 1) The portion of it in the south-eastern corner was called Hardshaw, 269 acres, and here, around St. Helen's chapel, the modern town of this name has sprung up, the borough including, since 1893, besides Hardshaw proper, a portion of Windle amounting to 720 acres. North of the town is Windleshaw, and to the west are Cowley Hill and Denton's Green. On the south a brook divides it from Eccleston, and is joined by the Rainford Brook, which runs across Windle. The highest point to the west of the latter brook, 185 ft., is at the northern boundary of St. Helens; but to the east over 260 ft. is attained at Moss Bank.

For the most part the country is rather bare and undulating. Windle Hill from the north looks fairly steep, but from the south its height is completely dwarfed. As a rule the hills of South Lancashire have their steepest incline to the west, but Windle Hill is an exception. The land is principally divided into cultivated fields, where potatoes and corn are chiefly produced. On the east the township possesses more timber trees than westward, and there are more pastures. The eastern boundary line runs through Carr Mill Dam, a large sheet of water, with strictly preserved plantations surrounding it. In the extreme north-west there is a narrow band of mossland, where the surface soil consists of clay and peat. The township lies mainly upon the lower (gannister beds) and middle coal measures, but at Windle Moss and Blindfoot in the north-western corner, there intervenes the belt of lower mottled sandstone of the bunter series which, superimposed upon the coal measures, extends from Rainford village to the Chase in Knowsley Park.

The principal road is that from St. Helens to Ormskirk. From St. Helens, where there is a station, the London and North-Western Company's line; branch out in four directions—to Ormskirk, with stations at Gerard's Bridge and Moss Bank; to Wigan, with one at Carr Mill; to Liverpool, and to Widnes. The Liverpool. St. Helens, and South Lancashire Railway has its terminus here.

The population of the reduced area was 841 in 1901.

There are collieries and chemical works, but tanning, formerly an important trade, has disappeared.

John William Draper, chemist, and author of scientific and historical works, was born at St. Helens in 1811. He was president of New York University from 1850 to 1873, and died in 1882. (fn. 2)

The Local Government Act of 1858 was adopted in 1864, but disapproved. (fn. 3) The existing township is governed by a parish council.


The manor of WINDLE was among those granted to Pain de Vilers, the first baron of Warrington, and continued to from part of this fee until the dispersal of the estate about 1585. The customary rating was two ploughlands, and in 1346 it was held of the earl of Lancaster by the service of the third part of a knight's fee, £2 rent, and the usual suit to county and wapentake courts. (fn. 4)

Pain de Vilers, the original grantee, gave one plough-land, in marriage with his daughter Emma, to Vivian Gernet; their inheritance seems to have been divided between daughters and granddaughters before 1212, when Alan son of Alan was holding this half of Windle of Robert de Vilers. (fn. 5) Robert de Vilers perhaps resigned his rights, for in 1242 his lordship was in the hands of the earl of Ferrers. (fn. 6) About 1260 Robert de Ferrers granted his right in Windle to William le Boteler of Warrington, thus abolishing the mesne lordship formerly held by Vilers. (fn. 7) Robert de Vilers appears to have left an heir of the same name, who some years later attempted to recover the lost rights, claiming suit from Peter de Burnhull and Alice his wife between 1274 and 1278. (fn. 8)

Alan de Windle, the father of the Alan who was tenant in 1212, died before Easter 1200. (fn. 9) Shortly afterwards his widow Edusa claimed from the son her power in lands in Skelmersdale, Syfrethley in Dalton, Pemberton, and Windle. (fn. 10) The younger Alan, sometimes called 'Le Styward,' (fn. 11) perhaps survived until about 1240, when he was succeeded by a son of the same name. (fn. 12)

Alan de Windle III, later called Sir Alan, (fn. 13) was acting as juror at various inquests from 1242 onwards. (fn. 14) In 1252 William de Ferrers, earl of Derby, was pardoned for a false claim against him, (fn. 15) and next year Alan de Windle and Thurstan de Holand joined in resisting an encroachment by the earl. (fn. 16) Alan died between 1256 and 1274, and was succeeded by the above-named Peter de Burnhull and his wife Alice, the daughter and heir of Alan. (fn. 17) The new lord died before 1292, (fn. 18) leaving two sons, both under age; Peter, the elder, died without issue before 1298, and Alan his brother succeeded. (fn. 19) He was living in 1318, (fn. 20) but did not enjoy the manor long, for his son Peter was in possession in 1324, (fn. 21) but died soon afterwards, when his sisters Joan and Agnes inherited his manors. The former married William Gerard, of Kingsley, in Cheshire, and the latter David de Egerton. (fn. 22) Ultimately the whole inheritance was held by the Gerards, so that it may be presumed there was no issue by the other marriage. The manor has descended regularly to the present Lord Gerard of Brynn (fn. 23) in Ashton.

A dispute occurred in the early part of the reign of Henry VIII, the Gerards wishing to escape the dependence on Warrington. Sir Thomas Boteler, however, succeeded in enforcing a claim for an annual castle-guard rent of 12d., and a relief of 10s. (fn. 24) In September, 1516, at the general sessions, Sir Thomas Gerard did homage for the manor, as for the tenth part of a knight's fee, in the great hall of the castle of Lancaster, 'where the justices of our Lord the King were wont to dine and sup when they came to hold session there,' and the names of the witnesses were carefully recorded. (fn. 25)

Among the suits of the time of Edward III relating to Windle was one between the families of Hindley and Urmston. (fn. 26) A family of longer standing was that of Colley, or Cowley as the name was spelt in later times. They appear from the end of the thirteenth century to the beginning of the seventeenth. (fn. 27) The families of Harflynch (fn. 28) and Eccles (fn. 29) also appear in the sixteenth century; and others of the neighbourhood, like the Byroms, Parrs, and Woodfalls, were also owners of land.

