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Catholic Churches and Chapels of the Fylde


St Mary's, Newhouse

Newhouse, occasionally written in the past as New House, is the original name of this mission. It was known by that name until 1806 when a chapel was built at Newsham Hall, but after 1913 and the building of the present church it became known as Newhouse again.

Newhouse was originally part of the chapelry of Goosnargh in the parish of Kirkham but for the last 150 years or so has been included in the parish of St Lawrence, Barton. Until the building of the Catholic Chapel on Station Lane in 1906 various domestic chapels were opened for the use of Catholics. The record of its priests is too complicated to put in chronological order so they are listed under the various halls and houses used as Mass centres throughout penal times.

Myerscough Lodge was the home in the 17th century of the Tyldesley family, related to most of the landed gentry of the county. James I slept at the Lodge for a night or two in 1617 on his way from Edinburgh to London, and Charles II "lodged one night at Myerscoe, Sir Thomas Tyldesley's house" on 13 Aug 1651 at the close of the battles of the Civil War as he advanced from Preston to Worcester and defeat at the hands of the Roundheads. Twelve days later Major-General Sir Thomas Tyldesley was killed at the battle of Wigan Lane. The last of the Tyldesleys to live at Myerscough Lodge was Edward, son of Thomas Tyldesley now famous for the diary which he kept from 1712-1714 which gives a fascinating glimpse into the life of a Catholic gentleman of the time.

House of Henry Mawdesley, Myerscough
For a time at the beginning of the 18th century the Tyldesleys had left Myerscough Lodge. Thomas Tyldesley, writing in his diary while visiting the Leyburnes at Nateby Hall with his wife in 1712 wrote on Tues 28 Oct : "Went early in the morning to prayers [Mass] at Hen: Madsley's; honest Mr Grant being loyall." The Rev James Gaunt from Mowbreck (Kirkham) also seems to have served the domestic chapels at Nateby Hall and Dimples Hall (Garstang) and also houses like those of Henry Mawdesley. Henry was convicted of recusancy at Lancaster in 1716 and died in 1719.

Stanzacre Hall in Myerscough, was inherited by Edward Tyldesley's second son Thurstan. Thurstan's wife Mary was reported in 1585 for harbouring a Catholic priest called Robinson. As part of the penalty two thirds of the estate passed to various local Protestants and the benefit on the rest was also leased out in 1608.

Recusants and martyrs
Another recusant in constant trouble also for harbouring priests was Anne, widow of Richard Barton who died in 1569, herself daughter of Sir Thomas Southworth of Salmesbury Hall. In 1584 she was reported for keeping "an olde priest", i.e a Marian priest (named from the reign of Queen Mary). An attempt was made in 1600 to rescue the Jesuit priest, Robert Middleton who was being taken by the puirsuivants along the road between Broughton and Myerscough to his trial at Lancaster. One of the would-be rescuers also turned out to be a priest when he too was taken prisoner. He was Thurstan Hunt alias Greenlow, residing somewhere nearby, probably Myerscough Lodge or Broughton Tower. Both priests were executed at Lancaster in 1601.

Kirkland Hall was owned by the Butlers who remained Catholic until after the death of Capt. John Butler, killed at Marston Moor in 1644.

