The parish of Eccles: Introduction, church and charities

A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.

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'The parish of Eccles: Introduction, church and charities', in A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4, (London, 1911) pp. 352-362. British History Online [accessed 5 March 2024]

In this section



The ancient parish of Eccles measures about 7 miles across, from the Irwell south-west to the Glazebrook, and has an area of 22,004 acres. The position of the church, from which the parish takes its name, was fairly central for the portion of the district habitable in former times, while the great area of moss land in the west was still unreclaimed, being close to the boundary between Pendleton, Pendlebury, and Clifton on the east, and the large areas of Worsley and Barton on the west. The general slope of the surface is from north to south, the highest land, about 300 ft. above sea level, being in the stretch of higher ground between Worsley and Kearsley.

The parish was anciently divided into three 'quarters'—Barton, Worsley, and Pendleton, assessed for the county lay of 1624 at £3 19s. 8½d., £2 18s. 3d., and £3 5s. 4¾d. respectively, when the hundred paid £100. (fn. 1) For the 'fifteenth' the townships paid as follows:—Barton, including Farnworth, £1 12s.; Worsley, £1 1s.; Pendleton, 13s. 6d.; Pendlebury, 5s.; Clifton, 7s., or £3 18s. 6d. out of £41 14s. 4d. for the hundred. (fn. 2)

Though the parish is of great extent, and lies near Manchester and Bolton, its particular history has been uneventful. There was a skirmish at Woolden in the Civil War, and in 1745 the Young Pretender's army passed through in its advance and retreat. The geological formation of the southern and central part of the parish consists of the New Red Sandstone, the northern part of the Permian Rocks and Coal Measures. Coal mines have been worked from the 16th century, and perhaps earlier. In the 18th century the Worsley navigation schemes led to a great development of mines, and later of manufactures, and Eccles and Pendleton have shared in the growth of Manchester trade. The following is the apportionment of agricultural land within the ancient parish: Arable land, 7,587 acres; permanent grass, 5, 914; woods and plantations, 716. (fn. 3)

Chat Moss remained waste until the beginning of the last century. (fn. 4) Defoe, who passed it on the way from Warrington to Manchester early in the 18th century, has given a description of it. It stretched along the road for 5 or 6 miles, the surface looked black and dirty, and it was 'indeed frightful to think of, for it would bear neither horse nor man, unless in an exceeding dry season, and then so as not to be travelled over with safety.' The land was entirely waste, 'except for the poor cottagers' fuel, and the quantity used for that was very small.' (fn. 5) Leland and Camden tell of a great eruption of the moss in the time of Henry VIII. (fn. 6) The carrying of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway over Chat Moss in 1830 was considered a great triumph of engineering. (fn. 7) The whole has now been reclaimed. (fn. 8) The corporation of Manchester has a sewage farm there.

Dr. Aikin says of Eccles in 1795:—

The agriculture of the parish is chiefly confined to grazing, and would be more materially benefited by draining; but the tax upon brick, a most essential article in this process, has been a very great hindrance to it. The use of lime—imported from Wales, and brought by the inland navigations to the neighbourhood of our collieries—has become very general in the improvement of the meadow and pasture lands … The advance of population in the parish of Eccles [the effect of the great demand for hands in our manufactures] has been attended with a due care respecting public worship and the religious education of children… . The excellent institutions of Sunday schools were early patronised in Eccles parish, and continue to receive the steady and liberal support of the parishioners. There are now, it is calculated, near one thousand children regularly taught in these schools, and with very considerable improvement. (fn. 9)

Eccles gives a name to one of the parliamentary divisions of the county formed of this parish and Flixton; it returns one member.


There are three newspapers published at Eccles, the Advertiser, established 1853; the Journal, 1874; and the Telegraph.


The church of ST. MARY stands on elevated ground about 200 yds. to the north of the old market-place, and consists of chancel with north and south aisles, south transept with vestry on the east side, nave with north and south aisles, south porch, and west tower. There is also a building, now used as a strong-room and motor-house, with entrance porch, on the north side of the north chancel aisle.

The whole of the east end of the church has been rebuilt in modern times, but west of the chancel arch the building, except the tower and south aisle, is of early 16th-century date with some traces of 14th-century work at the entrance to the rebuilt south transept. The tower belongs to the 15th century, and possibly incorporates in its lower stage the masonry of an older structure.

The earliest parts of the building are the responds of the arch to the south transept in St. Katherine's Chapel, which are of 14th-century date, and may belong to the year 1368, when the chapel was founded. These form the only remaining fragment of a church which probably consisted of a chancel with north chapel and nave with south aisle, to which this chantry was added. Owing to the rebuilding of 1862–3 at the east end evidence of the extent of this early church is wanting, but both the chancel and nave seem to have been of the same length as at present, though of less width. The east wall of the north chapel, however, appears to have been standing up to 1861 in a line with the east wall of the chancel, and contained a good 14th-century window, of which the present window in the same position is said to be a copy. (fn. 10) Whether this earlier church had a north aisle it is impossible to say, and its south aisle was most likely narrower than the present one, though there is nothing actually to show that the arch to the south transept is not in its original position. If it is, the aisle must have been of almost equal width to the nave, which is unlikely. There was probably a west tower to the 14th-century church, but no positive evidence of this remains, successive rebuildings and restorations making it almost impossible to say whether the lower portion of the present tower is older than the upper part. Whatever the original western termination may have been, however, the tower was built, or rebuilt, centring with the nave, probably in the beginning of the 15th century, and at the same time, or shortly afterwards, the north aisle was added or reconstructed. The Jesus altar stood here. This aisle was lighted at its west end by a three-light window with cinquefoiled heads under a fourcentred arch, the remains of which may still be seen blocked up on the outside. Later in the same century, probably about 1450, when William and Lawrence Booth founded (or refounded) a second chantry of St. Katherine, the south aisle seems to have been rebuilt further southward. The evidence of the old plinth, now restored, showed it to be a later addition, and it is likely that the entrance to St. Katherine's Chapel was at this time taken down and reconstructed in its present position. That the south aisle is earlier in date than the 16th-century rebuilding, which brought the church to its present shape, is shown by the windows, whose jambs are moulded, in contrast with the plain chamfered jambs of the later work, and by the generally better and more careful detail as shown in the hood-moulds to the windows and in the buttresses, which had cusped panelled fronts. In the rebuilding of this wall much, if not all, of the old detail has been lost, the middle buttress having disappeared, and the diagonal one at the south-west having been renewed.

Plan of Eccles Church

The south aisle of the chancel, if it did not exist before, must have been built some time in the 15th century, and is probably the 'new chapel' which was built by Sir Geoffrey Massey, who died in 1457, having founded a chantry at the Trinity altar there in 1453. The old views of the church show the south chancel aisle with a three-light 15th-century window similar to that in the west end of the north aisle, together with a priest's door with a pointed head and hood-mould in the south-west corner.

It is possible that the south arcade of the nave was rebuilt at the same time as the south aisle was enlarged, but this would mean that the work then executed was taken down within forty or fifty years. It is more likely that the original north and south arcade stood till the beginning of the 16th century, when the great rebuilding of the church commenced. (fn. 11) The south arcade was the first to be taken down, and was reconstructed with a lofty clearstory on the same line. The north arcade was afterwards pushed out 5 ft. to the north, bringing the north aisle wall flush with the wall of the north chapel of the chancel, and throwing the tower out of centre with the nave. Whether there had been a chancel arch before this date it is impossible to say, but the chancel seems to have been reconstructed without one at this time or shortly after, and similarly widened to the north. The evidence of this was much more plain before the rebuilding of 1862–3 by the way in which the roof of the old chancel cut into that of the north chapel. (fn. 12) The axis of the chancel is twisted about 18 in. to the south, but whether this took place during the 16th-century rebuilding, or was so originally, there is nothing to show, and the south arcade of the chancel may be on the exact line of the former one. The only fixed point in the church through the various rebuildings seems to be the south pier between the chancel and nave, though this of course was only built in its present form in the 16th-century reconstruction. The arches and piers of the chancel are similar to those of the nave, but the arches are much wider and higher, leaving no space for the clearstory like that of the nave, unless the roof were taken very much higher. But the unfinished end of the nave roof as shown in old views of the church seems to suggest that it was intended to carry it on over the chancel, the two octagonal turrets alone marking the division of nave and chancel on the outside.

