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one side, and on the other, St. Thomas of Canterbury, St. Edmund,
and St. Oswald. In the lower part of centre light and the one on
each side of it, and represented (besides St. Ambrose and St.
Augustine already alluded to) in the very centre, Our Blessed Lad) ;
she kneels in front, in mantle of blue, with arms extended, leading
as it were, the solemn chorus of praise ; behind her is St. John the
Baptist, pointing upwards to the Lamb of God, ' Ecce Agnus Dei '
being inscribed on the ribbon attached to his cross ; at his side
resting on her staff, his aged mother St. Elizabeth. In the dexter
light kneels St Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin, bearing alily,
behind him St. Edward the Confessor, holding ring and sceptre, St.
Richard, King of the West Saxons, with pilgrim's staff, St. Charles
Borromeo, and St. William of York. In the sinister light are
placed St. Ann, Mother of the Blessed Virgin, with book in hand;
behind her St. Mary Magdalene, St. Gertrude, St. Helen, the first
Christian Empress, supporting the newly-found Cross, and St.
Catherine of Alexandria, holding her well-known wheel. Then
three groups of figures, represent the patron saints of the donors'
family, for whose good estate a legend at the foot or the window
beys you to pray, and is as follows : ' Orate pro felice statu
losephi Smith, et domo ejus.' It only remains to add, that, in the
tracery at the top of the window, is represented, in the centre, the
Holy Spirit, and in the surrounding space a cordon of rejoicing
angels joining in the general chorus of praise and thanksgiving.
It may be added that the three subsidiary windows in the west front
and in the north and south transepts respectively have also been
filled with stained glass ; but they need not be mentioned further."
Had the foregoing been published broadly, the author would not
have given such lengthy extracts which evince the literary calibre of
the very reverend writer from whom the publication emantes.


It ought to be stated that the cost of the building of St.
Peter's Church, viz., ^15,000 is exclusive of the cost of the spire ;
and also that the chancel is separated from the nave by an arch 54
feet high, and the columns and arches of the same are 34 feet in
height. Before 1700 the wants of the faithful in Lancaster were
supplied by priests who from time to time found a home at
Aldcliffe Hall, Dolphin Lea, or elsewhere. The first Chapel,
" The Barn," still standing, was in Mason Street, with an
opening into St. Leonard's Gate. The Chapel and Schools
In Dalton Square were erected in 1797-8. The succession of
priests is as follows : — Thomas Hayes, obiit December 30th, 1692 ;
Peter Gooden, obiit 1694 (see registers of St. Mary's) ; Edward
Hawarden, D.D., left 1714; Nicholas Skelton, 1715-66; James
Tyrer, obiit 1784; John Rigby, D.D., obiit 1818 ; George Brown,
D.D., afterwards first Bishop of Liverpool, 1819-40; Richard
Brown, 1840-68 ; William Provost Walker, present dean and
rector. Prior to the establishment of a permanent Church in
Lancaster, the solemn office of mass was performed in the houses
of the principal supporters of the faith. Dr. Rigby was the real
promoter of a fixed place of worship for the Catholic body (see
biography). The Rev. George Brown, who succeeded Dr. Rigby,
had been vice-president of Ushaw, and having served the mission
twenty years he was raised to the episcopal dignity as Vicar
Apostolic of the Lancashire district, and he became in 1850, on the
restoration of the Hierarchy, the first Bishop of Liverpool. The
Rev. Richard Brown, who followed him (educated at Ushaw and
Rome), was his nephew, and he became Canon of Liverpool. It
was during Dr. Rigby's ministry that the usual registers began to
be kept, and they date from 1785.

The late Mr. Richard Leeming, J. P., who died on the 22ml
of September, 1888, presented St. Peter's Church with a beautiful
new organ, built by Mr. Henry Ainscough, of Preston. The
organ arrived a few days after the donor's decease, and occupies a
prominent position at the west end of the Church in a loft erected
for its reception. The late Mr. Leeming was a generous-hearted


gentleman, whose devotion to his Church was such as makes his

demise a loss that will long be felt by his co-religionists in

St. Peter's Bells.

The first peal was rung on these bells January 20th, 1880.
The following is a full description of the bells.

Ni 1. at mouth. Note


3°M E

2 30% Ds

o oa



5 38 A

6 41 Gs


•••■ 45 Fs

50 E




qr. 1!;.