The Gerards appear to have made a park, and this portion, WINDLESHAW, is sometimes described as a manor. (fn. 30)

Manor courts are still held for Windle. (fn. 31)

Adam Martindale, a puritan divine, born near Mossbank in 1623, has recorded some interesting details as to the neighbourhood. (fn. 32)

In the time of the Commonwealth the estate of William Mainwaring in Windleshaw was sequestrated for his delinquency and recusancy, and two thirds of the estate of Janet Ball, widow, were under sequestration for recusancy. (fn. 33)

In 1717 the following 'Papists' registered estates here: Henry Tyrer, Thomas Unsworth, Alice Leadbetter, and John son of Thomas Fletcher. (fn. 34) The land tax returns for 1785 show that the township was then divided into Moss End, Moss Bank End, and Hardshaw. The principal contributor to the tax was Mr. Bailey, paying about an eighth.

The early history of HARDSHAW is quite unknown. It was the property of the Hospitallers and ranked as a separate manor. (fn. 35) It seems to have been held of them by the Orrells, (fn. 36) and from about 1330 until the seventeenth century by the Travers family. (fn. 37) It was afterwards acquired by Edward and Richard Egerton, holders about 1633, under the earl of Derby. (fn. 38) Towards the end of the eighteenth century it was held by John Penketh Cotham, (fn. 39) from whom it has descended to Mr. Alfred Angelo Walmesley-Cotham. (fn. 40) Certain manorial rights are still connected with it. Old Hardshaw Hall was pulled down about 1840; the new hall is used by the Providence Hospital. Another house, called the Manor House, was pulled down about 1870. No courts are now held.

A grant of land in Hardshaw was made by Bartholomew Ford to Sir Richard Bold in 1483; (fn. 41) the inquisitions show that his descendants held it a century later. A family named Roughley resided here in the seventeenth century; one of them was founder of the school. (fn. 42)


ST. HELENS being situated at a point at which various roads intersected, as from Widnes or Warrington to Lathom and Ormskirk, and from Prescot to Wigan and Newton, it is probable that there has for centuries been something of a village here, clustered round the chapel. (fn. 43) The King's Head Inn, formerly on the site of the post office, was built in 1629. (fn. 44) A school was founded about the same time, and before the end of the century a monthly meeting of the Society of Friends was established, followed by an Independent chapel in 1710. (fn. 45)

The progress of coal-mining in the neighbourhood, which led to the formation of the Sankey Canal in 1755, also promoted the growth of St. Helens, as the most convenient centre of trade and residence. By 1800 it had become a small town, comparable with Ormskirk. (fn. 46) A Saturday market was established 'by custom,' and two annual fairs, on Easter Monday and Tuesday and the first Friday and Saturday after 8 September. (fn. 47)

The Liverpool and Manchester Railway, opened in 1830, passed about a mile and a half south of the town, and two years later the St. Helens and Runcorn Gap line was constructed. Both are now parts of the London and North Western system, and the latter was extended through the town to Ormskirk in 1849 and 1858. (fn. 48) A new railway, known as the Liverpool, St. Helens, and South Lancashire, was begun in 1888; the eastern portion is worked by the Great Central Company, having been opened in 1895. (fn. 49) There is also communication with neighbouring places by the electric tramways.

Other conveniences for the growing town were supplied from time to time. A gas company was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1832; a water company was also established, and in 1844 water pipes were laid in the town; these works have been taken over by the public authorities. Market sheds were opened in 1843, and a market hall in 1850; a covered market was built in 1889.

The government was popularized in 1845 by the creation of an urban sanitary authority, with a board of Improvement Commissioners. (fn. 50) A county court was granted about the same time. A townhall, built by an association of 'proprietors' in 1839, being burnt down in 1871, the present public town hall was built and opened in 1876. A charter of incorporation was granted in 1868; (fn. 51) the town became a parliamentary borough in 1885, and a county borough in 1889. A borough police force was established in 1887. The area comprises Hardshaw, the original seat of the town, parts of Windle and Eccleston, and the whole of Parr and Sutton—in all 7,284 acres. (fn. 52) The population in 1901 was 84,410.

St. Helens Borough. Argent, two bars azure; over all a cross sable; in the first and fourth quarters a saltire, and in the second and third a griffon segreant gules.

A public library (fn. 53) and technical school, built and presented to the town by Sir David Gamble, bart., in 1896, are carried on by the corporation; the baths also belong to it. The St. Helens Hospital, established in 1873, and the Providence Hospital, opened in 1884 by Cardinal Manning, have been enlarged; there are also isolation hospitals at Peasley Cross and Haydock for infectious diseases. There are several parks, the principal being Victoria on the north, opened in 1887, and Taylor on the southwest, opened in 1893. (fn. 54) The cemetery is at Windleshaw.

The aspect of the town is uninviting. The factories rear a forest of tall chimneys, shafts, kilns, and other weird erections on every hand, and the fumes of acids and the smoke of furnaces render the atmosphere almost unbearable to a stranger. The soil is mostly clay, which in the north-westerly part of the district produces crops of wheat, oats, and clover.

