Page 3


Anderton Shearer Mining Memorial

Anderton House, With the Anderton Shearer memorial in the foreground

Anderton House, With the Anderton Shearer memorial in the foreground Miner and shearer loader machine. Head, hands and upper body of miner emerge out of cutting drum. The hands are holding a piece of coal. Four blades of cutting drum (part of shearer loader machine) are represented. Commissioned by Lord Robens First erected in 1965 by the North West Division of the National Coal Board at Anderton House in Lowton, Lancashire. Marked the invention of the Anderton Shearer cutter/loader which was first used in St Helens. In 1989 it was moved to Eastwood Hall in Nottingham and was then installed in its current position in December 1998. Installation costs were funded by the Southern Corridor Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) which is managed by the Ravenhead Renaissance Partnership.On behalf of the Ravenhead Renaissance Partnership, the Groundwork Trust submitted the planning application to St Helens Borough Council. 1) James Anderton, inventor of the Anderton shearer and loader machine 2) Shearer-loader (Used in coalmines worldwide, the first shearer-loader was installed at the Ravenhead Colliery's Rushy Park seam in 1952, then used at Cronton Colliery, St Helens, and

Golborne Colliery, Leigh. 3) Mining community (represented in the body of the miner)

Part of Lowton’s History since 1965,

Why have Wigan MBC allowed it to be re-sited in St.Helens? "A Piece of Lowton History"

Below is a picture I took of it on the island on St.Helens Reig Road


The 10 photos below were taken from the roof of Anderton Houseprior to it's demolition

Thank You to Rene for supplying these archive photographs


John Byrom's link with Lowton

A building of historic interest in Lowton is Byrom Hall, the ancestral home of the poet John Byrom, Byrom Hall which was constructed in the 18th century, once had a moat which was crossed by means of a drawbridge. The estate of Byrom has existed since the thirteenth century and is mentioned in the Victoria history of the county of Lancashire.

A picture showing the hall with the moat is on page 61 in Bert Worsley's book A pictorial view of Old Lowton - Now out of print but available for loan from Leigh and Golborne libraries.

BYROM HALL Grade 2 listed building in danger from the HS2 train lines development (Ed)

John Byrom 1692-1763

Born in the Old Wellington Inn in Manchester's old market place in 1692, the son of a linen draper. He was educated at the Merchant Taylor's School attended King’s School, Chester, then went on to Cambridge, where he graduated M.A. in 1715 he became a Fellow of Trinity College. But, declining to take Holy Orders, he resigned and soon after married his cousin, Elizabeth Byrom, against the wishes

of both families. He was a devout Jacobite supporter. He earned a living by teaching shorthand, for which he invented his own system.

In 1723, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society, The following year, his brother died, and John inherited the family estates and

returned to Manchester. He frequently visited Cheetham’s Hospital in Manchester, and wrote many hymns for the boys there.

While at college several of his writings and poems were accepted and published in "The Spectator". Later he studied medicine in Montpellier (France), though never qualified.

He wrote many religious and political essays as well as numerous poems, and the Christmas carol "Christians Awake". Byrom had several children, but his favourite was his daughter Dolly. In December 1745, after a romp with Dolly, he promised to write her something for Christmas; it was to be written especially for her, and no one else. The delighted Dolly reminded her father of his promise each day as Christmas grew nearer. On Christmas morning, when she ran down to breakfast, she found several presents awaiting her. Among them was an envelope addressed to her in her father’s handwriting. It was the first thing she opened, and to her great delight, it proved to

be this Christmas carol. The original manuscript is headed “Christmas Day for Dolly.” It was first published in Harrop’s Manchester Mercury in 1746. Music: “Yorkshire,” John Wainright, 1750 Wainright played the organ at the Collegiate Church in Manchester, England. The ancestral home of the Byrom Family is in Byrom Hall at Slag Lane Lowton, The lane facing the hall in called Byrom Lane.. He died in 1763. Buried: Jesus Chapel, Manchester Cathedral, Manchester, England.


It is said that Slag Lane was so named, after residents of Byram Hall's coach got stuck in the mud of the dirt road on their way to St. Luke's Church one Sunday. They then arranges for the road to be covered in coal slag from Bickershaw colliery (just over Plank Lane Bridge) The road then became known as "The Slag Lane"

                                                                 Also at risk due to the HS2 Rail track development

                                                  is Grade 2 listed Lightshaw Hall on the Lowton / Golborne border (Ed)

Better photographs of Lowton House now the site of a housing development Lowton Gardens

The photograph below was emailed to us by a former resident of the house who now lives in London, Ontario Canada also below is an extract from the letter:

Dear Alan:

It is amazing to see the railings as they must have been removed and used during WWII before I lived there. I have strong memories and remember every nook and cranny of the house and all the property, where I spent many happy hours exploring and just enjoying the delight of being able to wander freely for hours on end and never leave the property.  I don’t know if I told you that when I was up in a small top room that actually had its own staircase I found a “secret door” that nobody knew about.  The walls were wallpapered, as most were, and I guess the sunlight must have been just right as I noticed a rectangle faintly outlined on the wall to the left at the top of the staircase.  Of course, as children would, I started picking along the lines, then pulled at the crack.  Eventually it actually opened and I couldn’t believe what I saw.  A large room full of papers, crockery, small pieces of furniture as they would be stored in an attic.  There were ledgers of household accounts, which I couldn’t quite reach as I leaned over the bottom of the wall, but I did manage to pick up a small pile of pieces of rectangle shaped glass.  I held them up to the window and they were photos of the interior rooms;  incredible furniture and  plants, noticeably the inevitable Victorian aspidistras.  I didn’t dare climb in as I was afraid that being such an old house the floor may give way or the door close and nobody would have a clue I was behind a wall.  Now I wish I had ventured in and especially that I had kept the photo plates; oh how I have kicked myself for having done so  I guess they got lost in time. AB 20/03/2015


Please Note: In the interests of school and pupil security, no present day photographs are displayed in this publication

St.Luke's School Lowton History within living memory from St.Luke's School Website

Notes on local history (1950’s and from then on) Information from Miss Collier (former teacher) or Mrs Beaumont (former school


• Lowton was a little village in 1951. Everyone knew everyone else and would notice a stranger.

• VG used to be a wood yard. (VG was a supermarket that was on Church Lane, on the other side of the East Lancs), where the hotel attached to the Toby Carvery is now). Also beside the wood yard were cottages.

• Church Lane – school side of the East Lancs – there were only 3 semis, no side roads, (i.e. no Fulwood road, no Bradwell road, certainly no Ranworth

Drive) only fields. Mr Hooper, the school head master, lived in Norwood Ave, which was a cul-de-sac

• After the 3 semis and the fields, came the Toffee Works – (which after became Hille, making seats for football stadiums - though now it’s gone and new houses are there) - then the Junior building. (School dinners came from Abram)

• There was a green fence then a white house, then a farmhouse with an orchard, belonging to Mr Parker. The “gravestone” came off the Infant building – the first school building - 1857 – when Mary Leigh gave money for the very first school.

• Summer 1953 closed Infant building. Infants into Junior building (dated 187?)

• Playtime was 2.45 to 3pm. Infants went home at 3.30, juniors at 4pm.

• The footpath to the farm was there.

• On the other side of Church Lane – near the East Lancs – hens were running loose on the grass.

• There were (and are) 2 blocks of terraces, then the PO, then hedges. Opposite the factory was a cottage and a sideways-on row of cottages. There was no Alderley, no Stretton Ave.