3 2 °


1 3




2 8


2 2X


2 21


2 5


2 4


jht with

u 1 11 id and























2 5



Each bell contains one of the beatitudes, as well as the name
o\ the saint to whom it is dedicated in Latin, the several inscrip-
tions on the bells being as follows : —

No. 1. The largest bell. — Beati pauperes spiritu Quoniam
ipsorurn est regnum Ccelorum. Sancte Petre, apostolorum princeps.
Ota pro nobis. Sancte Bernarde. Ora pro nobis. Has Octo
Campanas, S. Petro Lancastrensi. I). D. Joannes Gardner
Lancastrensis v.d. 1879. T. Dickinson, contractor, Lancaster.
Diameter across the bottom, 50 inches ; weight, 25 cwt.

Xo. 2. Beati Mites Quoniam ipsi Possidebunt terrain. Sancte
Maria sine labe eoncepta. Ora pro nobis. Sancte Gulielme. Ora
pro nobis. Diameter, 45 inches ; weight, 22j4 cwt.



No. 3. — Beati Qui lugfent Quoniam ipsi Consolabuntur.
Sancte Joannis. Ora pro nobis. Diameter, 41 inches; weight,

20 cwt.

No 4- -Beati Qui Esuriunt et Sitiunt Justitiam Quoniam ipsi
Saturabuntur. Sancte Jacobe. Ora pro nobis. Diameter, 38
inches ; weight 18 cwts.

No. 5. — Beati Misericorcles Quoniam ipsi Misericordiam
consequentur. Sancte Thoma. Ora pro nobis. Diameter, 35
inches ; weight 16 cwt.

No 6. — Beati mundo corde Quoniam ipsi Deum Videbunt.
Sancta Helena. Ora pro nobis. Diameter, 33 inches ; weight,
14)4 cwt.

No. 7. — Beati Pacifici Quoniam Filii Dei Vocabuntur.
Sancta Teresia. Ora pro nobis. Diameter, 32 inches ; weight,
12^5 cwt.

No. 8. Beati Qui Persecutionem Patiuntur propter justitiam;
Quoniam ipsorum est Regnum Coelorum. Sancta Maria Magdalene
Ora pro nobis. Diameter, 30 inches ; weight, 10)3 cwt.

The names of the Parish Church ringers who had the honour
of first sounding a peal on the new bells were :— Messrs. R. S.
Hirst (conductor), James Beatie, Thomas Parker, Wm. H. Hirst,
James Atkinson, Peter A. Walker, Robert Johnson, George W inn,
and James Sawyer. The names of the new ringers were : Messrs.
Michael, John, and William Lennon, John Bailie, John Richardson,
John Helm, John Hartley, Richard Whiteside, William Lancaster,
Patrick Mulligan, Patrick Finrt, and James Hartley. Holt's ten-
part peal of Grandsire's Triples, containing 504 changes, was rung
on the bells by St. Mary's Church ringers.

There are still traces oi' the original character of the old
Chapel in Mason Street. A built-up doorway has lorn; shown the


level of the Chapel floor. The long- Chapel windows were partially
built up, except one on each side of the house, which still retain
their full size. In a room in one of the lower houses there is an
arch and other evidences of dedication to other uses than the one
to which it is now applied. The two houses in St. Leonardgate
were occupied by the priest as his residence. These houses and
the Chapel were thatched. Subsequently the house was converted
into the George Inn, and was kept by Mr. Joseph Redmayne,
father of the late Mr. Leonard Redmayne, who became the prin-
cipal of of the firm of Messrs. Gillow & Co. It was next altered
into two dwelling-houses, and so remains to this day. The Chapel
was formerly used by Messrs. Gillow as a warehouse for furniture,
and, owing to its original character, was known amongst the work-
people as " The Temple." It was afterwards used with the yard
now forming Mason Street for storing timber, by the late Mr.
James Monks. In 1837 the property passed from Messrs. Gillow
and Co. to the late Mr. Richard Dunn, who transformed the
Chapel into houses, and built the remainder of the dwellings in
Mason Street.

Catholic Martyrs.

Lancaster is to our Catholic friends a very sacred place in
common with Tyburn, York, Gloucester, Durham, and a few other
towns and cities which might be named, owing to the number of
martyrs who have sacrificed their lives in order to demonstrate the
honesty of their faith. From "Memoirs of Missionary Priests,"
published in 1741-42, a work written by the Right Reverend Dr.
Challoner, V.A.L. I take the following extracts concerning the
martyrdoms at Lancaster of James Bell, John Fynch, Robert
Nutter, Edward Thwing, John Thulis, Roger Wrenno, Edmund
Arrowsmith, Richard Herst, Edward Barlow, Edward Bamber,
alias Reding, John Woodcock, alias Harington, Thomas Whit-
laker, and Laurence Bailey : — "James Bell, born at Warrington in
Lancashire, brought up in Oxford, and made priest in Queen
Marx's days. When the religion of the nation was changed