The building as finished in the first part of the 16th century remained more or less intact until 1801 when the taking down of the east end was begun prior to reconstruction. Many alterations, however, took place in the interior between these two dates, the first in 1595, when new pews and forms were set up. At this date, too, there were 'repairs to the church,' which probably included the insertion of much of the window tracery. In 1713 the church was 'beautified,' and in 1715 the vestry, which had been in the south aisle of the chancel, was removed to the west end under the tower. In 1717 a west gallery was ordered to be erected, and at the same time or shortly after the building was again thoroughly repaired. The roof was releaded in 1719. In 1770 north and south galleries were ordered to be erected, and in 1790 the south porch was restored. A gallery was erected at the east end of the nave in 1803 excluding any view of the chancel, but this was removed in 1862. The other galleries still remain. There were further repairs in 1832, 1846, 1854, and 1856, the nave roof being repaired and the lead recast, new roofs constructed to the aisles, and the old flagged floor relaid. (fn. 13) In 1862–3 the east end was entirely rebuilt and a small clearstory of three triangular-shaped lights added to the chancel walls. The work comprised the reconstruction of the chancel with its north and south aisles, the addition of a vestry on the north, and an organ chamber on the south, and the rebuilding of St. Katherine's Chapel, which had long been destroyed. (fn. 14) Three large circular 18th-century windows, formerly lighting the south gallery, were built up at this time, but their position may still be seen from the inside. The organ, formerly in the west gallery, was transferred to the chamber on the south side of the south chancel aisle and remained there till 1890, when a new one was erected on screens in the first and second bay on each side of the chancel, and the organ chamber turned into a vestry. At the same time the vestry on the north was converted to its present use. The organ chamber seems to have been erected prior to the rebuilding of St. Katherine's Chapel, as its west wall was built as an outside wall, as may be seen by the diagonal buttress and the blocked-up windows on that side. St. Katherine's Chapel, which is supposed to be on the site of the original chantry chapel, now forms a south transept.

The church is built of friable red sandstone, which had decayed so badly that an almost complete refacing of the old part became necessary in 1907. The work was completed in 1908, and very little of the exterior detail is now left. The interior was, till 1875, covered with an accumulated coat of limewash, but was then stripped and all its stonework cleaned. Externally the walls of the nave and aisles have battlemented parapets and the roofs are covered with lead. The aisles have lean-to roofs with a straight parapet on their west end. The walls of the chancel, south chapel and aisle, and transept also terminate in battlements, and the vestry has a stepped gable on the south side. The roofs of the chancel and chancel aisles are covered with slates, but those of the vestry and transept are leaded. The south aisle of the chancel has a lean-to roof, but the roof of the north aisle retains its original gable form.

The chancel is 43 ft. long by 23 ft. 6 in. wide and has north and south arcades of two bays with centre pier and east and west responds. The arches are 16 ft. 6 in. wide, and there is a piece of straight wall at the east end 4 ft. long. The columns and arches are similar to those in the nave, but the capitals are slightly different. The first bay from the west on each side is filled with a modern screen with an organ over and a similar screen partly fills the eastern bav. The east window is a modern traceried one of five lights in the style of the 15th century and belongs with the clearstory and roof to the 1862–3 rebuilding. The fittings are all modern and are of no particular interest. The chancel arch is a modern insertion of two chamfered orders springing high up from shafts corbelled out from the large octagonal piers which separate the nave from the chancel. The pier on the south side is 4 ft. 6 in. in diameter with a respond on its east and west faces and is built solid. That on the north side is bigger and contains a staircase leading to the roof, entered from the north aisle. On the outside these piers are carried up above the roof and are finished with pyramidal stone roofs and finials. The north aisle of the chancel, which is 17 ft. 6 in. wide, retains no ancient features, but has a copy of the five-light 14th-century window with reticulated tracery already mentioned at its east end. It has two three-light windows on the north side and a door to the strong room, with an outer door in the north-west corner to the west of the old vestry. The south aisle of the chancel, which is 16 ft. wide, has a three-light window at the east end and two three-light windows on the south side. The old organ chamber (present vestry) is built out to the south at its west end and is separated from it by a screen. The aisle contains a monument to Richard Brereton and his wife, described below.

The nave measures 60 ft. in length and 23 ft. 3 in. in width and is of four bays with north and south arcades having octagonal shafts 2 ft. 6 in. in diameter, their longer sides measuring 18 in. and the shorter 5 in., set diagonally. The longer sides have a hollow moulding stopping under the capitals, which are of a plain block character with upper and two lower fillets, and are carved with plain shields, three on each face. The capitals of the easternmost pier of the north arcade and of the east respond are slightly different, having only the upper and lower round fillet and two shields on each face. The arches are pointed and of two plain chamfered orders. On each side there are four pointed five-light clearstory windows of very poor detail. The jambs and heads are chamfered and there is no external hood-mould, while the tracery is straight and without cuspings. The sills of the windows on the inside are more than 2 ft. above the crown of the nave arcade, but they were formerly much lower, as may be seen by a straight joint at each side. In the recent restoration it was found that the jambs of the windows were continued below the present sills, these having been probably inserted at the time that the galleries were built, when the roofs of the aisles were raised in order to get head room. Two courses of masonry between the crowns of the nave arches and the sills of the windows above mark the former level of the clearstory.

On the east wall of the tower the line of the 14th-century steep-pitched roof may still be seen, together with the places where the purlins were housed into the wall. The roof of the nave is of flat pitch and probably retains a good deal of the original 16th-century timber, but it was repaired in 1846 and the decayed pieces replaced. The north-east diagonal buttress of the tower, the lower part of which has been cut away, is now an internal feature, together with the string-course marking the upper or belfry stage, with the lower part of a small window above. The tower arch is of two chamfered orders, the outer one of which is stopped at the springing, and is filled in behind the west gallery with a modern wood sevenlight traceried window. Under the gallery a modern doorway has been inserted. The west walls of the north and south aisles are not bonded in with the tower, (fn. 15) and it is possible that an extension of the nave westward or a rebuilding of the tower was contemplated by the 16th-century builders.

The two east piers of the north arcade and the east pier and east respond of the south arcade have canopied niches in the sides facing south-west (towards the entrance). The niches are empty, but show conclusively that the piers are of pre-Reformation date. (fn. 16) They are 3 ft. 6 in. high, and the shelf, which has a plain shield under, is 5 ft. 3 in. from the ground. The niche on the east respond of the south aisle, opposite St. Katherine's Chapel, has carved on either side a hammer and pincers together with a small cogged wheel, possibly with reference to St. Katherine. (fn. 17) The west pier of the north aisle has a stone bracket about 6 ft. 6 in. from the ground.

The west and south galleries are in line with the centre of the piers, but the north gallery is set back about 6 ft. behind the arcade and rests on small iron pillars. The north and south galleries retain their 18th-century pews, and are approached from the west end of each aisle by staircases.

The 14th-century responds of the arch to the south transept have been already mentioned. The capitals are modern, but are probably copies of the originals, and the arch over is a four-centred one of two rounded orders. The chapel is modern and has a four-light window on the south and one of two lights on the west. The south aisle has two three-light windows with moulded jambs and hood-moulds, as before mentioned. The mullions and tracery, however, are of late date like those of the other windows of the church. In the upper lights portions of the tracery have been cut away as in other parts of the building. Each aisle has a five-light window at its west end, and the north aisle is lighted by four five-light windows along its north side, all of which have been renewed. The south porch appears originally to have been erected in the 15th century with the south aisle, but the front part was rebuilt in 1790, which date is carved upon it. The inner door is old, of thick oak and nail-studded. The outer iron gates were set up in 1809.

The tower is rather squat and of two stages, being divided about midway by a string-course. It has diagonal buttresses of four stages, moulded plinth, and embattled parapet with angle and intermediate pinnacles. There is a vice in the south-west corner, entered from the outside. Externally the tower is 20 ft. square, but the walls not being of equal thickness, its internal dimensions are 11 ft. by 12 ft. 6 in. The west doorway, which has a pointed arch, has been rebuilt, and above, separated from it by a string-course between the buttresses, is a three-light pointed window with hood-mould, which is said to have originally shown signs of well-designed cusping. This had been hacked off outside, but remained on the inside to the ringing chamber. The window, which was of 15th-century date has, however, been entirely reconstructed and the ancient detail lost. The lower stage of the tower has a single-light window on the north side, but on the south is quite plain except for the door to the vice. The belfry stage has a three-light square-headed stone louvred window on each face, with a clock face below on the north, south, and west sides.

The fittings, including the font and the pulpit, are all modern, dating principally from 1862–3 and subsequent years. There are no traces of ancient ritual arrangements. In 1856, when the old flagged floor was relaid, two sepulchral slabs, one with a raised and the other with an incised cross, were found near the third column from the east on the south side of the nave at a depth of 2 ft. 6 in. These slabs now stand in the west porch under the tower at each side of the inner doorway. (fn. 18)

The monument of Richard Brereton and his wife was erected by the latter in 1600 and stands at the east end of the south aisle of the chancel, but is not in its original position. It is an altar tomb with recumbent figures, the man being in armour with helmet by his side and the lady in a ruff and with an enormous headdress. There is a figure of a child on a bracket on the south side of the tomb, around which runs the inscription.