• Row of houses opposite the Junior building – terraced

• On our school side – fields as far as the council houses around Ashwood Ave, then nothing as far as the church graveyard.

• On the other side there was no Rutland, no Milton Avenue. The old cottages were there. The old block near Bridgefords, the estate agents, wasn’t there – it was a park.

• The school caretaker lived opposite the Sovereign Toffee Works

• In the 1960’s first came Broughton Ave, then Rutland, Ave, Bradwell Ave and Newlands Drive

• Mt Hooper left in 1961, and then it was Mr Probert.

• The church took over the school after a donation was made.

• In 1962 the Infant building was opened again because all the children wouldn’t fit into the junior building.

• Walked to field opposite the church.

• School was Lowton Parish school, not St. Luke’s

• The education department wanted to distinguish us from St Mary’s

Page 42 of 100

• There were separate heads for the Infant and Junior School until Mrs

Johnson retired and they were amalgamated.

• 5 public footpaths led from the East Lancs to Church.

• There was no rectory – rector Thomas lived in Norwood Ave.

Information from Mrs Audrey Malley – given to Infants in around 1985

• 27 years ago Lowton was a little village

• At the Lanehead lights there were 2 pubs. Costcutters (VG) was a wood

yard. There were houses opposite and a shop, Hawarths, next door.

• The white house near the East Lancs road was a Co-op building.

• Lights, detached house and 2 semis

• All fields from church Lane to Newton Road.

• Quiet

• Started building houses in Fulwood Road. Mr Gill built houses. Then

Bradwell Road. They were going to be cul-de-sacs.

• The fields beyond St Luke’s are called the cabin fields.

• The houses near the post office have always been there. Orchard behind them – that’s where children play – the bottle pit

• Terraced house and Spar then Rank Strand (formerly Sovereign Toffee Works)

• Facing, there was a little row of cottages.

• Mr Gallagher stood on the corner.

• The old school

• The old building at the top of the path was the old School Hall

• As school got too big, some children had to be taught in the old school hall.

• Terraced houses with dentist were there. • Broguhton Ave just being built.

• 1964 Those facing Broughton Ave, near Rutland Ave just being built.

• Cottages

• They were building Michael Carpenter’s house when Audrey Malley came to Lowton

• Dentist’s was built, but it wasn’t a dentist.

• Deep bottle pit between Church Lane and Chester Ave.

• Mr Probert still lives on slag Lane (old headmaster)

• 4th March 1967, new school was built.


The old school was demolished in 2012 when the "new" school was extended (Ed)

Site was demolished and is now a small residential development (Ed)




1895 Kelly's Lancashire Directory

Private Residents

Alrey George, Sandfield hall, Lowton

Argot William Henry J.P., 0.0. Lime house, Lowton

Berridge Rev. William, The Vicarage, Lowton

Bridge a Henry, 7 Park road, Golborne

Brown Simon S., C.O. Bridge at. Golborne

Byrne Rev. Wm. Hy. Church at. Golborne

Camm Rev. J. T. Golborne

Caunce Mrs. Park house, Park rd. Golborne

Clarke William Laurel house, Lowton

Crowther Misses, Holly bank, Bridge st. Golborne

Dean Mrs. Elizabeth, Sunny-side, Lowton

Dobb James, Railway read, Golborne

Eckersley Richard, Moss house, Lowton

Edmondson Robert, The Holme, Golborne

Ferns Mrs. Rose cot. Bridge st. Golborne

Green Mrs. Oaklands, Lowton

Guest William, Sycamore house, Lowton

Hart Roger, Lowton

Hunt Mrs. Lowton junction

Kidd John W. Lowton junction

Laycock John, Lowton

M'Corquodale A. C.. J.P. Lowton grange

Mapei Luigi V. Bridge street, Golborne

Melville Rev William J. The -Rectory, Downall green

Mitchell, William J.P. Brook vil. Golborne

Part Herbert, Bank ho. High st. Golborne

Richardson Rev. Thomas W. Rectory, Golborne

Rigg George Wilson, Highfield house, Puck road, Golborne

Robinson John, Park road, Golborne

Seton Major Alexander D. The Heights, Park road, Golborne

Smith Rev. Richard, The Rectory, Lowton

Smith Robert. Park road, Golborne

Spencer Strickland. Sunnyside, Golborne

Thompson J. Beech house, Lowton

Travers Mrs. Bank cottage, Golborne

Travers Thomas L. Lowton common:

