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Our Churches and Chapels by Atticus

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Transcribed by Peter Moulding
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'T is pleasant through the loopholes of retreat to peep at such a

Reprinted from the Preston Chronicle.



The general satisfaction given by the following sketches when
originally printed in the Preston Chronicle, combined with a desire,
largely expressed, to see them republished, in book form, is the
principal excuse offered for the appearance of this volume. Into the
various descriptions of churches, chapels, priests, parsons,
congregations, &c., which it contains, a lively spirit, which may be
objectionable to the phlegmatic, the sad-faced, and the puritanical,
has been thrown. But the author, who can see no reason why a "man
whose blood is warm within" should "sit like his grandsire cut in
alabaster," on any occasion, has a large respect for cheerfulness,
and has endeavoured to make palatable, by a little genial humour,
what would otherwise have been a heavy enumeration of dry facts.
Those who don't care for the gay will find in these sketches the
grave; those who prefer vivacity to seriousness will meet with what
they want; those who appreciate all will discover each. The solemn
are supplied with facts; the facetious with humour; the analytical
with criticism. The work embodies a general history of each place of
worship in Preston--fuller and more reliable than any yet published;
and for reference it will be found valuable, whilst for general
reading it will be instructive. The author has done his best to be
candid and impartial. If he has failed in the attempt, he can't help
it; if he has succeeded, he is thankful. No writer can suit
everybody; and if an angel had compiled these sketches some men
would have croaked. To the generality of the Church of England,
Catholic, and Dissenting clergymen, &c., in the town, the author
tenders his warmest thanks for the generous manner they have
assisted him, and the kindly way in which they have supplied him
with information essential to the completion of the work.

Preston, Dec. 24th, 1869.


7 Parish Church
13 St. Wilfrid's Catholic Church
18 Cannon-street Independent Chapel
23 Lune-street Wesleyan Methodist Chapel
28 Fishergate Baptist Chapel
34 St. George's Church
39 St. Augustine's Catholic Church
45 Quakers' Meeting House
51 St. Peter's Church
55 New Jerusalem Church
60 Trinity Church
66 Lancaster-road Congregational Chapel
70 Saul-street Primitive Methodist Chapel
75 St. Ignatius's Catholic Church
82 Vauxhall-road Particular Baptist Chapel
88 Christ Church
94 Wesley and Moor Park Methodist Chapels
99 Presbyterian and Free Gospel Chapels
104 St. James's Church
110 The Mormons
116 St. Walburge's Catholic Church
122 Unitarian Chapel
127 All Saints Church
132 United-Methodist Free Church and Pole-street Baptist Chapel
137 Church of the English Martyrs
142 St. Saviour's Church
148 Christian Brethren and Brook-street Primitive Methodists
153 St. Thomas's Church
158 Croft-street Wesleyans & Parker-street United Methodists
164 Grimshaw-street Independent Chapel
169 St. Paul's Church
175 St. Mary's-street and Marsh End Wesleyan Chapels, and
the Tabernacle of the Revivalists
181 St. Mary's and St. Joseph's Catholic Chapels
187 St. Mark's Church
192 Zoar Particular Baptist Chapel
196 St. Luke's Church
201 Emmanuel Church and Bairstow Memorial Chapel
207 St. Mary's Church


It is important that something should be known about our churches
and chapels; it is more important that we should be acquainted with
their parsons and priests; it is most important that we should have
a correct idea of their congregations, for they show the
consequences of each, and reflect the character and influence of
all. We have a wide field before us. The domain we enter upon is
unexplored. Our streets, with their mid-day bustle and midnight sin;
our public buildings, with their outside elaboration and inside
mysteries; our places of amusement, with their gilded fascinations
and shallow delusions; our clubs, bar parlours, prisons, cellars,
and workhouses, with their amenities, frivolities, and severities,
have all been commented upon; but the most important of our
institutions, the best, the queerest, the solemnest, the oddest--the
churches and chapels of the town--have been left out in the cold
entirely. All our public functionaries have been viewed round,
examined closely, caressed mildly, and sometimes genteely
maltreated; our parochial divinities, who preside over the fate of
the poor; our municipal Gogs and Magogs who exhibit the extreme
points of reticence and garrulity in the council chamber; our brandy
drinkers, chronic carousers, lackered swells, pushing shopkeepers,
otiose policemen, and dim-looking cab-drivers have all been
photographed, framed, and hung up to dry long ago; our workshops and
manufactories, our operatives and artisans, have likewise been duly
pictured and exhibited; the Ribble has had its praises sung in
polite literary strains; the parks have had their beauties depicted
in rhyme and blank verse; nay--but this is hardly necessary--the old
railway station, that walhallah of the gods and paragon of the five
orders of architecture, has had its delightful peculiarities set
forth; all our public places and public bodies have been thrown upon
the canvas, except those of the more serious type--except places of
worship and those belonging them. These have been neglected; nobody
has thought it worth while to give them either a special blessing or
a particular anathema.

There are about 45 churches and chapels and probably 60 parsons and
priests in Preston; but unto this hour they have been treated, so
far as they are individually concerned, with complete silence. We
purpose remedying the defect, supplying the necessary criticism, and
filling up the hiatus. The whole lot must have either something or
nothing in them, must be either useful or useless; parsons must be
either sharp or stupid, sensible or foolish; priests must be either
learned or illiterate, either good, bad, or indifferent; in all,
from the rector in his silken gown to the back street psalm-singer
in his fustian, there must be something worth praising or
condemning. And the churches and chapels, with their congregations,
must likewise present some points of beauty or ugliness, some traits
of grace or godlessness, some features of excellence, dignity,
piety, or sham. There must be either a good deal of gilded
gingerbread or a great let of the genuine article, at our places of
worship. But whether there is or there is not, we have decided to
say something about the church and the chapel, the parson and the
priest, of each district in the town. This is a mere prologue, and
we shall but hint at the general theme "on this occasion."

Churches and chapels are great institutions in the land. Nobody
knows the exact time when the first was thought of; and it has not
yet transpired when the last will be run up. But this is certain, we
are not improving much in the make of them. The Sunday sanctums and
Sabbath conventicles of today may be mere ornate, may be more
flashy, and show more symptoms of polished bedizenment in their
construction; but three-fourths of them sink into dwarflings and
mediocrities when compared with the rare old buildings of the past.
In strength and beauty, in vastness of design and skill of
workmanship, in nobility of outline and richness of detail, the
religious fabrics of these times fall into insignificance beside
their grand old predecessors; and the manner in which they are cut
up into patrician and plebeian quarters, into fashionable coteries
for the perfumed portion of humanity, and into half-starved benches
with the brand of poverty upon them for the poor, is nothing to the
credit of anybody.

All the churches and chapels of the land may profess Christianity;
but the game of the bulk has a powerful reference to money. Those
who have got the most of the current coin of the realm receive the
blandest smile from the parson, the politest nod from the beadle,
the promptest attention from that strange mixture of piety and pay
called "the chapel-keeper;" those who have not got it must take what
they can get, and accept it with Christian resignation, as St. Paul
tells them. This may be all right; we have not said yet that it is
wrong; but it looks suspicious, doesn't it?--shows that in the arena
of conventional Christianity, as in the seething maelstrom of
ordinary life, money is the winner. Our parsons and priests, like
our ecclesiastical architecture and general church management, do
not seem to have improved upon their ancestors. Priests are not as
jolly as they once were. In olden days "holy fathers" could wear
horse-hair shirts and scarify their epidermis with a finer cruelty
than their modern successors, and they could, after all that, make
the blithest songs, sing the merriest melodies, and quaff the oldest
port with an air of jocund conscientiousness, making one slyly like
them, however much inclined to dispute the correctness of their
theology. And the parsons of the past were also a blithesome set of
individuals. They were perhaps rougher than those mild and refined
gentlemen who preach now-a-days; but they were straightforward,
thorough, absolutely English, well educated, and stronger in the
brain than many of them. In each Episcopalian, Catholic, and
Dissenting community there are new some most erudite, most useful
men; but if we take the great multitude of them, and compare their
circumstances--their facilities for education, the varied channels
of usefulness they have--with those of their predecessors, it will
be found that the latter were the cleverer, often the wiser, and
always the merrier men. Plainness, erudition, blithesomeness, were
their characteristics. Aye, look at our modern men given up largely
to threnody-chiming and to polishing off tea and muffin with elderly
females, and compare them, say, for instance, with--

The poet Praed's immortal Vicar,
Who wisely wore the cleric gown,
Sound in theology and liquor;
Quite human, though a true divine,
His fellow-men he would not libel;
He gave his friends good honest wine,
And drew his doctrine from the Bible.

Institute a comparison, and then you will say that whilst modern men
may be very aesthetic and neatly dressed, the ancient apostolic
successors, though less refined, had much more metal in them, were
more kindly, genial; and told their followers to live well, to eat
well, and to mind none of the hair-splitting neological folly which
is now cracking up Christendom. In old times the Lord did not "call"
so many parsons from one church to another as it is said He does
now; in the days which have passed the bulk of subordinate parsons
did not feel a sort of conscientious hankering every three years for
an "enlarged sphere of usefulness," where the salary was
proportionately increased. We have known multitudes of parsons, in
our time, who have been "called" to places where their salaries were
increased; we know of but few who have gravitated to a church where
the salary was less than the one left. "Business" enters largely
into the conceptions of clergymen. As a rule, no teachers of
religion, except Catholic priests and Methodist ministers, leave one
place for another where less of this world's goods and chattels
predominate; and THEY are COMPELLED to do so, else the result might
be different. When a priest gets his mittimus he has to budge; it is
not a question of "he said or she said," but of--go; and when a
Wesleyan is triennially told to either look after the interests of a
fresh circuit or retire into space, he has to do so. It would be
wrong to say that lucre is at the bottom of every parsonic change;
but it is at the foundation of the great majority--eh? If it isn't,
just make an inquiry, as we have done. This may sound like a
deviation from our text--perhaps it is; but the question it refers
to is so closely associated with the subject of parsons and priests,
that we should have scarcely been doing justice to the matter if we
had not had a quiet "fling" at the money part of it. In the letters
which will follow this, we shall deal disinterestedly with all--
shall give Churchmen, Catholics, Quakers, Independents, Baptists,
Wesleyans, Ranters, and Calathumpians, fair play. Our object will be
to present a picture of things as they are, and to avoid all
meddling with creeds. People may believe what they like, so far as
we are concerned, if they behave themselves, and pay their debts. It
is utterly impossible to get all to be of the same opinion; creeds,
like faces, must differ, have differed, always will differ; and the
best plan is to let people have their own way so long as it is
consistent with the general welfare of social and civil life. It
being understood that "the milk of human kindness is within the PALE
of the Church," we shall begin there. The Parish Church of Preston
will constitute our first theme.

No. I.


It doesn't particularly matter when the building we call our Parish
Church was first erected; and, if it did, the world would have to
die of literary inanition before it got the exact date. None of the
larger sort of antiquaries agree absolutely upon the subject, and
the smaller fry go in for all sorts of figures, varying as to time
from about two years to one hundred and fifty. This may be taken as
a homoeopathic dose in respect to its history:- built about 900
years since by Catholics, and dedicated to St. Wilfrid; handed over
to Protestants by somebody, who was perhaps acting on the very
generous principle of giving other folk's property, in the 16th
century; rebuilt in 1581, and dedicated to St. John; rebuilt in
1770; enlarged, elaborated, and rejuvenised in 1853; plagued with
dry rot for a considerable time afterwards; in a pretty good state
of architectural health now; and likely to last out both this
generation and the next. It looks rather genteel and stately
outside; it has a good steeple, kept duly alive by a congregation of
traditional jackdaws; it has a capital set of bells which have put
in a good deal of overtime during the past five months, through a
pressure of election business; and in its entirety, as Baines once
remarked, the building looks like "a good ordinary Parish Church."
There is nothing either snobbish or sublime about it; and, speaking
after Josh Billings, "it's a fair even-going critter," capable of
being either pulled down or made bigger. That is about the length
and breadth of the matter, and if we had to appeal to the
commonwealth as to the correctness of our position it would be found
that the "ayes have it." We don't believe in the Parish Church; but
a good deal of people do, and why shouldn't they have their way in a
small fight as well as the rest of folk? All, except Mormons and
Fenians, who honestly believe in anything, are entitled to respect.

