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no doubt that the Wesleyan Chapel stands on the old foundations
of what was once a beautiful cruciform church, with nave and side
aisles, transepts, an apteral choir, i.e., a choir without aisles
— an arrangement, says an able writer, quite consistent with
the supposition that this Church, of which these few traces only
remain, was that of the Black Friars of Lancaster, established in the
44th Henry III. Portions of an octagonal turret, of the hood
mould of an arch, and of encaustic tiles were unearthed in this
locality in 1873, when preparations were made for the erection of
the new Wesleyan Chapel. Many human remains were also found,
and these were carefully re-interred. Speaking from a purely
antiquarian point of view, I consider it a great shame that the
ancient remnants of this old friary were ever disturbed after the
dissolution. They should have been permitted to remain, furnishing
another grand portrait of an early religious brotherhood in old
Lancaster. Several Angel coins of the periods of Edward IV., and
Henry VI. , I may add, were also found in this locality in 1849.

St. Nicholas Street Chapel.

The Chapel was built in 1787 by Mr. Thomas Taylor on the
site of a former one. William Stout mentions the original structure
as a Presbvterian Chapel and states that in 1688, the Mayor of
Lancaster, John Greenwood, attended this place of worship, the
mace being carried before him by his officers. It was singular that
in this very year the Toleration Act was passed.

The Lancaster Gazette of August 23rd, 1890 says : — The
Chapel was originally built in 1662, re-built in 1780, and enlarged
in 1874. The work of decoration has been executed by Messrs.
Eaton and Bullield of this town. The Chapel ceiling, which is


elaborately panelled out in plaster work, is treated in a warm
vellum tint, the various parts being' picked out in suitable colours.
The walls are painted in two shades of soft green, divided by
chocolate lines ; and the architraves round the windows have been
treated to match. The chancel or apse ceiling" is divided into eight
panels on a ground work of deep blue, with a large stencilled
ornament of gold colour in the Italian style, relieved with outer
lines of white ; whilst the cornices, &c, round the same have been
picked out in soft colours as a relief."

In the beautiful apse of this Chapel are three stained windows,
the centre one being a memorial to two worthies whose names will
never be forgotten by the Lancaster Unitarians. On a brass plate,
at the base of the window, you perceive that the same is in
memory of William James Lamport, who died on the 14th Novem-
ber, 1874, aged 59, and Daniel Gaskell, who died on the 20th
December, 1875, aged 93. After the date of decease of the first
named gentleman is the text, " He that overcometh shall inherit all
things."-— Rev. xxi. chap., yth verse; and after the date of decease
of the second gentleman comes the appropriate quotation, "At
evening time it shall be light." —Zech. x/'v. chap., yth verse.

At the north east end of the Chapel is another monument in
memory of the Rev. William Lamport, twenty-five years minister of
the Chapel, born at Uffculme, Devonshire, in 1772, and ordained at
Poole in 1796, removed to Lancaster in 1804, resigned his ministerial
duties in 1829, and died at Manchester, July 14th, 1848, aged 75.
Beneath is recorded the decease of Frances, his wife, daughter of
James Noble, Esq., who died October 30th 1865, aged 76 ; and of
William James Lamport, their son, born June 28th, 181 5, died
November 14th, 1874, and buried at Park Chapel, Liverpool. On
the north west is a tablet in memory of Robert Gawthorpe, born at
Kendal, on the 15th February 1754, died at Lune Villa, on the 22nd
August, 1844, in his 91st, year. "The hoary head is a crown of
glory if it be found in the way of righteousness." —Proverbs xvi.
v. Jist. Another inscription, in marble, is in memory of the Rev.


Franklin Baker, M.A., born at Birmingham, August 27, 1800, died
at that place, May 25th, 1867. The tablet sets forth the excellent
character of this minister, who was thirty-nine years pastor of the
Unitarian Chapel, Bank Street, Bolton. He was an "uncom-
promising advocate of civil and religious liberty." During the last
three years of his life, he resided at Caton, and joined the religious
society who worshipped in this Chapel. His death produced a
common feeling of sorrow in the town where he had spent the active
and matured years of his life. This memorial is at the south east
end of the edifice. The sister of the Rev. Franklin Baker married
Edward White Benson, and so became mother of the present
Archbishop of Canterbury. Sir Thomas Baker, mayor of Man-
chester, was also a brother of the Rev. F. Baker. At the south
west end is another marble in memory of John Armstrong, Esq..
only child of James Armstrong, born 10th October, 1749, died 13th
April, 1829 ; then follows the name of Deborah Anne Armstrong,
the dear and beloved daughter of the said John Armstrong and
Deborah Ann, his wife, fourth daughter of Robert Baynes, Esq., of
Cockermouth, born 16th February, 1783, died June 21st, 1861.
Beneath is recorded also the death of Richard Baynes Armstrong,
fourth son of the above, who was born March 2nd, 1789, and who
died February 18th, 1867. At the east end is a tablet in memory
of Hannah Armstrong, who died March 28th, 1837, in her 9th year.