Besides the Brereton monument there is an old brass to the Dauntesey family on the south side of the chancel arch, and a painted wooden shield emblazoned with the arms of George Legh (d. 1674) at the west end of the north aisle. (fn. 19)

There is no ancient stained glass.

There is a ring of eight bells. Four are mentioned in the inventory of Edward VI, but these were removed in 1709 and a new ring of six substituted. One of these bearing the inscription 'Prosperity to this church' still remains amongst the present ring. The tenor has the inscription: 'I to the church the living call and to the grave do summon all.' The curfew is still rung every night.

The plate consists of two chalices of 1618, with the date inscribed on each below the rim; a paten of 1681 with the date and names of the churchwardens; a flagon of 1723, inscribed 'Eccles Parish 1723'; another flagon of the year following inscribed 'Eccles Parish 1724'; an almsdish of 1777 inscribed 'This Dish given as a gratuity From the Several Inhabitants of Barton for the use of the Parish Church of Eccles 1777'; a paten of 1862–3 presented by Mr. Henry Blacklock, inscribed with the names of the donor and churchwardens, and the date 1863; and a chalice, paten, and flagon, silver gilt, of 1893.

The registers begin in 1563 (baptisms and burials 1563, marriages 1564). (fn. 20)

In the chancel are the banners of the Trafford House and Hulme Hall Local Militia, and the Eccles Corps of the Manchester and Salford Infantry Volunteers 1798.

The churchyard on the south and east sides is of great extent and is now completely paved with gravestones. As late as the 18th century the church stood amongst fields, and the churchyard was planted with fir trees, but in 1806 it was levelled and the headstones laid flat. The churchyard coming to be regarded as a common playground, the greater part of it was inclosed in 1886–7 by the erection of iron palisading and the public restricted to footpaths running from the north to the south and the east to the west entrances. The aspect of the churchyard is very desolate, though trees and shrubs have been planted. The principal entrance is from the street on the south-west by a flight of steps under a wroughtiron screen gateway bearing the royal arms and the date 1815, but set up in the year following at a cost of £49.


Something of the early history of the rectory can be gleaned from the charters of Whalley Abbey. It appears that just as the greater part of the parish, though under different titles, had by 1200 been acquired by the Barton family, so the patronage of the rectory was in their hands, partly perhaps in right of Barton and partly in right of Worsley. (fn. 21) At all events, the rectory had been divided into at least four portions, held usually by 'clerks' who were married and whose sons no doubt expected to succeed. (fn. 22) Priests as chaplains would have to be employed for mass and other rites, (fn. 23) the clerks themselves no doubt taking their share in those services for which holy orders were not necessary.

That 'the clerks of Eccles church' were a regularly established body is shown by the grant of rights of common in the manor of Barton made by Gilbert de Notton and Edith his wife. (fn. 24) 'G. and H., W. and T., clerks of Eccles,' as holding the rectory, sanctioned the opening of a chapel at Worsley before 1233. (fn. 25) The initials no doubt stand for Geoffrey de Byron, Hugh, William, and Thomas. Hugh and Thomas must therefore have divided the fourth part of the rectory between them. The former was son of Ellis de Worsley, and was probably married, as his daughter Ellen inherited his property. (fn. 26) Thomas seems to have been the only priest, and unmarried. He may be identified with the 'Master T. de Eccles' who attested a grant by Gilbert de Notton and Edith his wife. (fn. 27)

The prohibition of hereditary succession to benefices and the requirement that those who held a benefice which a priest should serve must within a limited time be advanced to the priesthood put an end to the customary arrangements at Eccles. In 1234 Gilbert de Barton granted to his lord, John de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, the advowson of the church of Eccles, (fn. 28) and Lacy at once conferred it upon Stanlaw Abbey. (fn. 29) Some of the clerks who held the rectory seem to have been induced to resign, or were perhaps otherwise provided for; (fn. 30) episcopal and papal ratifications were obtained, (fn. 31) and a vicarage duly ordained. (fn. 32)

From this time until the suppression of Whalley, the rectory remained in the possession of the monks. In 1291 the revenues were taxed as £20 a year, (fn. 33) and in 1341 the ninth of the sheaves, &c., was found to be £15 7s. (fn. 34) In 1534 the gross value was returned as £57 2s., (fn. 35) but about 1540, after the rectory had come into the king's hands, the net revenue from the glebe and tithe was found to be £104. (fn. 36) A division now was made; the tithes and other revenues of the rectory were leased out and afterwards sold, (fn. 37) but the advowson was retained by the Crown and presentations are now made by the Lord Chancellor. An independent vicarage was created in the chapelry of Deane, thus increasing the royal patronage.

The vicarage of Eccles was formally constituted in 1277; a competent dwelling-house was ordered to be provided, the land occupied by the de facto vicar was secured, and a pension of 16 marks assigned to him from the revenues of the church. (fn. 38) This pension continued to be paid by the monks of Whalley, (fn. 39) and then by the Crown, but on the sale of the rectory it was increased to £16 13s. 4d., which is still paid. (fn. 40) The Commonwealth surveyors in 1650 found the tithes of Eccles to be worth about £170; they had been sequestered by the authorities for the 'delinquency' of the impropriator, who had been accustomed to pay £18 a year to the vicar. They recommended that Ellenbrook Chapel should have a parish assigned to it, that a new church should be built at Irlam, and that some re-arrangement of the other boundaries should be made. (fn. 41) With the growth of Manchester the value of the glebe increased, and the income of the vicarage, which in 1718 was under £46, (fn. 42) has now become £700. (fn. 43)

The following is a list of the vicars:—

Instituted Name Patron Cause of Vacancy
oc. 1277 Roger (fn. 44) —— ——
oc. 1284 John (fn. 45) —— ——
oc. 1294 William the Parker (fn. 46) —— ——
oc. 1310–15 Simon (fn. 47) —— ——
25 July 1320 Adam de Blackburn (fn. 48) Abbot of Whalley ——
31 Oct. 1349 John de Mulnegate (fn. 49) " d. A. de Blackburn
10 June 1372 Robert de Monton (fn. 50) " d. J. de Mulnegate
oc. 1383 John de Craunton (fn. 51) —— ——
oc. 1402 John de York (fn. 52) —— ——
John de Moreland —— ——
8 Feb. 1412–13 Richard Ewood (fn. 53) —— res. J. de Moreland
5 Nov. 1456 Robert Lawe (fn. 54) Abbot of Whalley d. R. Ewood
12 Apl. 1471 Christopher Whitehead (fn. 55) " res. R. Lawe
1474 Thomas Wright (fn. 56) Bishop of Lichfield ——
8 Mar. 1504–5 Thomas Holgate (fn. 57) Abbot of Whalley d. T. Wright
oc. 1534–54 Thomas Crane (fn. 58) —— ——
— 1557 Edward Pendleton, B. Gram. (fn. 59) The Crown res. T. Crane
20 June 1559
7 Dec. 1576 Thomas Williamson, M.A. (fn. 60) The Crown d. E. Pendleton
20 May 1606 John White, D.D. (fn. 61) " d. T. Williamson
9 Jan. 1610–11 John Jones, D.D. (fn. 62) —— res. J. White
? 1659 Edmund Jones, B.A. (fn. 63) —— ——
19 Nov. 1662 Robert Hartley, M.A. (fn. 64) The Crown exp. E. Jones
25 July 1671 Thomas Usherwood (fn. 65) " ——
24 Aug. 1678 Thomas Hall, M.A. (fn. 66) " d. T. Usherwood
10 Jan. 1721–2 Thomas Chaddock, B.A. (fn. 67) " d. T. Hall
8 Jan. 1724–5 Thomas Bell " d. T. Chaddock
27 Nov. 1725 William Crooke (fn. 68) " ——
27 July 1726 Thomas Vaughan, M. A. (fn. 69) " ——
9 Mar. 1747–8 Benjamin Nicholls, M.A. (fn. 70) " d. T. Vaughan
3 June 1765 Cudworth Poole (fn. 71) " d. B. Nicholls
27 Dec. 1768 John Crookhall, B.A. (fn. 72) " d. C. Poole
31 Oct. 1792 John Clowes, M.A. (fn. 73) " d. J. Crookhall
9 Apl. 1818 Thomas Blackburne, M.A. (fn. 74) " d. J. Clowes
8 Apl. 1837 William Marsden, B.D. (fn. 75) " res. T. Blackburne
Feb. 1861 James Pelham Pitcairn, M.A. (fn. 76) The Crown d. W. Marsden
—1893 Hon. Arthur Temple Lyttelton, M.A. (fn. 77) " d. J. P. Pitcairn
—1899 Frederic D'Austini Cremer, M.A. (fn. 78) " prom. A. T. Lyttelton