The nature and progress of the trade and manufactures have been noticed briefly in the accounts of the component townships. The collieries led the way; the glass-making, for long the principal trade, began in 1773, and copper-smelting about the same time. The Pilkington works are the largest glass manufactory in the world. (fn. 55) The great chemical works began in 1829. An iron foundry was established as early as 1798. The breweries can be traced back still further, a malt-kiln at Denton's Green in Windle having existed early in the eighteenth century. There are several potteries. The pill factory is of recent origin.

There are two weekly newspapers.

The enclosure award with map is preserved at the county council offices, Preston.


The earliest mention of St. Helen's chapel by this name occurs in the inventory of church goods made in 1552. (fn. 56) It appears after the Reformation to have remained in use for service, with a 'reading minister.' (fn. 57) In 1613 Katherine Domville, 'patroness of the chapel of St. Helen,' with James her son and heir, delivered the building to certain trustees with power to nominate the minister, appoint seats and forms, &c. (fn. 58) The improvement effected was shown in 1622, when John Burtonwood was 'lecturer' there. (fn. 59) The Parliamentary Commissioners in 1650 recommended that it should have a separate parish attached to it. Mr. Richard Mawdesley was 'minister and teacher' there. (fn. 60)

After the Restoration no attempt, as far as is known, was made by the vicar of Prescot to recover the chapel, which accordingly remained in the hands of the Presbyterians for another thirty years. (fn. 61) The first move was made in 1687, when Bishop Cartwright records that 'Mr. Venables and his brother brought Mr. Byrom of Prescot to me, who desired to have a curate in St. Helen's Chapel, into which the Presbyterians are now intruded, which I promised him—Mr. Dalton.' (fn. 62) Nothing seems to have been accomplished; perhaps the political disturbances of the time interfered, but John Byrom persevered, and in April, 1692, its registration as a Presbyterian meeting place was prevented. (fn. 63) James Naylor, the existing incumbent, retained his position till his death in 1710.

Benefactions were from time to time made for the benefit of the curate, (fn. 64) and in 1715 a grant was made from Queen Anne's Bounty.

The chapel was re-built in 1816 as St. Mary's. The incumbent is nominated by trustees. (fn. 65) A school at Denton's Green is used for services.

The following have been curates and vicars:

1710 Theophilus Kelsall, B.A. (fn. 66) (Pembroke College, Cambridge)
1722 Edward Killner
1758 Peter Berry
1786 William Finch
1815 Thomas Pigot, M.A. (fn. 67)
1836 James Furnival
1841 William Pollock
1846 Edward Carr, LL.D. (Trin. Coll., Dublin)
1886 John Rashdall Eyre, M.A. (Clare College, Cambridge)
1891 John Wakefield Willink, M.A. (Pembroke College, Cambridge)
1904 Cyril Charles Bowman Bardsley, M.A. (New College, Oxford) (fn. 68)

A school was built in the chapel-yard in 1670 by John Lyon of Windle. (fn. 69)

The chantry at Jesus Chapel—the exact position of which is unknown—was in 1535 in the hands of Richard Byland; the income was only 40s. a year. (fn. 70) It was said to have been founded by Sir John Bold; and in 1548 the royal commissioners recorded that there was no incumbent but at the pleasure of Lady Bold, widow of Sir Richard. Apparently it was not her pleasure at that time to pay a priest, and none was there. (fn. 71)

The Presbyterian Church of England began services in 1863; the church was built in 1868.

The Wesleyan Methodists and the Primitive Methodists each have two churches, and there is also a Methodist Free Church.

On the appointment of a curate in 1710 the congregation at St. Helens divided; part conformed, but the rest established an Independent meeting place, the origin of the present Congregational church. The worshippers in 1710–30 numbered about seven hundred, over fifty having the county vote. (fn. 72) A new chapel was opened in 1826, Dr. Raffles preaching. It has been enlarged. (fn. 73) There is another Congregational chapel in Knowsley Road. (fn. 74)

The Baptists have three places of worship in St. Helens: Central, built in 1849; Park Road in 1869; and Jubilee in 1888.

The Welsh Calvinistic Methodists have a chapel.

The Quakers, as already stated, have long had a meeting place; it was registered in 1689. (fn. 75)

The Christian Brethren also have one.

The Roman Church retaining numerous adherents in the district, (fn. 76) its worship was no doubt celebrated as opportunity offered, but no record seems to exist until 1693, when Mary Egerton of Hardshaw Hall bequeathed £4 to Mr. Gerard Barton, so long as he helped the people in and about Hardshaw. (fn. 77) Soon afterwards Blackbrook House in Parr became available. When the Scarisbricks ceased to reside at Eccleston Hall the chapel there was closed, but Winifred, widow of John Gorsuch Eccleston, (fn. 78) a former owner, in compensation built Lowe House church (St. Mary's) on the border of Hardshaw and Windle, near her own residence on Cowley Hill, and it was opened in 1793. (fn. 79) It has, except for a brief interval, been in charge of the Jesuit fathers, who also serve Holy Cross Church, built in 1862. The church of the Sacred Heart, built in 1878, is in the hands of the secular clergy.

