Chapel Street Chapels
The Chapel Street area is one of the oldest parts of Ormskirk. Formerly a small lane projecting from Scarth Hill Lane, which became St Helens Road, the building of Chapel House and several rows of cottages along the lane in the 17th Century meant that the town extended further East to the edge of the Moor and being close to the road in from Wigan and St Helens it would have been a busy area. From the late 1650s, Chapel House was the home of Rev. Nathaniel Heywood M.A. (Trinity College, Cambridge).
Nathaniel Heywood was baptised at Little Lever, Bolton-Le-Moors Sept 16th 1633. Despite being a sickly child and often considered to be failing in health he survived his weakness. He was an exceptionally gifted scholar and was admitted to Trinity College Cambridge at the age of 14 on May 4th 1648. After he graduated he went to work as a minister in Eccleston near St Helens where he married a local girl and they then moved to Illingworth, West Riding.
Nathaniel had been Minister at Illingworth Chapel, West Riding, living with his older brother Oliver, the Minister at Coley Chapel, Northowram, Nr Halifax, before coming to Ormskirk in the spring of 1657. Nathaniel and his wife had nine children and he was well known in the town for his ability to never get into debt and manage his family with good judgement.
In 1672, Nathaniel built two small chapels outside of the town, one adjoining Lady Stanley’s house at Bickerstaffe, 2 miles South of Ormskirk, and one at Scarisbrick, two miles north of Ormskirk Parish Church. He preached on alternate Sundays and found them very well attended. It was whilst preaching in the pulpit at the Bickerstaffe Chapel in 1674 that, after several warrants had been issued against him for his continued non-conformity, a band of soldiers took him from the pulpit with a pistol pointed at his head, even as Lady Stanley (Elizabeth Bosville, 1645 – 1695) bravely stood her ground trying to prevent them seizing the minister.
He was taken to Up Holland where he was bound over to appear at the next assizes at Wigan, once there, his accusers expected him to be sent to Lancaster Jail but the JP intervened and he was acquitted and sent home.
He then continued his travels around the district on foot or on horseback, travelling to preach as far away as Toxteth Park and for a week he travelled to the West Riding to visit his brother and to preach there. On his journey home, he stopped at Rochdale and Bolton to preach .
In 1662, the brothers were both ejected from their respective parishes after refusing to adhere to the Uniformity Act of 1662. Nathaniel and Oliver were used to conducting their sermons without direction or prayer book. In 1662 Nathaniel set up a dissenters meeting house at Chapel House after being ejected from his role as Vicar of Ormskirk. After Nathaniel’s death on 16th Dec 1677 aged 44 and after being ill for over a year, Nathaniel’s Brother Oliver wrote : ‘My dear and only Brother, ten years a public preacher and half that period Vicar of Ormskirk, but turned out on Black Bartholomew’s Day in 1662, having preached in private since,and prophesied in sackcloth, is now clothed in white robes before the throne of heaven….He was a Christian, and a minister if great ability,an ornament to his generation, eminent for zeal, piety, humility and all ministerial endowments’
The funeral took place at the Parish Church and was attended by ‘a vast confluence of all descriptions of people’. He was interred in the chancel in the burial place of the Stanleys of Bickerstaffe with their ‘free consent and desire’. The Constable of the town led the funeral procession, carrying the town mace.
Descendants of Nathaniel Heywood include the Liverpool Banking family of Sir Benjamin Heywood, the first Baronet of Claremont being the owner. Another descendant is William Ewart Gladstone, MP and Prime Minister four times between 1868 and 1894,
The dissenters meeting house remained open after The Rev. Heywood died, his son, also Nathaniel, carried on his father’s ministry, building a Chapel on the street in 1696 which remained there until the land was bought in Aughton Street to build a new one.
An Ormskirk Tradition: The Sunday School Walks
St Peter and St Paul Sunday School anniversary walk holds so many memories for many people in the town, apart from during the War years when children walked from their own schools in groups, the procession has walked through the town during June.
Several followers of Ormskirk Bygone Times have shared images from over the years with followers of the OBT Social Media page, these are worth sharing with the readers of the Advertiser too.
Many people will remember Miss Leatherbarrow, Miss Potter and Miss Webster from the 1960s, when the Sunday School was held at Greetby Hill School. Prior to that it was held at the Derby Street School for girls and the Aughton Street Boys School.