Midge Hall at Myerscough, really Midghalgh, a hamlet in Myerscough according to the Rev. Henry Roberts, author of the history of Newhouse in CRS Vol. 20, was the home of the Lund family. (Perhaps it would be better spelt as Midgehalgh) Many of the halls were really large farmhouses and this was perhaps the name of a farm. Thomas Tyldesley, then at the Lodge, records on Sun 23 Jul 1714, "Went with Mrs and lasses to Anthony Lund's. Mr Rogr Brookhall dind with us." This was the Rev. Roger Brockholes of Claughton Hall, a missionary priest serving several domestic chapels in the district. Thomas adds on Sun 5 Sep 1714, "We went [from the Lodge] to Anthony Lund's off Midgehall: Mr Vaviser there." The Jesuit, the Rev Walter Vavasour, was living at Hothersall Hall, house of Thomas Hothersall, Esq. who succeeded his cousin Sir Walter Vavasour Bt of Haslewood Castle, Yorks as 4th Baronet about 1713 and died in Preston in 1740 aged 78. Anthony Lund was convicted of recusancy at Lancaster in 1717 along with many other Catholics from Myerscough, including Edward Tyldesley, son of Thomas the diarist. Nevertheless the constable of Myerscough, John Gorner, reported to the high constable, George Green in October 1716, "No forfe [forfeited] Est. except John Parkinson's, who was in this late Rebellion and never apprehended, neither was there ever any reputed pop.prts. [Popish priests] ever harboured within our sd towne That we knowe of."
Anthony Lund died in 1727 and the chapel was not used after 1731.

Broughton Tower, Sharoe Green, is only a short distance down Tower Lane from the modern church of St Clare's, Fulwood. The nearest chapel in earlier years was Fernyhalgh, just across the fields. The tower was probably originally a fortified house built to fend off Scottish reivers - cattle stealers - who made violent forays across the borders and down as far as Preston in search of rich pickings. It was the home of the Singletons, who originally came from Singleton Hall between Poulton-le-Fylde and Great Eccleston. It has been much renovated and now stands with its moat revealed and the environs, buried beneath long grass, nettles and bushes landscaped as part of council development as a linear park some years ago. A farmhouse on Tower Lane owned by the Singletons is now used as a Day Nursery and the farmland has long been sold off for housing. The estate was impoverished after the death of Edward Singleton in 1567 as his son Thomas was a staunch recusant and was fined heavily. A number of the Singleton family also became priests. The heavy penalties suffered by the family were partly as a result of harbouring a number of priests over the years. Dr William Singleton, a member of the family, was ordained at Rheims in 1587 and came to the mission about 1590. He was caught and imprisoned and then banished in 1606. Another was John Lowe alias Jenson, a Lancastrian, who in 1584. seems to have been arrested almost immediately after arriving at Broughton Tower. He too was exiled, after two years in Salford gaol. From 1608 the finances of Broughton Tower were obviously in trouble as all the benefits of the estate were passed to local Protestants and by 1608 it was heavily mortgaged. The family continued to live there until about 1616.

The house of a Widow Dilworth in Broughton.was named in a report at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries because a priest named Edmund Haworth said Mass there.

Edward Bamber, now declared a saint, one of the Forty Martyrs, and commemorated in a plaque in the new chapel at the Well in Fernyhalgh, had three aliases, Richardson, Reading or Walsh. He was the son of Richard Bamber of Carleton Moor, Poulton-le-Fylde and was educated at Valladolid in Spain. He was first arrested when arriving at Dover from his journey via Belgium . Although banished he returned to Lancashire in 1632 but was captured at Standish. The puirsuivants were taking him to Lancaster for trial but they lodged at Broughton during the night. While they were drunk Mr Bamber managed to escape out of the window in his nightshirt. That night Mr Singleton of Broughton Tower is said to have had a dream that he would find a priest in a certain field, and it happened just as he had dreamt. He sheltered Mr Bamber in his house but after a while the priest was again captured and this time was imprisoned in Lancaster Castle. He made yet another unsuccessful attempt to escape and resigned himself to his fate, being executed at Lancaster on 7 Aug 1646.

Bank Hall, Broughton, at the end of a lane to the west off the main road, just north of Junction 32 of the M6) was the home of Edward Singleton's younger brothers, Cuthbert, Thomas and George, uncles to the Thomas who was the last Singleton at Broughton Tower. Mass probably continued to be said there for a while as Cuthbert had a son William but it passed by degrees to the Crook family who were also recusants. The upkeep by just one family was being made impossible. Hugo Crook was living there when he too paid fines in 1632. (Part of the estate also went to a George Woodcok of Walton-le-Dale). About 1695 a portion of it was settled by Dr George Crook, a priest serving the mission there, on his nephew John Crook and his heirs. Mr George Crook died in 1709 and was followed in the mission by Rev. Edward Kitchen alias Smith of Barton and Catforth Hall, Woodplumpton, perhaps son of Thomas Kitchen of Barton, goldsmith, who died in 1677. There was an Edward Kitchen who died at Catforth Hall in 1730 but whether this was the priest is uncertain.