The ruined chapel of St. Thomas of Canterbury at Windleshaw, popularly known as 'Windleshaw Abbey,' stands about a mile from St. Helens. The chantry was founded by Sir Thomas Gerard with an endowment of £4 16s. out of his lands at Windle, the priest to celebrate for the souls of the founder's ancestors for ever. (fn. 80) Richard Frodsham (fn. 81) was incumbent in 1548, celebrating according to his trust; there was no plate. (fn. 82) There was some dispute between the Gerards and the crown as to the liability to pay the £4 after the abolition of the chantry. (fn. 83) The unused building gradually decayed, and the ground around the ruined chapel was in course of time used as a burial place by the adherents of the ancient faith. (fn. 84) In 1824 adjoining land was purchased by Sir William Gerard, whose son in 1835 added a plot of land to the burial ground, and in 1861 the St. Helens Burial Board acquired adjacent ground for a public cemetery. (fn. 85)

There is a well, known as St. Thomas's, about three hundred yards from the ruin. (fn. 86) The water was said to be good for sore eyes. An ancient cross on three steps stands beside the chantry; on it is the date 1627.

Adjacent is the church of St. Thomas of Canterbury, built on land given in 1892 by Lord Gerard, a descendant of the founder of the old chantry. (fn. 87)


  • 1. The reduced area comprised 2,130 acres, including 34 of inland water, according to the census of 1901.
  • 2. See Dict. Nat. Biog. He wrote an account of the Intellectual Development of Europe.
  • 3. Lond. Gaz. 16 Dec. 1864.
  • 4. Survey of 1346 (Chet. Soc.), p. 38. See also Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 196; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 6, m. 3 d.; Towneley MS. DD. n. 1510, an inquisition of 1441. It appears from the inquisition after the death of Sir Thomas Gerard in 1622 that Sir Peter Legh had acquired the superior lordship formerly held by the Botelers; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 300.
  • 5. Lancs. Inq. and Extents (Rec. Lancs. and Ches.), 8. Compare the account of Halsall. The other half of Windle may be represented by Hardshaw, held by the Hospitallers.
  • 6. Ibid. 147.
  • 7. Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 212b, n. 178.
  • 8. Assize R. 1341, m. 21d.; De Banc. R. 27, m. 23, &c. Robert asserted that defendants held of him by knight's service and the service of keeping 100 pigs for him in the wood of Lodbergh; ibid. R. 41, m. 7d.
  • 9. Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 132, 141; the younger Alan, as Alan de Pemberton, in 1201 proffered 10 marks for his relief after his father's death, and for having right as to 40s. against Nicholas le Boteler, who had been under-sheriff in 1197–8; ibid. 100. Alan senior may therefore have died in 1197.
  • 10. Final Conc. i, 37; dower was assigned in Skelmersdale and Pembarton.
  • 11. De Banc. R. 230, m. 172d.; 235, m. 124d. See also a note under Rainhill, where the Alan of 1318 names his greatgrandfather, Alan le Styward. Two of his charters, made early in the thirteenth century, are given in the Cockersand Chartul. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 608, 609. By one he gave Herthfelling in Windle, in exchange for two oxgangs there, to Ralph son of Adam de Prescot, who afterwards gave it to Cockersand; it lay on the eastern side of the township adjoining Parr; the deep Moss Lache and its wood are mentioned. By the second he confirmed Ralph's gift—the donor being called Ralph de Windle; the land had been marked out by crosses.
  • 12. Adam de Pemberton, younger son of Alan senior, was living in 1246; Final Conc. i, 98.
  • 13. Whalley Coucher (Chet. Soc.), ii, 550, a charter which belongs to the second half of the thirteenth century; cf. ii, 499.
  • 14. Lancs. Inq. and Extents, 146, 186, 203. Alan married Amice, who brought her husband half the manor of Rainhill; she died between 1246 and 1256; Assize R. 404, m. 11; Final Conc. i, 125.
  • 15. Fine R. 49 (36 Hen. III), m. 22.
  • 16. Cur. Reg. R. 150, m. 3; 151, m. 4d.; 152, m. 9; see the account of West Derby.
  • 17. See a former note. Peter de Burnhull seems to have been known also as Peter de Windle; Coram Rege R. 12, m. 87. The local name continued in use; the Parrs were accused of breaking into Alan de Windle's house at Windle and stealing his valuables in 1323; Coram Rege R. 254, m. 46, 47d.
  • 18. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 377.
  • 19. De Banc. R. 124, m. 9d.; Assize R. 419, m. 9; 420, m. 6d; 424, m. 2; see the accounts of Rainhill, Ashton-inMakerfield, and Brindle. In 1305 there was a suit between Alan de Burnhull and Thomas de Beetham, turning on the boundaries between Windle and Kirkby; Alan mentions Alan his grandfather as possessed of the land he claimed; it descended to Peter, claimant's brother, and then to himself; Assize R. 420, m. 4.
  • 20. See the account of Rainhill.
  • 21. Dods. MSS. cxxxi, fol. 33; see also Feud. Aids, iii, 89.
  • 22. De Banc. R. 284, m. 15.
  • 23. In 1354 a settlement of the manors of Windle and Rainhill was made by fine between William Gerard and Joan his wife and their son Peter and Katherine his wife; at that time Joan's sister Agnes was still living, so that the Gerards had only half the Burnhull manors; Katherine, the widow of Peter de Burnhull, was also living, and was in the enjoyment of her dower; Final Conc. ii, 142. Katherine had married Hugh de Venables by the beginning of 1331; De Banc. R. 284, m. 119. In 1383, Agnes and Katherine being dead, another settlement was made of the same manors by Thomas Gerard, son of Peter, and Maud his wife; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 2, m. 29. Sir Thomas Gerard, who died in 1416, held Windle by knight's service and the rent of 20d. a year; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Chet. Soc.), i, 123. The Duchy Feodary of 1483 states that Sir Thomas Gerard then held Windle of Thomas Boteler. For a settlement in 1703 see Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 251, m. 61.