upon Queen Elizabeth's accession to the crown, he suffered himself to
be carried away with the stream against his conscience, and for
many years officiated as a minister in divers parts of the kingdom.
He was at length reclaimed in 1 58 1 by the remonstrances of a
Catholic matron, joined to a severe fit of sickness with which God
was pleased to visit him, in which he was reconciled to God and
his Church." After resuming his priestly functions for about two
years, we learn that he was apprehended by a pursuivant ami
carried before a Justice of the Peace. This was in January, 1583-4.
He acknowledged himself a priest and his genuine reconciliation,
and in due course was committed to Manchester Jail, and ultimately
sent for trial at the Lent Assizes, Lancaster. On his way to the
latter city, "his arms w r ere tied behind him and his legs under the
horse's belly." He was arraigned with three others, a Mr. Thomas
Williamson and Mr. Richard Hutton, two priests, and Mr. John
Finch, a layman. He evidenced great courage, and when sentence
of death was passed upon him he said : — I beg your lordship's
would add to the sentence that my lips and the tops of my fingers
may be cut off, for having sworn and subscribed to the articles ol'
heretics, contrary both to my conscience and God's truth." We
are told that he suffered on the 20th of April, 1584, with great
constancy and joy. He was sixty years old. "John Finch was
born at Eccleston, near Chorley, and when he was come to man's
estate he became disgusted with the new religion and after serious
examination embraced the Catholic faith and laboured hard to
make converts. Owing to the treachery of a false brother, he and
a Mr. George Ostcliffe, a priest of Douay College, were arrested
by the Earl of Derby. When it was found impossible to shake his
faith and make him agree to go to the Protestant Church, 4 he was
dragged thither by downright violence through the streets, his head
beating all the way upon the stones, and being thereby grievously
broken and wounded ; then they thrust him into a dark stinking
dungeon, where he had no other bed than the bare wet floor ; no
other food but oxen's liver, and that very sparingly.' He was
kept in Manchester for weeks, and then transferred to Lancaster
to take his trial at the Lent Assizes for affirming that 'the Pope


hath power or jurisdiction in the kingdom of England, and that he
is the head of the Catholic Church, of which Church some part is
in this kingdom.' He was sentenced to death as a traitor, and
suffered on the day after his trial with James Bell at Lancaster, on
the 20th of April, in the year 1584.' 'His quarters were disposed
of to be set upon poles in four of the chief towns of the county.' "

Robert Nutter, who was born in Lancashire, and suffered in
1584, was brother of Mr. John Nutter, who became a B.A. on the
13th of June, 1575. Both belonged to Burnley. John suffered a
violent death at Tyburn, on the 12th of February, 1583-4, being
hanged, cut down alive, disembowelled, and quartered; and Robert
was executed at Lancaster, on the 26th July, 1600. Robert Nutter
"performed his higher duties in Douay College, during its residence
at Rheimes, where he was ordained priest, December 21st, 1581,
with Mr. George Haydock and others." In 1582 he was sent
to labour in the English mission. Dr. Worthington and Dr.
Champneys both allude to this martyr, the former intimating- that
he "was a prisoner in the Tower in February, 1583-4, where he
was put down into a dungeon for seven and forty days, loaded with
chains for the greatest part of the time, and twice tortured ; and in
the November following was lodged again in the same hole, and
remained there for two months and fourteen days." (Sec Jon nut!
of the Tower from ij8o to 1585, published with Dr. Saunders and
Mr. RishtoJi's History of the Schism. ) "In 1585 he was sent into
banishment with many other priests ' who being brought by their
keepers from their several prisons to the tower wharf says Dr.
Worthington, (who was himself one of the number,) p. 91, were
commanded to enter into a ship ready provided to carry them into
banishment." They declined to accept banishment as any grace or
mercy at all, declared they had committed no evil, and demanded
to be tried at Westminster, affirming that if banished they should
in God's providence, assuredly return to their sacred duties. " Mr.
Nutter was as good as his word, and after having visited his old
mother college at Rheimes, and made some short stay there, he
returned upon the mission. He fell again, not long after, into the


hands of the persecutors and was committed to Wisbeach Castle,
where he was kept a prisoner from about 1587 until the beginning
of 1600 ; when with a Mr. Hunt and four others, he found means
to escape. Then going into Lancashire, he was a third time appre-
hended, and, at the summer assizes, 1000, brought to trial, con-
demned (barely upon account of his priestly character), and executed
at Lancaster, July 26th.