Riot At Ormskirk
The Historical Market Town of Ormskirk was rocked to the core on Wednesday 20th October 1824 when a riot broke out in the town and shots were fired.
The trigger which led to no less that 2000 of the townsfolk taking part in the riot was the appointment to Deputy Constable at the Court Leet by the Jury Foreman, Harvey Wright, of Mr Thomas Howard, instead of the re-elected Deputy-Constable, Mr Derbyshire. The Earl of Derby, as Lord of the Manor, was the Steward over the Court Leet and seemingly the remainder of the 12 man jury took the dismissal of their elected Deputy very badly. (The High Constable of Ormskirk in 1824 was Robert Barton).
The Jury were dismissed but as is the custom, the name of the new Deputy Constable was announced at the door of the Town Hall and all those who heard the announcement immediately responded with hisses and groans.
Jury Foreman Harvey Wright ordered the outgoing Deputy Constable. Mr Derbyshire, to give up his Staff of Office to Mr Howard. Derbyshire refused to obey the order at which point Wright ordered the newly appointed Deputy Constable, Mr Howard, to take the staff by force.
The court was dismissed and Harvey Wright left for his home on Aughton Street but he was followed by a huge mob shouting and hissing after him. Wright was being bombarded with rocks and stones and had to take refuge in the store of Mr William Garside down Aughton Street. The only person who was there to help Wright escape the mob was town Surgeon Mr Henry William Ellis, (later to marry Wright’s second Daughter Mary) who himself was hit and injured by a rock and managed to drag Wright into the Garside shop.
The mob remained outside the shop and continued to yell and hurl missiles into the store and at one point a shot was fired which narrowly missed hitting Mr Wright in the chest.
The noise and shattering of plate glass must have woken Mr Garside who was sleeping above his shop,he came down and bravely confronted the mob begging them to consider his home and his family. The mob moved away but only to set fire to a barrel of tar and roll it further down the street to Wright’s house where they placed it against the front door.
The barrel burnt quickly however and caused little damage, but the mob continued to march through the streets with blazing torches with the deposed Deputy Constable Mr Derbyshire raised on the shoulders of a few of them.
The rioting carried on for a good length of time, with local shopkeepers supplying the rioters with shot, crackers and squibs to keep the uproar going. None of the Jury, nor the town officials nor the newly elected Deputy Constable Howard made any attempt to calm the offenders. (Crackers and squibs were small sticks of explosive or fire crackers, the term ‘damp squib’ meaning one which didn’t work properly due to moisture.)
It was Saturday, 3 days later, when the town Constable and new Deputy finally made between 20 and 30 arrests, including Mr Derbyshire, the ex Deputy Constable. All were bound over to the Quarter Sessions to answer to the charge of rioting.
Ormsirk Men & The First Weeks Of The Battle Of The Somme
The Battle raged on after July 1st, a day which has gone down in history as the worst in British Military History for losses.
Ormskirk District lost men on the first day of the battle like most other places. Isaac Allman and Clifford William Bales were both with the 18th Bn King’s Liverpool Regiment, they had both attended Ormskirk Grammar School and both were pack leaders with the 1st Ormskirk Scouts. They had signed up just a day apart in the first month of the war and no doubt they were pals during their first years of service. They are remembered on the Aughton Civic Memorial, the 1st Ormskirk Scouts Memorial, and the Ormskirk Comrades Roll of honour, both at buried in the Dantzig Alley British Cemetary at Mametz.
Isaac Allman had been born in St Kilda, Victoria, Australia in 1893, his parents had set out to Australia after marrying to start a new life and a new family, sadly his father, also Isaac, died and his mother Jane returned to England with her two children, settling at Trenchfield Cottages, Prescot Road after re-marrying. Isaac worked at a local Hotel when he left school but then started work for Lever Brothers. He signed up the day after Clifford Bales, 1st Sept 1914 and he too joined the 18th Bn King’s Liverpool, the white collar Bn as it was termed. Isaac is also remembered on the Lever Brothers Employees Memorial .