1716 Report to the Commissioners for Forfeited Estates

"Bank Hall in the Chapelry of Broughton and Parish of Preston. This estate is divided into two parts. One part was Mr George Crooks freehold estate, who was a Romish priest dead about four or five years ago. He, upon the marriage of his kinsman John Crook with Martha Preston, settled that estate upon him the said John and his male issue by that marriage about 18 or 20 years ago. Afterwards at his death he confirmed that settlement by his will, charging the estate with the payment of £200 to Mr [John] Layburne of Nateby, now a Rebel, which was only in trust to him for Romish priests. This the wife of the said John Crook has told me several times & I know other people to whom I believe she has told the same...The other part of Bank Hall estate is Mr Thomas, or his son John Clayton of Preston; this has been in lease many years. Mr Smith, a Romish priest (whose true name is Edward Kitchen) lives in that part of the house at Bank Hall which belongs to this side of the estate, & has occupied & let the ground floor from time to time; his life is in the lease as I am told. Tho. Moor of Sandford in Woodplumpton, holds now about 5 or £6 per an. which he took of Mr Smith alias Kitchen in the name of William Shepherd. He has always paid his rent to Smith, only he paid it this summer to Dorothy Walton his housekeeper. William Gregson, of Broughton, has likewise ground of Mr Smith. The said Smith has also for many years paid me Easter dues and small tythes for those lands he has had in possession. I am told that Mr John Clayton has entered on this tenement some days ago, pretending that he has bought Smith out of it. Clayton told the above-mentioned Gregson so. Nicholas Moor, son of the said Moor; Tho. Townson of Barton have taken grounds of Mr Smith & paid him their rents."

12 Oct 1716 Report to George Green, High Constable of Amounderness Hundred
by James Walton and John Dickenson, constables for Broughton.
"No forfe.[forfeited] Est. - reputed pop. prts.[Popish priests] are 2 (viz. Wm Tootell and Mr Smith. Wee have no attaind persons or estates given to Superst. uses."
The first reference is evidently to the Rev. Christopher Tootell, priest at Ladywell, Fernyhalgh.

Bank Hall ceased to be used as a Mass centre from the mid-18th century but the Crooks continued to live there till the death of John Crook in 1817 .. Before his son John (who died in 1869 aged 65) the estate was sold by the trustee to John Wilson of Preston, attorney-at-law. The Wilsons built a new hall a short distance from the old one and found an old domestic chapel in the latter containing a tabernacle, an ancient chalice and various other religious items for an altar which were handed over to Dr Crook. The Crook family died out but after the death of John the chalice passed to a relative, the Rev. E.L.Smith of Lea.

Crow Hall, home of the Dickinson family was another centre in the district of Newhouse which was used at the beginning of the 18th century. It was served by the Rev. John Swarbrick who also had the care of Midge Hall. Thomas Tyldesley wrote on Sun 17 Aug 1812, "I prayed at Crow Hall [i.e. went to Mass], stayed an hour at Lodge and 2 at Natby." and again on Sun 27 Dec 1713, "...thence to Crow Hall where I had occasion to chide Mr Jo. Swarbrick ffor disloyalty." He had omitted to 'toast the King over the water' - this was the safe way to make a toast to the old Pretender, referred to as James III, by holding their glasses over the fingerbowl on the table during the toast). After the defeat of the Jacobites in 1715 the vicar of Preston, the Rev. Samuel Peplow B.D., reported to the Commissioners that :