Before the Reformation the regular staff consisted of the vicar, who was bound to reside, and three chantry priests; there were, however, others residing in the parish, and at the visitation of 1548 seven names were recorded, while six appeared in 1554. The old priests dying out, there were only four at the visitation of 1563; viz. Edward Pendleton, the conforming vicar, who had also to attend to the school at Manchester; his curate; George Wirrall, the survivor of the chantry priests; and John Pilsworth, chaplain of the Lady Brereton of Tatton. Two years later the curate had disappeared, his place being taken by 'a reader'; George Wirrall still survived, but the chaplain had no mention. (fn. 79) The parish church and the chapel at Ellenbrook were probably served for some time by the vicar and a licensed reader. In 1592 it was stated that the vicar, Thomas Williamson, did not wear the surplice, and the warden was enjoined to offer it to him 'so often as he shall hap to minister the sacraments.' Two men were presented for abusing one another in time of divine service, and giving bad words to 'the reader.' (fn. 80)

It was not long before things improved somewhat, for in 1610 the vicar and the incumbent of Ellenbrook were both 'preachers.' (fn. 81) In 1650 the parish church had two ministers, but Ellenbrook, which was not endowed, had sometimes 'a preaching minister' and sometimes not. (fn. 82) Little or no change seems to have been made until last century. (fn. 83) Many of the 18th-century vicars were non-resident, the curate of the parish church and the minister of Ellenbrook composing the working staff. The first additional church was that at Pendleton in 1776.

Attached to the parish church there were formerly several chantries. That at the altar of the Trinity in the south chancel aisle was founded by Sir Geoffrey Massey of Worsley in 1453, for a priest 'to celebrate mass and divers obsequies for the souls of him and his antecessors.' The endowment, £4 8s., was derived from lands at Wigan and in Cheshire. (fn. 84) The Booths of Barton founded more important chantries about the same time. Lawrence Booth, Bishop of Durham 1457 to 1480, secured the king's licence in 1450 to found a perpetual chantry at the altar of St. Katherine in Eccles Church; (fn. 85) there were to be two chaplains, and a rent of 24 marks was assigned for their support. In addition to their special duties, on double feasts the chaplains were to take part in the procession with the other priests and celebrate the canonical hours 'in their surplices, with note devoutly and with skill, within the choir of the church.' (fn. 86) An appropriation of the rectory of Slaidburn was obtained, but lost again, and this chantry failed about 1510. (fn. 87) Lawrence's half-brother, William Booth, Archbishop of York 1452 to 1464, secured in 1460 the appropriation of Beetham rectory to the new chantry or college of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary, for which the Jesus Chapel was built on the north side of the chancel. A house of residence adjoined for the use of the chaplains. (fn. 88) At the time of the Suppression the clear revenue was £20 1s. 8d., out of which the two chaplains or 'fellows' received each 10 marks, the 'conduct' or assistant priest had 7 marks, and 20s. was given in alms. The incumbents were bound to celebrate mass daily in the chapel and 'maintain the choir' at divine service, and all three, 'by the occasion of the large circuit of the said parish and the vicar thereof not [being] able to minister to all the same' were 'enforced often and many times to minister sacraments to the parishioners.' (fn. 89) Jesus Chapel was acquired by the Traffords, and Trinity Chapel by the lords of Worsley, as representatives of the founders. (fn. 90)

There was an ancient schoolhouse in the churchyard. (fn. 91) The schoolmaster of Eccles formerly claimed a small sum from each newly-married couple; if refused, the boys took the bride's garter. The custom having become a nuisance, the churchwardens abolished it, levying 4d. or 6d. at each marriage, to be paid to the schoolmaster of Eccles. (fn. 92)

A place in the churchyard was known as Scots' Hole, the tradition being that a number of rebels had been buried there after execution. (fn. 93)

Near the church is a spring called the Lady's well. (fn. 94)


The ancient charities of Eccles were but small. (fn. 95) There was in 1828 a Poor's stock of about £60; and James Bradshaw of Croft's Bank had in 1800 left a rent-charge of £12 a year for education in that hamlet, while a school had been founded at Roe Green in Worsley as early as 1710. (fn. 96) The more recent charitable endowments are chiefly educational or ecclesiastical. (fn. 97)