Our Parish Church has a good contour, and many of its exterior
architectural details are well conceived and arranged; but, like
other buildings of the same order, it has got a multiplicity of
strange hobgoblin figure-heads about it which serve no purpose
either earthly or heavenly, and which are understood by hardly one
out of five million. We could never yet make it out why those
grotesque pieces of masonry--gargoyles, we believe, they are called-
-were fixed to any place of worship. Around our Parish Church and
half-way up the steeple, there are, at almost every angle and
prominence, rudely carved monstrosities, conspicuous for nothing but
their ineffable and heathenish ugliness. Huge eyes, great mouths,
immense tooth, savage faces and distorted bodies are their prime
characteristics. The man who invented this species of ecclesiastical
decoration must have been either mad or in "the horrors." An evenly
balanced mind could never have thought of them, and why they should
he specially tacked to churches is a mystery in accordance with
neither King Solomon nor Cocker. The graveyard of our Parish Church
is, we dare say, something which very few people think of. We have
seen many such places in our time; but that in connection with our
Parish Church is about the grimmest specimen in the lot. It has a
barren, cold, dingy, unconsecrated look with it; and why it should
have we can't tell. Either ruffianism or neglect must at some time
have done a good stroke of business in it; for many of the
gravestones are cracked in two; some are nearly broken to pieces;
and a considerable number of those in the principal parts of the
yard are being gradually worn out. We see no fun, for instance, in
"paving" the entrances to the church with gravestones. Somebody
must, at some time, have paid a considerable amount of money in
getting the gravestones of their relatives smoothed and lettered;
and it could never have been intended that they should be flattened
down, close as tile work, for a promiscuous multitude of people to
walk over and efface. The back of the churchyard is in a very weary,
delapidated and melancholy state. Why can't a few shrubs and flowers
be planted in it? Why is not the ground trimmed up and made decent?
From the time when the Egyptians worshipped cats and onions down to
the present hour, religious folk have paid some special attention to
their grave spaces, and we want to see the custom kept up. Our
Parish Church yard has a sad, forsaken appearance; if it had run to
seed and ended in nothing, or had been neglected and closed up by an
army of hypochondriacs, it could not have been more gloomy, barren,
or disheartening. The ground should be looked after, and the stones
preserved as much as possible. It is a question of shoes v.
gravestones at present, and, if there is not some change of
position, the shoes will in the end win.

About the interior of our Parish Church there is nothing
particularly wonderful; it has a respectable, substantial,
reverential appearance, and that is quite as much as any church
should have. There is no emblematic ritualistic moonshine in any
part of it; we hope there never may be; we are sure there never will
be so long as the men now at the helm are in office. But let us
start at the beginning. The principal entrance is through a massive
and somewhat dimly-lighted porch, which, in its time, has
necessarily, like all church porches, been the scene of much pious
gossip, superstition, and sanctimonious scandal. It is rather a snug
place to halt in. If you stand on one side of the large octagonal
font, which is placed in the centre of the inner perch, and
patronised by about 20 of the rising race every Sunday afternoon,
you will be able to see everybody, whilst nobody can distinctly see
you. As a rule, many people are too fired, or too ill, or too idle,
to go to a place of worship on a Sunday morning, and at our Parish
Church one may plainly notice this. A certain number always put in a
regular appearance. If they did not attend the Parish Church twice a
day they would become apprehensive as to both their temporal
respectability awl spiritual welfare. They are descendants of the
old long-horned stock, and have a mighty notion of the importance of
church-going. Probably they don't care very profoundly for the
sermons; but they have got into a safe-sided, orthodox groove, and
some of them have an idea that they will be saved as much by church-
going as by faith. The members of this class have a large notion of
the respectability of their individual pews and seats. If they
belonged to a family of five hundred each, and if every one of them
had to go to Church every Sunday, they would want their respective
seats, Prayer Books, footstools, and all that sort of thing. They
don't like to see strangers rambling about, in search of a resting
place; they are particularly solemn-looking, and give symptoms of
being on the border of some catastrophe, if an unknown being shows
any disposition to enter their pews. And some of them would see a
person a good deal beyond the ether side of Jordan before they would
think of handing him a Prayer Book. We don't suppose any of them are
so precise as the old gentleman who once, when a stranger entered
his pew, doubled up the cushion, sat upon it in a two-fold state,
and intimated that ordinary beards were good enough for interlopers;
but after all there is much of the "number one" principle in the
devotion of these goodly followers of the saints, and they have been
so long at the game that a cure is impossible.

Taking the congregation of our Parish Church in the agregate it is a
fair sample of every class of human life. You have the old maid in
her unspotted, demurely-coloured moire antique, carrying a Prayer
Book belonging to a past generation; you have the ancient bachelor
with plenty of money and possessing a thorough knowledge as to the
safest way of keeping it, his great idea being that the best way of
getting to heaven is to stick to his coins, attend church every
Sunday, and take the sacrament regularly; you have the magistrate,
whose manner, if not his beard, is of formal cut; the retired
tradesman, with his domestic looking wife, and smartly-dressed
daughters, ten times finer than ever their mother was; the
manufacturer absorbed in cotton and wondering when he will be able
to do a good stroke of business on 'change again; the lawyer, who
has carried on a decent business amongst fees during the week, and
has perhaps turned up to join in the general confession; the doctor,
ready to give emphasis to that part of it which says:- "And there is
no health in us;" the pushing tradesman, who has to live by going to
church, as well as by counter work; the speculating shopkeeper, who
has a connection to make; the young finely-feathered lady, got up in
silk and velvet and carrying a chignon sufficient to pull her
cerebellum out of joint; the dandy buttoned up to show his figure,
and heavily dosed with scent; the less developed young swell, who is
always "talking about his pa and his ma," and has only just begun to
have his hair parted down the middle; the broken down middle-aged
man who was once in a good position, but who years since went all in
a piece to pot; the snuff-loving old woman who curtsies before fine
folk, who has always a long tale to tell about her sorrows, and who
is periodically consoled by a "trifle;" the working man who is
rather a scarce article, except upon special occasions; and the
representative of the poorest class, living somewhere in that venal
slum of slime and misery behind the church. A considerable number of
those floating beings called "strags" attend the Parish Church. They
go to no place regularly; they gravitate at intervals to the church,
mainly on the ground that their fathers and mothers used to go
there, and because they were christened there; but they belong a
cunning race; they can scent the battle from afar, and they
generally keep about three-quarters of a mile from the Parish Church
when a collection has to be made. To the ordinary attendants,
collections do not operate as deterrents; but to the "strags" they
are frighteners. "What's the reason there are so few people here?"
we said one day to the beadle, and that most potent, grave, and
reverend seignior replied, with a Rogersonian sparkle in his rolling
eye, "There's a collection and the 'strags' won't take the bait." It
is the same more or less at every place of worship; and to tell the
truth, there's a sort of instinctive dislike of collections in
everybody's composition.

The congregation of our Parish Church is tolerably numerous, and
embraces many fine human specimens. Money and fashion are well
represented at it; and as Zadkiel and the author of Pogmoor Almanac
say those powers have to rule for a long time, we may take it for
granted that the Parish Church will yet outlive many of the minor
raving academies in which they are absent. There is touch more
generalisation than there used to be as to the sittings in our
Parish Church; but "birds of a feather flock together" still. The
rich know their quarters; exquisite gentlemen and smart young ladies
with morrocco-bound gilt-edged Prayer Books still cluster in special
sections; and although it is said that the poor have the best part
of the church allotted to them, the conspicuousness of its position
gives a brand to it neither healthy nor pleasant. They are seated
down the centre aisle; but the place is too demonstrative of their
poverty. If half the seats were empty, situated excellently though
they may be, you wouldn't catch any respectable weasle asleep on
them. If some doctor, or magistrate, or private bib-and-tucker lady
had to anchor here, supposing there were any spare place in any
other part of the house, there would be a good deal of quizzing and
wonderment afloat. If you don't believe it put on a highly refined
dress and try the experiment; and if you are not very specially
spotted we wild give a fifty dollar greenback on behalf of the
society for converting missionary eaters in Chillingowullabadorie.
We shall say nothing with regard to the ordinary service of the
Parish Church, except this, that it would look better of three
fourths of the congregation if they would not leave the responses to
a paid choir. "Lor, bless yer," as Betsy Jane Ward would say, a
choir will sing, anything put before them if it is set to music; and
they think no more of getting through all that sad business about
personal sinfulness, agonising repentance, and a general craving for
forgiveness, than the odd woman did when she used to kiss her cow
and say it was delicious. There was once a period when all Parish
Church goers made open confession joined audibly in the prayers, and
said "Amen" as if they meant it; although we are doubtful about even
that. Now, the choir does all the work, and the congregation are
left behind the distance post to think about the matter. But if it
suits the people it's quite right.

There are three parsons at our Parish Church--Canon Parr, who is the
seventeenth vicar in a regular line of succession since the
Reformation and two curates. As to the curates we shall say nothing
beyond this, that one has got a better situation and is going to it,
and that the other would like one if he could get it--not that the
present is at all bad, only that there are others better. We don't
know how many curates there have been at the Parish Church since the
Reformation; but it, may be safely said that in their turn they
have, as a rule, accepted with calm and Christian resignation better
paid places when they had a fair opportunity of getting them. We are
not going to say very much about Cannon Parr, and let nobody suppose
that we shall make an effort to tear a passion to tatters regarding
any of his peculiarities. Canon Parr is an easy-going, genial,
educated man kindly disposed towards good living, not blessed with
over much money, fond of wearing a billycock, and strongly in love
with a cloak. He has seen much of the world, is shrewd, has a long
head, has both studied and travelled for his learning, and is the
smartest man Preston Protestants could have to defend their cause.
But he has a certain amount of narrowness in his mental vision, and,
like the bulk of parsons, can see his own way best. He has a strong
temper within him, and he can redden up beautifully all over when
his equanimity is disturbed. If you tread upon his ecclesiastical
bunions he will give you either a dark mooner or an eye opener--we
use these classical terms in a figurative sense. He will keep quiet
so long as you do; but if you make an antagonistic move be will
punish you if possible. He can wield a clever pen; his style is
cogent, scholarly, and, unless overburdened with temper, dignified.
He can fling the shafts of satire or distil the balm of pathos; can
be bitter, saucy, and aggravating; can say a hard thing in a cutting
style; and if he does not go to the bone it's no fault of his. He
can also tone down his language to a point of elegance and
tenderness; can express a good thing excellently, and utter a fine
sentiment well. His speaking is modelled after a good style; but it
is inferior to his writing. In the pulpit he expresses himself
easily, often fervently, never rantingly. The pulpit of the Parish
Church will stand for ever before he upsets it, and he will never
approach that altitude of polemical phrenitis which will induce him
to smash any part of it. His pulpit language is invariably well
chosen; some of his subjects may be rather commonplace or
inappropriate, but the words thrown into their exposition are up to
the mark. He seldom falters; he has never above one, "and now,
finally, brethren," in his concluding remarks; he invariably gives
over when he has done--a plan which John Wesley once said many
parsons neglected to observe; and his congregation, whether they
have been awake or fast asleep, generally go away satisfied. Canon
Parr has been at our Parish Church nine and twenty years, and
although we don't subscribe to his ecclesiastical creed, we believe
he has done good in his time. He is largely respected; he would have
been more respected if he had been less exacting towards Dissenters,
and less violent in his hatred of Catholics. Neither his Church-rate
nor Easter Due escapade improved his position; and some of his
fierce anti-Popery denunciations did not increase his circle of
friends. But these things have gone by, and let them be forgotten.
In private life Canon Parr is essentially social: he can tell a
good tale, is full of humour; he knows a few things as well as the
rest of men, and is charitably disposed--indeed he is too
sympathetic and this causes hint to be pestered with rubbishy tales
from all sorts of individuals, and sometimes to act upon them as if
they were true. As a Protestant vicar--and, remembering that no
angels have yet been born in this country, that everybody is
somewhat imperfect, and that folk will differ--we look upon Canon
Parr as above the average. He has said extravagant and unreasonable
things in his time; but he has rare properties, qualities of sense
and erudition, which are strangers to many pretentious men in his
line of business; and, on the whole, he may be legitimately set
down, in the language of the "gods," as "O.K."