Unsworth Joseph, Fernlee, Golborne

Widdows Alias, Oaklee, Lowton

Worsley Henry, Park cottage, Golborne


Withnell Charles A. (for J. Pullar & Sons, dyers, Perth), Heath street, Golborne


Melling & Son, Church street, Golborne


Bailey William, Lowton common

Boardman William, 76 Gerard street, A

Pounce Alfred, Bridge street, Golborne

Tune John, Lowton common

Ormston Thomas, Lowton

Travers William, 56 High street, Golborne

Unsworth Adam, 105 High street, Golborne


Parr's- Banking Company & the Alliance Bank Limited

Heath street-, Golborne, open on tuesday & Thursday

from 10.45 a,m, to 1.15 p.m

Williams Deacon & Manchester & Salford Bank Limited

(sub-branch), High street, Golborne; open on tuesday

& thursday, from 10.45 am. to 1.15 p.m.; saturday,

from. 10.45 a.m, to 12.30 pm


Boulton David, 33 Church st. Golborne

Boydell Joseph, Lowton common

Cannes Amelia, Bridge street, Golborne

Cundliffe Mary A. Church street, Golborne

Eckersley Ellen, 69 High street, Golborne

Edwards Thomas, 67 High street, Golborne

Edwardson Adam. Harvey lane, Golborne

Gilligan John, 1 Tanner's lane, Golborne

Haves William, Lowton common

Jenkinson Joseph, 95 Church at. Golborne


Davles John, Ashton road, Golborne

Henshaw James, Lowton

Nuttall Charles, Heath street, Golborne


Collier James, High street, Golborne

Jackson William. Legh st. Golborne

Johnson Paul, 55 High street, Golborne

Williamsson Joseph, 101 High st. Golborne


Bennett Thomas, 1S Heath st. Golborne

Brookes James, 17 Heath street, Golborne

Haynes Henry, 70 High street, Golborne

Houghton Thomas, 9 Legh st. Golborne

Howard John, 77 High street, Golborne

Hunt Thomas, 65a, High street, Golborne

Roberts William, 39 High street. Golborne

Webster James, Lowton


Golborne Brick Co. Harvey lane, Golborne


Travers Thomas L. Lowton

Wakefield James, Golborne


Beaumont Jn. (pork), 30 Heath st Golborne,

Caunce Alfred, Bridge street, Golborne

Dalton William, 19 Heath street, Golborne

Domakin Thomas, 78 High st. Golborne

Holden Ralph, 91 High street, Golborne

Oliver Edward, 34 Legh street, Golborne

Peet Henry, High street, Golborne

Simpson Robert, Heath street, Golborne

Struthers Betsy, 88 Bridge st. Golborne

Winstanley John, 12 Heath street. Golborne

Woods Thomas, Church street, Golborne


Barton Samuel, Heath street, Golborne

Draper Henry, Lowton

Smith John, Lowton

Worsley Bros. Lowton


Kidd John W. 51 High street, Golborne

Pennington Richard L. High st. Golborne


Ashton Joseph, 75 High St. Golborne

Fearns Thomas, 27 Heath street. Golborne,

Glover William, 89 Church St. Golborne

Hart Alice, 87 Church street, Golborne

Naylor Christopher, 1 Leigh St. Golborne

Silcock Thomas, Heath street, Golborne

Unsworth Adam, 105 High street, Golborne


Birchall Joseph, 21 Church street, Golborne

Howard John, 77 High street, Golborne

Hunt Thomas, 65a, High street, Golborne

Lowe Thomas, 47 High street, Golborne

Roberts Mrs 39 High street, Golborne

Taylor Joseph, Lowton common

Twist William, Haydock

Webster James, Lowton


Golborne Bowling & Cricket club, High street; Thomas Silcock, secretary

Golborne Conservative club, Salisbury street; James Jenkinson, secretary

Golborne Liberal club, High street; Thomas Twist, secretary

Golborne Working Men's Liberal Club Co. Lim. High street; Thomas Twist, sec


Worsley William, Lowton


Golborne & Parr collieries, near St. Helens; Theodore

D. Grimke-Drayton, managing director; Edward J. George., sec. ; W. S. Barrett, manager; John

Robinson, agent. TA " Evans, Haydock "


Golborne Coffee & Cocoa rooms, High street; Mrs.Allen, manageress


Collier Samuel, High street, Golborne

Davies James, 21 Heath street, Golborne

Harrison Jane, 10 Church street, Golborne

Ogden Margaret, 57 High street, Golborne

Wakefield John, 29 Heath street, Golborne

Wakefield John, 11 Legh street, Golborne


Golborne Mills Co. (80,000 spindles; 900 looms),

Parkside mills, GolborneSmithson Bros. cotton spinners; 6,930 spindles), Bank Heath mill, Golborne

T/ A Smithson, Golborne


Kidd John W. 51 High street, Golborne


Bailey William, Lowton common

Baker Alfred, 27 High street, Golborne

Entwistle William, 95 High st. Golborne

Fernley John, Lowton

Harrison James, 74 High street, Golborne

Jenkinson E. & M. 23 Heath st. Golborne

Keeley Jane, 20 Heath street, Golborne

Leigh Friendly Co-operative Society's stores, Golborne; & Lowton common

Lowe Thomas, 31 Heath street, Golborne

Wakefield John, 109 High street, Golborne

Withnell Charles A. 2 Heath st. Golborne

Withnell Charles A. 61 High st. Golborne

Yates James, Legh street, Golborne

Yates Roger, High street, Golborne


Turton S. A. 25 High street, Golborne

Withnell Charles A. 2 Heath st. Golborne

Yates Roger, High street, Golborne

Farmers In Golborne.

Abbott John

Boardman John

Boydell John, Dove house

Fearns Richard, Bank heath

Garton Peter, Dean Dam farm

Hart John

Jenkinson Charles, Bank heath

Knowles Peter, Lowton road

Livesley James, Wigan road

Livesley Richard, Lightshaw hall

Lowe William

Monks Richard, Windy bank

Ormerod Robert

Pierpoint T. & P. Bridge street

Pimblett William, Lowton road

Stanley William, Ashton road

Taylor Mary Wisswell

Wiswall Thomas, Lowton road

Page 53 of 100

Farmers In Lowton.

Adamson John & Peter Bent John

Bent Samuel

Brown Herbert

Clarke William, Laurel house

Courtney William, Yew tree

Eckersley Richard

Gibbon John, Lowton common

Hall John, Rowbottom farm

Higham George

Howard James, Mossley hall

Lenders Samuel, Fair house

Mather Thomas, Sandobb

Page Matthew, Ivy house

Penkethman Henry, Lowton hall

Percy William, Pocket nook

Scotson James, Little Byrom

Waterworth Nathan, Hollybush

Wood Rachael, Byrom hall

Worsley Bros. Lowton


Elsey Alfred, 103 High street, Golborne


Elsey Alfred, 103 High street, Golborne

Goodier William, 53 High street, Golborne

Mather David, 66 Heath street, Golborne

Mather William, 99 High street, Golborne


Winnard William, Heath street, Golborne


Green John (Glue, size & soap manufacturer), St.Mary`s, Lowton T/A " GREEN, Lowton"


Ashton Thomas, 37 High street, Golborne

Bailey William, Lowton common

Barlow James A.107 High street, Golborne

Barton Samuel, 71 Heath street, Golborne

Bent Mary A. Lowton road, Golborne

Bent Mary Ann, 73 Church street, Golborne

Budsworth James, 28 Heath street,Golborne

Burke Aim, 14 Heath street, Golborn

Caldwell William, Heath street, Golborne

Carter George, 40 Heath st . Golborne

Caunce Alfred, Bridge street, Golborne

Davies James, 77 Heath street, Golborne

Fernley John, Lowton

Glover Sarah, 9 Wigan road, Golborne

Glover William, 89 Church st. Golborne

Hatton Margaret, Legh street., Golborne

Hazleton Simon, 37 Gerard street, A, & 22 Heath street, Golborne

Hodkinson John, Edge Green lane

Holding Joseph, Tanner's lane, Golborne

Honderwood Robert, 13 Legh at. Golborne

Howarth James, Lowton common

Howe John, 49 High street, Golborne

Hurst Thomas, Lowton

Ince John, Lowton common

Leigh Friendly Co-operative Society Stores, 49 High street & at Heath street, Golborne, & Lowton common

Litherland Richard, Haydock Lowe Mary, Legh street,


Marsh William, 96 Bridge st . Golborne

Mather Elizabeth, 58 Heath at. Golborne

Mort Jesse, Lowton road, Golborne

Mort Joseph, Lowton

Moss Joseph, Edge Green lane

Naylor Christopher, 1 Legh at. Golborne

Openshaw Robert, Legh street, Golborne

Orimston Thomas, Lowton

Peet William, 78 High street, Golborne

Ratcliffe L. & A. 83 High street, Golborne

Ridyard Peter, 6 Heath street, Golborne

Silcock Elizabeth, 63 Legh st. Golborne

Taylor Henry, Lowton road, Golborne

Taylor James, 97 High street, Golborne

Travers William, 56 High street, Golborne

Tunstall James, Edge Green lane

Turton John, Ashton road, Golborne

Turton John, 1 Wigan road, Golborne

Turton Jonathan, 36 Heath street, Golborne

Unsworth Adam, 105 High street, Golborne

Unsworth Henry, 93 Church st. Golborne

Unsworth John, 6a High street, Golborne

Wakefield Thomas, 68 High street,Golborne

Westhead Ellen, 12 Bolton road, A

Westhead John, Edge Green lane

Widdows, Samuel, Lowton road, Golborne

Wood Joseph, Edge Green lane

Worsley Henry, 98 Bridge street, Golborne


Nicholas John, 6 Heath street, Golborne

Stringer A. R. 89 High street, Golborne


Clegg John G. 34 Heath street, Golborne

HOTELS.(See also Public Houses.)

