Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Our Churches and Chapels by Atticus

Part 4 out of 6

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

directly afterwards. If he had more dash and less shyness in him,
less learned coolness and much more humour in his composition, he
would reap a better harvest in both pulpit and general life. Mr. Orr
is no roaring will o' the wisp minister; what he says he means; and
what he means he reads. His prayers and sermons are all read. He is
not eloquent, but his language is scholarly, and if he had a freer
and more genial expression he would be better appreciated. If he
were livelier and smiled more he would be fatter and happier. His
style is his own; is too Orrible, needs a little more sunshine and
blithesomeness. He never allows himself to be led away by passion;
sticks well to his text; invariably keeps his temper. He wears
neither surplice nor black gown in the pulpit, and does quite as
well without as with them. For his services he receives about 120
pounds a year and if the times mend he will probably get more. In
the chapel there is a harmonium, which is played as well as the
generality of such instruments are. The singing is only moderate,
and if it were not for the good strong female voice, apparently
owned by somebody in the gallery, it would be nearly inaudible--
would have to be either gently whispered or "thought out." The
services in the main are simple, free from all boisterous
balderdash, and if not of such a character as would suit everybody,
are evidently well liked by those participating in them.


The calendar of the canonised has come in handy for the christening
of churches. Without it, we might have indulged in a poor and
prosaic nomenclature; with it, the dullest, as well as the finest,
architecture can get into the company of the beatified. Barring a
few places, all our churches are associated with some particular
saint; every edifice has cultivated the acquaintance of at least
one; but that we have now to notice has made a direct move into the
general constellation, and is dedicated to the aggregate body. We
believe that in church-naming, as in common life, "ALL is for the
best," and we commend, rather than censure, the judgment which
recognised the full complement of saints when All Saints' was
consecrated. A man maybe wrong in fixing upon one name, or upon
fifty, or fifty hundred, but if he agglomerates the entire mass,
condenses every name into one, and gives something respectable that
particular name, he won't be far off the equinoctial of exactness.
In this sense, the christeners of All Saints' were wise; they went
in for the posse comitatus of saints--backed the favourites as well
as "the field"--and their scheme, so far as naming goes, must win.
There is, however, not much in a name, and less in a reverie of
speculative comment, so we will descend to a lower, yet, perhaps,
more healthy, atmosphere.

In 1841, the Rev. W. Walling, son of a yeoman living is Silverdale--
one of the prettiest places we know of in the North of England--came
to Preston, as minister of St. James's Church. He stayed at the
place for about a year, then went to Carlton, in Nottinghamshire,
and afterwards to Whitby. Mr. Walling was a man of quiet
disposition; during his stay in Preston he was exceedingly well
liked; and when he left the town, a vacuum seemed to have been
created. He was a missed man; his value was not found out until he
had gone; and it was determined--mainly amongst a pious,
enthusiastic section of working people--to get him back again if
possible. And they went about the business like sensible people--
decided not to root out his predecessor at St. James's, nor to
exterminate any of the sundry clerical beings in other parts of the
town, but to build him a new church. They were only poor men; but
they persevered; and in a short time their movement took a distinct
shape, and the building, whose erection they had in view, was
prospectively called "The Poor Man's Church." In time they raised
about 200 pounds; but a sum like that goes only a little way in
church building--sometimes doesn't cover those very refreshing
things which contractors call "extras;" a number of wealthier men,
who appreciated the earnestness of the original promoters, and saw
the necessity, of such a church as they contemplated, came to the
rescue, and what they and divers friends gave justified a start, on
a plot of land between Walker-street and Elizabeth-street. On the
21st of September, 1846, the foundation-stone of the church--All
Saints--was laid by the late Thomas German, Esq., who was mayor of
Preston at that time. The building, which cost about 2,600 pounds,
was not consecrated till December, 1856, but it was ministerially
occupied by the Rev. W. Walling on the 23rd September, 1848, and he
held his post, earning the respect and esteem of all in the
discharge of its duties, till October 10th, 1863, when death
suddenly ended his labours. When the church was consecrated there
was a debt of about 750 pounds upon it; but in a few years, by the
judicious and energetic action of the trustees, it was entirely
cleared off. The present trustees of the church are Dr. Hall,
Messrs. J. R. Ambler, F. Mitchell, and W. Fort. The successor of the
Rev. W. Walling was the Rev. G. Beardsell, who still occupies the
situation; but before saying anything to the point concerning him we
must describe the church and its concomitants.