No. II.


It was at one time of the day a rather dangerous sort of thing for a
man, or a woman, or a medium-sized infant, living in this highly-
favoured land of ours, to show any special liking for Roman
Catholicism. But the days of religious bruising have perished; and
Catholics are now, in the main, considered to be human as well as
other people, and to have a right to live, and put their Sunday
clothes on, and go to their own places of worship like the rest of
mortals. No doubt there are a few distempered adherents of the
"immortal William" school who would like to see Catholics driven
into a corner, banished, or squeezed into nothing; probably there
are some of the highly sublimated "no surrender" gentlemen who would
be considerably pleased if they could galvanise the old penal code
and put a barrel able to play the air of "Boyne Water" into every
street organ; but the great mass of men have learned to be tolerant,
and have come to the conclusion that Catholics, civilly and
religiously, are entitled to all the liberty which a free and
enlightened constitution can confer--to all the privileges which
fair-play and even-handed justice call give; and if these are not
fully granted now, the day is coming when they will be possessed.
Lancashire seems to be the great centre of Catholicism in England,
and Preston appears to be its centre in Lancashire. This benign town
of Preston, with its fervent galaxy of lecturing curates, and its
noble army of high falutin' incumbents, is the very fulcrum and
lever of northern Romanism. If Catholics are wrong and on the way to
perdition and blisters there are 33,000 of them here moving in that
very awkward direction at the present. A number so large, whether
right or wrong cannot he despised; a body so great, whether good or
evil, will, by its sheer inherent force, persist in living, moving,
and having, a fair share of being. You can't evaporate 33,000 of
anything in a hurry; and you could no more put a nightcap upon the
Catholics of Preston than you could blacken up the eye of the sun.
That stout old Vatican gentleman who storms this fast world of ours
periodically with his encyclicals, and who is known by the name of
Pius IX., must, if he knows anything of England, know something of
Preston; and if he knows anything of it he will have long since
learned that wherever the faith over which he presides may be going
down the hill, it is at least in Preston "as well as can be
expected," and likely, for a period longer than be will live, to
bloom and flourish.

Our text is--St. Wilfrid's Catholic Church, Preston. This place of
worship is situated in a somewhat sanctified place--Chapel-street;
but as about half of that locality is taken up with lawyers'
offices, and the centre of it by a police station, we fancy that
this world, rather than the next, will occupy the bulk of its
attention. It is to be hoped that St. Wilfrid's, which stands on the
opposite side, will act as a healthy counterpoise--will, at any
rate, maintain its own against such formidable odds. The building in
Chapel-street, dedicated to the old Angle-Saxon bishop--St. Wilfrid-
-who was a combative sort of soul, fond of argumentatively knocking
down obstreperous kings and ecclesiastics and breaking up the
strongholds of paganism--was opened seventy-six years ago. It
signifies little how it looked then. Today it has a large
appearance. There is nothing worth either laughing or crying about
so far as its exterior goes. It doesn't look like a church; it
resembles not a chapel; and it seems too big for a house. There is
no effort at architectural elaboration in its outer arrangements. It
is plain, strong, large; and like big feet or leathern shirts has
evidently been made more for use than ornament. But this style of
phraseology only refers to the extrinsic part. Inside, the church
has a vast, ornate, and magnificent appearance. No place of worship
in Preston is so finely decorated, so skilfully painted, so
artistically got up. In the world of business there is nothing like
leather; in the arena of religion there seems to be nothing like
paint. Every church in the country makes an effort to get deeply
into the region of paint; they will have it upon either windows,
walls, or ceilings. It is true that Dissenters do not dive
profoundly into the coloured abyss; but weakness of funds combined
with defective aesthetic cultivation may have something to do with
their deficiency in this respect. Those who have had the management
and support of St. Wilfrid's in their hands, have studied the theory
of colour to perfection, and whilst we may not theologically agree
with some of its uses, one cannot but admire its general effect.
Saints, angels, rings, squares, floriations, spiralizations, and
everything which the brain or the brush of the most devoted painter
could fairly devise are depicted in this church, and there is such
an array of them that one wonders how anybody could ever have had
the time or patience to finish the work.

The high altar which occupies the southern end is, in its way,
something very fine. A magnificent picture of the crucifixion
occupies the back ground; flowers and candles, in numbers sufficient
to appal the stoutest Evangelical and turn to blue ruin such men as
the editor of the "Bulwark" are elevated in front; over all, as well
as collaterally, there are inscriptions in Latin; designs in gold
and azure and vermilion fill up the details; and on each side there
is a confessional wherein all members, whether large or diminutive,
whether dressed in corduroy or smoothest, blackest broad cloth, in
silk or Surat cotton, must unravel the sins they have committed.
This confession must be a hard sort of job, we know, for some
people; but we are not going to enter upon a discussion of its
merits or demerits. Only this may be said, that if there was full
confession at every place of worship in Preston the parsons would
never get through their work. Every day, from an early hour in the
morning until a late period of the evening, St. Wilfrid's is open to
worshippers; and you may see them, some with smiling faces, and some
with very elongated ones, going to or coming from it constantly.
Like Tennyson's stream, they evince symptoms of constant movement
and the only conclusion we can fairly come to is that the mass of
them are singularly in earnest. There are not many Protestants--
neither Church people, nor Dissenters, neither quiescent Quakers nor
Revivalist dervishes--who would be inclined to go to their religious
exercises before breakfast, and if they did, some of them, like the
old woman who partook of Sacrament in Minnesota, would want to know
what they were going to "get" for it. On Sundays, as on week days,
the same business--laborious as it looks to outsiders--goes on.
There are several services, and they are arranged for every class--
for those who must attend early, for those who can't, for those who
won't, and for those who stir when the afflatus is upon them. There
are many, however, who are regular attendants, soon and late, and if
precision and continuity will assist them in getting to heaven, they
possess those auxiliaries in abundance.

The congregation attending on a Sunday is a mixed one--rags and
satins, moleskins and patent kids, are all duly represented; and it
is quite a study to see their wearers put in an appearance. Directly
after entrance reverential genuflections and holy-water dipping are
indulged in. Some of the congregation do the business gracefully;
others get through it like the very grandfather of awkwardness. The
Irish, who often come first and sit last, are solemnly whimsical in
their movements. The women dip fast and curtsy briskly; the men turn
their hands in and out as if prehensile mysticism was a saving
thing, and bow less rapidly but more angularly than the females;
then you have the slender young lady who knows what deportment and
reverence mean; who dips quietly, and makes a partial descent
gracefully; the servant girl who goes through the preliminary
somewhat roughly but very earnestly; the smart young fellow, who
dips with his gloves on--a "rather lazy kind of thing," as the
cobbler remarked when he said his prayers in bed--and gives a sort
of half and half nod, as if the whole bend were below his dignity;
the business man, who goes into the water and the bowing in a
matter-of-fact style, who gets through the ceremony soon but well,
and moves on for the next comer; the youth, who touches the water in
a come-and-go style, and makes a bow on a similar principle; the
aged worshipper, who takes kindly but slowly to the hallowed liquid,
and goes nearly upon his knees in the fulness of his reverence; and
towards the last you have about six Sisters of Mercy, belonging St.
Wilfrid's convent, who pass through the formality in a calm, easy,
finished manner, and then hurry along, some with veils down and
others with veils up, to a side sitting they have. There is no
religious shoddy amongst these persons. They may look solemn, yet
some of them have finely moulded features; they may dress strangely
and gloomily, yet, if you converse with them, they will always give
indications of serener spirits. Whether their profession be right or
wrong, this is certain: they keep one of the best schools in the
town, and they teach children manners--a thing which many parents
can't manage. They also make themselves useful in visiting; they
have a certain respect for faith, but more for good works; and if
other folk in Christendom held similar views on this point the good
done would in the end be greater. All these Sisters of Mercy are
accomplished--they are clever in the head, know how to play music,
to paint, and to sew; can cook well if they like; and it's a pity
they are not married. But they are doing more good single than lots
of women are accomplishing in the married state, and we had better
let them alone. Its dangerous to either command or advise the
gentler sex, and as everything finds its own level by having its own
way they will, we suppose, in the end.

One of the most noticeable features in connection with the services
at St. Wilfrid's is the music. It is proverbial that Catholics have
good music. You won't find any of the drawling, face-pulling,
rubbishy melodies worked up to a point of agony in some places of
worship countenanced in the Catholic Church. All is classical--all
from the best masters. There is an enchantment in the music which
binds you--makes you like it whether you will or not. At St.
Wilfrid's there is a choir which can't be excelled by any provincial
body of singers in the kingdom. The learned individual who blows the
organ may say that the comparative perfection attained in the
orchestra is through the very consummate manner in which he "raises
the wind"; the gentleman who manipulates upon its keys may think he
is the primum mobile in the matter; the soprano may fancy she is the
life of the whole concern; the heavy bass or the chief tenor may
respectively lay claim to the honour; but the fact is, its amongst
the lot, so that there may be a general rubbing on the question of
service, and a reciprocal scratching on the point of ability.

There are several priests at St. Wilfrid's; they are all Jesuits to
the marrow; and the chief of them is the Rev. Father Cobb. Each of
them is clever--far cleverer than many of the half-feathered curates
and full-fledged incumbents who are constantly bringing railing
accusations against them; and they work harder--get up sooner, go to
bed later--than the whole of them. They jump at midnight if their
services are required by either a wild Irishman in Canal-street or a
gentleman of the first water in any of our mansions. It is not a
question of cloth but of souls with them. They are afraid of neither
plague, pestilence, nor famine; they administer spiritual
consolation under silken hangings, as well as upon straw lairs; in
the fever stricken garret as well as in the gilded chamber. Neither
the nature of a man's position nor the character of his disease
enters into their considerations. Duty is the star of their
programme; action the object of their lives. They receive no
salaries; their simple necessaries are alone provided for. Some of
them perhaps get half-a-crown a month as pocket money; but that will
neither kill nor cure a man. Sevenpence halfpenny per week is a big
sum--isn't it?--big enough for a Jesuit priest, but calculated to
disturb the Christian balance of any other class of clergymen. If it
isn't, try them.