The next martyr " Edward Tfrwing, was born of an ancient
family at Hurst, near York. He was first an alumnus of the college
of Rheimes, whence he was sent to Rome in 1587." He became a
priest December 20th, 1590, while at Laon and was " master of the
Hebrew and Greek tongues and professor of Rhetoric in the college."
He appears to have been sent to this country in 1597, and Dr.
Champneys speaks of him as a man of admirable meekness, and of
no less piety, religion, patience and mortification ; that his patience
(amongst the rest of his virtues, which rendered him amiable to all)
was very remarkable in suffering with wonderful tranquillity from
an ulcer in the knee, which he had to struggle with for a long time,
whilst he was at Rheimes and Douay. He is found writing of him-
self from Lancaster Castle thus : — " Myself am now a prisoner for
Christ in Lancaster Castle, expecting nothing but execution at the
next assizes. I desire you to commend me to the devout prayers
of my friends with you, that, by their help, I may consummate my
course to God's glory, and the good of my country. I pray God
prosper you and all yours for ever. From my prison and paradise,
this last of May, 1600. E. Thwing." In a second letter he states
" This day the judges come to Lancaster, where I am, in expec-
tation of a happy death, if it so please God Almighty. I pray you
commend me most dearly to all your good priests and scholars,
whose good endeavours God always prosper, to His own more
glory. Ego autem jam delibor et tempiis resolutionis mece instat.
Before this comes unto you, I shall, if God makes me worthy, con-
clude an unhappy life with a most happy death. Omnia possmn in

Thomas Thwing, born at Heworth, near York, in 1635, and martyred

October 23rd, 1680, must have been a near relation of Edward Thwing.


eo qui me comforfat. From Lancaster Castle, the 21st of July, this
holy year, 1600. All yours in Christ. Edward Thwing." He
suffered on the 26th of July in the said year 1600 with Mr. Nutter.

Another priest who was put to death at Lancaster was John
Thulis, horn at Up-Holland. near Wigan, where formerly was a
priory estahlished on the petition of Mr. Rohert de Holland by
Walter, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, on the 2nd of February,
131S. Up to this date a chantry had existed founded by Maud de
Holland, in the third year of Edward II. and consisted of a dean
and twelve secular priests. The priory comprised twelve Benedictine
monks, and at the sequestration of Church possessions in the days
of Henry VII I. there were according to Dugdale five ecclesiastics,
and twenty-six servants, and the valuation was ^64 3s. 4d. per
annum. The priory was sold in 1546 to John Holcroft, Esq., for
^344 12s. od. It afterwards passed to Thomas Owen, Esq.,
whose younger daughter, Mary, and co-heiress married Holt Leigh,
Esq., in whose family the property remained thereafter for genera-
tions. The ancient chapel was dedicated to St. Thomas the Martyr,
and Maud de Holland was the daughter and heiress of Allen
Colembiers, owner of the manor of Hale, in the reign of Edward I.
Tohn Thulis came, therefore, from a very ancient seat of Catholic
learning and piety, for the chantry was equivalent to a college
almost from its earliest days. A Latin Life of John Thules was
printed at Douay in 1617. He appears to have been a very devout,
meekly disposed man whose life was fraught with many sorrows
and crosses. It is stated that when once sick and nigh unto death
he was " divinely admonished to look for a more glorious death by
martyrdom." He was arrested for being a priest and long kept a
close prisoner in Wisbeach Castle. He escaped from this fortress,
but how, is not known. He was again apprehended by the Earl of
Derby and committed to Lancaster Castle. Among the prisoners
here was a catholic named Roger Wrenno or Roger Worren or
Warren, a weaver by trade, and a little while prior to the Lent
Assizes of 1616, the two prisoners found a means of escaping about
five in the evening. The story goes that the two made the best of