  • 24. Kuerden MSS. iv, W. 38. From Sir Thomas Gerard 20d. for Windle appears in the list of Boteler properties in Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 13, m. 142.
  • 25. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 34, 35.
  • 26. Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 2, m. viij, and De Banc. R. 421, m. 108.
  • 27. William de Caleye claimed two messuages and various lands in Windle from Peter de Windle and Alice his wife in 1275; Coram Rege R. 12, m. 87. Alan and Thomas de Colley were defendants in 1307; Assize R. 431, m. 3d. John son of Roger de Whiston, Cecily his wife, and Emma, the sister of Cecily, claimed three acres in Windle from Alan son of Alan de Colley in 1325–6; De Banc. R. 258, m. 387; R. 261, m. 206. In 1552 a settlement was made of Roger Colley's lands in Windle, Sutton and Melling; Robert was his son and heir, and Richard another son; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 14, m. 118. A further settlement was made by these sons in 1571, when the property included 12 messuages and 2 horse mills; Robert Colley seems to have died childless, and the heir was his brother's son Robert, with remainders to Francis Colley, and others; ibid. bdle. 33, m. 191. The William Colley here mentioned appears to have been mortgaging or selling his lands about this time; Moore D. n. 763, 737; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 19, m. 73, &c. In 1596 Francis Colley or Cowley sold some land here to Thomas Foxe; ibid. bdle. 59, m. 251. The purchaser died seven years later, holding lands in Windle and Hardshaw of Sir Thomas Gerard and Henry Travers; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 3–6. The estate of Roger Colley was in 1560 the subject of a fine, the deforciants being Robert Worsley and Roger Charnock; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 22, m. 78. Thomas and John Cowley, apparently brothers, John being the son of Robert Cowley of Prescot, entered the English College at Rome in 1624 and 1629; Foley, Rec. S. J. vi, 305, 320. Another John Cowley entered in 1662; ibid. vi, 404.
  • 28. In 1527 Richard Harflynch settled his property by fine; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 11, m. 159. Richard Urmston, one of the feoffees, afterwards (in 1545–6) claimed the Harflynch property as reversioner after the death of Roger Harflynch; but Jane the widow of Richard Harflynch and her daughter Jane, the heir, appear to have maintained their right; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), ii, 206. Jane married Thomas Eccles alias Cliff, shortly afterwards; ibid. ii, 180. Harflynch may be a misreading of Harffynch; Harefinch or Haresfinch is in Windle, on the borders of Parr.
  • 29. Thomas Eccles and Jane his wife made settlements of their lands in 1561 and 1575; Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdles. 23, m. 185; 37, m. 174. Also again in 1580 when Thomas their son and heir took part; ibid. bdle. 42, m. 109. In 1628 Thomas Eccles seems to have been the chief resident owner who paid to the subsidy; Norris D. (B.M.). Adam Eccles alias Cliff, in 1717, as a 'Papist' registered an estate for the lives of Thomas, Ellen, and Anne Cliff, his children; Eng. Cath. Non-jurors, 98.
  • 30. Sir John Port and Margery his wife, widow of Sir Thomas Gerard, had various claims and possessions in Windle Manor and Windleshaw Park; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 195, 190; also iii, 302. The earl of Derby in 1547 claimed tithes from Sir Thomas Gerard in Windle Lordship and Windleshaw Park; ibid. i, 223. A year or two later Windleshaw is called a manor, in a dispute between Sir Thomas Gerard and the earl of Derby on one side, and Thomas Eccleston as lord of Eccleston on the other, regarding common of pasture on Blakehill Moss; ibid. ii, 106; i, 236; see also Royalist Comp. P. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 57, 170.
  • 31. Formerly a court-leet and court-baron were held in November, at which peace officers were chosen; Baines, Lancs. Directory, 1825, ii, 548. Under these St. Helens was then governed.
  • 32. Diary (Chet. Soc.), 1–40. The chapel at St. Helens, and the schools there and at Rainford are noticed. There are also some particulars as to the district in Roger Lowe's diary, published in Local Gleanings Lancs. and Ches. i; e.g. on 15 May, 1664, he and his friends went, 'two and two together,' to Cowley Hill to hear the Nonconformist minister preach.
  • 33. Royalist Comp. P. iv, 117; i, 118. Of the former family probably were three brothers who entered the English College at Rome under the alias of Lathom, early in the seventeenth century—George, Christopher, and Edward. George Mainwaring stated that his father, Oliver, had 'suffered imprisonment for the faith more than once.' Edward, the youngest, born in 1604, who afterwards worked in Lancashire, on admission stated that 'his parents were excellent Catholics, of good family, but had suffered much and were in reduced circumstances from the persecution against Catholics; he named three brothers and four sisters as then (1622) living'; Foley, Rec. S. F. vi, 254, 282, 298. The widow of Oliver Mainwaring appears on the recusant roll of 1641; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xiv, 241. William Mainwaring's estate was included in the third confiscation Act of 1652, as was also that of Edward Unsworth of Windle; Index of Royalists (Index Soc.), 43, 44; Cal. Com. for Comp. iv, 3127.