James Noble, I may remark, established the silk industry at

In the Churchyard is a very old impaled tomb, but unfor-
tunately the stone is so much broken up and defaced, that the
surname is entirely gone. The Christian name, Richard, is very
plain. This stone is said to be the oldest in the yard, and I hear
that the Rev. D. Davis, late of Lancaster, who kept the Chapel
Register, could not find out by searching the entries of deaths whose
remains this damaged slab covered. Near the north side of the
Chapel lies Alice, widow of Abraham Crompton, Esq., of Chorley
Hall, and Lune Villa, Lancaster, who departed this life, February


7th, 1853, in her goth year. Not far away rest the remains of
James Cassells, Esq., M.D., who died November 14th, 1822, aged
59. Also those of James, Walton, and Mary and Anna, his children.
Another stone bears this inscription :—" P. Milne obiit imo May,
1794. Anno .Etatis suae, 75." On the next tomb I read, " Here
lieth the body of Jno. Gaskell, who departed this life on the 21st of
September, 1747, aged 37. To whose memory his son-in-law, [as.
Noble, set up this stone. Near this place also lie the bodies of
Esther and Hannah, children of the above Jas. Noble and Jane, his
wife, who were born and died ye 12 of April, 1746. Esther Gaskell,
who departed this life, July 7th, 1765, in the 86th year of her age."
Then there is another stone erected to Hannah Gaskell, relict of
Daniel Gaskell, of Clifton Hall, near Manchester, who died August
28th, 1801, aged 48, and also to the memory of the two sons of the
above-named Daniel Gaskell and Hannah, his wife, daughter of
Jas. Noble, Esq., to Benjamin Gaskell, of Thornes House, Wake-
field, born February 28th, 1781, died January 21st, 1856, and to
Daniel Gaskell, of Lupset Hall, Wakefield, born September, nth
1782, died December 20th, 1875, both of whom are buried in the
vaults of Westgate Chapei, Wakefield. Another quaint looking
memorial states that " Elizabeth Daye caused this stone to be
placed over her respected grandmother, Elizabeth Roscoe, who
departed this life November 26th, 1746, aged 73. Here also lie the
remains of Elizabeth Daye, who died January 23rd, 1829, in the
96th year of her age." There is a stone in memory of Thomas
Holt, watchmaker, who died March 20th, 1775, aged 53, and one
to Captain W. Dalrymple, who died June 25th, 1789, aged 43. On
the west side of the yard lies the wife of the Rev. Benjamin Hill,
who died 12th May, 1796, aged 67, and likewise one Eliza Harrison,
daughter of the Rev. Benjamin Harrison, who died September 21st,
1796, aged 83 years. On the east wall is an Ionic pediment with
two fluted columns. Beneath the pediment on a brass, covered
with plate glass, is this tribute to departed worth, "Here lies
interred the Rev. James Daye who ministered about thirty-four
years to the Society at this Chapel with fidelity and acceptance, for
he discharged the duties of the pastoral office with the united aids


of genius, piety, and learning-, enforcing- his instructions by the
exemplary virtues of his life. Well instructed himself in the
several branches of science, he was assiduous and successful in his
endeavours to improve the minds of youth. He was an affectionate
relation and a warm and steady friend. His sentiments on religion
were warm and generous, his benevolence universal and truly
Christian, and his integrity without reproach. Having lived
esteemed, he died lamented by all who knew him, July 9th, 1770,
aged 70 years." Beneath are the names of Sarah and Ebenezer,
offspring of James and Sarah Dave, and the body of Sarah, his
second wife, also reposes here. There is this couplet at the end of
the brass —

" These dearer lov'd as smiling days return'd, ,

Through sorrowing years are still more deeply mourn'd."

The names Christopher Sherson, Rowlandson, and Bond are
met with in this yard.