  • 1. Gregson, Fragments (ed. Harland), 22; the third quarter's contribution was divided thus: Pendleton, £1 16s. 9½d.; Pendlebury, 10s. 2½d.; Clifton, 18s. 4¾d.
  • 2. Ibid. 18. For other assessments see Manch. Sess. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 13—House of Correction, 1616; and 60—ox. lay, 1618.
  • 3. The details given are:—                                 Arable Acres     Grass Acres     Wood, &c. Acres     Barton-on-Irwell        3124                       911                      210 Clifton                      206                         504                       — Eccles                       4                            103                       — Irlam                        2716                        249                       35 Pendlebury               47                           272                       — Pendleton                 12                           562                       — Worsley                   1356                       2487                      471 Swinton                    122                         826                       —
  • 4. An effort was made to reclaim part by William Roscoe in 1805, but it did not succeed. Edward Baines then made a further trial, with better success; see his Hist. of Lancs. (ed. 1836), iii, 133–5.
  • 5. Tour Through Gt. Brit. (ed. 1738), iii, 170–1.
  • 6. A full account will be found in Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xx, 139–44; see also Trans. Hist. Soc. xviii. The outbreak took place in 1526; it choked the Glazebrook and covered 60 acres of arable land on each side, overflowed the dam of Culcheth Mill, and prevented the passage of the ferry at Hollinfare for some days. Leland calls it 'Chateley More'; Itin. vii, 48.
  • 7. A description of the railway, published in 1830, speaks of the 'far-extended waste' of 'this black and spongy tract,' and says: 'The line extends over it a distance of 4¾ miles, about a quarter of a mile of which, at each end, is moss embankment, which now stands well, though vast quantities of material disappeared, particularly at the east border, in the quick and faithless depths of the moss before it was thus established. It was long doubted whether a road was practicable over this soft and watery expense, upon many parts of which it was unsafe to tread; and its great depth—from 20 to 34 feet—together with its extent, precluded all idea of piling. The engineer, however, overcame every difficulty, and established upon it the incrustation of a road. The moss is higher than much of the land round it, and draining was resorted to. Where it was softest, branches, brushwood, and hurdles (twigs and heath twisted and plaited in frames) were laid down to form a foundation, and the whole was covered with sand and gravel two to three feet thick as occasion required. Upon this, as it became compacted, were laid the wooden sleepers for the rails, and the road over the moss is now not inferior to that on any part of the line.' The writer goes on to speak of the efforts then being made to reclaim the moss.
  • 8. The moss abounded with vipers; Manch. Guardian N. and Q. no. 480. For the Woolden Ringing pits on the moss, see ibid. no. 848.
  • 9. Country Round Mancl. 218–21.
  • 10. See Owen MSS. Manch. Reference Library.
  • 11. a Robert Langley of Agecroft in 1525 bequeathed £6 13s. 4d. to the building of the parish church of Our Lady of Eccles, to be paid as the work went on; Wills (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 62.
  • 12. See Owen MSS.
  • 13. aAn account printed in the Manch. Advertiser, 24 Oct. 1846, gives a melancholy description of the state to which the building had been reduced; for example: 'Over the chancel is a huge, unsightly gallery, in which the people turn their backs to the altar, and above this, in the place of the ancient rood screen, is a representation of the royal arms'; the gallery had lately been erected 'by the lay rector, Sir John Heathcote, of Longton Hall, Staffs., who had sold the pews to different holders.' There were still 'some very rude massive oaken benches in the nave' which remained in their primitive condition, but surrounded by high pews; and 'near the door of the south porch was a very ancient alms box having three distinct locks.' On a board was painted the information that 'This church was beautified in the year 1713.' Baines (Lancs. iii, 115) states that the ancient gates leading to the chancel remained until 1803; this was the year in which the chancel gallery was erected.
  • 14. Old views of the south side of the church show the arch to St. Katherine's Chapel as an external feature, the lower part built up and the upper part used as a window.
  • 15. a Information from Mr. Frank P. Oakley, the architect of the restoration.
  • 16. The canopy and ornament to the niche of the east pier of the north aisle have been hacked away.
  • 17. a St. Katherine with her wheel is the crest of Booth of Barton.
  • 18. They are described in John Harland's Eccles Church Notes, 1864. In the Owen MSS. details are given of two other stones each bearing a cross and sword, one of which was found serving as a lintel of a doorway in the north wall of the aisle of the chancel, and the other on the spot once covered by St. Katherine's chantry. Owen also states that there were 'several of this kind lying about.' Heywood, Eccles Church (1907).
  • 19. Heywood, op. cit. 26.
  • 20. The entries 1563–1632 have been printed by the Lancs. Par. Reg. Soc.
  • 21. In or before 1180 Albert Grelley presented William the Clerk to a fourth part of the church of Eccles for life; Whalley Coucher (Chet. Soc.), i, 40. William's father Haisolf and his brother Matthew had previously held it; the grant was made 'in pure and perpetual alms for the souls of the grantor's father and mother and for himself, his wife and children,' so that William was not in the position of the modern lay impropriator, but would be obliged to pray and fulfil the church services in return. Though the lord of Manchester presented at this vacancy he probably did so as the guardian of the heir of Barton, for (before 1220) Gilbert de Notton and Edith his wife presented the son of William, also a William the Clerk, to the same fourth part of the church, on the same terms; ibid. i, 46. In 1191 Hugh Nonant, Bishop of Lichfield, gave to Geoffrey de Byron, clerk, a mediety of the church of Eccles, Edith de Barton presenting with the concurrence of Robert Grelley. Swain the Clerk had had it before; ibid. i, 39. It is not known how long Geoffrey continued to hold it, but in or before 1234 there were two others besides William the Clerk holding 'portions' of the rectory. One of them, Thomas the chaplain of Flekho (or Fleckenhow, in another deed) had been presented by Roger de Notton, and he resigned to William the Clerk for an annual pension of 6 marks; the date is approximately known, because R. de Maidstone, Archdeacon of Chester, one of the witnesses, became Bishop of Hereford in 1234; ibid. 43.
  • 22. A descent of three generations is shown in the preceding note; Haisolf, Matthew and William his sons, and William the son of the last-named. The younger William was also married; ibid. i, 45. It was perhaps a son William who about 1280 made a grant to Stanlaw; ibid. i, 42. On the other hand, as a vicar of Eccles first appears in 1277, it is possible that William the Clerk held the rectory from about 1220 to 1277. William was 'parson of Eccles' about 1250; Cockersand Chart. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 723. William the Clerk occurs in 1273, but is not styled 'parson'; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xlii, App. 668. He left a son Robert and a daughter Margery. The former married Cecily daughter of Roger de Pendlebury, but had no issue by her; while Margery had a son and heir Robert de Halghton, who in 1351 and later years claimed certain lands in Eccles against Agnes, the widow of Robert de Eccles the younger, and Margaret daughter and heir, who was under age; Duchy of Lanc. Assize R. 1 (July), m. 1 d.; 2, m. 8; Assize R. 435, m. 32. Robert the younger was a son of Robert son of William de Eccles, and was married to Agnes as early as 1338, a settlement being made in that year; Mr. Vawdrey's D. The seal shows arms, fretty, a fess. William the Clerk gave lands to his brother John and his sister Alice; the grant to John was in pure alms, and subject to an annual rent of a pound of incense, payable to the church of Eccles; Whalley Couch. i, 43. Geoffrey de Byron also was married.
  • 23. David and Thomas, 'chaplains' of Eccles, are mentioned in grants before 1220; ibid. 47. Thomas was probably the 'clerk' who had a portion of the rectory. David, the priest of Eccles, attested a Lever charter; Add. MS. 32103, no 207.
  • 24. Whalley Couch. i, 47.
  • 25. Lord Ellesmere's D. no. 129.
  • 26. Ibid. no. 232–33.
  • 27. Whalley Couch. i, 47.
  • 28. Ibid. 63. The grant included all the liberties, &c., belonging to the advowson of the church in woods, meadows, roads, waters, &c.; also 10 acres in Barton adjoining Hennesden, between the 'great street' and moss by the boundaries of Pendlebury. It excluded Gilbert de Barton's hey of Bolesnape and allowed his right to make fisheries, mills, &c., as he might find it convenient. The consideration for this grant was an acquittance of a bond for 250 marks due to Aaron the Jew of York. Gilbert had previously granted or confirmed his grandfather's gift of free common to the clerks of Eccles and their men; ibid. 45.
  • 29. Ibid. 36. The witnesses are the same as those to Gilbert de Barton's charter, Roger de Notton being one. The grants mention the chapels of Eccles, perhaps those at Deane and Ellenbrook.