  • 34. Engl. Cath. Non-jurors, 98, 119, 121. 127. John Fletcher's son William entered at Douay in 1743. Mary daughter of Richard Fletcher of Denton's Green is stated to have been cured in 1768 by the hand of Fr. Arrowsmith; Foley, Rec. S. J. ii, 64. For the family see J. Gillow, Bibliog. Dict. of Engl. Cath. ii, 298.
  • 35. The Hospitallers had lands in Windle as early as 1292; Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 375.
  • 36. John son of Adam de Orrell of Hardshaw occurs in 1318; Add. MS. 32106, n. 1185.
  • 37. For a fuller history of the family see the account of Ridgate in Whiston. William, son of Richard de Holland of Cayley in Haydock, in 1339 granted to Henry Travers of 'Haureteschagh' various lands in Haydock; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxxviii, 45. John Travers, jun., of Windle, was pardoned in 1422 for the death of John Barbon at Windle in Dec. 1419; it was shown that he killed him in self-defence; Cal. of Pat. 1422–9, p. 7. William Travers of Hardshaw was witness to a Parr deed of 1439; and John Travers of Hardshaw occurs in a plea of 1493–4. According to the Hospitallers' Rental, c. 1540, Henry Travers held the manor of Hardshaw of them, paying a rent of 12d.; Kuerden MSS. v, fol. 84. In 1528 Richard Bold was holding land here of Henry Travers, which his son Richard held in 1558 of Robert Travers; Duchy of Lanc. Inq. p.m. vi, n. 25; xi, n. 63, 13. Thomas Foxe in 1603 held his land in Hardshaw of Henry Travers; Lanc. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lanc. and Ches.), i, 3–6; but in 1623 William Naylor held his lands of the earl of Derby, as of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem; ibid. iii, 344. In 1628 'the occupiers of the lands of James Travers' paid to the subsidy; Norris D. (B.M.). James Travers was living there in 1662; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xvi, 133. Henry Travers of Hardshaw was 'a recusant and thereof indicted' in 1590; Gibson, Lydiate Hall, 246 (quoting S. P. Dom. Eliz. ccxxxv, n. 4). He 'could not be found' by the sheriff in 1593, and was assessed £15 in the special tax on recusants for the queen's service in Ireland in 1598; Gibson, op. cit. 261, 262 (quoting S.P. Dom. Eliz. ccxxxiii, and cclxvi, n. 80). See also Cal. Com. for Comp. v, 3236. The Matthew Travers who was guardian of Peter Wetherby of Halsnead was of this family. As one of the 'most obstinate' in adherence to the ancient religion he was among the six summoned to appear before the earl of Derby, the bishop of Chester, and others, when in 1568 the queen determined to secure conformity in Lancashire. He acknowledged that he had not been to church 'according to the laws,' nor received the communion 'in sort as the same is now set forth,' and he made no promise of amendment. He also acknowledged receiving into his house 'one Ashbrough and one Smith and others as he toke of the ould religion,' but excused himself on the ground that Smith was a kinsman and Ashbrough (or Ashbrook) came with him; Gibson, Lydiate Hall, 207 (quoting S.P. Dom. Eliz. xxxvi, n. 2). He continued his refusal to attend the new services and was constantly reported as a 'recusant'; at his death in or before 1586 he owed £400 for fines; ibid. 226, 228, 238 (quoting S.P. Dom. Eliz. cxc, n. 43). He is sometimes called 'yeoman' and at others 'gentleman.'
  • 38. Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 124, m. 35. The fine was between Richard Egerton, plaintiff, and Edward Egerton, Thomas Goulden, Sarah his wife, and Henry Holland, deforciants. Besides the manor of Hardshaw there were houses and lands in Windle and Hardshaw. Four years later there was a settlement of boundaries between Richard Egerton and Richard Parr; Exch. Depos. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 25. The will of Mary Egerton, spinster, of Hardshaw, a benefactor of the poor, dated 30 Jan. 1693–4, was proved at Chester in 1695. In it she mentions her 'aunt Mary, now wife of Thomas Ince of Ince'; her cousin Edward Cheffers, Elizabeth his sister, and Winifred and Anne his daughters; her uncle John Goulden, her cousin Thomas Goulden and his sister Dorothy, and her cousin Mary Goulden of Barton, spinster; and her cousin Richard Cotham. She bequeathed Hardshaw to Mrs. Mary Cotham, subject to a rent charge of £20 in trust 'for the Popish secular clergy for ever.' In 1716 Thomas Goulden was the owner, in right of his wife; he had an estate in Fearnhead, the annual value of all being £128. See Payne, Rec. of Engl. Cath. 123; Engl. Cath. Nonjurors, 119. It will be noticed that a Thomas Goulden took part in the above fine. The Thomas Goulden of 1716 was son of John; ibid. 155.
  • 39. Baines, Lancs. (ed. 1836), iii, 710. Mary, wife of Thomas Goulden, by her will of 1757, left Hardshaw Hall to her nephew, William Penketh Cotham, of Bannister Hey in Clyton; Piccope MSS. iii, 288, quoting R. 31 of Geo. II at Preston. The will of William Cotham of Hardshaw Hall was proved in 1797. Lawrence Cotham seems to have succeeded; he married Winifred, daughter of Thomas West of St. Helens, and had a son William Penketh Cotham (under age 1828); Charity Rep. He married, July, 1840, at Macclesfield, Anna, daughter of William Taylor. See Gillow, op. cit. iii, 42.
  • 40. He is a son of Thomas Walmesley (a younger son of Charles Walmesley of Westwood, Ince) by his wife Anna Maria, daughter of William Cotham of Springfield, Eccleston, and heiress of Lawrence Cotham.
  • 41. Dods. MSS. cxlii, fol. 208, n. 105.
  • 42. In 1601 Thomas Gerard complained that Robert Roughley was withholding suit to Windle manor; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), iii, 439, 459. In 1614 Thomas Roughley of Sutton left £100 for the school; Robert, his brother and heir, was thirty years of age and more; Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 280. Janet the wife of Robert was a recusant in 1641; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xiv, 241.