Baines (1870 edition) says that : —

John Greemvood, who was Mayor of Lancaster in 1687-8,
founded the Presbyterian Meeting-house according to William
Stout's Autobiography. He died in 1701. His widow is said to
have " eranted the Meeting-house freelv without rent." She died
in 1725. Whether the St. Nicholas Street Chapel was the Meeting-
house founded by Mayor Greenwood is not absolutely certain, but
it is very probable that it was, since in 1784, we learn that it was
so dilapidated as to require rebuilding. The present edifice was
therefore erected in 1786.

List of Ministers of the St. Nicholas Street Chapel.

Robert Chaddertox, Temp. James II. died 1687.
John Carringion, died in March, 1701, aged 48.
James Gkimsiiaw.
Tohn Bent, died about 1736.


James Daye, died July 9th, 1770, aged 70.

Benjamin Harrison, died May 121I1. 17S1. aged 67.

fOHN Harrison, interred al Kendal.

Samuel Gjrl.

William Lamport, minister from July 1804, until 1S29. Died July 14th. 1848.

George Lee, established the Kendal Mercury.

Henry Alexander, born about 1810, resigned 1840, died at Newry in 1868.

Hamilton Hunter, minister from 10th September. 1840, until September, 1841.

Richard Shaw, minister from 1842 until 1845.

William Henry Herford, (brother of Mr. Herford, coroner of Manchester),

minister from 1845.
John HOPE, minister from November, 1846, resigned at the end of 1847. He was

the brother of George Hope, of Fenton Barns.

William Henry Herford, minister from 1848 until 1854.

David Davis, B.A., assistant minister to Mr. Herford from 1850 to 1854.

Goodwyn Barmby, minister from 1854 until 1858.

Henry Silly, minister from July 1858, until 1862.

John Galbraith Lunn, minister from 1853 until 1878.

William McQuhae Ainsworth, minister from 1S77 until 1883. Brother of
David Ainsworth, M.P.

Edward P. Hall, minister from 1883 until 1887.

John Channing Pollard, present minister (from September, 1888).

From the observations found in the " Church Guide and
Congregational Handbook, 1861," it appears probable that the first
three or four ministers were Presbyterians or Congregational Dis-
senters whose first place of meeting is said to have been in Moor
Lane, on the site of the two houses opposite St. Anne's Church.
Mr. Molyneux has given me considerable assistance in regard to
the above list.

Baptist Denomination.

The Lancaster Baptists first met together in St. Nicholas
Street, though it does not appear that they went by the name of
Baptists, notwithstanding their services being after the manner
of the Scotch Baptists. It was in 1862 that a body of Baptists
met for worship in the Assembly Rooms, the Rev. S. Todd officiat-
ing as minister. In 1872 the White Cross Street Chapel was
opened. The minister at the time of writing is the Rev. J.


Primitive Methodists.

We have to go back to the early years of the present century
to trace the rise of Primitive Methodism in Lancaster. From what
can be ascertained this denomination first met in Under Gardens,
Damside Street, and then about 1836 they established themselves
in Bridge Lane in the building- now occupied as a warehouse by
Messrs. Mansergh. There is a tablet over the front, but what it
bears is no longer decipherable. It is said that one George Herrod
was the first preacher. The Moor Lane Chapel was erected or
instituted in or near the year 1857 and renovated in 1869. The
present minister is the Rev. R. Church.

United Methodist Free Church.

The Rev. H. Umpleby says that : — "The originators of the
Free Methodist cause in Lancaster united for worship in an upper
room in Mary Street, about the year 1861, and in the same year
identified themselves with the denomination. They afterwards
removed for a time to a room in Friars' Passage, after which they
entered the present Chapel, erected in the year 1868, and seating
550 persons. The Rev. James Jones was the first minister of the

Catholic Apostolic Church.

The Catholic Apostolic Church was established in or about
1872-3. The congregation first met in Fryer Street ; then they
bought the Wesleyan School in Edward Street, where services
were first held on Sunday, November 17th, 1875, anc * thence
removed to the present edifice in Mr. Clarke's grounds, behind the
Palatine Temperance Hotel. Past ministers : — Charles Cartwright
and R. Simpson. Present minister, Geo. Walden. One thing, I
may remark deserves to be mentioned in connection with the
members of the Catholic Apostolic Church, that is their abhorrence
of bazaars as a means of raising money for religious purposes.


Lancaster Assembly.