Railway Hotel, John Parr, Golborne


Alliance-Richard Peake, Lowton

Richard Peake, Lowton


Beswick John, Rich street. Golborne

Eckersley Lane, `3 legh street Golborne

Rigby William H, Church street, Golborne

Talbert J. & S. 32 Heath street, Golborne


Laybourn Nathan, 42 High st. Golborne

Travers Thomas L. Lowton

Wakefield. James, Golborne

Wakefield John, Railway view, Golborne


Melling & Son, Golborne


Buckley John, Lowton


Turton S. A. 25 High street, Golborne

Yates Roger, High street, Golborne


Clegg Bros. Turton street, Golborne


Arnott. C. E. Lime House nurseries, Lowton

Boardman William, The Nurseries, Lowton


Rigby William V. 47 Heath street & Church street, Golborne

Rostron Joseph, 93 High street, Golborne


Mitchell, Arnott & Co. (paper hangings manufacturers), 

Brookside Mill, Golborne-T A " MITARN, Golborne


Harrison Martha, 38 Heath street, Golborne

Jackson Ann, 79 & 81 High street,Golborne


Dodd James M.R.C.S., L.R.O.P. 3 Railway rd, Golborne,


Jenkins & Unsworth, High street, Golborne

Travers John, Bank cottage, Golborne


Ashcroft Peter, Tanners lane, Golborne

SURGEONS.See Physicians & Surgeons.


Bennie Chas. S. (highway), Worsley street, Golborne


Baker Alfred, 27 High street, Golborne

Bate James, Lowton

Openshaw John, High street, Golborne

Touhey John, 1 Heath street, Golborne


Travers Thomas L. Lowton


Winnard William, 16 Heath street, Golborne


Blackmore William, Church st , Golborne


Collier James, 64 High street, Golborne

Williamson Joseph, 101 High st, Golborne


Eccles Robert, SS High street, Golborne

Eckersley Edward, 25 Heath st . Golborne


Hampson John T. Lanehead, Lowton

Pimblett Thomas, Lowton road, Golborne

Pimblett William, Lowton road, Golborne


Openshaw Joseph, 19 Park road, Golborne


The advertisement Shown below is from the Leigh Journal May 1934, it advertises Flint’s Victoria Ballroom as it was then.

The photograph below shows it as it is now. 

You will read latter on this web site how it also played a part in the life of the early Independent Methodists

As well as the Victoria Hall Ballroom there was also the Paramount Ballroon also on Newton Road but next to St Mary's Station. I remember when I was in Lowton Silver Band we had our Christmas social in the Paramount Ballroom. You will see from the ticket that the Flints were also involved here.
The Nick Heywood band outside the ballroom                                                                                    Ticket
                                                                                             Below: Lowton Silver Band

The story of our church begins around the year 1850 with the building of Knott’s Mill when a number of Anglican families moved into the area. They had a long journey to attend the nearest church, St. Luke’s, as all of Lowton was one parish at that time. However, for their convenience, services and a Sunday School were held in what is now a public house — the Church Inn. But it wasn't long before William J. Leigh, who was M.P. for South Lancashire, saw the need for a Church and a School in the area and he gave the site for the Church and the old school. Miss Mary Leigh of Hale, near Liverpool, offered to be the Patroness and provided most of the money for the buildings. She was a descendant of a Mr. Leigh, a tanner, who lived at Lowton Hall Farm in the 18th century, and she had inherited the estate. The architect responsible for the building of the Church was Mr. Edward G. Paley of Lancaster who drew up the plans in May 1858. In 1859 the contract to build was given to James Fairclough of Wigan, the cost being £1,073.15s.Od (£1,073.75). The first sod for the foundation of the church was cut by a Mr. J. Smith and turned over by Mr. Foster, Rector of St. Luke’s Church. The building of the church was completed before May 1860 and a furher eighteen months was then allowed for the equipping and furnishing of the building.

Most of the area which now forms the Diocese of Liverpool was, at that time, in the Diocese of Chester, and so it was the Lord Bishop of Chester who Consecrated and opened the Church of Lowton St. Mary on Thursday, 21st November 1861, and the Deed of Consecration bears his signature. Witnesses to the signing of the Deed were F. G. Hopwood, Rector of Winwick, Thomas Foster, Rector of Lowton St. Luke’s, and John Whiteley, Rector of Newton. The first Vicar of St. Mary’s was the Rev. James William Smart Simpson. The first

Churchwardens were two farmers — John Battersby and James Leather. The aforementioned J. Smith was appointed as sexton, clerk and apparitor. He carried out his duties at the church for thirty five years and was paid £5 a year! He lived and died in a thatched cottage, now demolished, which stood near the playground car park. The Deed of Consecration is a lengthy and complex document but, nevertheless,

very interesting. In speaking of the benefactors, it reads: "Mary Leigh of Hale, aided by the voluntary subscriptions of divers other pious and well disposed persons hath caused this Church to be erected." It concludes: "She has given one thousand pounds towards the building and a further seven hundred pounds to provide an endowment for the Minister’s salary." It also records that Thomas Brideoake gave land at the rear of the present church hall with the idea that it might provide a site for a vicarage. Structurally the church has remained more or less unaltered since 1861. The original plans show the organ on the north wall of the chancel, although very early on it was moved to its present position, and the choir stalls on the south side of the chancel. The Vicar’s vestry at this time was entered through a door in the nave.

The original lighting in the church, especially during the winter months, was not adequate and so, in 1923, after considering the alternatives of gas or electric lighting it was agreed to install the latter, although in the early days the supply fluctuated according to the weather. Seven years later, in 1930, the Vicar’s vestry was extended to its present size, and the Chancel and Sanctuary were refurnished in limed oak. A new organ was installed and dedicated in 1933 and is still in use today. The following year the original stone pulpit was dismantled and

replaced by our present oak pulpit. The main structural addition to our church came in our Centenary year with the building of the Choir Vestry. This was built with money raised by the Centenary Fund and was dedicated in November 1961 by the Bishop of Warrington.

The church has some very fine stained glass windows. The impressive East Window was given by Robert Farrar Brideoake, the son of Thomas Brideoake, and depicts our Lord’s Nativity. The nave contains three stained glass windows On the north side the window, given in memory of the Rev. J. W. Simpson and his wife, depicts David and Jonathan. On the south side of the nave are two windows, the first showing The Good Shepherd, given in memory of the Rev. William Berridge, and the second depicting St. Luke and St. John, given in memory of Thomas Leigh Travers and Mary Ann Travers. Just inside the main door is a brass tablet ‘raised by subscription’ which records

the service of James Smith, the first clerk and sexton, 1861-1896. Above the door is a panel bearing the names of past vicars. This was presented to the Church by Miss Guest in memory of her father, Dr. Guest. The list of names is as follows: 

J.W.Simpson 1861 - 1886

W. A. Nicklin 1886 - 1890

William Berridge M.A. 1890 - 1897

Francis Smith 1897 - 1914

Benjamin Webster 1914 - 1919

George Arthur Guest M.A. 1919 - 1925

William Samuel Jones M.A. 1925 -1936

Arthur A. Shaw L.Th. 1936 - 1941

Donald Arthur Smart 1941 - 1949

Albert Edward Newby 1949 -1969

Robert Alexander Lally 1969 - 1982

Bob Britton 1983 - 2002

In memory of the Rev. A. E. Newby a bench seat and an oak cupboard for hymn books and prayer books were fitted at the rear of the Church in 1972, and in 1983, in memory of the Rev. R. A. Lally, the Vicar’s vestry was equipped with a cupboard for the storage and safe keeping of church documents and records. Amongst these are the Church Registers which date back from 1862, and by looking at the Burial Register we can see the high infant mortality rate in those early years of our church’s history. Of the first twenty-four burials in the

churchyard, only seven were adults. The first wedding in the church took place in March 1862 and it is interesting and revealing to note that both parties could not write but signed the register with ‘their mark’ — an X.