  • 43. It may be noticed that the three ancient chapels of the parish are situated on the road from Lathom and Ormskirk to Widnes—Rainford, St. Helens, and Farnworth; the name, Chester Lane, still applied to a part of this road, is of ancient origin.
  • 44. Adam Martindale (Chet. Soc.), 17; he specially mentions its situation on 'the great road' between Warrington and Ormskirk.
  • 45. The hearth-tax list of 1666 shows twenty-seven houses of three hearths and more in the township of Windle; Lay Subs. 250–9. They would be mostly at St. Helens. The numbers of such houses were in Prescot thirty-two, and in Widnes twenty-six.
  • 46. Lady Kenyon, writing in 1797, says: 'St. Helens was a poor little place when I passed through it thirty years ago; and now is a very neat, pretty country town; the roads all as good broad pavements as can be'; Kenyon MSS. 548.
  • 47. Baines, Lancs. Direct. 1825; p. ii, 547–51. Letter bags came in from Liverpool, Prescot, and Wigan once a day, with corresponding despatches. Four coaches beside the mail seem to have been running through the town, between Liverpool and Wigan, and Liverpool and Bolton.
  • 48. In 1845 the St. Helens and Runcorn Gap Railway and the Sankey Canal were amalgamated, and the united concern was purchased by the London and North-Western Company in 1864.
  • 49. These particulars, as well as most of the modern story, are derived from James Brockbank's Hist. of St. Helens, 1896.
  • 50. Improvement Act, 18 & 19 Vic.c. 74.
  • 51. The original area of the borough was 6,558 acres, being the same as that of the present parliamentary borough. The town was divided into six wards—Hardshaw, Parr, East Sutton, West Sutton, Windle, and Eccleston; each with an alderman and three councillors. In 1889 the borough was divided into nine wards—Central, Hardshaw, Parr, East and West Sutton, North and South Windle, and North and South Eccleston—the membership of the council being thus increased to thirty-six. The water undertaking and the markets were already public property. The gas works were purchased in 1878. The St. Helens Corporation Act, 1893, consolidated into one civil parish the various civil parishes, or parts, within the county borough, at the same time extending the bounds to include parts of Windle and Eccleston, amounting to 720 acres; in 1898 a further 6 acres of Eccleston was included. Mr. W. H. Andrew, town clerk, has afforded information on these points to the editors.
  • 52. 7,285, including 104 of inland water; Census Rep. of 1901.
  • 53. The library was first opened in 1872 in the town hall. There are branches at Sutton, Thatto Heath, and Parr.
  • 54. The latter was presented by Mr. Samuel Taylor. Others are Thatto Heath Park, opened 1889; Sutton Park, 1903; Queen's and Parr recreation grounds, acquired by public subscription, opened in 1901 and 1900; and Gaskell Park, a small space presented by Dr. Gaskell in 1900.
  • 55. The plate-glass industry started about 1787; Manch. Guardian N. and Q., n. 849.
  • 56. Chet. Soc. cxiii, p. 81. A doubtful reference (c. 1500) is Kuerden MSS ii, 240b. Thomas Parr of Parr in 1558 bequeathed 10s. 'to a stock towards finding a priest at St. Helen's Chapel in Hardshaw, and to the maintenance of God's divine service there for ever, if the stock go forward and that the priest do service as is aforesaid'; Piccope's Wills (Chet. Soc.), iii, 120.
  • 57. Gibson, Lydiate Hall, 248 (quoting S.P. Dom. Eliz. ccxxxv, n. 4). In 1592 John Rutter was reader there; he was excommunicated for marrying two persons without banns; Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), x, 190. William Fairhurst was 'reader' in 1609; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.), xxii, 298.
  • 58. Canon Raines in Gastrell's Notitia (Chet. Soc.), 206. Various anomalies are pointed out in the note.
  • 59. Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 65 In the visitation report of the same year (Chester Dioc. Reg.) the chapel is described as newly built and not consecrated. There was no surplice. In the preceding year Mr. Burtonwood was presented for administering the communion to those that sat. Edward Moxon was curate in 1628; Raines MSS. xxii, 70. Mr. Burrowes was curate in 1638.
  • 60. Commonwealth Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 73. The minister had come in 'by the free choice and election of the inhabitants within the chapelry'; he had £40 out of the sequestrations and £4 12s. 4d., the interest of various sums given for the maintenance of a minister there. He was a painful man, serving his cure diligently, though he had not observed a fast day recently ordained by Parliament. His name is appended to the 'Harmonious Consent' of 1648.
  • 61. Baptisms are entered in the Prescot registers as having been performed by Mr. Greg (1677) and Mr. Withington (1684), 'nonconformist preachers' at St. Helen's Chapel.
  • 62. Cartwright's Diary (Camd. Soc.), 77. In 1689 James Naylor of St. Helen's Chapel 'in Makersfield' was a 'Presbyterian parson'; Kenyon MSS. 232. His will was proved in 1711, at Chester.
  • 63. A motion having been made by Thomas Patten, counsellor at law, for its registration, counsel for Mr. Byrom and others showed that the building was a consecrated chapel of ease, 'which anciently was and now of right ought to be supplied with a minister of the Church of England' for the ease of the inhabitants of Hardshaw-within-Windle especially. The magistrates, by twenty-six to one, refused the registration; ibid. 246. This action was confirmed by the judges; ibid. 269. An inquiry had been made in the previous Sept.; it was then shown that the chapel, being old and decayed, had been re-built about 1620 on the old site, and that the legally ordained services had been used therein, the sacraments administered, the dead buried, &c. as in the case of a chapel of ease. Thomas Roughley and others, trustees of the small endowment fund mentioned, had 'of late' brought in a Presbyterian minister; ibid. 262. In the legal proceedings the endowment of the school was consumed; Gastrell, Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 208.