The Lancaster Assembly of " Christians unattached " dates
back to 1872-3. The} first met at the British Workman's Rooms,
then at the Palatine Hall, and subsequently at the Corn Market
Street Coffee Room, where they still meet every sabbath. Mr.
Isaac Nelson has kindly supplied the following- card which indicates
fully the unsectarian character of this body, who do not recognise
the term " Plymouth " brethren, though their tenets do not greatly
differ from the " brethren ' so designated : — " The Lancaster
Assembly. Upper Room, Market Hall Coffee House. Meetings :
Lord's day — Breaking Bread, 10-45 a - m - > Gospel, 6-30 p.m.
Wednesday — Prayer Meeting, 8 p.m. Motto for 1891. 'Contend
earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the
saints.' — Jude 3. Motive. 'For the love of Christ constraineth
us.' 2- Cor. v. 14." There seems to have been a Society of unde-
nominational christians existing in Lancaster so far back as 1843,
iudo-ins" from the " Letters and Extracts from Letters addressed
from time to time to certain Members of the Household of Faith,"
by Robert Fletcher Housman. This work was published in i860
by Messrs. Milner of the Lancaster Guardian.

Plvmouth Brethren".

Another Society, meeting regularly in the neighbourhood of
Dry Dock (Wolseley Street), and denominated, by those not belong-
ing to it, as a fraternity of the Plymouth Brethren, was established
about September or December, 1873, their first place of meeting-
being Castle Hill Flouse.

Lancaster Lyceum Spiritualist^.

Mr. M. Condon writes to say that in 1881 a few inquirers met
at the house of a Mr. Llewellyn, in Skerton, to investigate certain
phenomena. The first public meeting was held in the latter end of
1882, in the Assembly Room, when Mr. R. A. Brown, oi Man-
chester, addressed those present. The Spiritualists now meet at
the Athenaeum Lecture Room.



Friend's Meeting House.

Unfortunately, the ancient deeds of the Friends' Meeting-
House cannot be consulted. A gentleman, ever read}' to impart
information, informs me that years ago, about 1846 or 1850, the
deed box was broken open and the documents were maliciously

George Fox, the founder of the Society of Friends, was im-
prisoned in Lancaster Castle, in 1664, having been committed at
the March Assizes of the year named, for refusing to take the oath
and for holding illegal meetings. His fellow prisoner was Mrs.
Margaret Fell, of Swarthmoor, a very pious lad}', who, subse-
quently, married George Fox. It is believed that Fox's place of
immurement would be the Dungeon Tower. In 1665 Fox was
removed to Scarborough Castle, and released in September, 1666.

The Rev. Sidney Faithorne Green, P>.A., late of St. John's,
Miles Platting, Manchester, was placed in the Great Keep of the
Castle, on the 19th March, 1881, for the contempt of a judgment
given by Lord Penzance, in the Court of Arches. The reverend
prisoner had the rank of a first-class misdemeanant, and could
receive letters, visitors, and, generally speaking, employ his time as
he chose. The old Shire Hall formed his chamber of confinement.
He was released November 4th, 1882. George Fox was very
rigorously treated and almost starved to death in his prison. The
difference between the treatment of the two preachers in this same
Castle for religious beliefs must strike every one as not only very-
great but most anomalous.

" In Lancaster," says William Stout, "in the closing years
of the reign of Charles II., the mayor of the town ordered the
Meeting House door to be locked, and set a guard upon it, on the
first day weekly, to prevent a meeting ; yet the Friends met in the
lane before it, at the usual hour, without disturbance for some
time." Vicars Garforth and Fenton appear to have been persecutors
of the Friends, while Seth Bushell was a moderate man who much
discouraged persecution.


South of the row of houses which form what is known as
Golgotha, is the ancient Moorside burial ground surrounded by
high walls. Here was the ancient Quaker place of sepulture.

Some time ago I was permitted to enter the same with the
object of inspecting it thoroughly, and, of course, of copying the
only epitaph there is in the whole enclosure, which is cut out of a
stone somewhat elevated from the ground. The epitaph is as
follows : —

Til T H E B O



1 6 8 9 .