One document in the church is a plan of the original seating in 1861 which shows that the centre pews and those on the Lectern side were ‘Paid Sittings’ — the average fee being 5 shillings (25p) per seat which raised approximately £25 per year. The seats on the Pulpit side, except for three rows, were free, as were the four rows which were behind the Font. The Sunday School children sat on benches where the choir stalls now are. It was not until 1917 that it was agreed that all seats in the church were to be free. Looking back through the records certainly gives many insights into the early life of our church from many angles. For example, on the financial scene, the accounts for the year 1892/3 show a total expenditure for the year of £104 which includes payments to the sick and poor of £2.l0s.0d (£2.50) and one payment of 10 shillings (50p) for organ blowing for the year! Of the visiting dignitaries to our church, one was Bishop Ryle who came in 1890 and who preached a sermon which was well received. This is one comment which was recorded, in dialect, at the time: "He’s one othe reet soart of parsons. He didn dally but went reet at his wark, and he didn begin furt exalt hisel, but plain forrard talk and wen eed dun he gav oer beant anny mur bother." The church ‘officials’ up to 1916 consisted of two wardens and four sidesmen, but in that year the latter were increased to twelve ‘to increase the interest of the people.’ In 1917 they formed a Church Council, but with the advent of the new

Enabling Act, a Parochial Church Council as we know it, consisting of 20 members and 2 wardens was elected in 1920 and its first meeting was held in May 1920. In 1955 the Trustees of Lowton Independent Methodist Chapel very generously made a gift of a twelve yard strip of land parallel to the churchyard to be used as an extension to the graveyard. This land was consecrated by the Bishop of

Warrington on the 25th May, 1983 and is now in use In 1965 the School Managers and the Parochial Church Council first discussed

the possibility of building a new school to replace the one which had served the parish for over 100 years. The land on which the ‘old school’ was built was given, as mentioned before, by William J. Leigh and the money for the building provided by Miss Mary Leigh, and these gifts are noted by an inscription on a stone at the front of the building which reads: 

These Schools Were erected by Miss Mary Leigh of Hale, Patroness of St. Mary’s On land given by William J. Leigh, M.P. for South Lancashire 1862

The new school was built in three phases. 1970 saw the completion, and the opening by Mrs. F. Newby, of the first phase of the building — the hall. The Infant Department began its life in 1973 and the Junior Department in 1976. In March of the following year the school was officially Opened and Dedicated by the Rt. Rev. Michael Henshall, B.A. Bishop of Warrington. The ‘old school’, of course, is still with us and continues to serve the church and community in a dual role. It was transformed in 1977 into a Nursery Unit, run in conjunction with our new school, and into a Church Hall, which is now ‘home’ for several of our organisations, and is used quite extensively for a variety of

purposes. In January of 1983 we welcomed the Rev. Bob Britton as our Vicar, together with his wife Wynn, and their family. Our church life was strong and healthy; there was an increase in the size of the congregation and the laity started taking a greater part in our services. Each month we held a Family Service when the Church was frequently filled ‘to capacity’. A healthy sign, too, was the continuing rising

attendance in our Sunday School (later re-named J.A.M. Club [Jesus and Me]) and the fact that our children and youth organisations were full, and several had ‘waiting lists’. A keen interest in the Bible developed and almost fifty adults belonged to the two Bible Study Groups.

Every Ascension Day a Day of Prayer and Gifts was held when there were people praying in church from 7 o'clock in the morning until 7 o'clock at night. This continues to this day. Perhaps an accurate reflection of the love our people have for their church was shown in 1984/5 when some £10,000 was given and raised in approximately 12 months for the re-roofing of the church which was carried out and completed in 1984. Generosity, too, was evident through gifts and furnishings given to the church. These included kneelers for the choir and congregation, an amplification system, a white linen cloth for the Lord’s Table, containers for the wine, water and bread at Holy Communion, a Lectern Bible, an Altar Service Book, Hymn books, Service Books and a beautiful portable oak Baptismal Font.

In April of 1986 we undertook a ‘Parish Visit’ when each home in the parish was visited by a member of our congregation who left a Church Magazine and an information leaflet about St. Mary’s. This was followed in May by a Procession of Witness — the first for many, many years — in which the majority of our congregation, our organisations and Day School took part. These annual processions continued for many years but eventually had to stop because of the high cost of policing.

Our relationships with our neighbouring churches of other denominations were good, having been strengthened and enriched by members meeting together for study and the congregations joining together more frequently for acts of worship To mark the 125th Anniversary in 1986, the church was redecorated, the pews refurbished and the aisles and chancel re-carpeted. A display giving the history of

the church was exhibited in the Church Hall and an historical booklet, from which most of the information recorded here (up to 1986) was produced. By 1988 the organ was beginning to show its age and a further large sum was raised so that the organ could be rebuilt. Its completion was marked with an organ recital being given by Professor Ian Tracey, the celebrated Cathedral organist. One of the big events of 1989 was the formation of the Winwick Deanery of which St Mary's are now part - we were formerly part of the Warrington Deanery.

Then in 1990, in agreement with neighbouring parishes, some of the Parish boundaries were changed to make allowance for some of the new estates that had been built and also to remove many anomolies. In May 1991 Radio Merseyside recorded a Songs of Praise from St Mary's - this was broadcast later in the year. As part of the celebrations to mark the Millenium, a capsule, which contained

photographs and other memorabilia, was buried in the Church grounds. The intention is that this will be opened in 100 years time to give the people of 2101 an idea of what Church life was like in 2001. A copy of St Mark's Gospel was also given to all the primary school children in the Parish and new kneelers were made by the Mothers' Union. The year 2001 also saw the introduction of the use of Common Worship Services in Church. These replaced the ASB (Alternatice Service Book) which, in turn, had replaced the Book of Common Prayer some 20 years earlier. The end of the year also saw the refurbishment of both the choir and vicar's vestries and the installation of new lights in church. In May 2002 we said goodbye to the Rev Bob Britton and Wynn as they went into rertirement. Amongst the many farewell gifts from the members of the church in appreciation of all that Bob and Wynn had done was a day trip on the Northern Belle to Durham. A celebratory party was also held in Lowton Civic Hall. Fortunately the interregnum didn't last too long and on the 5th February 2003 the

Rev Bill Stalker was licenced as Priest-in-Charge of St Mary's and he and wife Pam quickly won their way into the hearts of the parishioners - well, what else would you expect of a Scouser! Bill, with the help of members of the congregation, has introduced several new initiatives including the Going for Growth and Giving in Grace programmes; prayer triplets and clusters; Open Church whereby the

churchbuilding is open every morning for anybody who wants to spend time in prayer and contemplation; and the church website.

In November 2004 St Mary's together with Lowton St Luke's and Golborne St Thomas' were officially commissioned as a Church Cluster whereby we will continue and increase the co-operation and sharing that has existed over many years between the three Parishes.

The Church continues to grow and flourish and we have much to thank God for by the way He has provided for our needs, both in the past and in the present. We can be sure we can trust Him to continue to provide in the future and, resting in this certainty, may we continue to be faithful to Him and grow and go from strength to strength in the Lord.