All Saints' is a good substantial-looking church. It is built in the
Ionic style of Greek architecture; has a massive pillared front; is
railed round, has an easy and respectable entrance, and--getting
worse as it gets higher--is surmounted with a small bell turret and
a chimney. Other things may be put upon the roof after a while, for
space is abundant there. The church has a square, respectable,
capacious interior--is roomy, airy, light; doesn't seem thrown
together in a dim foggy labrynth like some places, and you feel as
if you could breathe freely on taking a seat in it. It is well-
galleried, and will accommodate altogether about 1,500 human beings.
The pews are good, and whilst it is impossible for them to hold more
people than can get into them, they are charged for as if one
additional person could take a seat in each after being full! This
is odd but quite true. In the case of pews which will just
accommodate five persons, six sittings are charged for; those
holding four are put down in the rent book for five; and this scale
of charges is kept up in respect to all the pews, whether big or
little. The rents go into the pocket of the incumbent. At the
southern end there is a small chancel, which was erected at the
expense of the late J. Bairstow, Esq. It is ornamented with several
stained glass windows, and has an inlaid wooden canopy, but there is
nothing startling nor remarkable about the work. Beneath the windows
there is painted in large, letters the word "Emmanuel;" but the
position of it is very inconvenient. People sitting above may see
the name fairly; but many below have a difficulty in grasping it,
and those sitting in the centre will never be able to get hold of
more letters than those which makeup the mild name of "Emma." Names-
-particularly great ones--should never be put up anywhere unless
they can be seen. On each side of the chancel arch then is a small
tablet; one being to the memory of the Rev. W. Walling, and the
other to that of the late W. Tuson, Esq., who was one of the
original wardens. The church is clean and in good condition; but the
windows would stand re-painting. There are about 400 free seats in
the building, and they are pretty well patronised. The general
attendance is tolerably large; between 700 and 800 people frequent
the church on the average; but the congregation seems to be of a
floating character, is constantly changing, and embraces few "old
stagers." Formerly, many who had been at the church from the first
might be seen at it; numerous persons recognised as "fixtures" were
there; but they have either gone to other churches or died off, and
there is now a strong ebb and flow of new material at the place.

The congregation is of a complex description; you may see in it the
"Grecian bend" and the coal scuttle hood, the buff waistcoat and the
dark moleskin coat; but in the main the worshippers are of a quiet
well-assorted character--partly working class, partly middle-class,
with a sprinkling of folk above and below both. The humble minded
and the ancient appear to have a liking for the left side range of
seats; the swellishly-young and the substantially-middle class take
up a central position; people of a fair habilimental stamp occupy
the bulk of the seats on the other side; whilst the select and the
specially virtuous approximate the pulpit--one or two in the
excelsior category get even beyond it, and like both the quietude
and the dignity of the position. The galleries are used by a
promiscuous company of worshippers, who keep good order and make no
undue noises. The tale-tellers and the gossips--for they exist here
as in the generality of sacred places--are distributed in various
directions. It would be advantageous if they were all put in one
separate part; for then their influence would not be so ramified,
and they might in the end get up a small Kilkenny affair and
mutually finish off one another. Late attendance does not seem to be
so fashionable at All Saints' as at some churches; still it exists;
things would look as if they were getting wrong if somebody didn't
come late and make everybody turn their heads. When we visited the
church, the great mass were present at the right time; but a few
dropped in after the stipulated period; one put in an appearance 30
minutes late; and another sauntered serenely into the region of the
ancient people just 65 minutes after the proceedings had commenced.
At a distance, the reading desk and the pulpit look oddly mixed up;
but a close inspection shows that they are but fairly associated,
stand closely together, the pulpit, which is the higher, being in
the rear. There is no decoration of any sort in the body of the
church; everything appears tranquil, serious, straightforward, and
respectable. The singing is of a very poor character,--is slow,
weak, and calculated at times to make you ill. Pope, in his Essay on
Criticism, says--

Some to church repair,
Not for the doctrine, but the music there.

Probably they do; but nobody goes to All Saints' for that purpose.
No genuine hearty interest seems to be taken in the singing by
anybody particularly. The choir move through their notes as if some
of them were either fastened up hopelessly in barrels, or in a state
of musical syncope; the organist works his hands and feet as well as
he can with a poor organ; the members of the congregation follow,
lowly and contentedly, doing their best against long odds and the
parson sits still, all in one grand piece, and looks on. The
importance and influence of good music should be recognised by every
church; and we trust in time there will be a decided improvement at
All Saints'. A church like it--a building of its size and with its
congregation--ought to have something superior and effective in the
matter of music.

We have already said that the Rev. George Beardsell is the minister
of All Saints'. He has been at the church, as its incumbent, about
five years. Originally Mr. Beardsell was a Methodist;--a Methodist
preacher, too, we believe; but in time he changed his notions; and
eventually flung himself, in a direct line, into the arms of "Mother
Church." Mr. Beardsell made his first appearance in Preston as
curate of Trinity Church. He worked hard in this capacity, stirred
up the district at times with that peculiar energy which poor
curates longing for good incumbencies, wherein they may settle down
into security and ease, can only manifest, and with many he was a
favourite. From Trinity Church he went to St. Saviour's, and here he
slackened none of his powers. Enthusiasm, combined with earnest
plodding, enabled him to improve the district considerably. He drew
many poor people around him; he repeatedly charmed the "unwashed"
with his strong rough-hewn orgasms; the place seemed to have been
specially reserved for some man having just the perseverance and
vigorous volubility which he possessed; he had ostensibly a
"mission" in the locality; the people of the district liked him, he
reciprocated the feeling, and more than once intimated that he would
make one or two spots, including the wild region of Lark-hill,
"Blossom as the rose." But the period of efflorescence has not yet
arrived; a "call" came in due season, and this carried the
ministerial florist to another "sphere of action." Mr. Beardsell was
translated to the incumbency of All Saints', and he still holds it.
When Mr. Walling was at this church the income was about 260 pounds
a year; taking everything into account, it is now worth upwards of
400 pounds.