  • 30. The release by Thomas the chaplain to William the Clerk has been recorded above. Hugh the Clerk of Eccles, 'of his own free will,' resigned his 'portion' in the church of Eccles and its chapels in Apr. 1235, in full chapter at Warrington; ibid. 48. Hugh was no doubt the 'H. tunc persona de Eccles' of another deed; ibid. 42. After this it would appear that only William the Clerk remained.
  • 31. John de Lacy having intimated that he had given the advowson of Eccles and certain lands there to Stanlaw, Bishop Alexander de Stavenby in Dec. 1234 ratified the grant; the prior and convent of Coventry and the chapter of Lichfield gave their consent in 1237; ibid. 37–9. Alexander IV gave several confirmations in 1255 and later years.
  • 32. The pope, in sanctioning the appropriation of the rectory, after the death or cession of the rector then in possession, had in 1258 ordered that a perpetual chaplain should be appointed to serve the church, with a fitting allowance for his support; ibid. 167; but in an earlier bull (Aug. 1255) he speaks of the Bishop of Lichfield having asigned to the 'vicar' a due revenue; ibid. 170. In 1277 Bishop Roger de Meulan ordained vicarages in Blackburn, Rochdale, and Eccles; ibid. 85.
  • 33. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 249. There was then in addition a pension of £2 13s. 4d. payable to the Prior of Lancaster, probably as a composition for the demesne tithes of Salford arising within the parish, which had been granted by Count Roger in 1094; Farrer, Lancs. Pipe R. 290.
  • 34. Inq. Non. (Rec. Com.), 39. Of the total Barton gave 18s. 8d., Worsley 70s. 7d., Clifton 10s. 1d., Pendlebury 11s., Pendleton with Bolton by Eccles 21s. 8d., Heaton with Halliwell and Horwich 13s. 4d., Hulton 12s. Westhoughton 41s. 8d., Rumworth, 8s. Thus the townships afterwards forming the parish of Deane were charged with 75s. only. There is a deficit of 100s.; perhaps Barton should be 118s. 8d.
  • 35. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 229. The glebe lands gave £6; tithes of grain, &c., £30; tithes of wool, &c., £7; oblations, Easter roll and small dues, £14 2s.
  • 36. Whalley Couch. iv, 1247; the parsonage of Eccles proper brought £50 4s. 1d.; Deane, £63 13s. 4d. The pension of the vicar of Eccles had to be paid out of this.
  • 37. In 1610 the rectory (i.e. the tithes and other revenues) was sold by the Crown to Francis Morris and Francis Phillips, 'the well-known traffickers in Church spoils,' they sold to Downes and Mosley, who before 1613 sold to James Anderton of Lostock; see Lancs. Inq. p.m. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 27. In this family it descended until 1723, when Sir Lawrence Anderton sold to Francis Colstone. In 1765 Mary Comyn, widow, his sole devisee, sold it for £5,000 to Richard Edensor of Congleton and John Cooke of Salford, subject to the annual payment of £16 13s. 4d. to the vicar of Eccles, and to another small payment for wine for the Easter sacrament. The Edensor share passed to the Heathcotes of Longton Hall in Staffs. and the Cooke share to Susanna Dorothea Cooke of Pendleton, who died in 1848; Raines, in Gastrell's Notitia Cestr. (Chet. Soc.), ii, 47. In 1864 the impropriators were J. E. Heathcote and Susanna wife of Frederick Phillips of Manchester; the stipend of the vicar of Eccles, formerly paid out of the tithes, was then paid from a sum invested in consols, and a small tithe rent-charge; the surplus was allowed to accumulate for the repairs of the chancel; J. Harland ('Crux') in Eccles Cb. Notes, 22. For the Heathcote family see the pedigree of Edwards-Heathcote in Burke, Landed Gentry. The story that the tithes of Eccles were won by Anderton from the Duke of Suffolk by a bet over a cockfight is obviously erroneous; Eccles Ch. Notes, 22. A lease of the rectory for twenty-one years was granted to Sir Thomas Holcroft in 1545; Chest. Consist. Ct. Sir Gilbert and Sir Thomas Gerard held it about 1590; Ducatus Lanc. iii, 256, 312, and a lease was granted to Anderton in 1602; Pat. 44 Eliz. pt. 3. For the sale to Morris and Phillips, see Pat. 7 Jas. I, pt. 2; and 9 Jas. I, pt. 22. For the sale (1723) to Colstone see Eccles Ch. Notes, 58; also Pal. of Lanc. Feet of F. bdle. 289, m. 93, where the plaintiff's name is given as Francis Loggin.
  • 38. Whalley Couch. i, 85.
  • 39. Valor Eccl. v, 227, 234. Out of his 16 marks the vicar of Eccles had to pay the curate (later the vicar) of Deane £4 a year.
  • 40. Information of the Rev. F. D. Cremer, vicar.
  • 41. a Commonw.Ch. Surv. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 13. A terrier of 1663 is printed in Eccles Ch. Notes, 49; it gives details of the lands held by the vicar, the vicarage house and outbuildings, and the cottages built upon the land. The same volume contains, among other interesting records, a case and opinion concerning certain fir trees in the churchyard which the vicar had cut down and sold (ibid. 35); an account of the pews in the church in 1595 (24); and the galleries erected in 1717 and 1769– 71 (59).
  • 42. Notitia Cestr. ii, 46. The glebe land, 14 acres, let for £21, and surplice fees amounted to £6. Warden Wroe of Manchester had stated the value as £80 in 1706. 'In the terrier of 1705 it is stated that the vicar has no tithes, nor are there any estates in the parish tithe free; neither has the vicar mortuaries, oblations, obventions, or herbage. He has liberty of a little common called the Warth, lying at the river side of the Irwell, and a property in the waste with the other charterers, together with the herbage of the churchyard.' There were six wardens and six assistants; two wardens were nominated by the Duke of Bridgewater, two by Mr. Trafford, one by the vicar, and one was appointed alternately for Clifton and Pendlebury, the outgoing warden nominating.
  • 43. Manch. Dioc. Cal.
  • 44. He attested a number of the local charters, including three of the year 1277; Whalley Couch. iii, 906, 910, 913. As this was the date of the ordination of the vicarage, it may be assumed that Roger was the first vicar. Among the tenants when John de Barton sold his manors to Robert Grelley were 'Roger de Eccles, chaplain, William de Eccles, clerk'; so that Roger may have been the officiating priest before becoming vicar; De Trafford D. no. 202.
  • 45. Whalley Couch. iii, 912.
  • 46. Cal. Pat. 1292–1301, p. 120.
  • 47. He attested a Worsley charter; Ellesmere D. no. 237. Also a Sharples one, 1315–16; Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 145/181.
  • 48. Lich. Epis. Reg. i, fol. 87. The benefice had been vacant a fortnight, the previous incumbent (not named) 'having obtained a similar one,' i.e. probably one requiring residence in person. In 1330 Richard son of Henry de Worsley granted to Adam de Blackburn, perpetual vicar of Eccles, all his lands in Swinton; and exactly two years later Adam transferred them to the monks of Whalley; the same witnesses attested both grants; Whalley Couch. iii, 932, 934.
  • 49. Lich. Epis. Reg. ii, fol. 125; the new vicar was a priest. He died on Tuesday after Ascension Day, 1372.
  • 50. Ibid. iv, fol. 86; a priest. Monton was vicar in 1381, acting as Sir Geoffrey de Worsley's proxy in the divorce proceedings of that year; Ellesmere D. no. 268; Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxvi, App. 540.
  • 51. Named in Towneley MS. DD, no. 1499. He was vicar also in 1390. See Crosse D. no. 112, for John de Craunton (or Cronton), rector of 'Werinton' in 1409; Trans. Hist. Soc. (new ser.), vi, 293, 294.
  • 52. Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxiii, App. 9; he is named as vicar in 1408; Final Conc. iii, 68. In 1405 John de Cronton, rector of Cadington, executor of John de Crockton, vicar of Eccles, and co-executor of Adam de Cronton, released to Nicholas de York, Abbot of Whalley, all actions; Add. MS. 32108, no. 522. Unless there is some error in the dates or names the succession must have been John de Cronton, John de Crockton, John de York, John de Moreland.
  • 53. Lich. Epis. Reg. vii, fol. 102b; he was a chaplain and his name is here spelt Euwode. He had a brother Geoffrey, to whom lands were given in Heap, near Bury, in 1419–20; see also Dep. Keeper's Rep. xxxiii, App. 13, 31.
  • 54. Lich. Epis. Reg. xi, fol. 41; a chaplain. Robert Lawe was a feoffee of Ottiwell Worsley in 1465; Ellesmere D. no. 35.
  • 55. Lich. Epis. Reg. xii, fol. 105; a chaplain.
  • 56. Ibid. 108. The abbot and convent of Whalley had presented one John Bollyng to the vicarage, but upon e am nation he was found to be 'unfit and unable,' and the bishop thereupon collated Thomas Wright. This vicar is named as trustee in 1481; Raines MSS. (Chet. Lib.) xiv, 86.
  • 57. Lich. Epis. Reg. xiii–xiv, fol. 53b; a chaplain. The entries in the Act Bks. at Chester Dioc. Reg. begin here. Holgate was one of the trustees of Thomas Hyde of Urmston in 1517; Harl. MS. 2112, fol. 161.
  • 58. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), v, 227; he was also present at the visitation in 1554. He is called Craven in the suit by the vicar of Deane in 1544 regarding the stipend formerly paid to Deane by the vicar of Eccles; Duchy Plead. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 197. As Thomas Craven he was a witness to the will of Dorothy Booth in 1553; Piccope, Wills (Chet. Soc.), iii, 57. The will of Thomas Craven of Eccles, bastard son of the vicar, was proved at Chester in 1591; Ch. Gds. (Chet. Soc.), 22. From this time see Baines' Lancs. (ed. Croston), iii, 255, &c. for lives of the vicars.