their way walking until five the next day at "a good round pace,"
but strange to say, "when they thought themselves about thirty
miles from Lancaster, they found themselves very near that town,
God's holy will designing them for the crown of of martyrdom."
At sunrise they were discovered in the neighbourhood of Lancaster,
and were apprehended and brought back to " their lodgings in the
Castle, where they were sure to be better looked to in the future."
Thulis was sentenced at the Assizes to die as in cases of high treason
"for being a priest and exercising his priestly functions in this
realm," and the weaver was also sentenced to death, " as in cases
of felony for relieving and assisting priests." They were offered
their lives on condition of taking the "new oath of allegiance," but
both refused. Mr. Thulis was brought out of the Castle and laid
upon a hurdle, in order to be drawn to the gallows. As he took his
last leave of his fellow priests, who remained there in prison, he
commended to them mutual love and charity, the proper character-
istics of the true disciples of Christ. Wrenno was conducted at the
same time to execution, in the company of divers malefactors who
were to suffer the same day, four of whom had been lately reconciled
in prison by Mr. Thulis to God and his church. At the gallows
when Mr. Thulis was going up the ladder, he was again called upon
to save his life by taking the oath. "That," said he, "I cannot in
conscience take, for it contains many things contrary to the
Catholic faith " so he was turned off the ladder, and afterwards cut
down and quartered. His four quarters were hung up at four of
the chief towns of the county, viz., Lancaster, Preston, Wigan, and
Warrington ; that at Preston was fixed to the church steeple, and
his head was set up on the Castle walls. As for Wrenno, the weaver,
after he was turned off the ladder the rope broke with the weight of
his body and he fell to the ground. After a short space he came
perfectly to himself, and going on his knees began to prav very
devoutly, with his eyes and hands lifted up to Heaven. He was
asked to take the oath and save his life, when he rose and replied to
the tauntings of the ministers present, for their remarks and adjura-
tions could only be termed taunts under the circumstances. " I am
the same man I was, and in the same mind, use your pleasure with



me,' and with that he ran to the ladder and went up it as fast as he
could. " How now? " said the sheriff, " what does the man mean,
that he is in such haste?" "Oh," said the good man, "if you had seen
that which I have just now seen you would be as much in haste to
die as I now am ; " and so the executioner, putting a stronger rope
about his neck, turned the ladder, and quickly sent him to see the
good things of the Lord in the land of the living, of which before he
had had a glimpse. Mr. Ashton, of Lever, godson of Mr. Thulis,
offered to settle ^20 per annum on the latter if he would recant.

" Acts of English Martyrs," by John Hungerford Pollen,
S.J., 1891, contains a poem called "The song of the death of the
venerable John Thulis," also a song " which Mr Thulis writ for
himself." The latter is taken from a MS in the British Museum
(add 15,225, p. 49 and 44). The following stanza will show the
style of the martyr's composition : —

No hurdle hard nor hempen rope

Can make me once afraid.
No tyrant's knife against my life

Shall make me dismayed.
Though flesh and bones be broken and torn,

My soul I trust will sing,
Amongst the glorious company

With Christ our Heavenly King.

Edmund Arrowsmith is said to have been born at Had-
dock in the parish of Winwick, a place five miles from Warrington,
and seven from Wigan, about 1585. His father, Robert Arrowsmith,
was a farmer, and his mother Margery, nee Gerard, one of the
ancient catholic family of Gerard, of Bryn. Both parents were
catholics and Edmund's grandfather, Thurston Arrowsmith, had
suffered much on account of his religion " and died in bonds a
confessor of Christ." Mr. Nicholas Gerard, his maternal grand-
father, "was by order of Sir Thomas Gerard, his own brother,
forcibly carried to the protestant church, (at a time when he was
labouring under a violent fit of the gout, so that he could not stir,)
and there placed over against the minister. But instead of joining
with the minister or congregation in their service, he sang psalms


in Latin, with so loud a voice that the minister could not be heard
which obliged them to carry him away out of church. The parents
of Edmund Arrovvsmith with their children were tied two and two
together and driven to Lancaster Castle. Four little children were
left at home, one of whom was Edmund, whom the pursuivants had
taken out of bed in their shifts, and left standing in the cold, not
suffering any of the family to dress them, till some neighbours
compassionating their case, came in and did this charitable office
for the helpless infants." At length Edmund's father redeemed
himself by money and went abroad with his brother Peter, and both
served for a time in the wars in Holland. Peter died at Brussels of
a wound received in the war, and was there interred. Robert,
Edmund's father, went to Rheims or Douay to visit his other brother
the learned Professor Edmund Arrowsmith, D.D., and after a time
returned to England, dying peacefully, having long before foretold
his own death. Edmund's mother was greatly reduced in circum-
stances, and as a kindness " a venerable priest took the boy
Edmund (then called Brian from the name by which he was
christened) into his service to bring him up to learning. He is said
to have been such a pious child that even his protestant school-
masters were very fond of him, He became very devout, and
entered Douay College in December, 1605. Here, he took the
name of Edmund, the name of his uncle, Dr. Arrowsmith, studied
so greatly that his health was completely undone and he had to
return home. On coming back to his college he was constituted

Online LibraryCross FleuryTime-honoured Lancaster ... Historic notes on the ancient borough of Lancaster → online text (page 16 of 55)