  • 64. Before 1716 the income from endowment was £7 13s. 6d.; in the year named Capt. Clayton of Liverpool gave £100, the people £80, and the Bounty £200; with this money certain tithes in the parish of Leigh were purchased. In 1736 a further augmentation was made. Gastrell, Notitia, ii, 207, and note.
  • 65. Ibid. ii, 206 note. For the endowments see St. Helens Char. Rep. 1905, p. 24.
  • 66. Afterwards vicar of Childwall.
  • 67. Afterwards rector of Blymhill.
  • 68. Previously vicar of St. Anne's, Nottingham. The list of incumbents is due to Mr. R. W. H. Thomas, of St. Helens, who has also given other information.
  • 69. Notitia, ii, 207.
  • 70. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 220.
  • 71. Raines, Chantries (Chet. Soc.), 78. The chapel was three miles from the parish church, and may have been at St. Helens or in Bold. There was only one 'Sir John Bold, knight,' who died in 1436; but it is difficult to see how a foundation made by him could have been at the arbitrary disposal of Dame Bold in 1548. This lady's husband had a halfbrother John; if he were the founder, the circumstance might be explained, but he was not a knight.
  • 72. Oliver Heywood's Diaries, iv, 312, 318.
  • 73. Nightingale, Lancs. Nonconf. iv, 128, where a list of ministers is given. There is a branch at Gerard's Bridge, begun in 1872; ibid. 141. For the endowments (£470 a year) see St. Helens Char. Rep. 1905, p. 53.
  • 74. Nightingale, iv, 142; the work began in 1885, and a mission chapel was built in 1889.
  • 75. Kenyon MSS. 231. The meeting house was built in 1678 and re-built in 1763; it was used for the monthly meetings, a weekly meeting for worship beginning in 1835. A graveyard adjoins it. The inn, built at the same time, remained in the hands of Friends until about 1850. Hardshaw gives its name to two great districts of the organization—Hardshaw East and West including a large part of South Lancashire and Cheshire. For an account of lands and charities (with an income of £4,400) connected with it, see Quaker Char. Rep. 1905, pp. 42–69.
  • 76. The recusant roll of 1626 shows twenty-two entries for Windle; Lay Subs. 131/318.
  • 77. This priest's real name was William Barton; he was a Lancashire man, educated at the English College in Rome and sent on the mission about 1675; he seems to have lived at Mossborough in Rainford. By his will, dated 1723, he left a silver chalice and a silver-gilt chalice to St. Helen's Chapel; Liverpool Cath. Ann. 1901. This chapel was perhaps in Hardshaw Hall. See Foley's Rec. S. J. vi, 412.
  • 78. Her maiden name was Lowe.
  • 79. Joseph Gillow in Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), xiii, 163; Foley, op. cit. v, 349, 397; vii, 44, 35; and Liverpool Cath. Ann. Fr. Joseph Beaumont, S. J., settled at Cowley Hill about 1750, and dying in 1773 was buried at Windleshaw. Joseph Barrow was there from 1777 till his death in 1813. There was a confirmation of 79 persons in 1784, the communicants being 101.
  • 80. In 1517 there was a recovery of the manor of Windle, and the advowson of the chapel of Windle; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 121, m. 2d.
  • 81. In a return made in 1527 he was stated to have been chaplain for twenty years; Duchy of Lanc. Rentals 5/15.
  • 82. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 220; Raines, Chantries (Chet. Soc.), 79. There is nothing to show which Sir Thomas Gerard was the founder.
  • 83. Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 254; ii, 265; iii, 138. The first of these may be seen in Duchy Pleadings (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), iii, 129.
  • 84. The earliest known interment is that of Thomas Parkinson in 1751; he was a missionary priest serving Blackbrook and St. Helens. A little later the Quakers became possessed of the adjoining land, and asserted a title to the chapel site; they also endeavoured to prevent interments by denying a right of way from the road to the burial ground. In 1778 they sold their land to William Hill, a Presbyterian of liberal mind, who took a great interest in the ruin, and is said to have expressed a desire to be buried there. He conceded the right of way, and relinquished any claim he might have had upon the burial ground.
  • 85. This account is from one compiled by the Rev. A. Powell in Trans. Hist. Soc. (New Ser.), iii, 11–34, where there is a photograph of the ruin. There is a view of it as it stood about 1830, with a description of its condition in 1780, by T. Barritt, of Manchester, in Baines' Lancs. (ed. 1836), iii, 712. Dr. Thomas Penswick, who died in 1836, was buried here; he was consecrated as coadjutor in the Northern District, and became Vicar Apostolic in 1831. The Gerard family have a burial place in the additional part.
  • 86. It is 9 yds. long by 6 wide. The walls were built up in 1798, the date being inscribed at the head, with the initials for William and Elizabeth Hill. A story is told of its origin to the effect that a priest saying mass in the ruin was discovered and pursued, and his head struck off, the water gushing out where the head fell; A. Powell, loc. cit. 20, 21. See also H. Taylor in Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xix, 208–10.
  • 87. The church was opened in May, 1893. Every Friday mass is said for Sir Thomas Gerard and his descendants, for Richard Frodsham, the last chantry priest of the old chapel, and others; Liverpool Cath. Ann. 1901.