In reference to the priests of St. Wilfrid's, we shall only
specially mention, and that briefly, the Rev. Father Cobb. No man in
Preston cares less for fine clothes than he does. We once did see
him with a new suit on; but neither before nor since that ever-
memorable day, have we noticed him in anything more ethereal than a
plain well-worn coat, waistcoat, and pair of trousers. He might have
a finer exterior; but he cares not for this kind of bauble. He knows
that trappings make neither the man nor the Christian, and that
elaborate suits are often the synonym of elaborate foolery. He takes
a pleasure in work; is happy inaction; and hates both clerical and
secular indifference. Priests, he thinks, ought to do their duty,
and men of the world ought to discharge theirs. In education, Father
Cobb is far above the ordinary run of men. He has a great natural
capacity, which has been well regulated by study; he is shrewd; has
a strong intuitive sense; can't be got over; won't be beaten out of
the field if you once get him into it; and is sure to either win or
make you believe that he has. Like all strong Catholics he has much
veneration--that "organ," speaking in the vernacular of phrenology,
is at the top of the head, and you never yet saw a thorough Catholic
who did not manifest a good development of it; he is strong in
ideality; has also a fine, vein of humour in him; can laugh, say
jolly as well as serious things; and is a positively earnest and
practical preacher. He speaks right out to his hearers; hits them
hard in reference to both this world and the next; tells them "what
to eat, drink, and avoid;" says that if they get drunk they must
drop it off, that if they stuff and gormandise they will be a long
while before reaching the kingdom of heaven; that they must avoid
dishonesty, falsehood, impurity, and other delinquencies; and,
furthermore, intimates that they won't get to any of the saints they
have a particular liking for by a round of simple religious
formality--that they must be good, do good, and behave themselves
decently, individually and collectively. We have never heard a more
practical preacher: he will tell young women what sort of husbands
to get, young men what kind of wives to choose, married folk how to
conduct themselves, and old maids and bachelors how to reconcile
themselves virtuously to their fate. There is no half-and-half ring
in the metal he moulds: it comes out clear, sounds well, and goes
right home. In delivery he is eloquent; in action rather brisk; and
he weighs--one may as well come down from the sublime to the
ridiculous--about thirteen stones. He is a jolly, hearty, earnest,
devoted priest; is cogent in argument; homely in illustration;
tireless in work; determined to do his duty; and, if we were a
Catholic, we should be inclined to fight for him if any one stepped
upon his toes, or said a foul word about him. Here endeth our
"epistle to the Romans."

No. III.


Forty-four years ago the Ebenezer of a few believers in the "Bird-
of-Freedom" school, with a spice of breezy religious courage in
their composition, was raised at the bottom of Cannon-street, in
Preston; and to this day it abideth there. Why it was elevated at
that particular period of the world's history we cannot say. Neither
does it signify. It may have been that the spirit of an
irrepressible Brown, older than the Harper's Ferry gentleman, was
"marching on" at an extra speed just then; for let it be known to
all and singular that it was one of the universal Brown family who
founded the general sect. Or it may have been that certain
Prestonians, with a lingering touch of the "Scot's wha ha'e"
material in their blood, gave a solemn twist to the line in Burns's
epistle, and decided to go in

--for the glorious privilege
Of being Independent.

Be that as it may, it is clear that in 1825 the Independents planted
a chapel in Cannon-street. Places of worship like everything else,
good or evil, grow in these latter days, and so has Cannon-street
chapel. In 1852 its supporters set at naught the laws of Banting,
and made the place bigger. It was approaching a state of solemn
tightness, and for the consolation of the saints, the ease of the
fidgety, and the general blissfulness of the neighbourhood it was
expanded. Cannon-street Chapel has neither a bell, nor a steeple,
nor an outside clock, and it has never yet said that it was any
worse off for their absence. But it may do, for chapels like
churches are getting proud things now-a-days, and they believe in
both lacker and gilt. There is something substantial and respectable
about the building. It is neither gaudy nor paltry; neither too good
nor too bad looking. Nobody will ever die in a state of
architectural ecstacy through gazing upon it; and not one out of a
battalion of cynics will say that it is too ornamental. It is one of
those well-finished, middle-class looking establishments, about
which you can't say much any way; and if you could, nobody would be
either madder or wiser for the exposition. Usually the only
noticeable feature about the front of it--and that is generally the
place where one looks for the virtues or vices of a thing--is a
series of caged-up boards, announcing homilies, and tea parties, and
collections all over the north Lancashire portion of Congregational
Christendom. It is to be hoped that the sermons are not too dry,
that the tea saturnalias are neither too hot nor too wet, and that
the collections have more sixpenny than threepenny pieces in them.

The interior of Cannon-street Chapel has a spacious and somewhat
genteel appearance. A practical business air pervades it. There is
no "storied window," scarcely any "dim religious light," and not a
morsel of extra colouring in the whole establishment. At this place,
the worshippers have an idea that they are going to get to heaven in
a plain way, and if they succeed, all the better--we were going to
say that they would be so much the more into pocket by it. Freedom
of thought, sincerity of heart, and going as straight to the point
as possible, is what they aim at. There are many seats in Cannon-
street Chapel, and, as it is said that hardly any of them are to
let, the reverend gentleman who makes a stipulated descent upon the
pew rents ought to be happy. It is but seldom the pews are well
filled: they are not even crammed on collection Sundays; but they
are paid for, and if a congenial wrinkle does not lurk in that fact-
-for the minister--he will find neither the balm of Gilead nor a
doctor anywhere. The clerical notion is, that pew rents, as well as
texts; must be stuck to; and if those who pay and listen quietly
acquiesce, then it becomes a simple question of "so mote it be" for

The congregation at Cannon-street Chapel is made up of tolerably
respectable materials. It is no common Dissenting rendezvous for
ill-clad screamers and roaring enthusiasts. Neither fanatics nor
ejaculators find an abiding place in it. Not many poor people join
the charmed circle. A middle-class, shopkeeping halo largely
environs the assemblage. There is a good deal of pride, vanity,
scent, and silk-rustling astir in it every Sunday, just as there is
in every sacred throng; and the oriental, theory of caste is not
altogether ignored. The ordinary elements of every Christian
congregation are necessarily visible here--backsliders and newly-
caught communicants; ancient women duly converted and moderately
fond of tea, snuff, and charity; people who cough continually, and
will do so in their graves if not closely watched; parties, with the
Fates against them, who fly off periodically into fainting fits;
contented individuals, whose gastric juice flows evenly, who can
sleep through the most impassioned sermon with the utmost serenity;
weather-beaten orthodox souls who have been recipients of ever so
much daily grace for half a life time, and fancy they are
particularly near paradise; lofty and isolated beings who have a
fixed notion that they are quite as respectable if not as pious as
other people; easy-going well-dressed creatures "whose life glides
away in a mild and amiable conflict between the claims of piety and
good breeding."

But the bulk are of a substantial, medium-going description--
practical, sharp, respectable, and naturally inclined towards a
free, well got up, reasonable theology. There is nothing inflamed in
them--nothing indicative of either a very thick or very thin skin.
Any of them will lend you a hymn book, and whilst none of them may
be inclined to pay your regular pew rent, the bulk will have no
objection to find you an occasional seat, and take care of you if
there would be any swooning in your programme. Clear-headed and full
of business, they believe with Binney in making the best of both
worlds. They will never give up this for the next, nor the next for
this. Into their curriculum there enters, as the American preacher
hath it, a sensible regard for piety and pickles, flour and
affection, the means of grace and good profits, crackers and faith,
sincerity and onions, benevolence, cheese, integrity, potatoes, and
wisdom--all remarkably good in their way, and calculated, when well
shaken up and applied, to Christianise anybody. The genteel portion
of the congregation principally locate themselves in the side seats
running from one end of the chapel to the other; the every day
mortals find a resting place in the centre and the galleries; the
poorer portion are pushed frontwards below, where they have an
excellent opportunity of inspecting the pulpit, of singing like
nightingales, of listening to every articulation of the preacher,
and of falling into a state of coma if they are that way disposed.

The music at this place of worship has been considerably improved
during recent times; but it is nothing very amazing yet. There is a
curtain amount of cadence, along with a fair share of power, in the
orchestral outbursts; the pieces the choir have off go well; those
they are new at rather hang fire; but we shall not parry with either
the conductor or the members on this point. They all manifest a
fairly-defined devotional feeling in their melody; turn their visual
faculties in harmony with the words: expand and contract their
pulmonary processes with precision and if they mean what they sing,
they deserve better salaries than they usually get. They are aided
by an organ which is played well, and, we hope, paid for.

The minister of Cannon-street chapel is the Rev. H. J. Martyn, who
has had a good stay with "the brethren," considering that their
fighting weight is pretty heavy, and that some of them were made to
"have their way." Frequently Independents are in hot water
concerning their pastors. In Preston they are very exemplary in this
respect. The Grimshaw street folk have had a storm in a tea pot with
one of their ministers; so have the Lancaster-road Christians; and
so have the Cannon-street believers; and the beauty of it is, they
generally win. Born to have their own way in sacred matters, they
can turn off a parson, if they can't defeat him in argument. And
that is a great thing. They hold the purse strings; and no parson
can live unless he has a "call" to some other "vineyard," if they
are closed against him. On the whole, the present minister of
Cannon-street Chapel has got on pretty evenly with his flock. He has
had odd skirmishes in his spiritual fold; and will have if he stays
in it for ever; but the sheep have a very fair respect for the
shepherd, and can "paint the lily" gracefully. A while since they
gave him leave of absence--paying his salary, of course, whilst
away--and on his return some of them got up a tea party on his
behalf and made him a presentation. There might be party spirit or
there might be absolute generosity in such a move; but the parson
was no loser--he enjoyed the out, and accepted with Christian
fortitude the gift. The Rev. H. J. Martyn is a small gentleman--
considerably below the average of parsons in physical proportion;
but he consoles himself with the thought that he is all right in
quality, if not in quantity. Diminutive men have generally very fair
notions of themselves; small men as a rule are smarter than those of
the bulky and adipose school; and, harmonising with this regulation,
Mr. Martyn is both sharp and kindly disposed towards himself. He is
not of opinion, like one of his predecessors, that he assisted at
the creation of the world, and that the endurance of Christianity
depends upon his clerical pivot; but he believes that he has a
"mission," and that on the whole he is quite as good as the majority
of Congregational divines. There is nothing pretentious in his
appearance; nothing ecclesiastical in his general framework; and in
the street he looks almost as much like anybody else as like a
parson. The education of Mr. Martyn is equal to that of the average
of Dissenting ministers, and better than that of several. He is,
however, more of a reader than a thinker, and more of a speaker than
either. On the platform he can make as big a stir as men twice his
size. His delivery is moderately even; his words clear; and he can
throw a good dash of imagination into his language. In the pulpit,
to the foot of which place he is led every Sunday, by certain sacred
diaconal lamas, who previously "rub him down" and saddle him for
action, in a contiguous apartment--in the pulpit, we say, he
operates in a superior style, and he looks better there--more like a
parson--than anywhere else. He is here above the ordinary level of
his hearers; if it were not for the galleries, minute as may be his
physiology, he would be the loftiest being present; and if he wishes
to "keep up appearances," we would advise him to remain in the
pulpit and have his meals there. Casting joking overboard--out of
the pulpit if you like--it may be said that Mr. Martyn as a preacher
has many fair qualities. It is true he has defects; but who has
not?--unless it be a deacon;--still there is something in his style
which indicates earnestness, something in his language,
demonstrative of culture and eloquence. His main pulpit fault is
that he "goes off" too soon and too frequently. In the course of a
sermon he will give you three or four perorations, and sometimes
wind up without treating you to one. There is nothing very
metaphysical in his subjects; sometimes he wanders slightly into
space; occasionally he exhausts himself in fighting out the
mysteries of faith, and grace, and justification; but in the
ordinary run of his talk you can get good pictures of practical
matters. He is a lover of nature, is fond of talking about the
sublime and the beautiful, conjointly with other things freely named
in Burke's essay, can pile up the agony with a good deal of ability,
and split the ears of the groundlings as the occasion requires. He
can get into a white heat quickly, or blow his solemn anger
gradually--wind it up by degrees, and make it burst at a given point
of feeling. He is a better declaimer than reasoner--has a stronger
flow of imagination than logic. There is nothing bitter or mocking
in his tone. He seldom flings the shafts of ridicule or irony. He
constructs calmly, and then sends up the rocket: he draws you
slowly to a certain point, and then tells you to look out for "it's
coming." His apparatus is well fixed; he can give you any kind of
dissolving view. His ecstacies are rapid and, therefore, soon over.
The level places in his sermons are rather heavy, and, at times,
uninteresting. It is only when the thermometer is rising that you
enjoy him, and only when he reaches the climax and explodes, that
you fall back and ask for water and a fan. Taking him in the
aggregate we are of opinion that he is a good preacher; that he goes
through his ordinary duties easily and complacently. He gets well
paid for what be does--last year his salary exceeded 340 pounds; and
our advice to him is--keep on good terms with the bulk of "the
brethren," hammer as much piety into them as possible, tickle the
deacons into a genial humour, and look regularly after the pew-

No. IV.