"Crow Hall, Newsham, in the chapelry of Goosnargh, near Preston, is supposed to be the priest's. One Edmund Fishwick left a sum of money to lease for it. Ever since Fishwick's death, which is 10 or 11 years ago, a priest has lived upon it, was Mr Richardson & now Mr Swarbrick. The estate goes in the above-mentioned William Sheppard's name & the lease is supposed to be in his name in trust for the Priests. Jane Corwen of Barton, Richard Clarkson of Catforth Hall, steward to Sir Nicholas Sherborn, & Jennet Higgison, wife of Roger Higgison of Barton, who lived by Crow Hall, may be proper persons to examine upon this account. James Walton, a debt prisoner in Lancaster, lived on the estate 7 or 8 years. This James Walton about 2 years ago being privy to the interests of the priest in teh estate, compelled Will. Sheppard, the trustee and a Priest, to compound with them for some benefit from it, otherwise he threatened to inform Mr Read. North gaoler of Lancaster, knows this."

Edward Fishwick of Newhouse (d. 1702) belonged to the Fishwick family of Bulsnape Hall in Goosnargh. William Shepherd, gent. was from Croxteth, now part of Fulwood UDC in north Preston. was trustee of much church property. His interest in Crow Hall was reported to the Commissioners in November 1715, 'some estates in Newsham and Woodplumpton called Crow Hall, near Broughton, four miles from Preston, granted to superstitious uses, the rents whereof were paid to Mr Richardson, a priest."

The Rev Thomas Richardson belonged to an old Myerscough family. He was probably related to the Thomas Richardson of Myerscough, gent, convicted of recusancy at Lancaster in 1717. This latter Thomas went to Nateby to live with his brother William where both are often mentioned in the Tyldesley diaries.

Rev John Swarbrick born about April 1679 was the son of Edward Swarbrick, yeoman, and his wife Ellen of Weeton Hall. After his ordination in Rome in 1763 he spent some time at Thurnham Hall, the seat of the Dalton family of Lancaster, and then served Midge Hall and Crow Hall.
Confirmations - early in 1729 at the Hough 114 children (and probably also adults) were confirmed, including many from the congregations at Midge Hall and Crow Hall, Mr Swarbrick being present. He died at Crow Hall in 1729 his executors being the Rev Henry Kendal of Cottam, the Rev. Edward Melling of Ladywell, Fernyhalgh and the Rev. James Gaunt of Salwick Hall. They were instructed to use £368 of his money to provide a priest and for the congregation to be persuaded to erect a chapel at Midge Hall. However, John Lund who had succeeded to the estate at Midge Hall on the death of his father Anthony Lund moved to Barton Park and supported the provision of a chapel at Newhouse, near the Hough and the mission at Crow Hall was abandoned after 1731. John Lund eventually returned to Midge Hall where he died in 1743. John's son, another Anthony, sold Midge Hall and gave most of the proceeds for the settlement of refugees from the college at Douai at Crook Hall and towards the seminary of Ushaw College established in Yorkshire.

The Hough, Hollowforth, in Newhouse, later known as Newsham House, belonged to the Sherburnes of Stonyhurst. Its use as a mass centre began about 1700. One tenant, Francis Kirk from Chipping or Goosnargh, was educated at Valladolid and returned to the English mission as a priest, being known as Simpson. He became the resident priest at the Hough where he boarded along with Mrs Grant, aunt of Robert Gillow, Esq. Mrs Grant, widow of William Grant of Hambleton (d. 1686) was a daughter of George Gillow of Gillow House, Little Eccleston. Tyldesley records on 19 Sep 1713: "In toune. [Lancaster] alday; about 6, old Mr Brookholls & Mr Kirke came to see me, and Mr Brookholls stayd 3 howrs." On Sun 12 Sep 1714 he wrote: "After dinr went with Mrs to Esqre Brockholles. Over take Mr Kirke. Stayd there betwixt 2 & 3 howrs; soe home.[Myerscough Lodge]"