Closed 2011

On January 1st. 1933, a temporary church was opened,dedicated to St.Catherine of Siena, as a chapel of ease to All Saints Parish at Golborne. It stood on the land adjacent to the present Presbytery. In 1956 Fr. John Connolly came to live in Mather Avenue to establish a new parish. The foundation stone of the Church was laid by the then Archbishop John Carmel Heenan on September 28th. 1958 and the church was opened by him the following year on June 3rd. The old church then became the Parish Hall, a function it fulfilled until 1992 when it was replaced by the "Conference Room" - a new building joining the church to the Presbytery. In March 1985, Fr. Connolly retired and Fr. Bernard Eager was appointed Parish Priest. Between 1986 and 1989 the church was gradually reordered to suit the needs of the restored liturgy introduced by the Second Vatican Council. In December 1989, the bell was installed in the Tower, having been transferred from St. Lewis', Croft. The Parish has two Permanent Deacons - Rev. Francis Newton, ordained in 1989 and Rev. Derek Morris, ordained in 1997. On the retirement of Canon Vincent Burrowes as Parish Priest of the neighboring Parish of St. Lewis in Croft, Fr. Eager was appointed "Administrator" of that Parish and from January 13th. 2006, he took responsibility for the pastoral care of both parishes.

A sign of the times mobile phone antennas on St. Catherine’s tower

There were at one time two Independent Methodist meeting places in Lowton the present church located at Lowton Saint Mary’s and referred to as Lowton Common. This church you will read below came about when the people there defected from the Wesleyans in 1819.

The other cause was older. We believe that a James Ashton born in 1774, started to hold cottage meetings in his cottage on Church Lane opposite Saint Luke’s Church, how his meetings became associated with the Independent Methodists is not known, but it certainly happened no later than 1815 and possibly much earlier. There was a lot of Independent Methodist activity in the area at the time and as well as Lowton there were meetings at Croft and Risley, it is interesting to note that there are still meetings in all these places. James Ashton is known to have preached at the present church after it joined the Connexion. The attendance at Ashton’s meetings became predominantly people from Golborne and eventually the people wanted to relocate to Golborne but Ashton was reluctant to loose his meeting. The people took matters into their own hands and opened their first Golborne Church in 1847, the third Golborne Church now closed still stands in the centre of High Street built in front of the second church. The meetings at Ashton’s cottage continued until he died in 1859

In order to help with our research into the development of the Independent Methodist Churches in Lowton and Golborne. We are interested in locating a photograph of the cottages that were in Church Lane, in the vicinity of the former Beech House this was located approximately in the region of the new Co-op store. Also any descendants of the James Ashton mentioned. We would also like to locate a photograph of the "Chapel School" that stood where Kane Court is now. If you can help with any photographs please e-mail  [email protected] 

In a Short history of Independent Methodism” published in 1905 James Ashton is refereed to as a pioneer of Independent Methodism in the

Lowton Area, in the section dealing with Lowton Common the present IM church. The Independent Methodist Magazine for 1908 States that the cottage of James Ashton was still standing but we believe that it has long since been demolished.

There are some interesting facts about James Ashton’s ministry and his clashes with the established church Reproduced below is a copy of a letter sent to George Ashton From John Pennington the First Rector of St.Luke's Church dated 31st May 1811.

The text is difficult to read but consensus is that it says that if Ashton does not produce a real licence to preach for him to inspect that morning, Pennington was intending to report Ashton to the Bishop of Chester as an undesirable person When we see the friendship and cooperation that now exists amongst the Lowton Churches it is interesting to note the animosity that existed less than 200 years ago.

George Ashton was born in 1774 and during his early life attended the "Established Church" He came under Methodist Influence and was

converted, in 1799 he opened his home as a preaching house Services were held for sixty years until his death in September 1859. Ashton’s name first appears in Independent Methodist minutes in 1815 but he began his ministry many years before and was associated with the Warrington Circuit. He received much persecution when he began the preaching services at his house. In his memoir we are told " The step brought him into great trouble, and a multitude of persecutors of the most bitter character, surrounded his house whenever he and his brethren met for worship, Stones, sludge and brick-bats were hurled at them, while their ears were saluted with the most awful and bitter language. These mobs were frequently headed by those who professed to be the friends of religion. As protection against these base men the house was licensed as a place of worship, which in some measure restrained their violence, and preaching and worship continued in his house for sixty years."

The letter appears to have been written during this period of pressure and persecution. It was written by John Pennington the first Rector of

Lowton.(It is interesting to note that St. Luke's history only records his as Resident Curate from 1813 and rector from 1845) (Webmaster).

However on July 5th 1806 a request for registration of the cottage had been presented to the Bishop of Chester and is entered in the Episcopal Registry under the date August 22nd 1806 It is signed by James Ashton, Thomas Hill, James Houghton, Thomas Boardman, William Smith, Peter Smith and Robert Dickenson (Copy in Cheshire Records Office) in view of this petition duly accepted and registered it is difficult to interpret John Pennington's action as anything other that wanton persecution. Whether the mobs were incited by him is not known and it is desirable not to make the inquity. (IM Magazine 1908)


This is a reprint of the section dealing with the Independent Methodist Church at Lowton, taken from the book Memories of Lowton, by Richard Ridyard that was published in 1935. The Ridyard family were worshipers at this Church. The complete book has been reprinted at least three times the last time an edited version was produced in 1963 by P & D Riley but is once again out of print. Other books on the history of Lowton have been produced by local farmer Bert Worsley but again all of Bert's books are now out of print. At the present time all the books mentioned are available from the Golborne and Leigh libraries.

LOWTON COMMON METHODIST: The inhabitants of Lowton Common have long been known for their sturdy Puritanism and Nonconformity, and as far back as 1642, during the civil war, we find some of the villagers taking part in a fight between the Puritan and Loyalist forces. It is recorded that one Sunday morning, during the Winter of the above year, Lord Strange. Seventh Earl of Derby, was marching towards Bolton at the head of his Loyalist troops. About one o’clock they arrived in the vicinity of Chowbent, where they were met by more than three thousand young men, hastily summoned. comprising framers, wheelwrights, weavers, nail makers, and rustics from the surrounding districts, who attacked the Loyalists, and drove them back through Leigh towards Lowton. The horsemen, more bold than cautious, out rode the men on foot, and sustained a temporary loss on Lowton Common. However, when the men on foot arrived the battle was turned in their favour, and about two hundred of the Loyalist forces were killed and the rest disarmed and made prisoners. That many horses were also killed during the battle. and were buried near to where Knott’s Mill now stands is given colour by the great number of horse shoes found some years ago, during some excavating operations in that area.