Mr. Beardsell is not a beautiful, but a stout, well-made, strong-
looking man, close upon 40, with a growing tendency towards
adiposity. He has a healthy, bulky, English look; is not a man of
profound education, but, makes up by weight what he may lack in
depth; thinks it a good thing to carry a walking-stick, to keep his
coat well buttoned, and to arrange his hair in the high-front, full-
whig style; has a powerful, roughly eloquent voice; is rather
sensational in the construction of some of his sentences; bellows a
little at times; welters pathetically often; is somewhat monotonous
in tone; ululates too heavily; behaves harshly to the letter "r"--
sounds it with a violent vigour, and makes it fairly spin round his
tongue end occasionally; can sustain himself well as a speaker; is
never at a loss for words; has a forcible way of arranging his
subjects; is systematic in his style of treatment; and can throw
into his elucidation of questions well-coined and emphatic
expressions. He likes perorations--used to imitate Punshon a little.
He has a good analogical faculty; takes many of his illustrations
from nature, and works them out exceedingly well; is a capital
explainer of biblical difficulties; is peculiarly fond of the
travels of St. Paul; piles up the agony easily and effectively; many
times gets into a groove of high-beating, fierce-burning enthusiasm,
as if he were going to take a distinct leap out of his "pent-up
Utica," and revel in the "whole boundless continent" of thought and
sacred sensation; is a thorough believer in the "My brethren"
phrase--we recently heard him use it nineteen times in twenty
minutes, and regretted that he didn't make the numbers equal;
delights in decking out his discourses with couplets and snatches of
hymns; has a full-blown determined style of speaking; reads with his
gloves on, and preaches with them off, like one or two other parsons
we have seen; makes his sermons too long; is a good platform man,
and would make a fair travelling lecturer; has a great predilection
for open-air preaching, and has spells of it to the Orchard; might
with advantage work more in and less out of his own district;
wouldn't commit a sin if he studied the question of personal
visiting; shouldn't think that his scripture reader--a really good,
hard-working man--can perform miracles, and do nearly everything;
can talk genuine common sense if he likes, and make himself either
very agreeable or pugnacious; is an Orangeman, with a holy horror of
Popery; can give deliciously passionate lectures about the
Reformation; considers money a very important article, and is
inclined to believe that all people, particularly parsons, should
stick to it very firmly; will have his own way in church matters;
likes to fight with a warden; has had many a lively little brush
over sacrament money; might have got on better with many of the
officials if he had been more conciliatory; is a man of moderate
ability, of fair metal, of strong endurance, but would be more
relished if he were less dogmatic, were given less to wandering
preaching, and threw himself heart, soul, purse, and clothes into
his own district. Near the church, and occupying good relative
positions on each side of a beerhouse, called "The Rising Sun," are
All Saints' schools. One of them--that now occupied by the boys--
was, according to a tablet at the outside, erected several years ago
by our old friend Captain German "as an affectionate tribute to the
memory of Thomas German, Esq." About five years since, two class-
rooms were attached to it, at the expense of J. Bairstow, J.
Horrocks, R. Newsham, and T. Miller, Esqrs. The other school, set
apart for the girls, was erected after that built by Captain German.
Both of the schools are very good ones--are large, lofty, and
commodious. That used for the boys is, scholastically, in a superior
condition. The master is sharp, fully up to his duties; and,
according to a report by the government inspector, his school is one
of the best in the district. The average day attendance at the boys'
school is 150; whilst at the girls school the regular attendance may
be set down at 330. The schools are used on Sundays, and their
average attendance then is 800. Much might be written concerning
them; but we must close; we have said enough; and can only add that
if all are not saints who go to All Saints' they are about as good
as the rest of people.