  • 59. For an account of Pendleton's life see Fellows of Manch. Coll. (Chet. Soc.), i, 51–4. He was a nephew of Dr. Henry Pendleton, one of Bonner's chaplains, with whom (as in Dict. Nat. Biog.) he has sometimes been confused, and was himself educated at Brasenose Coll. Oxford. An Edward Pendleton, perhaps a relative, was one of the Manchester priests in 1542; Clergy List (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), 11. Edward Pendleton was schoolmaster and chantry priest in the collegiate church there in 1548; Raines, Chantries (Chet. Soc.), 247; and graduated at Oxford, B. Gram. in 1547–8; Foster, Alumni. Anthony Wood calls him 'the famous schoolmaster of Manchester'; Athenae (ed. 1691), i, 700. He was presented by Philip and Mary to the vicarage of Eccles in 1557 and made one of the fellows of Manchester when it was restored. He conformed to the Elizabethan changes and was instituted to Eccles a second time in 1559; he married, retained his charges at Manchester and Eccles, and died in 1576. His will is printed in Chantries, 249.
  • 60. Manch. Fellows, 80–3. He was made fellow of the church of Manchester in 1578; he was also vicar of Childwall for a brief time, 1589. In 1590 he was described as 'a preacher,' but 'insufficient'; S.P. Dom. Eliz. xxxi, 47. He was a member of the Ecclesiastical Commission for the North, which conducted a vigorous persecution of recusants in the last quarter of the 16th century. A Thomas Williamson, born in Westmorland and educated at Sedbergh, entered St. John's Coll. Cambridge in 1567; B. Wilson, Sedbergh Reg. 61.
  • 61. Son of Peter White, vicar of St. Neots, Hunts.; educated at Gonville and Caius Coll. Cambridge; Venn, Admissions, 61. He was a chaplain to King James, had a benefice in Suffolk, was a fellow of Manchester 1606; Manch. Fellows, 104– 8; Dict. Nat. Biog. At Eccles he showed himself a Puritan, and was presented for not wearing the surplice in 1608, but in 1609 he and the curate 'sometimes' wore it; Visit. P. at Chester. About 1610 he was reported to be 'a preacher'; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 12. He was brother of Dr. Francis White, successively Bishop of Carlisle, Norwich, and Ely (1626–38), who printed his works, including the Way to the True Church (issued in 1608) in 1624.
  • 62. From this time the institutions have been taken from the Institution books, P.R.O., as printed in Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Notes; there were no payments of first-fruits. Mr. Jones contributed to the ship money and other exactions of Charles I from the clergy, though in 1639 he was described as 'poor'; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 123, &c. He was a Puritan. In 1622 it was reported that he gave the communion to those who sat; and though nobody stood at the creed or bowed at the name of Jesus, no presentments were made at the visitation; Papers at Chester Dioc. Reg. He adopted Presbyterianism when established by law, and signed the 'Harmonious Consent' of 1648. In 1650 he was assisted by his son Edmund Jones; Commonw. Ch. Surv. 13. He was still 'minister of Eccles' in April 1659; Plund. Mins. Accts. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 312. He is called D.D. by Piccope (xvi, 35); note by Dr. W. A. Shaw. His son John matriculated at Oxford (Brasenose) in 1626, being sixteen years of age; M.A. 1631; Foster, Alumni.
  • 63. Edmund Jones, son of the preceding vicar, entered St. John's Coll. Cambridge as a sizar in 1645, being twenty-one years of age; Admissions, i, 73. In Manch. Classis (Chet. Soc.) his ordination is recorded, 123, 131, 132. He was ejected from Eccles in 1662 for nonconformity, but continued to minister in the district until his death. He is mentioned in Oliver Heywood's Diaries, i, 197; iii, 81. 'Good Mr. Jones of Eccles walked out, was tolerably well though he had been distempered, went to bed at nine o'clock, was dead before twelve; 2 May 1674'; ibid. iii, 137. He is also mentioned frequently in Henry Newcome's Diary and Autobiog. (Chet. Soc.), being described as 'a true-hearted, serious man, and a faithful minister.'
  • 64. He entered Brasenose Coll. Oxford, in 1650, being described as 'plebeian'; M.A. 1655; Foster, Alumni. He was nominated as vicar 25 Sept. 1662; Pat. 14 Chas. II, pt. 19, no. 143. He is mentioned in Newcome's Diary, 153.
  • 65. The name is also spelt Isherwood. He was of Christ's Coll. Cambridge, and was ordained in 1654 to the charge of Blackrod; Bury Classis (Chet. Soc.), 237. Of his death Oliver Heywood records: 'I could not but reflect on my old schoolfellow, Mr. Thomas Isherwood, vicar of Eccles, that had been drinking with some gentlemen, returning home fell off his horse, was drowned in a ditch that scarce covered all his head'; Diaries, iii, 331.
  • 66. Also fellow of the Collegiate Church, Manchester, 1688; educated at Corpus Christi Coll. Cambridge; M.A. 1688; Manch. Fellows, 192. He was 'conformable' in 1689; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 229.
  • 67. He was of Brasenose Coll. Oxford; B.A. 1692; and had been licensed to Ellenbrook in 1709.
  • 68. Mentioned in a petition by John Bridge of Eccles, printed in Eccles Ch. Notes, 33. A William Crooke was prebendary of Chichester from 1727 to 1753; Le Neve, Fasti, i, 273, 276. One of these names matriculated at Oxford in 1716; another or the same was M.A. at Cambridge, 1724.
  • 69. Educated at Brasenose Coll. Oxford; B.A. 1712; and St. Catharine's, Cambridge; M.A. 1719; vicar of Pawlett, Somerset, 1723–6; Foster, Alumni. A letter of his, dated Edingdale, 1727, to the parish clerk shows him to have been non-resident, for the vicarage was let; he remarks, 'I suppose the surplice fees rise high this sickly time'; Eccles Ch. Notes, 34.
  • 70. Probably the Benj. Nicholls who matriculated at Jesus Coll. Oxford, in 1734; M.A. 1740. He is supposed to have attracted favourable notice in high quarters by a vehement sermon against the rebels of 1745. He lived twenty miles from the church, which he seldom visited, performing duty there not above two or three days a year; Eccles Ch. Notes, 36.
  • 71. Cudworth and Edward Poole, aged eighteen and seventeen respectively, sons of Edward Poole of Woolden, but born at Newhall in Cheshire, entered St. John's Coll. Cambridge, in 1734; Admissions, iii, 75. Cudworth Poole died at Woolden, 8 Nov. 1768.
  • 72. Probably the John son of James Crookhall of Clifton, who matriculated at Queen's Coll. Oxford, in 1743; B.A. 1747; Foster, Alumni. In 1789, having fallen into debt, his benefice was sequestered for a time; Eccles Ch. Notes, 39. He was also rector of Woodchurch in Cheshire from 1747 to 1792. His will (1788) is in the Manchester Reference Library; note by Mr. E. Axon.
  • 73. Educated at Trin. Coll. Cambridge; M.A. 1774. He died at the vicarage 28 Mar. 1818; he was also incumbent of Trinity Church, Salford. He had a son, the Rev. Thomas Clowes, who lived at Eccles.
  • 74. Son of John Blackburne of Orford; educated at Brasenose Coll. Oxford; M.A. 1815; Foster, Alumni. He was also rector of Crofton, Yorks, 1817, and on being presented to the rectory of Prestwich in 1836, he resigned Eccles.
  • 75. Educated at Brasenose Coll. Oxford; M.A. 1796; B.D. 1811; incumbent of St. Michael's, Angel Meadow, Manchester. He died 15 Feb. 1861, and was buried at Chelmorton; there is a monument to him in Eccles Church. His son, John Howard Marsden, fellow of St. John's Coll. Cambridge, became a canon of Manchester. Foster, Alumni; Manch. School Reg. (Chet. Soc.).
  • 76. Educated at Jesus Coll. Cambridge; M.A. 1851; rector of St. John's, Longsight, 1850–61. It was during his time that Eccles Church was restored.
  • 77. Son of the fourth Lord Lyttelton; educated at Trinity Coll. Cambridge; M.A. 1877; master of Selwyn Coll. 1882–93; Hulsean Lecturer, 1891. He published a volume of sermons and contributed to Lux Mundi. In 1898 he was made suffragan Bishop of Winchester, with the title of Bishop of Southampton. He died in 1903.
  • 78. Educated at Wadham Coll. Oxford; M.A. 1873; vicar of Upholland, 1881; rector of Keighley, 1888.
  • 79. From the visitation lists at the Chest. Dioc. Reg. The church ornaments, &c., existing in 1552 are recorded in Ch. Gds. (Chet. Soc.), 20.
  • 80. Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. v, 61–2. At the same time a number of noncommunicants were admonished and the churchwardens were ordered to levy the 12d. fine for non-attendance at church, which had not been done. Two parishioners were censured for killing a pig 'at time of divine service upon the Sabbath day.'
  • 81. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiv, App. iv, 12. The vicar of Eccles and the curate or lecturer of Ellenbrook appear somewhat later in the list of clerical contributors referred to above; Misc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), i, 54, 66, &c.
  • 82. Commonw. Ch. Surv. 13, 14.
  • 83. The visitation list of 1691 shows the vicar and the Ellenbrook curate to have been the only clergy; the latter was also master of the school.
  • 84. Raines, Lancs. Chant. (Chet. Soc.), i, 129; the ornaments were a chalice, two sets of vestments, a missal, 'two curtains for the altar ends, of silk,' &c. An account of the foundation of this chantry is given in Duchy Plead. i, 49–51. Sir Geoffrey Massey in 1453 set apart certain lands to the intent that his feoffees 'should find a priest to say mass and do other divine service yearly in the chapel of the Trinity at Eccles.' John Rainford, it was stated, was the first chantry priest, and was succeeded by Geoffrey Grimsditch. He in 1510 complained that he had been deprived of his income by the injustice of Sir John Brereton and Dame Joan his wife, who had appointed another priest—possibly the Richard Penkethman joined with them as a defendant. The chantry is also mentioned in Sir Geoffrey's will of 1457, in which John Gartside is named as first chantry priest, to be succeeded by Roger Bentley; Ellesmere D. no. 189. Thomas Swain was cantarist in 1534 (Valor Eccl. v, 227) and Randle Antrobus in 1548 (Chant. loc. cit.). The latter is stated to have been possessed in 1552 of 'a silver cup standing on an eagle's foot,' perhaps part of the old chantry furniture; Ch. Gds. 21. In 1569–70 he was living at Frodsham—'an old papist priest, and doth not minister;' ibid. 22.