Now flats it is believed this building 100 yards from the present chapel was one of the early meeting places of the church. With an ancestry who were prepared to fight and die if need be for the cause of religious and civil liberty, it is not surprising that Methodism should appeal to the spiritual nature of many of the villagers and it is known that Methodist meetings were held in cottages as far back as 1780. Which section of Methodism or Nonconformity was the first to hold cottage meetings, I have not been able to ascertain. but during the later portion of the 18th century, meetings were held in one of the three cottages which are still standing in Lowton Hall fold. From information I have been able to obtain, I conclude the worshippers were believers in adult baptism by immersion, as there is a well founded tradition, that in a stream of water running near by the cottages. there used to be a small square reservoir, a few feet deep, the bottom and sides of which were made of blocks of stone. Resting on the coping stones were rough hewn images of angels and churches. which after the dissolution of the sect, went to adorn the rockeries in the local cottage gardens. Another meeting place for worship in these early times was the granary attached to Yew Tree farm. and I learn that only a few years ago. the original oak reading desk was broken up for fire wood by the tenant farmer. To which section of Nonconformity these religious enthusiasts belonged no one knows, but there is authentic history of the Wesleyans holding meetings about 1720. in the house known as Gilded Hollins farm, which still stands opposite Knott’s Houses, St. Helens Road. In course of time it was decided to build a school chapel. and a Mr. Richard Eckersley, who owned some land on Lowton Common. gave the land on which it was erected. and opened in 1794. The building was used as a day school. Sunday school. and also for holding preaching services. The first schoolmaster was a Mr. Peter Eckersley. For a time the cause must have prospered for according to an old Hymn Sheet, dated 1810. the scholars attached to the Sunday School numbered 200. A footnote on the Hymn Sheet reads as follows :? "In this school there are upwards of 200 scholars taught to read every Lord’s Day. The amount of collections and donations last year was £6 9s. 0d. That our pecuniary assistance is insufficient must be obvious to everyone who considers that the above sum is on the aver age only sixpence for each scholar. We are therefore under the imperious necessity of adopting a plan that has long been in use at other places on such occasions, and which has always succeeded, viz.: of receiving silver at the door. It is not intended to supersede but to be added to the collection, which will be made as usual after the sermon. After mature deliberation we could not but think of a plan so calculated to supply our wants as that now proposed, and we flatter ourselves it will? meet with the cordial approbation of every lover of mankind, whom we once more solicit liberally to impart all possible help in sup port of the institution." I cannot but think that this arrogant appeal was ill-advised on the part of the managers of the Institution, who largely hailed from Leigh, and judging from what followed I attribute the decline of Wesleyanism in Lowton to it. As an old Lowtonian, knowing something of the temperament of the villagers of 50 or 60 years ago, I can well imagine the spirit in which so dictatorial a document would be received by the older generation of inhabitants. To demand the payment of a silver coin before being allowed to enter his place of worship. and then be expected to contribute at the close of the sermon, would be anathema to the then sturdy independence of the average Lowtonian. From that time disputing began among the

congregation, and in the course of a few years the members had dwindled down to six, and strange to say they were all named Eckersiey. The cause almost died out. through not being able to get regular supplies of preachers and workers, and often the place would be closed for several weeks at a time. That the meager financial assistance could not be attributed to the niggardly nature of the natives, is evidenced by the large amount of money subscribed by them in succeeding years. and the cause of the trouble can only be surmised. On the fundamentals of doctrine there was little difference between the contending parties. and I am of the opinion that the trouble was more a question of management. and the belief of the Lowtonians that all efforts to propagate the Gospel. or working for the Lord, as they would term it, should be a labour of love, spontaneously rendered. without thought of any financial reward. Where as the Wesleyans believed in a paid ministry, etc. Be this as it may, it is in this spirit and belief that Independent Methodism. at Lowton Common has grown from one success to another during the past one hundred years. Immediately after the few remaining Wesleyans had left the place in the hands or their stronger rivals. a new cause was started under the name of Independent Quaker Methodists. In a short time it became necessary to build a larger place, so the old place was pulled down and a larger School Chapel built, and opened in the year 1834, "for children of all Denominations." The cause prospered so much that a third place had to be built, and this was opened in November, 1849, the

collection for the day being over £20. A very considerable sum to raise in those days. In my infancy I was baptised in the above building, and up to the time of it being vacated. I regularly attended the Sunday School and preaching services held therein. The cause so prospered that the Trustees decided to build a larger chapel and school, and they were fortunate in securing a piece of land near by the old place for £200, on which the present commodious chapel and school were erected, at a cost of about £5,000, and opened on March 26th, 1880. I was present at the laying of the foundation stones, and also at the opening of the premises, and was married at the Chapel 49 years ago.

None of the pioneers of Lowton Common Methodism were educated men, as education is usually understood, but they undoubtedly possessed wisdom, and a zealous faith in their mission. Some of their names I shall never forget. such as: James Eckersley, William Winstanley, Richard Collier, lames Ince, Simon Boydell, John Boydell, Joseph Birchall Joseph cHesford, and my grandfather, Joshua Ridyard, who, when I was quite young, led me to the Sunday School, where he taught a class of very young boys, always referred to as the "Reedy mid aisey class?, because of the title of the book from which they were taught to read being "Reading Made Easy". Some of these men were preachers, and much of their speech was in the local vernacular, and very quaint it would sound if heard from a pulpit to-day. James Eckersley was a descendant of an old Lowton family, and he began preaching, when only sixteen years of age, and he often had stones and other missiles thrown at him when holding open-air meetings, but undaunted he held on. and many of those who had been opposed to him became changed men, through the influence of his precepts and example. Although he was a member of the Primitive Methodist Chapel. Lane Head, he often preached at Lowton Common Chapel on a Sunday morning. He was a great favourite with the boys who attended the service, partly on account of his quaint sayings. but principally because of his brevity in conducting the service. If we saw him walking in the direction of the Chapel. one of the lads would approach him and say, "Are yo pretchen. Jemmv". his answer would invariably be, "Ave an al not keep yo lung if vo’ll promise bi good lads". Of course the promise was readily given, but whether it was always kept. I have my doubts. True to his side of the bargain he would suddenly cut short the service about half an hour before the usual time: and exclaim. "Ah con see th’lads are genen tyart. so al gie oer, and let urn go whom to their dumplins". I remember an occasion when several young men of the village thought they would frighten him one dark Sunday night, when he was returning home across the fields from Golborne, where he had been the preacher for the day. They agreed to hide in the hedges. and on his approach one of them should meet him, after making himself look as weird and ghostlike as possible by enveloping himself in a white sheet. When they heard the old gentleman’s footsteps coming along the foot path. the ghost left its hiding place and met him face to face. The old man never changed his

pace. but on passing the ghost, quietly said: "If thert dival theu cawnt hurt me. and if thert human. God al not let thi touch me". If the faith of old James could not literally remove mountains, it certainly removed from the hearts of those young men all desire ever to play the ghost on him again. The late Mr. T. L Travers in his book of Manuscript, dated December 19th, 1888. records as follows: "Curious sayings and doings of old James Eckersley, of Lowton. a well-known and highly respected local preacher. A man very well versed in Scripture, and who at times could pray and preach as one inspired.. His Gospel was love of God and his fellow creatures. A most innocent and unworldly man, who all his life went about doing good. Never-the-less he was erratic and highly eccentric, his speeches occasionally bordering on the most startling themes. He is still living, being 85 years of age. and wonderfully active at the time these lines were written". I once heard him say from the pulpit that if he had had twenty lads, he would make them serve the Lord or he "would breke ther yeads"; well, he has three sons, who have followed in their father’s footsteps.

At one time describing the glories of heaven, he said, "There would be mountains o dumplins an rivers o broth, and ‘th women woula have a rare time on’t as ther would bi no dolly tubs nur washin beillers waiten fur urn on a Monday mornin". On another occasion he said he would like to see all his neighbours, and all that he had known, to be saved, and if he had the power he would "slek hell-fire eaut". One time he was holding forth and a man near the pulpit was nodding, where. upon old James. tapping him on the head, said, "Wakken up. Ruffley, thers a creawn o’glory wainn fur thee in heaven if theu has a bawd yead!.. Being in his company once, and a young lady being present. he turned to her and said. "Ah tell thi what, wench. thi fevther owds some quare notions abeaut heaven. He thinks thoos ut ur saved al bi flyin abeaut wi angels, seem th wonders oth universe, an travelin fro one Orb tut tother. Ah tell thi what ast think it strange when I?m i heaven if ah see thi feyther whizzin past hooked on to a comet’s tail". Conversation overheard. October, 1889. between two old Lowton celebrities, both being rather deaf. one aged 85 and the other 75. J.Eckerslev: ‘Did’t go to’t Chappil Anniversary o Sunday;’R. Collier: ‘Aye’. J.