Wesleyan Methodism first breathed and opened its eyes in or about
the year 1729. It was nursed in its infancy at Oxford by two rare
brothers and a few students; was christened at the same place by a
keenly-observing, slightly-satirical collegian; developed itself
gradually through the country; took charge of the neglected masses
and gave them a new life; and today it is one of the great religious
forces of the world. The first Wesleyan chapel in Preston was built
in the year 1787, and its situation was in that consecrated and
highly aromatic region of the town called Back-lane. There was
nothing very prepossessing or polished, nothing particularly
fashionable or attractive about the profession of Methodism in those
days. It was rather an indication of honest fanaticism than of
deliberate reasoning--rather a sign of being solemnly "on the
rampage" than of giving way to careful conviction--and more
symptomatic of a sharp virtuous rant, got up in a crack and to be
played out in five minutes, than of a judicious move in the
direction of permanent good. The orthodox looked down with a genteel
contempt upon the preachers whose religion had converted Kingswood
colliers, and turned Cornwall wreckers into honest men; and the
formally pious spoke of the worshippers at this new shrine of faith
with a serene sneer, and classed them as a parcel of fiercely
ejaculating, hymn-singing nonentities. But there was vitality at the
core of their creed, and its fuller triumphs were but a question of
time. In 1817, Methodism became dissatisfied with its Back-lane
quarters, and migrated into a lighter, healthier, and cleaner
portion of the town--Lune-street--where a building was erected for
its special convenience and edification. It was not a very elegant
structure: it was, in fact, a plain, phlegmatic aggregation of
brick and mortar, calculated to charm no body externally, and
evidently patronised for absolute internal rapture.

In 1861 the chapel was rebuilt--enlarged, beautified, and made fine,
so as to harmonise with the laws of modern fashion, and afford easy
sitting room for the large and increasing congregation attending it.
The frontispiece is of a costly character; but it has really been
"born to blush unseen." It is so tightly wedged in between other
buildings, is so evenly crammed into companionship with the ordinary
masonry of the street, that the general effect of the tall arch and
spacious porch is lost. Nothing can be distinctly seen at even a
moderate distance. You have to get to the place before you become
clearly aware of its existence; and if you wish to know anything of
its appearance, you have either to turn the head violently off its
regular axis, or cross the street and ask somebody for a step
ladder. The facade of the building is not very prepossessing; the
large arch, which has given way at some of the joints considerably,
and has been doing its best to fall for about six years, does not
look well--it is too high and too big for the place; the stonework
within is also hid; and the whitewashed ceiling above ought to be
either cleaned or made properly black. At present it is neither
light nor dark, and is rather awkwardly relieved at intervals with
cobwebs. There is something humorous and incongruous in the physical
associations of this chapel. It is flanked with a doctor's shop and
a money-lending establishment; with a savings bank and a solicitor's
office. The bank nestles very complacently under its lower wing, and
in the ratio of its size is a much better looking building. The text
regarding the deposit of treasure in that place where neither moth
nor rust operate may be well worked in the chapel; but it is rather
at a discount in the immediate neighbourhood.

A great work in the business of spreading Wesleyan Methodism has
been done by the people and parsons of Lune-street chapel. We know
of no place in the town whose religious influence has been more
actively radiated. Its power, a few years ago, spread into the
northern part of the town, and the result was a new chapel with
excellent schools there; it then moved eastward, and the consequence
was a school chapel in St. Mary-street. In Croft-street, Canal-
street, and on the Marsh, it has also outposts, whose officers are
fighting the good fight with lung, and head, and heart, in a
sprightly and vigorous fashion. Originally, what is termed the
"circuit" of Lune-street embraced places 18 or 20 miles from
Preston; but the area of the sacred circumbendibus was subsequently
reduced; and its servants now find that they have as much on hand as
they can fairly get through by looking after half of the town and a
few of the contiguous villages. There are none of those solemn
milkmen called deacons in connection with Wesleyanism; still, there
are plenty of medicine men, up; up the ears in grace and business,
belonging it. At Lune-street Chapel, as at all similar places, there
are class-leaders, circuit stewards, chapel stewards, and smaller
divinities, who find a niche in the general pantheon of duty. The
cynosure of the inner circle is personal piety, combined with a
"penny a week and a shilling a quarter." All members who can pay
this have to do so.

Beneath the chapel there is a Sunday school, which operates as a
feeder. When the scholars--there are 500 or 600 of them altogether--
show certain symptoms of inherent rectitude and facial exactness,
when they answer particular questions correctly and pass through the
crucial stages of probation consistently, they are drafted into "the
church," and presented with licences of perennial happiness if they
choose to exercise them. The school is well supervised, and if some
of the teachers are as useful and consoling at home as they are in
their classes their general relatives will be blissful.

The congregation of Lune-street Chapel is moderately numerous; but
it has been materially thinned at intervals by the establishment of
other Wesleyan chapels. In its circuit there are now between 800 and
900 persons known as members, who are going on their way rejoicing;
at the chapel itself there are between 300 and 400 individuals
similarly situated. Viewed in the aggregate, the congregation is of
a middle class character both in regard to the colour of the hair
and the clothes worn. There are some exceedingly poor people at the
place, but the mass appear to be individuals not particularly
hampered in making provision for their general meals. Lune-street
chapel is the fashionable Wesleyan tabernacle of Preston; the better
end of those whose minds have been touched, through either tradition
or actual conviction, with the beauties of Methodism, frequent it.
There is more silk than winsey, more cloth than hodden grey, and a
good deal more false hair and artificial teeth in the building on a
Sunday than can be found by fair searching at any other Wesleyan
chapel in the town. A sincere desire to "flee from the wrath to come
and be saved from their sins"--the only condition which John Wesley
insisted upon for admission into his societies--does not prevent
some of the members from attending determinedly to the bedizenments,
conceits, and spangles of this very wicked speck in the planetary

In the congregation there are many most excellent, hardworking,
thoroughly sincere men and women, who would be both useful and
ornamental to any body of Christians under the sun; but there are in
addition, as there are in every building set apart for the purposes
of piety, several who have "more frill than shirt," and much "more
cry than wool" about them--rectified, beautifully self-righteous,
children who would "sugar over" a very ugly personage ten hours out
of the twelve every day, and then at night thank the Lord for all
his mercies. In Lune-street Chapel faction used to run high and
wilfulness was a gem which many of the members wore very near their
hearts; but much of the old feudal spirit of party fighting has died
out, and there are signs of pious resignation and loving kindness in
the flock, which would at one time have been rare jewels. A somewhat
lofty isolation is still manifested here and there; a few regular
attenders appear heavily oppressed with the idea that they are not
only as good as anybody else but much better. Still this is only
human nature and no process of convertibility to the most celestial
of substances can in this world entirely subdue it. The bruising
deacon who said that grace was a good thing, but that that knocking
down an impertinent member was a better didn't miss the bull's eye
of natural philosophy very far. The observation was not redolent of
much Christian spirit; but it evinced that which many of the saints
are troubled with--human nature.

Lune-street chapel contains standing, sitting, and sleeping room,
for about 1,400 people. The bulk who attend it take fair advantage
of the accomodation afforded for the first and second positions; a
moderate number avail themselves of the privileges held out for the
whole three postures. The chapel is not often crowded; it is
moderately filled as a rule; and there is no particular numeric
difference in the attendance at either morning or evening service on
a Sunday. The singing is neither loftily classic nor contemptibly
common-place. It is good, medium, well modulated melody, heartily
got up; and thoroughly congregational. In some places of worship it
is considered somewhat vulgar for members of the congregation to
give specimens of their vocalisation; and you can only find in out-
of-the-way side and back pews odd persons warbling a mild falsetto,
or piping an eccentric tenor, or doing a heavy bass on their own
responsibility; but at Lune-street Chapel the general members of the
congregation go into the work with a distinct determination to
either sing or make a righteous noise worthy of the occasion. They
are neither afraid nor ashamed of the job; and we hope they draw
consolation from it. The more genteel worshippers take up their
quarters mainly on the ground floor--at the back of the central
seats and at the sides. The poor have resting places found for them
immediately in front of the pulpit and at the rear of the galleries.
Very little of that unctuous spasmodic shouting, which used to
characterise Wesleyanism, is heard in Lune-street Chapel. It has
become unfashionable to bellow; it is not considered "the thing" to
ride the high horse of vehement approval and burst into luminous
showers of "Amens" and "Halleleujahs." Now and then a few
worshippers of the ancient type drop in from some country place, and
explode at intervals during the course of some impulsive prayer, or
gleeful hymn, or highly enamelled sermon. You may occasionally at
such a time, hear two or three in distant pews having a delightful
time of it. At first they only stir gently, as if some on were
mildly pinching or tickling them. Gradually they become more
audible, and as the fire of their zeal warms up, and the eloquence
of the minister enflames, they get keener, fiercer, more rapturous;
the intervals of repose are shorter, the moments of ecstacy are more
rapid and fervent; and this goes on with gathering desperation,
until the speaker reaches his--climax, and stops to either breathe
or use his handkerchief. But hardy a scintilla of this is perceived
on ordinary occasions; indeed it has become so unpopular that an
exhibition of it seems to quietly amuse--to evoke mild smiles and
dubious glances--rather than meet with reciprocity of approval. It
must be some great man in the region of Wesleyanism; some grand,
tearing, pathetic, eloquent preacher who can stir to a point of
moderate audibility the voices of the multitude of worshippers. In
Lune-street Chapel, the Ten Commandments occupy a prominent
position, and that is a good thing. It would be well if they were
fastened up in every place of worship, and better still if the
parsons referred to them more frequently.

Respecting the ministers of the chapel in question, we way say that
there are three. None of them can stay less than one, nor more than
three, years. It is a question of "Hey, presto--quick change," every
third year. The names of the triumvirate at Lune-street are, the
Rev. W. Mearns, M.A., who is the superintendent; the Rev. W. H.
Tindall, second in command; and the Rev. F. B. Swift, the general
clerical servant of all work. Mr. Mearns is a calm, rather bilious-
looking, elderly man. There is nothing bewitching in his appearance;
he looks like what he is--a quietly-disposed, evenly-tempered,
Methodist minister. He is neither fussy, nor conceited, nor fond of
brandishing the sword of superiority. He goes about his work
steadily, and is as patient in harness as out of it. He has northern
blood in his veins which checks impulsiveness and everything
approaching that solemn ferocity sometimes displayed in Methodist
pulpits. There is nothing oratorical in his style of delivery; it is
calm, slow, and has a rather soporific influence upon his hearers.
There is more practical than argumentative matter in his sermons;
but, in the aggregate, they are hard and dry--lack lustre and
passion; and this, combined with his stoical manner of delivery, has
a chilling, rather than an attractive, influence. He always speaks
in harmony with the rules of grammar. His sentences, although
uttered extemporaneously, are invariably well finished and
scholarly. His words are well chosen; they are fit in with
cultivated exactitude and polished precision. They will stand
reading; nay, they will read excellently--infinitely better than the
burning rhapsody of more phrensied and eloquent men; but they fall
with a long-drawn dulness upon the ear when first uttered, and
don't, as Sam Slick would say, "get up one's steam anyhow." Mr.
Mearns has a clear head and a good heart, but his spoken words want
power and immediate brightness, and his style is deadened for the
want of a little enthusiasm.