We have two places of worship to struggle with "on the present
occasion," and shall take the freest yet most methodistical of them
first. The United Methodist Free Church--that is a rather long and
imposing name--is generally called "Orchard Chapel." The "poetry of
the thing" may suffer somewhat by this deviation; but the building
appears to smell as sweetly under the shorter as the longer name, so
that we shall not enter into any Criticism condemnatory of the
change. This chapel is the successor, in a direct line, of the first
building ever erected in the Orchard. Its ancestor was placed on
precisely the same spot, in 1831. Those who raised it seceded from
the Wesleyan community, in sympathy with the individuals who retired
from the "old body" at Leeds, in 1828, and who adopted the name of
"Protestant Methodists." For a short time the Preston branch of
these Methodists worshipped in that mystic nursery of germinating
"isms" called Vauxhall-road Chapel; and in the year named they
erected in the Orchard a building for their own spiritual
improvement. It was a plain chapel outside, and mortally ugly
within. Amongst the preaching confraternity in the connexion it used
to be known as "the ugliest Chapel in Great Britain and Ireland." In
1834 a further secession of upwards of 20,000 from the Wesleyans
took place, under the leadership of the late Dr. Warren, of
Manchester. These secessionists called themselves the "Wesleyan
Association," and with them the "Protestant Methodists," including
those meeting in the Orchard Chapel, Preston, amalgamated. They also
adopted the name of their new companions. In 1857 the "Wesleyan
Association" coalesced with another large body of persons, who
seceded from the original Wesleyans in 1849, under the leadership of
the Rev. James Everett and others, and the two conjoined sections
termed themselves the "United Methodist Free Church." None of the
separations recorded were occasioned by any theological difference
with the parent society, but through disagreement on matters of

The ministers of the United Methodist Free Church body move about
somewhat after the fashion of the Wesleyan preachers. They first go
to a place for twelve months, and if they stay longer it has to be
through "invitation" from one of the quarterly meetings. As a rule,
they stop three or four years at one church, and then move off to
some new circuit, where old sermons come in, at times, conveniently
for new hearers. The various churches are ruled by "leaders"--men of
a deaconly frame of mind, invested with power sufficient to enable
them to rule the roost in ministerial matters, to say who shall
preach and who shall not, and to work sundry other wonders in the
high atmosphere of church government. The "members" support their
churches, financially, in accordance with their means. There is no
fixed payment. Those who are better off, and not stingy, give
liberally; the less opulent contribute moderately; those who can't
give anything don't. After an existence of about 30 years, the old
chapel in the Orchard was pulled down, in order to make way for a
larger and a better looking building. During the work of
reconstruction Sunday services were held in the school at the rear,
which was built some time before, at a cost of 1,700 pounds. The new
chapel, which cost 2,600 pounds, was opened on the 22nd of May,
1862. It has a rather ornamental front--looks piquant and seriously
nobby. There is nothing of the "great" or the "grand" in any part of
it. The building is diminutive, cheerful, well-made, and inclined,
in its stone work, to be fantastical.

Internally, it is clean, ornate, and substantial. Its gallery has
stronger supports than can be found in any other Preston chapel. If
every person sitting in it weighed just a ton it would remain firm.
There are two front entrances to the building, and at each end red
curtains are fixed. On pushing one pair aside, the other Sunday, we
cogitated considerably as to what we should see inside. We always
associate mystery with curtains, "caudle lectures" with curtains,
shows, and wax-work, and big women, and dwarfs with curtains; but as
we slowly, yet determinedly, undid these United Methodist Free
Church curtains, and presented our "mould of form" before the full
and absolute interior, we beheld nothing special: there were only a
child, two devotional women, and a young man playing a slow and
death-like tune on a well-made harmonium, present. But the "plot
thickened," the place was soon moderately filled, and whilst in our
seat, before the service commenced, we calmly pondered over many
matters, including the difficulty we had in reaching the building.
Yes, and it was a difficulty. We took the most direct cut, as we
thought, to the place, from the southern side--passed along the
Market-place, into that narrowly-beautiful thoroughfare called New-
street, then through a yet newer road made by the pulling down of
old buildings in Lord-street, and reminding one by its sides of the
ruins of Petra, and afterwards merged into the Orchard. To neither
the right nor the left did we swerve, but moved on, the chapel being
directly is front of us; but in a few moments afterwards we found
ourselves surrounded by myriads of pots and a mighty cordon of
crates--it was the pot fair. Thinking that the Orchard was public
ground, and seeing the chapel so very near, we pursued the even
tenour of our way, but just as we were about sliding between two
crates, so as to pass on into the chapel, a strong man, top-coated,
muffled up, and with a small bludgeon in his hand, moved forward and
said "Can't go." "Why?" said we; "Folks isn't allowed in this here
place now," said he. "Well, but this is the town's property and we
pay rates," was our rejoinder, and his was "Don't matter a cuss, if
you were Lord Derby I should send you back." We accused him of
rudeness, and threatened to go to the police station, close by; but
the fellow was obstinate; his labours were concentred in the
virtuous guardianship of pots, he defied the police and "everybody;"
and feeling that amid all this mass of crockery we had, for once,
unfortunately, "gone to pot," we quietly walked round to the bottom
of the ground, for the crates and the pots swamped the whole _place,
came up to the chapel door, within four yards of the Lord-Derby-
defying individual, and quietly went into the building.