The stone is in a fair state of preservation, and the raised letters are
readily deciphered. The person whose remains it covers was the
one who succoured George Fox after he had been maltreated and
stoned out of the churchyard of St. Mary's Church, on the second
day of his mission in 1652. He is mentioned in the last edition of
"The Autobiography of George Fox," published in 1886, and
edited by Henry Stanley Newman, of Buckfield, Leominster, on
'pages 55 and 64. In this work there are many matters concerning
the more distinguished Quakers and the religious spirit of those
days of persecution in which they lived. For instance I found by



perusal of it that the Chief Constable of the county in 1666 was one
Richard Dodgson. Whether the "petty constable" named Mount,
whom Fox speaks of in no very flattering terms, was the Chief
Constable of the Borough of Lancaster cannot easily be determined,
but since he is mentioned it is not improbable that he held a superior
office. The keeper of the gaol at the same period was " a wicked
man." called Hunter. Before alluding further to this valuable
work, let me just state that Ihe burial place I have been treating
of has not been used for many years, though it could be re-opened
at any time, and probably would be if the place of interment in
connection with the Meeting House were closed. The capacity of
this old yard is 26 feet by 16 feet, and it is said that the Society of
Friends had many of the stones that once covered the remains of
their dead, removed by the desire of a yearly meeting committee.
The more austere Friends believed not only that " praises on tombs
are vainly spent," and that "a man's good name is his best
mounment," but that memorials to the dead in the shape of tomb-
stones are altogether out of place. Things have, however, changed
somewhat during the last forty years, and rigidity in style of dress,
address, and funeral arrangements has been allowed to lapse with
man}', since by such lapsing no violation of sound principle has been
involved. The John Lawson who received George Fox into his
house was no stranger himself to persecution, for we find that for
preaching to the parishioners in the Churchyard of Malpas, Cheshire,
he was imprisoned 23 weeks in the county gaol. At Lancaster, he
was once fined ^200, for non-payment of which amount he received
twelve months' imprisonment. In 1658, he was again arrested
while going to a religious meeting, and had his horse seized, and
on another occasion he and nineteen other persons were arrested
by the Mayor of Preston, and detained twenty-four hours without
any cause being assigned. In 1660, a company of soldiers with
swords drawn and pistols cocked, went to the meeting in Lancaster,
and apprehended all whom they found there, John Lawson being
one of the number. This occurred about the 27th of January in the
year named.


George Fox was born at Drayton-in-the-Clay, Leicestershire,
in the year 1624. By trade he was a shoemaker. According to
the end of the "Autobiography" he died on the 13th of November,
1690 (the beginning of the book gives 1691), and was interred in the
Friends' burial place, near Bunhill Fields. His father's name was
Christopher Fox, and his mother, whose maiden name was Mary
Lago, " was of martyr stock " says the editor.

There seems to have been a rough time of it for the
" Friends " from 1652 to 1664, and it is only too apparent that
George Fox met with as harsh treatment in Lancaster and district
as anywhere else he ever visited ; and he travelled much both on
the continent of Europe and in America. Between 1661 and 1697
no less than 13,562 Friends were imprisoned, and in 1682 even the
children who kept up the meetings in Bristol while their parents
were in gaol were unmercifully belaboured with twisted whalebone
sticks. " Land of the brave and the free !" Too oft thy liberty
has been a mock moon and thy theology a cat of nine and thirty
tails wielded by a spirit of coercion. If better times have dawned
we have only to be grateful to Heaven for the same, since narrow-
minded dissemblers "dressed in their little brief authority" would
have hindered the dawning if they could. Those who maintained
the flag of independence and liberty to live, move, speak, and have
an influential originality, would be sinners indeed were they to be
grateful to the adamant creatures with " faces harder than a rock,"
from whom they wrung nothing more nor less than their rights — in
a word their birthrights.

The burial ground at the old meeting house reveals names
honoured and esteemed to-day by people of all political and religious
inclinations, for lealness and willingness to suffer, marked the men
and women of whom the tombstones speak. 1 carefully surveyed
each tiny record, and in one part of the yard i counted no less than
twenty stones in a row, each of which bore the name of Barrow.
There are also many to the memory of members of the Binns
family. William Stout, author of the "Autobiography," is buried


in this Friends' Cemetery. He was born in 1665, and died January
15th, 1752. The site of the premises he occupied I cannot definitely

Another garden of death, now no longer used, is still to be
noted within the enclosure belonging to the County Lunatic Asylum,
while a few yards from the flag-staff is the site of a third burial
place of far greater antiquity than the others. This spot is the
ancient British place of interment. " Here," as an able writer words
it, "not less than 2,000 years ago, the remains of many of the
aboriginal inhabitants of this district were deposited, amidst the
wail of sorrowing friends and the dirge of Druidical priests." I can
safely assert that none of our English moorlands commands a
sublimer prospect than Lancaster Moor does, and our forefathers,

Online LibraryCross FleuryTime-honoured Lancaster ... Historic notes on the ancient borough of Lancaster → online text (page 33 of 55)