The Rev. Mr. Tindall comes up in a more polished, energetic, and
fashionable garb. He is eloquent, argumentative, polemical. His
literary capacity is good, and it has been well trained. He has read
much and studied keenly. His sermons are well thought out; he has
copious notes of them; and when he enters the pulpit they are made
complete for action--are fully equipped in their Sunday clothes and
ready for duty. His delivery is good; but physical weakness deprives
it of potency; and his contempt of the clock before him renders
people now and then uneasy. His manner is refined; his matter is
select; but there is something in both at times which you don't
altogether believe in digesting. A rather haughty, dictatorial ring
is sometimes noticed in them. A large notion of the importance of
the preacher occasionally peeps up. He has a perfect right to
venerate Mr. Tindall, and if he is a little fashionable, what of
that?--isn't it fashionable to be fashionable? Only this may be
carried a little too far, even in men for whom pulpits are made and
circuits formed, and it is not always safe to let organ "15" in
phrenological charts get the upper hand. After all we admire Mr.
Tindall's erudition and eloquence. He is free from vulgarity, and in
general style miles ahead of many preachers in the same body, whose
great mission is to maltreat pulpits and turn religion into a
rhapsody of words.

The well-meaning and plodding Mr. Smith succeeds. He is a hard
worker; but there does not appear to be over much in him at present.
More thinking, and a greater experience of life, may cause him to
germinate agreeably in a few years. His style is stereotyped and
copied; there is a lack of original force in him; when he talks you
know what's coming next--you can tell five minutes off what he is
going to say, and that rather spoils the sensation of newness and
surprise which one likes to experience when parsons are either
pleasing or terrifying sinners. But Mr. Swift does his best, and,
according to Ebenezer Elliot, he does well who does that. It would
be wrong to deal harshly with a new beginner, and therefore we have
decided to check our criticism--to be brief--with Mr. Swift and
express a hope that in time he will be president of the Conference.

No. V.


The "right thing" in regard to baptism is a recondite point; but we
are not going to enter into any controversy about it. We shall say
nothing as to the defects or merits of aspersion or sprinkling,
immersion or dipping, affusion or pouring. Opinions vary respecting
each system; and one may fairly say that the words uttered in
explanation of the general theme come literally to us in the "voice
of many waters.", Jacob the patriarch was the first Baptist; the
Jews kept up the rite moderately, but had more faith in its
abstergent than spiritual influence; John turned it into an
institution of Christianity; the Primitive Church carried on the
business slowly, Turtullian kicking against and Cyprian lauding it;
in the fifth century baptism became fully established amongst all
Christian communities; then the Eastern and Western Churches
quarrelled as to whether sprinkling or immersion constituted the
proper ceremony; other small disputes concerning the modus operandi
followed; and from that time to this the adherents of each scheme
have spilled a great deal of water in piously working out their
notions. There was once a time when nobody could undergo the
ordinary process of baptism except at Easter or Whitsuntide; but
children and upgrown people can now be put through the ceremony
whenever it is considered necessary. In Preston, as elsewhere, the
majority of people think well of water when it is required by
children for engulphing or baptismal purposes; but they care little
for its use when the teens have been trotted through. It may be
right enough for the physical and religious comfort of babes and
sucklings; but its virtues recede in the ratio of development. There
are, however, some sections of men and women in the town who,
symbolically at least, have a high regard for water at any time
after the years of sense and reason have been reached.

These are the Baptists. There are four or five chapels set apart for
their improvement in Preston, and the smartest of these is in
Fishergate. In Leeming-street it was in the chrysalis state; in
Fishergate the butterfly epoch has been reached. A dull, forlorn
looking edifice, afterwards taken advantage of by the Episcopalian
party, and now cleared off to make way for St. Saviour's church,
once formed the sacred asylum of a portion of the Baptists; but a
desire for better accomodation, combined with a wish for more
fashionable quarters, induced a change. The dove was repeatedly sent
out, and dry land was finally found for the Baptists in Fishergate.
In 1858 a chapel was erected upon the spot, and thus far it has
steadfastly maintained its position. It is a handsome building,
creditable to both the architect and the congregation, and if its
tower were less top heavy, it would, in its way, be quite superb. We
never look at that solemn tower head without being reminded of some
immense quadrangular pepper castor, fit for a place in the kitchen
of the Titans. In every other respect the building is arranged
smartly; if anything it is too ornamental, and in making a general
survey one is nearly afraid of meeting with Panathenaic frieze work.
On the principle that you can't have the services of a good piper
without paying proportionately dear for them, so you can't obtain a
handsome chapel except by confronting a long bill. The elysium of
antipedobaptism in Fishergate cost the modest sum of 5,000 pounds,
and of that amount about 800 pounds remains to be paid. Considering
the greatness of the original sum, the debt is not very large; but
if it were less the congregation would be none the worse; and if it
didn't exist at all they would be somewhat nearer bliss in this
general vale of tears. Fishergate Baptist Chapel is the only
Dissenting place of worship in the town possessing an exterior
clock; and it is one of the most orderly articles in the town, for
it never strikes and has not for many months shown itself after
dark. It used to exhibit signs of activity after sunset; but it was,
considered a "burning shame" by some economists to light it up with
gas when the Town Hall clock was got into working order, and ever
since then it has been nightly kept in the dark.

Fishergate Baptist Chapel has an excellent interior, and it will
accommodate about twice as many people as patronise it. Long stately
side lights, neatly embellised with stained glass and opaque
filigree work, give it a mild solemnity which is relieved by fine
circular windows occupying the gables. The seats are arranged in the
usual three-row style, and there is a touch of neat gentility about
them indicative of good construction, whatever the parties they have
been made for are like. Fashionably-conceived gas-stands shoot up
and spread their branches at intervals down the chapel; and at the
extreme end there is a broad gallery, set apart for the singers, who
need be in no fear of breaking it down through either the weight of
their melodious metal or the specific gravity of their physique. A
new organ is much wanted, and if a few new singers were secured, or
the old ones polished up slightly, the proceedings would be more
lively and agreeable. Nearly three of the members of the choir are
really good singers; the remainder are what may be termed only
moderate. What Lune-street is to the Wesleyans, so Fishergate seems
to be to the Baptists--the centre of gravity of the more refined and
fashionable worshippers. Very few poor people visit it, and it is
thought that if they don't come of their own accord they will never
he seriously pressed on the subject. The free sittings are just
within the door, on the left hand side, and we should fancy that not
more than 25 really poor people use them. The higher order of
Christians occupy the lower portion of the same range of seats, the
central pews, and those on the right side thereof.

The congregation consists almost entirely of middle-class persons--
people who have either saved money in business or who are making a
determined effort to do so. Good clothes, quiet demeanour, and
numerical smallness are the striking characteristics. Nothing
approaching fervour ever takes possession of the general body.
Religion with them is not a termagant, revered for her sauciness and
loved for her violent evolutions. It is a reticent, even spirited,
calmly orthodox affair, whose forerunner fed on locusts and wild
honey, and whose principles are to be digested quietly. There may be
a few very boisterous sheep in the fold, who get on fire
periodically in the warmth of speaking and praying; who will express
their willingness, when the pressure is up, to do any mortal thing
for the good of "the cause;" but who will have to be caught there
and then if anything substantial has to follow. Like buckwheat cakes
and rum gruel they are best whilst hot. At a night meeting they may
be generously disposed and full of universal sympathy; but they can
sleep out their burning thoughts in a few hours, and waken up next
morning like larks, with no recollection of their gushing promises.

There is accomodation in the chapel for about 400 persons, but the
average attendance is not more than 200; and there are only about 90
"members." Not much difference between the morning and evening
attendance is noticed. The baptismal Thermophylae is generally
guarded by the sacred 90, and looked at by the fuller 200. The pew
rents are very high; but this evil is compensated for by the
comparative absence of those solemn gad flies which come in the
shape of collections. At some places of worship contribution boxes
and bags are seen floating about rapidly nearly every other Sunday,
for either home expenses or perishing Indians; but at Fishergate
Baptist Chapel incidental requirements are blended with the pew
rents; and for other purposes about two collections annually
suffice. That is all, and that ought to make attendance at such a
place rather agreeable.

The primal government of the chapel is in the hands of four deacons;
but they are not very officious like some pillars of the church:
one of them is mild and obliging, the second is wise-looking and
crotchety, the third is disposed to pious rampagiousness in his
lucid intervals, and the fourth is a kindly sort of being, with a
moderate respect for converted dancers and hallaleujah men. Some
theological writers say that there are "evangelists" as well as
deacons in connection with Baptist government. There may be some of
this class at the Fishergate Chapel; but we have not yet seen their
sacred personages. The place is highly favoured with clocks. Not
only is there a specimen of horology outside, but there is one
within, and it may be called a worldly-wise creature, for it never
gets beyond No. I in its striking. Tradition hath it that once when
there was no clock in the chapel, the preacher used to overshoot
most uncomfortably the ordinary limits of time; that the
congregation, whilst fond of sermons, did not like them stretched
too violently; and that they resolved unanimously to purchase a
clock. Probably this story is groundless; but it is a fact
nevertheless that the clock is so situated as to be only fully and
easily seen by the preacher. More than three-fourths of the people
sit with their backs directly to it. And it is furthermore a fact
that, whilst when there was no clock the usual time of deliverance
was passed, the congregation are now released with scrupulous
exactitude. They got into the open air one Sunday evening when we
were there about 16 seconds before eight, and the preacher had
abandoned the pulpit by the time the Town Hall clock gave its
opinion on the question.

In winter there is a Sunday morning prayer meeting at the place; but
in summer the members can't stand such a gathering, either because
too much light is thrown upon the subject, or because the attendance
is too small, or because early prayers are not required at that
season of the year. A prayer meeting is, however, held all the year
round, on a Wednesday night, and it is favoured, on an average, with
about 20 earnest individuals, who sometimes create what might, if
not properly explained, be considered a rather solemn disturbance.
These parties meet in the Sunday school, which is beneath the
chapel. The average attendance of scholars at this school is not
very large. When buns and coffee are astir it may be computed at
200; when ordinary religious instruction is simply placed before the
juvenile mind the attendance may be set down at about 100.

In the chapel and immediately before the pulpit, there is a square
hole, usually covered, which in denominational phraseology goes by
the name of the "baptistery." In the first ages of Christianity such
places were made outside the church, and were either hexagonal or
octagonal, then they became polygonal, then circular, and now they
have got quadrangular. Two of the finest baptisteries in the world
are at Florence and Pisa; that at the former, place being 100 feet
in diameter, made of black and white marble, and surrounded with a
gallery on granite columns; that at the latter being 116 feet wide,
and beautifully ornamented. The biggest baptistery ever made is
supposed to have been that at St. Sophia, in Constantinople, which,
we are told, was so spacious as to have once served for the
residence of the Emperor Basilicus. But there is no marble about the
baptistery in Fishergate Chapel, and no one would ever think of
transmuting it into a residence. It is used two or three times a
year, and if outsiders happen to get a whisper of an intended
dipping, curiosity leads them to the chapel, and they look upon the
ceremony as a piece of sacred fun, right enough to look at, but far
too wet for anything else. This dipping is, indeed, a quaint, cold
piece of business. None except adults or youths who have, it is
thought, come to sense and reason, are permitted to pass through the
ordeal, and it is recognised by them as symbolic of their entrance
into "the Church." Sometimes as many as six or seven are immersed.
They put on old or special garments suitable for the occasion, and
the work of baptism is then carried on by the minister, who stands
in the figurative Jordan. He quietly ducks them overhead; they
submit to the process without a murmur; they neither bubble, nor
scream, nor squirm; and the elders look on solemnly, though
impressed with thoughts that, excellent as the ceremony may be, it
is a rather shivering sort of business after all. After being
baptised, the new members retire into an adjoining room, strip their
saturated cloths, rub themselves briskly with towels, or get the
deacons to do the work for them, then re-dress, comb their hair, and
receive liberty to rejoice with the general Israel of the flock.
Such baptism as that we have described seems a rather curious kind
of rite; but it is honestly believed in, and as those who submit to
it have to undergo the greatest punishment in the case--have to be
put right overhead in cold Longridge water--other persons may keep
tolerably cool on the subject. People have a right to use water any
way so long as they don't throw it unfairly upon others or drown
themselves; and if three-fourths of the people who now laugh at
adult baptism would undergo a dipping next Sunday, and then stick to
water for the remainder of their lives, they would be better
citizens, whatever might become of their theology.