Private Clifford William Bales. Clifford was born in Toxteth, 23rd Sept 1894, son of William Ellis and Alice Ann Bales. The family moved to Rockville, Altys Lane, Ormskirk before 1901. Clifford signed up in August 1914, prior to that he been working at the District Bank on the corner of Moor Street and Aughton Street, for 4 years. He joined the 18th Bn King’s Liverpool Regiment, one of Lord Derby’s battalions. The 18th Bn were amongst the first over the top at 7.30am on 1st July 1916, going over in four lines, their goal being to take the enemy line, the Glatz Redoubt and the village of Montauban, enemy machine-guns cut down many men, those who reached the enemy engaged in hand to hand combat, Clifford was lost here and buried in haste, in 1919 his remains, like hundreds of others, were reinterred in Dantzig Alley British Cemetary, Mametz. Clifford is also remembered Holy Trinity Church Bickrstaffe memorial.
Also lost on that first day was 8234 Lance Corporal Robert Francis Rogers, aged 31, 1st Bn Royal North Lancs., KIA 1st July 1916, Robert had worked for the waterworks since leaving school, then enlisted in the Territorials in 1904 for a number of years, His family lived at Moss Delph Lane, Aughton. He married Jeanie McConnachie Tromp in 1907 and they lived at Toxteth Villa, 16, Halsall Lane. He became a postman in the town in 1912. At the outbreak of war he re-enlisted in 1914. Wounded in 1915 twice, he was in the retreat at Mons, he returned in 1916. Robert was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme and is remembered on the Thiepval memorial with no known grave. He is also remembered on the Aughton Civic Memorial and the Post Office Memorial. He left a widow and two children,
33193 Lance Corporal John Kirby, 21,17th Bn King’s Liverpool Regiment, was killed on the 3rd July 1916, born Liverpol Road, Bickerstaffe,Ormskirk. His father George worked at Bickerstaffe Colliery when John was born, then the family moved to Rock Lane, Melling but when John was killed, his widowed mother Jane nee Bradley had moved back to Ormskirk and was living at 71, Wigan Road. John is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial as having no known grave, he is also on the Memorials at St Thomas C of E Church, Melling and the Liverpool Town Hall Memorial.
29648 Private Peter Cave, 22, also serving with the 17th Bn King’s Liverpool Regiment with John Kirby, was also killed 3rd July 1916, born Long Lane, Aughton, his parents were John and Mary Cave nee Balmer and they lived next to the Dog & Gun, Mary’s father, John Balmer, who was from a local Quarrying family. Peter and his family moved to Johnson’s House Farm, Ulnes Walton before the war. Peter has no known grave and is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial and the Aughton Civic Memorial.
These men and the many others lost at the Battle of The Somme from July to November 1916, as well as all other local men lost during World War One are included in a display at The Civic on Thursday 7th July, 7 – 9pm, when in partnership with WLBC , we will be screening a film made by the Imperial War Museum which tells the story of the Somme and the men lost. The film last 1hr 13mins and is a cert PG.
Admission is free, a small donation to the cost of room hire is optional.
Ormskirk Men Killed At The 1st Battle of the Somme
The Thiepval Memorial is dedicated to the 72,195 missing British and South African men who died in the Battles of the Somme over a 4 years period from 1915 to 1918.
The memorial includes the names of the following men, who were amongst those lost who were local to or with an association to the town and district of Ormskirk during the 1st Battle of the Somme between 1st July 1916 and 18th Nov 1916. These men have no known grave.
John Ball of Maghull, aged 19. Grocer’s Assistant, John is also remembered on the Ormskirk Comrades Roll of Honour, the Maghull Civic Memorial and St Andrews School, Maghull memorial.
Richard Ball, 21, Richard and his two brothers worked in the railway goods yard before the war, the family lived at 33 Derby Street and then The Lodge at the Green Lane Isolation Hospital. Richard is on the Ormskirk Comrades Roll of Honour and the Aughton Street Boys School Memorial.
Benjamin Billen, 22, Gardener, born Liverpool Rd., Aughton, named after his paternal grandfather who was a gamekeeper on the Scarisbrick Estate. Benjamin is on the Ormskirk Comrades Roll of Honour and the Aughton Civic Memorial.
Herbert Samuel Bray, 31, of Maghull, Herbert was a Master Baker working in his father’s business. Herbert is on the Ormskirk Comrades Roll of Honour, the Maghull Civic Memorial and on St Athanasius C of E Kirkdale memorial.
John Critchley, 21, 2nd Lieutenant, John was the son of Capt William and Mrs Mary Ellen Critchley . He was educated at Wolverhampton Orphanage where he was appointed assistant Schoolmaster. John is remembered on the Ormskirk Comrades Roll of Honour and the Southport C of E memorial.