There are about 300 "members" of the church. In the Preston circuit,
which until recently included Croston, Cuerden, Brinscall, Chorley,
and Blackpool, and which now only embraces, Cuerden and Croston--the
other places being thought sufficiently strong to look after
themselves--there are about 400 "members." What are termed
"Churches" have been established at all the places named; Preston
being the "parent" of them. A branch of the body exists at
Southport, and it was "brought up" under the care of the Preston
party. Orchard Chapel will accommodate between 700 and 800 persons;
but, like other places of worship, it is never full except upon
special occasions; and the average attendance may be put down at
about 400. In the old chapel the father of the late Alderman G.
Smith preached for a time. The first minister of the chapel, when
rebuilt, was the Rev. J. Guttridge--an energetic, impetuous,
eloquent, earnest man. He had two spells at the place; was at it
altogether about six years; and left the last time about a year ago.
Mr. Guttridge, who is one of the smartest ministers in the body, is
now residing at Manchester, connected regularly with no place of
worship, on account of ill health, but doing what he can amongst the
different churches. The congregation of Orchard Chapel consists
principally of well-dressed working people--a quiet, sincere-looking
class of individuals, given in no way to devotional hysteria, and
taking all things smoothly and seriously. They are a liberal class,
too. During the past two years they have raised amongst themselves
about 800 pounds towards the chapel, upon which there is still a
debt, but which would have been clear of all monetary encumbrances
long since if certain old scores needing liquidation had not stood
in the way. The members of the choir sit near the pulpit, the
females on one side and the males on the other. They are young,
good-looking, and often glance at each other kindly. A female who
plays the harmonium occupies the centre. The music is vigorous and,
considering the place, commendable. On Sundays there are two
services at the chapel--morning and evening; and during the week
meetings of a religious character are held in either the chapel or
the adjoining rooms.

The present minister of the chapel is the Rev. Richard Abercrombie.
He has only just arrived, and may in one sense be termed the
"greatest" minister in Preston, for he is at least six feet high in
his stocking feet. He is an elderly gentleman,--must be getting near
70; but he is almost as straight as a wand, has a dignified look,
wears a venerable grey beard, and has quite a military precision in
his form and walk. And he may well have, for he has been a soldier,
Mr. Abercrombie served in the British army upwards of twenty years.
He followed Wellington, after Waterloo, and was in Paris as a
British soldier when the famous treaty of peace was signed. His
grandfather was cousin of the celebrated Sir Ralph Abercrombie, who
defeated Napoleon's forces in Egypt, and his ancestors held
commissions in our army for upwards of four generations. Tired of
military life, Mr. Abercrombie eventually laid down his arms, and
for 33 years he has been a minister in the body he is now connected
with. It is worthy of remark that, before leaving the army, he
occasionally sermonised in his uniform, and 35 years ago he preached
in his red jacket, &c., in the old Orchard Chapel. Mr. Abercrombie
is a genial, smooth-natured, quiet man--talks easily yet carefully,
preaches earnestly yet evenly; there is no froth in either his
prayers or sermons; he never gets into fits of uncontrollable
passion, never rides the high horse of personal ambition, nor the
low ass of religious vulgarity--keeps cool, behaves himself, and
looks after his work midly and well. He has two or three sons in the
United Methodist Free Church ministry, and one of them, called after
the general who defeated the Napoleonic forces, is the only man
belonging the body who has a university M.A. after his name.

Very good schools are connected with Orchard Chapel. The average day
attendance is 140; and on Sundays the average is about 350, In the
last place, we may observe that the people belonging Orchard Chapel
are, generally, getting along comfortably in all their departments.
Formerly they had feuds, and fights, and church meetings, at which
odd pieces of scandal were bandied about--they may have morsels of
unpleasantness yet to encounter; but taking them all in all they are
moving on serenely and well.

Passing not "from pole to pole," but from the Orchard to Pole-
street, we come to the Baptist Chapel in that, thoroughfare--a
rather dull, strongly-railed-off place, which seems to be receding
from public sight altogether. About 45 years ago, a small parcel of
Preston people, enamoured of the Calvinistic Methodism which the
Countess of Huntingdon recognised, worshipped in a building in
Cannon-street. In 1825 they built, or had raised for them, a chapel
in Pole-street, which was dedicated to St. Mark. At this time,
probably on account of its novelty, the creed drew many followers--
the new chapel was patronised by a somewhat numerous congregation,
which kept increasing for a period. But it gradually dwindled down,
and a total collapse finally ensued. In 1855 a number of General
Baptists, who split from their brethren worshipping in the old
Leeming-street chapel, struck a bargain with the expiring Lady
Huntingdon section for their building in Pole-street, gave about 700
pounds for it, forthwith shifted thereto, and continue to hold the
place. There is nothing at all calling for comment as to the
exterior of the chapel; and not much as to the interior. It will
accommodate about 900 persons. The pews are high, awkward to sit in,
and have a grim cold appearance. The building is pretty lofty, and
is well galleried. The pulpit is at the far end, and the singers sit
on a railed platform before it. The congregation seems both thin and
poor. Very lately we were in it, and estimated the number present at
84--rather a small party for a chapel capable of holding 900.