The Rev. J. O'Dell is the pastor of Fishergate Baptist Chapel, and
he is an exemplary man in his way, for be only receives a small
salary and yet contrives to keep out of debt--a thing which a good
deal of parsons, and which many of the ordinary children of grace,
can't accomplish. He is well liked by his congregation, and we have
heard of no fighting over either his virtues or defects. He has
quite a clerical look, and, if he hadn't, his voice would give the
cue to his profession. There is an earnest unctuous modulation about
it, which, as a rule, is acquired after men have flung overboard the
common idioms of secular life. The salary of Mr. O'Dell is about 160
pounds a year, and although he would like more, he can make himself
and Mrs. O'Dell, and the younger branches of the house of O'Dell,
comfortable on that sum. Some pastors gnash their teeth if their
purse strings are opened for less than 300 pounds a year; Mr. O'Dell
would purchase a pair of wings, and sing "'Tis like a little heaven
below," if his stipend was raised to that figure. There is nothing
very extraordinary in the preaching style of Mr. O'Dell. It lacks
the cunning of that rare old Baptist bird, who once went by the name
of Birney, and it is devoid of that learned and masterly eloquence
so finely worked by the last minister of the chapel, who used to
read some of his sermons over to the deacons, before trying them
upon the other sinners in the chapel; still it is sincere, straight-
forward, and theologically sound. It never reaches a point of
raving, is never loudly pretentious, or ferocious in tone. Mr.
O'Dell will never be a brilliant man; but he is now what is often
much better--a good working minister. He will never occupy the
position of a commander, will never even be a lieutenant, but he
will always be a good soldier in the ranks. He has neither a lofty
imaginative capacity nor a dashing ratiocinative faculty, but he has
a clear sense of the importance of his pastoral duties, he goes
easily and earnestly to work, makes neither much fuss nor smoke, and
if he does now and then seem to pull queer faces in his sermons--
give odd twists to some of his muscles--that does not debar him from
preaching fair even-sounding sermons, soothing to his general
hearers and pleasing to those who have to pay him. There are a few
people whom Mr. O'Dell's sermons fail to keep awake; but as such
parties are probably better asleep than in a full state of
consciousness, no great harm is done. He has all sorts of folk to
deal with--men who are pious, and smooth creatures quietly given to
humbug; people who practice what they are taught, and a few so
wonderfully good that if they called a meeting of their creditors
they would begin the business by saying, "Let us pray;" individuals
who follow their duties calmly, and make no show about their work;
and respectable specimens of indifference, who go to chapel because
it is fashionable to do so. But they seem all complacent, and the
"happy family" element predominates. Mr. O'Dell suits them; they
suit Mr. O'Dell; and if he had only a fuller chapel--a better
salary, too, wouldn't be despised by him--he could send up his
orisons with more courage, and preach to the sinners around him with
the steam hammer force of a Gadsby.

No. VI.


"My respecks to St. George and the Dragoon," wrote the gay and
festive showman, at the conclusion of an epistle--penned under the
very shadow of "moral wax statters"--to the Prince of Wales. And
there was no evil in such a benevolent expression of feeling.
George, the particular party referred to, occupies a prominent
position in our national escutcheonry, ant the "Dragoon" is a unique
creature always in his company, which it would be wrong to entirely
forget. The name of the saint sounds essentially English, and it has
been woven into the country's history. The nation is fond of its
Georges. We had four kings--not all of a saintly disposition--who
rejoiced in that name; we sometimes swear by the name of George; and
it plays as good a part as any other cognomen in our universal
system of christening. Nobody can really tell who St. George was,
and nobody will ever be able to do so. Gibbon fancies he was at one
time an unscrupulous bacon dealer, and that he finally did
considerable business in religious gammon. Butler, the Romish
historian, thinks he was martyred by Diocletian for telling that
amiable being a little of his mind; ancient fabulists make it out
that be killed a dragon, saved a fair virgin's life, and then did
something better than either--married her; medieval men, with a
knightly turn of mind, transmuted him into the patron of chivalry;
Edward III made him the patron of the Order of the Garter; the
Eastern and Western churches venerate him yet; Britains have turned
him into their country's tutelary saint; and many places of worship
have been dedicated to this curiously mythologic individual. We have
a church in Preston in this category; and it is of such church--St.
George's--we shall speak now.

In 1723 it was erected. Up to that time the Parish Church was the
only place of worship we had in connection with what is termed "the
Establishment;" St. George's was brought into existence as a "chapel
of ease" for it; and it is still one of the easiest, quietest, best
behaved places in the town. It was a plain brick edifice at the
beginning, but in 1843-4 the face of the church was hardened--it was
turned into stone, and it continues to have a substantial petrified
appearance. In 1848 a new chancel was built; and afterwards a dash
of Christian patriotism resulted in a new pulpit and reading desk.
The general building, which is of cruciform shape, has a subdued,
solemn, half-genteel, half-quaint look. There is neither
architectural maze nor ornamental flash in its construction. It is
plain all round, and is characterised by a simplicity of style which
could not be well reduced unless a severe plainness were adopted.
Its position is not in a very imposing locality, and the roads to it
are bad and irregular. Baines, the historian, says that St. George's
Church is situated between Fishergate and Friargate--rather a wide
definition applicable to about 500 other places ranging from
billiard rooms to foundries, from brewing yards to bedstead
warehouses in the same region. That brightest of all our historical
blades, "P. Whittle, F.A.S.," states that it is located on the
south-west side of Friargate--a better, but still very mystical,
exposition to all not actually acquainted with the place; whilst
Hardwicke comes up to the rescue in the panoply of modern exactness,
and tells us that it is on the south side of Fishergate. These
historians must have missed their way in trying to find the place,
and in their despair guessed at its real situation. There are many
ways to St. George's--you can get to it from Fishergate, Lune-
street, Friargate, or the Market place; but if each of those ways
was thrown into one complete whole, the road would still be
fifteenth rate. Tortuousness and dimness mark them, and a strong
backyard spirit of adventure must operate largely in the minds of
some who manage to reach the building.

The churchyard of St. George's has nothing interesting to the common
mind about it. The great bulk of the grave stones are put flat upon
the ground--arranged so that people can walk over them with ease and
comfort, whatever may become of the letters; and if it were not for
a few saplings which shoot out their bright foliage periodically,
and one very ancient little tree which has become quite tired of
that business, the yard would look very grave and monotonous. The
principal entrance can be reached by way of Lune-street or Chapel-
walks; but when you have got to it, there is nothing very peculiar
to be seen. It is plain, rather gloomy, and in no way interesting.

The interior of the church wears a somewhat similar complexion; but
it improves by observation, and in the end you like it for its
thorough simplicity. No place of worship can in its internal
arrangements be much plainer than St. George's. If it were not for
three stained windows in the chancel, which you can but faintly make
out at a distance, nothing which could by any possibility be termed
ornamental would at first sight strike you. On reaching the centre
of the place you get a moderately clear view of the pulpit which
somewhat edifies the mind; and, on turning right round, you see a
magnificent organ which compensates for multitudes of defects, and
below it--in front of the orchestra--a rather powerful
representation of the royal arms, a massive lion and unicorn,
"fighting for the crown" as usual, and got up in polished wood work.
We see no reason why there should not be something put up
contiguously, emblematic of St. George and the dragon. It is very
unfair to the saint and unjust to the dragon to ignore them
altogether--The Ten Commandments are put on one side in this church-
-not done away with, but erected in a lateral position, very near a
corner and somewhat out of the way. One of the historians previously
quoted says that St. George's used to be "heated by what is commonly
called a cockle"--some sort of a warmth radiating apparatus, which
he describes minutely and with apparent pleasure. We have not
inquired specially as to the fate of this cockle. It may still have
an existence in the sacred edifice, or it may have given way, as all
cockles must do in the end, whether in churches or private houses,
to hot-water arrangements. The pews in St. George's are of the old,
fashioned, patriarchal character. They are of all sizes an
irregularity quite refreshing peculiarises them; there are hardly
two alike in the building; and a study of the laws of variety must
have been made by those who had the management of their
construction. Private interests and family requirements have
probably regulated the size of them. Some of the pews are narrow and
hard to get into--a struggle has to be made before you can fairly
take possession; others are broader and easier to enter: a few are
very capacious and might be legitimately licensed to carry a dozen
inside with safety; nearly all or them are lined with green baize,
much of which is now getting into the sere and yellow leaf period of
life; many of them are well-cushioned--green being the favourite
colour; and in about the same number Brussels carpets may be found.
There is a quiet, secluded coziness about the pews; the sides are
high; the fronts come up well; nobody can see much of you if care is
taken; and a position favourable to either recumbent ease or
horizontal sleep may be assumed in several of them with safety. The
general windows, excepting those in the chancel, are very plain; and
if it were not for a rim of amber-coloured glass here and there and
a fair average accumulation of dust on several of the squares, there
would be nothing at all to relieve their native simplicity. The
pillars supporting the nave are equally plain; the walls and ceiling
are almost entirely devoid of ornament: and primitive white-wash
forms the most prominent colouring material. The gas stands, often
very elaborate in places of worship, have been made solely for use
here. Simple upright pipes, surmounted by ordinary burners
constitute their sum and substance. The pulpit lights are simpler.
Gas has not yet reached the place where the law and the prophets are
expounded. The orthodox mould candle reigns paramount on each side
of the pulpit; and its light appears to give satisfaction.

There is no Sunday school in connection with St. George's. In some
respects this may be a disadvantage to the neighbourhood; but it is
a source of comfort to the congregation, for all the noise which
irrepressible children create during service hours at every place
where they are penned up, is obviated. Neither children nor babes
are seen at St. George's. It is considered they are best at home,
and that they ought to stay there until the second teeth have been
fairly cut. The congregation of St. George's is specifically
fashionable. A few poor people may be seen on low seats in the
centre aisle; but the great majority of worshippers either
represent, or are connected with, what are termed "good families."
Young ladies wearing on just one hair the latest of bonnets, and
elaborated with costly silks and ribbons; tender gentlemen of the
silver-headed cane school and the "my deah fellah" region; quiet
substantial looking men of advanced years, who believe in good
breeding and properly brushed clothes; elderly matrons, "awfully
spiff" as Lady Wortley Montague would say; and a few well-disposed
tradespeople who judiciously mingle piety with business, and never
make startling noises during their devotional moments--these make up
the congregational elements of St. George's. They may be described
in three words--few, serene, select. And this seems to have always
been the case. Years since, the historian of Lancashire said that
St. George's "has at all times had a respectable, though not a very
numerous, congregation." The definition is as correct now as it was
then. The worshippers move in high spheres; the bulk of them toil
not, neither do they spin; and if they can afford it they are quite
justified in making life genteel and easy, and giving instructions
for other people to wait upon them. We dare say that if their piety
is not as rampant, it is quite as good, as that of other people.
Vehemence is not an indication of excellence, and people may be good
without either giving way to solemn war-whoops or damaging the
hearing faculties of their neighbours. Considering the situation of
St. George's Church--its proximity to Friargate and the unhallowed
passages running therefrom--there ought to be a better congregation.
Churches like beefsteaks are intended to benefit those around them.
It is not healthy for a church to have a congregation too select and
too fashionable. Souls are of more value than either purses or
clothes. More of the people living in the immediate neighbourhood of
St. George's ought to regularly visit it; very few of them ever go
near the place; but the fault may be their own, and neither the
parson's, nor the beadle's.