Edward Culshaw, 29, of Plex Lane, Halsall. Edward was a signalman before enlisting. Edward is remembered on the Halsall Civic Memorial.
Thomas Foster, 19, Son of Thomas and Alice Foster of Halsall Lane, Thomas worked for a Tailor from leaving Aughton Street school. He is remembered on the Ormskirk Comrades Roll of Honour, Aughton Street Boys School Memorial and the Aughton Civic Memorial.
John Gaffney, 23, John was from a large family of Ball’s Yard, Aughton Street, close to ParkAvenue. His parents were both Irish but he himself and all his older siblings were born in Ormskirk. John was working as a farm labourer before enlisting. He is remembered on the Ormskirk Comrades Roll.
James Goulbourne Galland, 27, son of Henry Galland of 7, Mill Gardens, James was a collier before joining the army. He is remembered on the Ormskirk Comrades Roll of Honour and the Aughton Street Boys School Memorial.
Richard Collins Gibbon, 19, his baptism at Lathom Chapel records he was born at Ring o’Bells, he was a member of a large boat family, Richard was in service at Watson House Farm, Halsall, before the war. He is remembered on the Ormskirk Comrades Memorial and the Halsall Civic Memorial.
John Hogarth, 24, born and raised at Scarth Hill, baptised at St James, Lathom (now Westhead) 1892, his father was a farm labourer as was John before the war. John is remembered on the Ormskirk Comrades Roll of Honour and the Aughton Street Boys School Memorial.
James Howard, 26, Son of Henry and Hannah Howard, the family had moved to Liscard Cheshire when James was still a small boy but he moved back to Ormskirk when he started work as a bricklayer, boarding at 18 Mill Street. James is remembered on the Ormskirk Comrades Roll of Honour.
Hugh Kennedy, 23, son of Dodson Kennedy, of Aughton , Hugh was from the Tile and Brick manufacturing family of Asmall Lane, his career was as a Stock Broker, he married in 1915. Hugh is remembered on the Ormskirk Comrades Roll of Honour and the Halsall Civic Memorial, Aughton Civic Memorial, Merchant Taylors School, Crosby, Aughton Institute, St Cuthbert’s Church, Halsall and the Liverpool Stock Exchange memorials.
Christopher Longton, 21, son of John and Mary Ellen Longton of North Moor Lane. Halsall, Christopher went to work as a cowman on his grandmother’s farm after leaving school. He is remembered on the Ormskirk Comrades Roll of Honour, the Halsall Civic Memorial and St Cuthbert’s Church Halsall memorial.
David Oswald, 22, David was born in Bonhill, Dumbarton, his father, also David, brought the family from Scotland in the 1890s to work as the Farm Bailiff on the La Mancha Estate, Halsall. David was an agricultural student before the war, also working at La Mancha. He is remembered on the Ormskirk Comrades Roll of Honour, the Halsall Civic Memorial and St Cuthbert’s Church War Memorial.
Edward Lea Philips, 29, baptised at Ormskirk in 1887, he had 5 sisters, his father was the secretary to the Liverpool Stock Exchange and the family lived at Belmont, Aughton Park. Edward is remembered on the Ormskirk Comrades Roll of Honour and the Aughton Civic Memorial.
James Whalley, 23, of Middlewood Road, Aughton, James, his older sister and his father all worked at the Powder Works, Melling, prior to the war. James is remembered on the Ormskirk Comrades Roll of Honour and the Aughton Civic Memorial.
Thomas Winrow, 18, son of Mary Winrow of the Alms Houses, Church Lane, Aughton, Thomas was the only son of John and Mary Winrow, Mary being widowed by 1911 and living with 13 year old Thomas in the Alms houses. Thomas is remembered on the Ormskirk Comrades Roll of Honour, he is also the youngest casualty on this list.
This is just a very small group of men lost from the town and district during the Battle of the Somme. A full list will be available at the OBT Live event in partnership with WLBC on Thursday July 7th at The Civic. A film complied by the Imperial War Museum to commemorate the Anniversary of the Battle of The Somme has been made available for a free public screening at 7pm. The film lasts just over an hour and is a cert. PG. Everyone is welcome,a donation to cover room hire is optional. This is expected to be a well supported event.