The building possesses about the best acoustical properties of any
place of worship in Preston. The late Mr. Samuel Grimshaw, of
Preston, who, amongst many other things, had a special taste for
music, used to occupy it at times, with his band, for the purposes
of "practising." He liked it on account of its excellent sounding
qualities. Once, after some practice in it, Mr. Grimshaw offered a
"return"--said he would give the brethren a musical lift with his
band during some anniversary services to be held in the chapel. His
promise was accepted, and when the day came there was a complete
musical flood. The orchestra, including the singers, numbered about
50, and the melodious din they created was something tremendous.
"Sam" had the arrangement of it. There were tenors, baritones, bass
men, trebles, alto-singers, in the fullest feather; there were
trumpeters, tromboners, bassooners, ophicleideans, cornet-a-piston
players, and many others, all instrumentally armed to the very
teeth, and the sensation they made, fairly shook and unnerved the
more pious members of the congregation, who protested against the
chapel being turned into a "concert-hall," &c. The music after all,
was good, and if it were as excellent now there would be a better
attendance at the place. The present orchestra consists of perhaps a
dozen singers, including a central gentleman who is about the best
shouter we ever heard; and they are helped out of any difficulties
they may get into by a rather awkwardly-played harmonium.

The Rev. W. J. Stuart is the minister of the chapel, and he receives
from 70 to 80 pounds a year for his duties. He has a gentlemanly
appearance; looks pretty well considering the nature of his salary;
is getting into the grey epoch of life; is not very erudite; but
seems well up in scriptural subjects; is sincere, mild, primitive in
his notions; has fits of cautiousness and boldness; is precise and
earnest in expression; has an "interpretational" tendency in his
sacred utterances; is disposed to explain mysteries; likes
homilising the people; can talk much; and can be very earnest over
it all. He has fair action, and sometimes gets up to 212 degrees in
his preaching. We won't say that he is in any sense a wearying
preacher; but this we may state, that if his sermons were shorter
they would not be quite so long. And from this he may take the hint.
We are told that the attendance at the chapel is slightly
increasing; but as compared with the past it is still very slender.
The admission to either the platform or pulpit of the chapel, not
very long ago, of a wandering "Indian chief," and a number of
Revivalists, who told strange tales and talked wildly, has operated,
we believe, against the place--annoyed and offended some, and caused
them to leave. The minister, no doubt, admitted these men with an
honest intention; but everybody can't stand the war-whooping of
itinerant Indians, nor the sincere ferociousness of Revivalists; and
awkward feelings were consequently generated in some quarters by
them. In the main, Mr. Stuart is a kindly, quiet, gentlemanly
person, and barring the little interruption caused by the dubious
Indian and the untamed Revivalists, has got on with a small
congregation and a bad salary better than many parsons would have
been able to do.


To this church a name which is general property has been given. Each
of our religious sects can number its martyrs. In the good old times
cruelty was a reciprocal thing amongst professing Christians; it was
a pre-eminently mutual affair amongst the two great religious
parties in the land--the Protestants and the Catholics,--for when
one side got into power they slaughtered their opponents, and when
the other became paramount the compliment was returned. The church
we have here to describe is dedicated to those English Catholics
who, in the stormy days of persecution, were martyred. It is
situated on the northern side of the town, in a new and rapidly
increasing part of Preston, at the extreme south-western corner of
what used to be called Preston Moor, and on the very spot where men
used to be hanged often, and get their heads cut off occasionally.
"Gallows Hill" is the exact site of the Church of the English
Martyrs. And this "hill" is associated with a movement constituting
one of the rugged points in our history. The rebellion of 1715
virtually collapsed at Preston; many fights and skirmishes were
indulged in, one or two breezy passages of arms even took place
within a good stone-throw of the ground occupied by the Church of
the English Martyrs; but the King's troops finally prevailed.
According to an old book before us there were "taken at Preston"--
amongst the rebels--"seven lords, besides 1,490 other, including the
several gentlemen, officers, and private men, and two clergymen."
And the book further says, in a humorously sarcastic mood, "There
was a Popish priest called Littleton among them; but having a great
deal of the Jesuit he contrived a most excellent disguise, for he
put on a blue apron, went behind an apothecary's counter, and passed
for an assistant or journeyman to the apothecary, and so took an
opportunity of getting off." But all the captured rebels did not
escape so adroitly as our Jesuitical friend Littleton; for several
of them were either hanged or beheaded, and the fate of many was
sealed on the site of the Church of the English Martyrs. On the 5th
of January, 1715, we are told that sixteen rebels "were hanged upon
Gallows Hill, for high treason and conspiracy." In the following
year "42 condemned prisoners of all religions were hanged and
decapitated at Preston;" and amongst them were five belonging
Preston and the neighbourhood. They were "Richard Shuttleworth, of
Preston, Esq.; Roger Moncaster, of Garstang, attorney; Thomas Cowpe,
of Walton-le-Dale; William Butler, of Myerscough, Esq.; William
Arkwright, of Preston, gentleman;" and all of them were put to death
on Gallows Hill the cost being for "materialls, hurdle, fire, cart,
&c.," and for "setting up" Shuttleworth's head, &c., 12 pounds 0s
4d. There can be no doubt that Gallows Hill derives its name
directly from the transactions of 1715-16. Prior to that time it was
a simple mound; after that period it became associated with hangings
and beheadings, and received the name of "Gallows Hill," which was
peculiarly appropriate.