  • 85. Thomas de Booth of Barton in 1368 directed that his body should be buried in Eccles Church, before the altar of St. Katherine the Virgin; Chant. 131.
  • 86. The statutes of the 1450 foundation are printed in Chant. (132, 133) from the Lich. Epis. Reg. x, fol. 89, &c. William Booth, then Bishop of Lichfield, vested the lands (of the value of 24 marks a year) in Lawrence Booth, Sir John Byron, and Seth Worsley, but the Bishops of Lichfield were to nominate the two chaplains. These chaplains, receiving equal portions of the endowment, were not to be absent more than thirty days in the year, nor hold any ecclesiastical office outside the parish; they were daily to say the office and mass for the dead, for the souls of the founders and others named, also 'for all persons to whom God had made him a debtor.' On the founder's obit 30s. was to be distributed as follows: To the vicar and each chaplain and stipendiary priest there present, 6d. each; to other chaplains and to the parish clerk, 4d. each; to each of the four clerks singing, 2d.; the rest to the poor, with 20s. additional, 1d. being given to each person. A board was to be fixed in St. Katherine's Chapel, bearing the names of the founder and others who were to be prayed for. The following names of the chaplains have been found in the Lich. Epis. Reg.: (i) In 1466, Robert Baguley, chaplain, having died, Ralph Legh (or Lees) was appointed; ibid. xii, fol. 103. After Ralph's death, Robert Almon was in 1487 appointed; xii, fol. 121. (ii) In 1468 Peter Berdesley having resigned, Oliver Smoult was appointed; xii, fol. 104. Smoult in turn resigned, and Ralph Derwynd was appointed in 1473; xii, fol. 108. One vacancy must have followed, for in 1487 William Bulkley was instituted, after the death of Henry Reddish; xii, fol. 121. Both chaplaincies were filled up on the same day; and the same thing occurred again in 1498, when Thomas Seddall and William Bretherton were appointed; xiii, fol. 231.
  • 87. Whitaker, Whalley (ed. Nichols), ii, 511; the advowson of Slaidburn, held by the Prior of Pontefract, was purchased in 1456 by the Booth feoffees, but the king afterwards claimed it successfully, and the appropriation was consequently nullified. Paul II in 1466 confirmed the appropriations of Slaidburn and Beetham to the respective chantries; and both chantries benefited under the will of Archbishop Booth; Test. Ebor. (Surtees Soc.), ii, 266.
  • 88. Chant. 134–8; from Lich. Epis. Reg. x, fol. 95–105. The royal licence was granted 1 Dec. 1460. The statutes were similar to those of St. Katherine's chantry. The chapel in 1548 seems to have been suitably furnished, though there was only one chalice; the mansion-house had a garden, croft, and orchard adjoining; a rent of 3s. 4d. was paid for it to the vicar of Eccles; Chant. 138, 139. The following names of cantarists occur: On 5 June 1460 John Badsworth and Thomas Shipton, priests, were appointed to the new foundation; Lich. Epis. Reg. xii, fol. 98. In 1466, Badsworth having resigned, Peter Halstead succeeded; ibid. fol. 102b. Halstead died two years afterwards, and was followed by James Bruche; ibid. fol. 104. In 1474 Charles Prestwich was appointed, on the resignation of Bruche; ibid. fol. 109. These refer to 'the first chaplaincy.' In 1475 Ralph Derwynd was promoted from St. Katherine's to be second chaplain at the Jesus chantry in place of John Worthington, resigned; ibid. fol. 109b. Edmund Beswick followed, and in 1497, on his resigning, William Cramp succeeded; ibid. xiii, fol. 230b. In July 1534, Thurstan Cocker having died, George Bowker succeeded him; ibid. xiii–xiv, fol. 34. A year or so later Thomas and George Bowker were the fellows or chaplains; Valor Eccl. v, 227. George Bowker resigned in 1539, and was followed by Roger Okell; Lich. Epis. Reg. xiii–xiv, fol. 37b. Okell was celebrating at the Suppression, being then aged fifty-two. His fellowpriest was George Wirrall, aged forty-six, who had paid firstfruits in 1538 on appointment to succeed Thomas Bowker, deceased; Lancs. and Ches. Rec. (Rec. Soc. Lancs. and Ches.), ii, 408; Church Papers at Chest. Richard Hyde, a scholar of Cambridge, aged twenty-two, was their assistant; Chant. 131, 137. Roger Okell was buried at Middleton, 5 Nov. 1565; Ch. Gds. 21. In 1556–7 Roger Okell and George Wirrall, clerks, complained that Thomas Fleetwood had disturbed them in possession of a mansionhouse by Eccles Church; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 287.
  • 89. Chant. loc. cit.
  • 90. A grant of Trinity Chantry was made in 1583; Pat. 25 Eliz. pt. 1. Gilbert Sherington held the lands in 1567; Ducatus Lanc. ii, 354.
  • 91. Notitia Cestr. ii, '53. For the history of the school see End. Char. Rep.
  • 92. Pal. Note-Bk. i, 91; Local Glean. Lancs. and Ches. ii, 170, 175.
  • 93. Loc. Glean. ii, 26, 35.
  • 94. a Lancs. and Ches. Antiq. Soc. xxii, 105.
  • 95. A fund of £37 was reported to Bishop Gastrell about 1720; Notitia Cestr. ii, 53.
  • 96. The details may be seen in the report of 1826, reprinted in the Eccles Endowed Char. Rep. 1904. In the more recent report the township of Pendleton, as being in the borough of Salford, is not included, but it had no special charities in 1826. The principal benefactors of the poor's fund were Dr. Richard Sherlock, Hannah Leigh (for Barton, Eccles, and Worsley Lower End), and Edmund Goolden, £10 each in or before 1689. Thomas Smith, schoolmaster, left £20 to Eccles School. The capital seems to have been used for the erection of a gallery in the church, the wardens paying interest, which in 1826 was distributed among the poor. The gallery was made free in 1862, but no repayment of the poor's fund was made, so that it has been lost. James Bradshaw's lands were at Davyhulme—the Croft, Little and Great Wheatfield, Carr Hill, Digpool, and Higher and Lower Red Racker. Of the whole charge £7 10s. was for education; £3 10s. for bread, linen, &c., for the poor, and £1 to the curate of Eccles Church for preaching two sermons on the second Sunday in June on texts specified. The gift was enlarged by the donor, who died in 1806, and the income was £43 a year in 1826. The income of the Bradshaw charity is now about £55, and is administered under a scheme made by the Charity Commissioners in 1895, part being given to the sick and poor and part to education. The Roe Green School was founded by the will of Thomas Collier, who gave a rent-charge of £5 on lands at Westhoughton, called the Ashes, owned in 1826 by William Hulton of Over Hulton. The rent-charge is still paid, the infant schoolmistress at Roe Green National School being the beneficiary. The poor benefited under the bequests of Dame Dorothy Legh, who in 1638–9 left £500, invested in the purchase of Common Head in Tyldesley, a fourth part of the income going to the poor of Worsley. In 1826 the overseers had £11 3s. 4d. to distribute on this account. The income of the trust estate has since then largely increased, and the Worsley share amounts to £55 to £60 a year; it is distributed in doles of 6s. each.
  • 97. John Greaves of Irlam Hall in 1847 left £1,000 for the poor of Barton, Eccles. Irlam, and Cadishead, also of Pendlebury and Pendleton, and for Church of England Sunday schools. Only £608 was actually received from the estate, but was allowed to accumulate until 1882, when the total fund was £1,166. The income is £28 12s. 4d., and is managed by the vicars of churches named by the Charity Commissioners in 1882. On the death of the Hon. Algernon Egerton in 1891 a memorial fund of £1,100 was raised for scholarships and prizes; the borough of Eccles and township of Worsley share in the benefits. James Anderson, who died in 1884, gave £700 for widows of the village of Worsley. The income is distributed in doles of 9s. to 12s. to widows in the hamlets called Alder Forest, Roe Green, and Mesne Lea. William Samuel Forester of Roe Green left £100 chiefly for the poor of Worsley. Thomas Farnworth of Boothstown left a rent-charge of £1 10s. for the school fees of poor children of the place. The income, now £1 5s., is given in prizes to the children of the Church of England School at Boothstown. The Very Rev. G. H. Bowers, Dean of Manchester, who died in 1872, left £50 for the poor of Swinton; the income is £2. John Higham of Swinton left £340 Manchester Corporation Stock on a similar trust; the income, £10 4s., is distributed with the last fund. John Dorning of Swinton left £1,500 to trustees, instructing them to give £80 a year to the poor until the fund should be exhausted. Catherine Dauntesey Foxton of Agecroft left £6,000 towards providing a dispensary in Pendlebury, but the bequest lapsed, as it was thought no dispensary was needed. The money is stated to have been applied in founding scholarships at Owens College. The following charities also are noticed in the report :—Eccles Church school, with Edward Tootal's endowment; Monton Presbyterian (Unitarian) Church and school; Monton recreation ground; Trinity Wesleyan Chapel at Peel Green, Patricroft; Sarah Anne Tetlow's benefaction to St. Catherine's, Barton, church and school; endowment of St. Mary's, Davyhulme; the school at Davyhulme, founded 1792; Greaves' School, Irlam, founded 1834; Irlam Church charity; Taylor's charity for Cadishead Wesleyan school; Allotment land, Cadishead. For Pendlebury, the Greaves' Free School and St. Augustine's National School; endowment of St. John's Church; parish club room and mission room at St. Augustine's.