Eckersiev: ‘What wur Mawt (Mort) pretchin abeawt?’ R. Coller: ‘Well, he wur quite Apastolic like, he gan us a deol o Schripther. an he startet othe beginin an finished off athe eendin he gan us o text, but rawnt abeawt o good deol. Ah should like furt year him again, for he gan mi o deol o comfort in mi yead’. Old Penks’ (Penkethman) account Of Bishop Ryles’ Sermon at St. Mary’s Church, Lowton, 1890.

"Hes one othe reet soart o passons. He didn’t daily but went reet at his wark. an he didn’t begin furt exalt his-sel nor howd up’ th sacriments for salvation. Nowt but plain straight forrud tawk, an when eed dun he gan o’er beawt anny moor bother". Mr. Penkethman was a staunch supporter of Independent Methodism and lived at Lowton Hall Farm. where he died about 40 years ago. I used to hay-make for him during my school holidays, and I remember he was strongly opposed to Sunday haymaking. On one occasion his principles cost him dearly, for on a Saturday evening in July, 1872 after a period of fine weather, he had a twelve acre field of hay ready for being stacked.

The workmen, afraid the weather might break expressed a wish to stack it on the following day, Sunday. Mr. Penkethman was against the

suggestion, declaring he had never allowed haymaking on the Sabbath day, and he never would. The Sunday was fine until late afternoon, when a thunder storm came on, and it rained, as it had never in living memory done before or since. A larger area of land was flooded than has ever been known, and the weather never really picking up for some weeks, the hay was spoilt, and made only fit for bedding the cattle, or the manure heap. The men said the man was a tool for not taking advantage of the fine Sunday, but Mr. Penkethman had the satisfaction of knowing that he had kept the Sabbath day holy, and as a good Methodist would no doubt console himself with the thought that his earthly loss would be to his eternal gain. Richard Collier was a prominent member of the Chapel. and a local preacher, and as such he christened me when I was a child. Mr. Ruffley. when a young man, had been one of the worst characters in the village, but through the influence of the Chapel he became a reformed man, and faithfully attended the services until his death. I remember him once telling his religious experiences, and with fervour portraying the "glory of heaven, with its beautiful mansions, one of which was reserved for him, its streets pave’t wi gowd. an no hongry ballies theer, furt neawdding mugs. wud bi runnin o'er wi dowf". Mr. James Mort was considered to be one of the best preachers connected with the Independent Methodist. and hailed from Lymm, where he worked on the highway. He was in great demand for preaching Anniversary sermons, and having studied Botany, he always chose a text bearing on the subject. such as: "Consider the lillies of the field", or "The grass withereth. etc". He would begin his discourse b outlining the science of plant life, and vegetable kingdom. and then give it a spiritual meaning. This he could do exceedingly well, and he was undoubtedly a good and

intelligent preacher. Although I have wandered far theologically from the Methodist fold since my young days. it is with gratitude that I acknowledge my indebtedness to these pioneers of Lowton Methodism. most of whom were old men when I was a boy, for their instruction and good advice, in trying to make me, as they would say, into a good lad.Richard Ridyard 1935 

Reproduced from the Short History of Independent Methodism, published in 1905 as a souvenir of the hundredth Annual Meeting of I.M. Churches.


In trying to ascertain the commencement of Methodism at Lowton Common we go back more than a century. Prior to 1794 there was a small society formed by the Wesleyans. and meetings held in cottage houses. After a time it was agreed to try and get a school, and a Mr. Eckersley, who owned some land on Lowton Common, gave a plot, on which a School was built. This was opened as a Wesleyan school in the year 1794 The place was afterwards used, for day school, Sunday school, and preaching services. Unfortunately, the cause almost died out, owing to its being unable to get a regular supply of ministers and workers. The condition of things became so low that there were no preaching services held for three or four weeks at a time. This state of things gave much anxiety and regret, and a number of those residing in the neighbourhood conferred together and tried to raise another cause. They took possession of the premises, which created some bitter feeling between the few remaining Wesleyans and the new corners, but the latter became the stronger party, and after a time the Wesleyans left the place in the hands of their rivals. The next step they took was to consult with Peter Phillips, of

Warrington who promised to preach and help them. Thus the cause was again started under the name of Independent or Quaker Methodists, and a supply of ministers arranged for the services. Shortly after this it became necessary to build a larger place. The old

building was taken down and a more convenient school erected,  which was opened in the year 1834, for children of all denominations. The

following are the names of some of the pioneers of Independent Methodism at Lowton Common. Preachers : James Ashton,

James Eckersley, John Chisnall, Jeremiah Collier, Jeptha Thompson, William Birchall, and others. Sunday school superintendents, teachers, etc.: Thomas Lowe, Abel Gregson, Richard Atherton, John Bridge, Thomas Cook, Robert Battersby, Joshua Ridyard, John Bent, William Winstanley and William Smith. Eventually the cause prospered, so much so that a third school-chapel had to be built. This was completed and opened in November, 1849, by our late respected friends ‘William Sanderson and James Gandy. The collections for the day amounted to £70 a very large sum to raise at that time. Since the above place was opened the work has so prospered and grown that the trustees had to look out for more land on which to erect chapel and schools. They were very fortunate in securing a site near the old place for the sum of £200, on which a commodious chapel and schools have been built, the total cost being nearly £4,000. These buildings were opened on March 26th, 1880. An interesting snippet gleaned from the Independent Methodist Magazine for June 1908 LOWTON The Sunday School Anniversary took place on may 17th. The address at the morning service was given by Mr Thomas Ridyard. Services were conducted in the afternoon by Mr James Trickett and the evening by Mr James Berry, Mr Trickett also preached to an overflow service held in the school Room.The collections realized £74.

Methodist (Lane Head)

Now closed congregation merged with Heath Street, Golborne (Ed)

Then sold to Golborne UDC who used it to garage the steam Roller and Bin wagon.

Photographs of Lane Head Methodists were loaned by the late Mr Walter Smith

1907 Centenary Handbook Recently found on E-Bay

Lowton Churches Romania Appeal

Lowton Churches Romania Appeal is a charity set up by the five churches of Lowton (St Luke's, St Mary's, St Catherine's, Lane Head Methodist, Lowton Independent Methodist) after the fall of Ceauºescu in 1990. It grew from work of an aid trip arranged by the churches after knowledge of the living conditions in the country's orphanages first became widespread. The aid trip, which saw many

Lowtoners travel to Romania by coach, visited an orphanage in Lugoj, west Romania. The trip was successful but barely scratched the surface of the problem and the individuals who travelled decided LCRA should be created to deliver long term help. Initially more trips to Lugoj and elsewhere were arranged but as time has gone on the charity has grown and expanded its remit. It now has several ongoing projects in the country.

One area in which Lugoj has strong links is in the town of Sinaia. In 2000 LCRA donated an ambulance to the town's hospital in memory of James Dickinson, who travelled on many of the charity's aid trips and was just 18 when he died in 1999. In 2003, a second ambuance was donated in memory of another of the charity's workers, Carol Jones. For more information about LCRA please visit the Lowton Website

Old Plank Lane Bridge                                                                                   Old Lane Head Post Office
Demolition of Anderton House
Plank Lane