Claughton Hall where the Brockholes, now the Fitzherbert-Brockholes lived. It was dedicated to St Thomas from 1596 (known as St Thomas the Apostle since 1987), and then a chapel was erected at Claughton-on-Brock about 1794. Its records began with baptisms in 1771 (CRS Vol 20)

Francis Kirk, "a reputed Preist of Newsham", was convicted of recusancy at Lancaster on 2 Oct 1716. Peploe, Vicar of Preston, reported to the Commissioners:"A house & grounds called The Hough in Newsham is a tenement under one Mr Hesketh. John Reynolds and one Mr Kirk a Priest live upon it. John Hesketh of Newsham & John Hankinson of the same may be able to give some account of it." John Hesketh was possibly a son of William Hesketh, whose elder brother, also William, was married to Mary, daughte rof John Brockholes of Claughton Hall. The sons of this William assumed the name of Brockholes on each succeeding in turn to the Claughton estates. (Undoubtedly the Catholic gentry were all inter-related as they were anxious to marry their sons and daughters only to Catholics, thus restricting the number of suitable matches. Any two families were often related more than once at different points in their history) Mr Kirk continued to say Mass at the Hough until his death but his address is Myersough in his will, dated 1721.

Sir Nicholas Sherburne, Bt, owner of the Hough estate, died in 1717. That family line died out with his daughter who married but was childless. Just before about 1741 the Rev Roger Brockholes negotiated with his half-sister, now married to Charles Howard (who became 10th Duke of Norfolk in 1777) for the purchase of six acres of land, part of the Hough estate, as a site for the erection of a new and independent chapel.. A trust was set up and a chapel built, subsequently known as Newhouse.

The main property including the house eventually came into the ownership of James Pilkington of Preston, grocer, son of one of the trustees. In 1816 he sold it to Nicholas Salisbury, it then being described as : "All that messuage and tenement...late commonly known as The Hough, but now called Newsham House." It was resold by the son of Nicholas to John Hawkins, a wealthy cotton manufacter who pulled down the old house between 1850 and 1860 and built a very substantial square stone-built house which has since been demolished.. William Smith, Esq. M.P for North Lonsdale 1892-3 bought this in 1896, and also Barton Lodge.

The Hough was served by the Rev. Roger Brockholes from Claughton Hall. A small 'ill-made' chapel was built and dedicated to St Lawrence on the six acres of the original purchase. From then on it was known as Newhouse Chapel. Mr Roger Brockholes continued to serve both missions, Newhouse and Claughton, until his death at Claughton Hall in 1742. He was followed by:

Rev. Richard Birtwhistle, alias Halliwell also served both missions but died only months later. He in turn was succeeded by

Rev. James Parkinson alias Cotham, came from Douai to serve both missions, dying at Claughton in 1766. It was probably shortly after his arrival in 1744 that a new and independent chapel was opened over the priest's house at Claughton. He must then have become full-time at Claughton.

Rev. John Carter succeeded the Rev James Parkinson, probably about 1744 for he was at Newhouse in 1745 when Prince Charles Edward, the Young Pretender, passed by on his marched towards Preston. He obtained an order from the Prince that his troops should not molest his person nor the mission property. On the defeat of the Jacobites at Preston there was a fresh oubreak of persecution and animosity towards Catholics so Mr Carter took refuge with Mr Richard Gradwell at Clifton Hall until it was safe to return. Again in 1768 there was more trouble with anti-Jacobite and No-Popery riots in Preston. after burning St Mary's, Friargate and then the chapel at Cottam, the mob moved on towards Newhouse intending to burn that down as well. A Mr Hankinson, a local Protestant, met the rioters near Hollowforth Mill and persuaded them to leave Mr Carter alone as he respected him highly. He calmed the rioters by giveing them something to eat and drink and then persuaded them to march back to Preston.