In May, 1817, "Gallows Hill" was cut through, so that "the great
north road to Lancaster" might be improved. Whilst this was being
done two coffins were found, and in them there were discovered two
headless bodies. Local historians think they were the remains of
"two rebel chieftains;" they may have been; but there is no proof of
this, although the fair supposition is that they were the
decapitated remnants of two somebodies, who had assumed a rebellious
attitude in 1715. It is probable that the heads of these parties
were "exposed on poles in front of our Town-hall," for that was an
olden practice, and was considered very legitimate 154 years ago. We
have spoken of the "discoveries" of 1817, and in continuing our
remarks it may be said that "near the spot" some timber, supposed to
have been the gallows, was once found, and that a brass hand-axe was
dug up not far from it, at the same time. The Moor, which amongst
other things embraced the "hill" we have mentioned, was a rough
wildish place--a rude looking common; but it seems to have been well
liked by the people, for upon it they used to hold trade meetings,
political demonstrations, &c.; and for 65 years--from 1726 to 1791--
horse races were annually run upon it. The Corporation and the
freemen of the borough once had a great dispute as to their
respective claims to the Moor, and the latter by way of asserting
their rights, put upon it an old white horse; but the Corporation
were not to be cajoled out of their ownership by an argument so very
"horsey" as this; they ordered the animal off; and Mr. J. Dearden,
who still obeys their injunctions with courteous precision, put it
into a pinfold hard by.

The Church of the English Martyrs was erected not long ago upon that
part of the Moor we have described. Originally the promoters of the
church treated for a plot of land about 20 yards above the present
site; but the negotiations were broken off, and afterwards they
bought Wren Cottage and a stable adjoining, situated about a quarter
of a mile northwards. The house was made available for the priest;
the stable was converted into a church; and mass was said in it for
the first time on Christmas morning, 1864. On the 21st of January,
1865, it was formally "opened;" the Revs. Canon Walker, T. Walton,
and F. Soden taking part in the services of the day. During 1865
preparations were made for erecting a new church upon the same site;
but some of the gentlemen living in the immediate neighbourhood took
offence at the movement, and insisted upon certain stipulations
contained in the covenants, which barred out the construction of
such a building as a church or a chapel, being carried out. There
was a considerable amount of Corporation discussion in respect to
the question, and eventually the idea of erecting a church upon the
land was abandoned. Directly afterwards, "Gallows Hill," in which
both the Corporation and Mr. Samuel Pole Shaw had rights, was
purchased as a site for it. Operations, involving the removal of an
immense quantity of earth--for the place was nothing more than a
high, rough, sandy hillock,--were commenced on the 26th of March,
1866. On the 26th of May, in the same year, the foundation-stone was
laid, with great ceremony, by Dr. Goss, and on the 12th of December,
1867, the church was opened. Mr. E. W. Pugin designed the building,
which externally does not look very wonderful at present; but, when
completed, it will be a handsome place. The original design includes
a beautiful steeple, surmounted with pinnacles; but want of funds
precludes its erection.

The church is a high double-roofed edifice--looks like two
buildings, one placed above the other; and, owing to the absence of
a steeple, it seems very tall and bald. It has a pretty western
gable, which can only be fully appreciated by close inspection. The
centre of this gable is occupied by a fine eight-light window, and
the general work is surmounted by pinnacles and ornamental masonry.
Two angels, cut in stone, originally formed part of the
ornamentation; but during a strong gale, early in 1868, they were
blown down. These "fallen angels" have never regained their first
estate; and as they might only tumble down if re-fixed, and perhaps
kill somebody, which would not be a very angelic proceeding, we
suppose they will not be interfered with.