The choir of St. George's is a wonderfully good one, and whether the
members sing for love or money, or both, they deserve praise. Their
melody is fine; their precision good; their expression excellent.
They can give you a solemn piece with true abbandonatamente; they
can observe an accelerando with becoming taste; they can get into a
vigorosamente humour potently and on the shortest notice. They will
never be able to knock down masonry with their musical force like
the Jericho trumpeters, nor build up walls with their harmony like
Amphion; but they will always possess ability to sing psalms, hymns,
spiritual songs, and whatever may be contained in popular music
books, with taste and commendable exactitude. We recommend them to
the favourable consideration of the public. In St. George's Church
there is an organ which may be placed in the "h c" category. It is a
splendid instrument--can't be equalled in this part of the country
for either finery or music--and is played by a gentleman whose name
ranks in St. George's anthem book, with those of Beethoven, Handel,
and Mozart. We have heard excellent music sung and played at St.
George's; but matters would be improved if the efforts of the choir
were seconded. At present the singers have some time been what we
must term, for want of a better phrase, musical performers. They are
tremendously ahead of the congregation. Much of what they sing
cannot be joined in by the people. Many a time the congregation have
to look on and listen--ecstacised with what is being sung, wondering
what is coming next, and delightfully bewildered as to the whole

The minister at St. George's is the Rev. C. H. Wood--a quiet,
homely, well-built man, who is neither too finely dressed nor too
well paid. His salary is considerably under 200 pounds a year. Mr.
Wood is frank and unostentatious in manner; candid and calm in
language; and of a temperament so even that he gets into hot water
with nobody. You will never catch him with his virtuous blood up,
theologically or politically. He has a cool head and a quiet tongue-
-two excellent articles for general wear which three-fourths of the
parsons in this country have not yet heard of. He is well liked by
the male portion of his congregation, and is on excellent terms with
the fair sex. He is a batchelor, but that is his own fault. He could
be married any day, but prefers being his own master. He may have an
ideal like Dante, or a love phantom like Tasso, or an Imogene like
the brave Alonzo; but he has published neither poetry nor prose on
the subject yet, and has made no allusion to the matter in any of
his sermons. No minister in Preston, with similar means, is more
charitably disposed than Mr. Wood. He behaves well to poor people,
and the virtue of that is worth more than the lugubriousness or
eloquence of many homilies. Charity in purse as well as in speech is
one of his characteristics; and if that doth not cover a multitude
of ordinary defects nothing will. In the reading desk Mr Wood gets
through his work quickly and with a good voice. There is no effort
at elocution in his expression: he goes right on with the business,
and if people miss the force of it they will have to be responsible
for the consequences. In the pulpit he drives forward in the same
earnest, matter-of-fact style. There is no hand flinging, hair-
wringing, or dramatic raging in his style. The matter of his sermons
is orthodox and homely--systematically arranged, innocently
illustrated at intervals, and offensive to nobody. His manner is
calculated to genially persuade rather than fiercely arouse; and it
will sooner rock you to sleep than lash you to tears. There is a
slight touch of sanctity at the end of his sentences--a mild
elevation of voice indicative of pious oiliness; but, altogether, we
like his quiet, straightforward, simple, English style. People fond
of Church of England ideas could not have a more genial place of
worship than St. George's: the seats are easy and well lined, the
sermons short and placid, and the company good.


St. Augustine's Catholic Church, Preston, is of a retiring
disposition; it occupies a very southern position; is neither in the
town nor out of it; and unlike many sacred edifices is more than 50
yards from either a public-house or a beershop. Clean-looking
dwellings immediately confront it; green fields take up the
background; an air of quietude, half pastoral, half genteel,
pervades it; but this ecclesiastical rose has its thorn. Only in its
proximate surroundings is the place semi-rural and select. As the
circle widens--townwards at any rate--you soon get into a region of
murky houses, ragged children, running beer jugs, poverty; and as
you move onwards, in certain directions, the plot thickens, until
you get into the very lairs of ignorance, depravity, and misery. St.
Augustine's "district" is a very large one; it embraces 8,000 or
9,000 persons, and their characters, like their faces, are of every
colour and size. Much honest industry, much straight-forwardness and
every day kindness, much that smells of gin, and rascality, and
heathenism may be seen in the district. There is plenty of room for
all kinds of reformers in the locality; and if any man can do any
good in it, whatever may be his creed or theory, let him do it. The
priests in connection with St. Augustine's Catholic Church are doing
their share in this matter, and it is about them, their church, and
their congregation that we have now a few words to say. The church
we name is not a very old one. It was formally projected in 1836;
the first stone of it was laid on the 13th of November, 1838; and it
was opened on the 30th of July, 1840, by Dr. Briggs, afterwards
first bishop of the Catholic diocese of Beverley. It has a plain yet
rather stately exterior. Nothing fanciful, nor tinselled, nor
masonically smart characterises it. Four large stone pillars,
flanked with walls of the same material surmounted with brick, a
flight of steps, a portico, a broad gable with massive coping, and a
central ornament at the angle, are all which the facade presents.
The doors are lateral, and are left open from morning till night
three hundred and sixty-five days every year.

The interior of the church is spacious, wonderfully clean, and
decorated at the high altar end in most tasteful style. We have not
inquired whether charity begins at home or not in this place;
perhaps it does not; but it is certain that painting does; for all
the fine colouring, with its many formed classical devices, at the
sanctuary was executed by one of the members of the congregation.
The principal altar is a very fine one, and a fair amount of pious
pleasure may be derived from looking at a tremendous pastoral
candlestick which stands on one side. It is, when charged with a
full-sized candle, perhaps five feet ten high, and it has a very
patriarchal and decorous appearance--looks grave and authoritative,
and seems to think itself a very important affair. And it has a
perfect right to its opinion. We should like to see it in a
procession, with Zaccheus, the sacristian, carrying it. Three fine
paintings, which however seem to have lost their colour somewhat,
are placed in the particular part of the church we are now at. The
central one represents the "Adoration of the Magi," and was painted
and given by Mr. H. Taylor Bulmer, who formerly resided in Preston.
The second picture to the left is a representation of "Christ's
agony in the Garden;" and the third on the opposite side is "Christ
carrying the Cross." In front of the altar there is the usual lamp
with a crimson spirit flame, burning day and night, and reminding
one of the old vestal light, watched by Roman virgins, who were
whipped in the dark by a wrathful pontifex if they ever let it go
out. At the northern end of the church there is a large gallery,
with one of the neatest artistic designs in front of it we ever saw.
The side walls are surmounted with a chaste frieze, and running
towards the base are "stations" and statues of saints. A small altar
within a screen, surmounted with statuary, is placed on each side of
the sanctuary, and not far from one of them there is a bright
painting which looks well at a distance, but nothing extra two yards
off. It represents Christ preaching out of a boat to some Galileans,
amongst whom may be seen the Rev. Canon Walker. If the painting is
correct, the worthy canon has deteriorated none by age, for he seems
to look just as like himself now as he did eighteen hundred years
since, and to be not a morsel fonder of spectacles and good snuff
now than he was then. His insertion, however, into this picture, was
a whim of the artist, whose cosmopolitan theory led him to believe
that one man is, as a rule, quite as good as another, and that
paintings are always appreciated best when they refer to people whom
you know.

There are three of those very terrible places called confessionals
at St. Augustine's, and one day not so long since we visited all of
them. It is enough for an ordinary sinner to patronise one
confessional in a week, or a month, or a quarter of a year, and then
go home and try to behave himself. But we went to three in one
forenoon with a priest, afterwards had the courage to get into the
very centre of a neighbouring building wherein were two and twenty
nuns, and then reciprocated compliments with an amiable young lady
called the "Mother Superior." Terrible places to enter, and most
unworldly people to visit, we fancy some of our Protestant friends
will say; but we saw nothing very agonising or dreadful--not even in
the confessionals. Like other folk we had heard grim tales about,
such places--about trap doors, whips, manacles, and all sorts of
cruel oddities; but in the confessionals visited we beheld nothing
of any of them. Number one is a very small apartment, perhaps two
yards square, with a seat and a couple of sacred pictures in it. In
front there is an aperture filled in with a slender grating and
backed by a curtain which can be removed at pleasure by the priest
who officiates behind. On one side of the grating there is a small
space like a letter-box slip, and through this communications in
writing, of various dimensions, are handed. Everything is plain and
simple where the penitent is located; and the apartment behind,
occupied by the priest who hears confession, is equally simple.
There is no weird paraphernalia, no mysterious contrivances, no
bolts, bars, pullies, or strings for either working miracles, or
making the hair of sinners stand on end. Number two confessional is
similarly arranged and equally plain. We examined this rather more
minutely than the other, and whilst we could find nothing dreadful
in the penitents' apartment, we fancied, on entering the priest's
side, that, we had met with something belonging the realm of
confessional torture as depicted by the Hogans, Murphys, and Maria
Monk showmen, and which the officials had forgot to put by in some
of their secret drawers. It was hung upon a nail, had a semi-
circular, half viperish look, and was cupped at each end as if
intended for some curious business of incision or absorption. We
were relieved on getting nearer it and on being informed that it was
merely an ear trumpet through which questions have to be put to deaf
penitents who now and then turn up for general unravelment and
absolution. The two confessionals described are contiguous to a
passage at the rear of the church; the third we are now coming to is
near one of the subsidiary altars, nod looks specifically snug. It
is a particularly small confessional, and a very stout penitent
would find it as difficult to get into it as to reveal all his sins
afterwards. There is nothing either harrowing or cabalistic in the
place; and you can see nothing but two forms, a screen, and a

There are many services at St. Augustine's. On Monday mornings at a
quarter past seven, and again at half-past eight, mass is said; on
Tuesdays and Thursdays there is benediction at half-past seven; on
Fridays and Saturdays and on the eve of holidays there is
confession; on Sundays there is mass at half-past seven, half-past
eight, half-past nine, and at 11, when regular service takes place;
on Sunday afternoons, at three, the children are instructed, and at
half-past six in the evening there are vespers, a sermon, and
benediction. The church has a capacity for about 1,000 persons,
without crushing. The average number hearing mass on a Sunday is
3,290. On four consecutive Sundays recently--from February 14 to
March 14--upwards of 13,100 heard mass within the walls of the

The congregation is almost entirely made up of working people. A few
middle class and wealthy persons attend the place--some sitting in
the gallery, and others at the higher end of the church--but the
general body consists of toiling every-day folk. The poorest
section, including the Irish--who, in every Catholic Church, do a
great stroke of business on a Sunday with holy water, beads and
crucifixes--are located in the rear. It is a source of sacred
pleasure to quietly watch some of these poor yet curious beings.
They are all amazingly in earnest while the fit is on them; they
bow, and kneel, and make hand motions with a dexterity which nothing
but long years of practice could ensure; and they drive on with
their prayers in a style which, whatever may be the character of its
sincerity, has certainly the merit of fastness. How to get through
the greatest number of words in the shortest possible time may be a
problem which they are trying, to solve. The great bulk of the
congregation are calm and unostentatious, evincing a quiet demeanour
in conjunction with a determined devotion. There are several very
excellent sleepers in the multitude of worshippers; but they are
mainly at the entrance end where they are least seen. We happened to
be at the church the other Sunday morning and in ten minutes after
the sermon had been commenced about 16 persons, all within a
moderate space, were fast asleep. Their number increased slowly till
the conclusion. Several appeared to be struggling very severely
against the Morphean deity dining the whole service; a few might be
seen at intervals rescuing themselves from his grasp--getting upon
the very edge of a snooze, starting suddenly with a shake and waking
up, dropping down their heads to a certain point of calmness and
then retracing their steps to consciousness.

There are five men at St. Augustine's called collectors--parties who
show strangers, &c., their seats, and look after the pennies which
attendants have to pay on taking them. Not one of these collectors
has officiated less than 11 years; three of them have been at the
work for 27; and what is still better they discharge their duties,
as the sacristan once told us, "free gracious." That is a
philanthropic wrinkle for chapel keepers and other compounders of
business and piety which we commend to special notice. The singers
at St. Augustine's are of more than ordinary merit. Two or three of
them have most excellent voices; and the conjoint efforts of the
body are in many respects capital. Their reading is accurate, their

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