Mr Carter had been assisted in his mission by his nephew, the Rev. James Carter, alias Mawdesley who was there with him in 1774 when 76 people were confirmed in the chapel and again in 1784 when 84 were confirmed. The number of communicants was given as 300. When Mr John Carter died in 1789 his nephew succeeded him. James was the son of Richard Carter and his wife, Elizabeth Mawdesley of Myerscough. Mass had been celebrated many times in the house of Elizabeth's grandfather, Henry Mawdesley of Myerscough. James was sent to the little school run at Fernyhalgh by Dame Alice and from there he went to Douai with John and Anthony Lund.

The Rev. James Carter was followed in turn by his nephew, the Rev. Henry Carter in 1805. Henry was born in 1761, son of Robert Carter and his wife Jane Coupe. He was sent to Douai and later ordained at St Omer's. After his arrival at Newhouse a new burial ground was opened there, to the great annoyance of the curate of Goosnargh, the Rev. Joshua Southward who demanded the burial fees, threatening Mr Carter with unnamed penalties. Mr Carter retired to Preston on account of ill-health in 1818 and died there in 1826.

The Rev. Joseph Bryan Marsh was at Lea for a time but succeeded the Rev Henry Carter at Newhouse. He was responsible for the building of the presbytery next to the chapel. He was supported at times by other priests, in 1822 by a Mr Smith who was probably on his way to visit relatives in Lea. Another Mr Smith was a visiting priest in 1827. In 1854 the Rev. Marsh retired as an invalid to Carter's Lane - presumably now Station Lane - where he died in 1857 aged 73. Thomas Fitzherbert Brockholes erected a massive stone over his grave, inscribed in his memory.

The present church at Newhouse, built in 1906 and facing the opposite way to the building it replaced, was dedicated to St Mary, and this may have been partly because the parish church, built in 1895, had the same name.

The records noted by Joseph Gillow are of births from 1774 -1854 and deaths from 1808 - 1855, but the ones printed in CRS Vol 20 conclude in 1834. Any later ones would have to be consulted at the Lancs Record Office in Preston.

The records for Newhouse, the printed copies being in CRS Vol. 15, begin in 1774 with the following baptism, before 9 Mar 1774 but without a precise date:

Helenea Huddersal filia Joan: et Annae : Patrin: Jacob: Chesters fil: Gul: Matrina Joanna Cardwell filia Annae et Thomae
Ellen Hothersall, daughter of John and Ann. Godfather James Chesters, son of William; Godmother Jane Cardwell, daughter of Ann and Thomas.

This began in a different style from the Cottam records with relationships where known, but soon reverted to the usual pattern though the wife's maiden name was not given until about 1789.. At the next record for 19 March we learn of John Almond, son of Cuthbert and Elizabeth, his Godfather, 'John Livesy' and then his Godmother is described as Elizabeth Billington 'amita ejusdem infantis' - paternal aunt of the infant. Another example on 28 Aug 1775 is at the baptism of Mary Eedforth [sic], dau. of Thomas and Mary; the godparents were John Edforth, uncle and priest, and Ann Cardwell. Those from some other district or mission are noted, as in 'of Myerscough' or 'in pago Plumpton in Paroch: St Michaelis' (a reference to part of Woodplumpton being in the parish of St Michael's-on-Wyre) or 'in pago Broughton & in Paroch: Preston' (Broughton being a chapel in Preston parish which extended at least as far as Barton). From 1789 the mother's maiden name is usually given, right through to 1834.

Deaths are also recorded from 1808 until 1834, with ages, sometimes place of death - 'in domo patris sui' - in his father's house - or the parents if the death is that of a child (which was very common), and even occasionally the cause of death: James Edsforth of Lea died of 'Scarlet fever' on 5 Apr 1820. One person mentioned on the Cottam page was Ann Haydock of the Tagg, dower house to Cottam Hall who was buried at Newhouse, having died at the age of 91 on 17 Apr 1822. (The reason for the low average life expectancy was not that people didn't live to a great age but that so many children died in infancy)