The church has an imposing, a noble interior. It is wide, lofty, has
a fine calm majestic look, and is excellently arranged. The nave,
which is 69 feet high, is supported by 14 stone pillars. From nearly
any point every part of the building may be seen; the nave pillars,
do not, as is the case in some churches, obstruct the vision; and
everything seems easy, clear, and open. In the daytime a rich
shadowy light is thrown into the church by the excellent disposition
of its windows; at eventide the sheen of the setting sun, caught by
the western window, falls like a bright flood down the nave, and
makes the scene beautiful. The high altar is a fine piece of
workmanship; is of Gothic design, is richly carved, is ornamented
with marbles, has a canopy of most elaborate construction, and is in
good harmony with the general architecture. Two small altars are
near it. One of them, dedicated to St. Joseph, and given by Mr. J.
Pyke, of this town, is particularly handsome; the other, dedicated
to the Blessed Virgin, is of a less costly, though very pretty,
character. Near one of the pillars on the north-eastern side there
stands a square wooden frame, which is called the pulpit. It is a
deliciously primitive and remarkably common-place concern; but it is
strong enough, and will have to stop where it is until money for
something better is raised. There are sittings in the church for 850
persons. On Sundays there are masses at eight, and half-past nine; a
regular service at eleven, and another at half-past six in the
evening. The aggregate attendance during the day is about 1,350. The
assemblage at the first mass is thin; at the second it is good--
better than at any other time; at eleven it is pretty numerous; and
in the evening it is fair. Adults and children from the union
workhouse, of the Catholic persuasion, attend the eleven o'clock
service; and they come in tolerable force--sometimes they number

The general congregation consists nearly altogether of working class
people, and it includes some of the best sleepers we have seen. The
members of the choir sit in a gallery at the western end. Their
performances are of a curious description. Sometimes they sing very
well--are quite exact in their renderings and decidedly harmonious;
at other times they torture the music somewhat. But then they are
young at the business, haven't had so much experience, and have
nothing to rely upon in the shape of instrumental music except the
hard tones of an ordinary harmonium. Organ accompaniments help up
good choirs and materially drown the defects of bad ones. With
better instrumental assistance, the singers at the Church of the
English Martyrs would acquit themselves more satisfactorily, and
with additional practice they would still further improve matters.

There are two priests stationed at the church--the Rev. James Taylor
and the Rev. Joseph Pyke. Father Taylor, the principal, is a
blooming, healthy, full-spirited gentleman. He is a "Fylde man;" has
in him much strong straight-forwardness; looks as if he had never
ailed anything in his life; doesn't appear to have mortified the
flesh very acutely; seems to have taken things comfortably and well
since the day of his birth; has not allowed his creed to spoil his
face--a trick which some professors of religion are guilty of; and
is, on the whole, a genuine specimen of the true John Bull type.
Father Taylor's first mission was at Lancaster, under the late Dean
Brown; afterwards he came to St. Augustine's, Preston, where he
remained four and a half years; then he was appointed Catholic
chaplain at the House of Correction; and subsequently he took charge
of his present mission. He is an active man, and works very hard in
his district. As a preacher he is energetic, impetuous, and
practical--speaks plainly and straight out, minces nothing, and
tries to drive what he considers to be the truth right home. He has
very little rhetorical action, hardly moves at all in the pulpit,
stirs neither head nor hand except upon special occasions; but he
has a powerful voice, he pours out his words in a strong, full
volume, and the force he has in this respect compensates for the
general immobility he displays during his discourses.

His colleague--the Rev. J. Pyke--is a small, mild gentleman,
unassuming in manner, cautious, careful, quiet, precise, and, whilst
attending to his duties regularly, he makes no bluster about them.
He was ordained at the Church of the English Martyrs, in September,
1868. In the pulpit he is earnest, clear, and regular in his
remarks. He makes no repetitions, flings himself into no attitudes,
assumes no airs, but proceeds on to the end steadily and calmly.
Both the priests named live close to the church, in a building which
forms part of the property of the mission. It is intended some time
to have a proper presbytery, near the church: one is included in
the original plan; but shortness of funds bars its erection. The
work thus far executed--the church, vestries, &c.--has cost about
8,000 pounds, and there still remains upon the buildings a debt of
about 4,000 pounds. There are no schools in connection with the
church; but it is expected that there will be by and bye. The land
formerly used as the cattle market, and situated near the church,
has been bought for this purpose, and collectors are now engaged in
raising money towards the erection of the schools. The church has
two or three "guilds," the female members thereof numbering about
200, and the males 100. In the "district" there are about 3,000
Catholics, including 700 children under 10 years of age; so that the
priests in charge of it have quite enough on hand for the present. A
mission in debt to the tune of 4,000 pounds; a church to internally
complete--for much yet remains to be finished in the one described;
a church tower which will cost 2,000 pounds to raise; a presbytery
to begin of; schools, which are primarily essential, to erect; and
7,000 human beings to look after, constitute what may fairly be
termed "no joke."


Few districts are more thoroughly vitiated, more distinctly poverty-
struck, more entirely at enmity with soap and water than that in
which this church stands. Physically, mentally, and spiritually, it
is in a state of squash and mildew. Heathenism seethes in it, and
something even more potent than a forty-parson power of virtue will
be required to bring it to healthy consciousness and legitimate
action. You needn't go to the low slums of London, needn't smuggle
yourself round with detectives into the back dens of big cities if
you want to see "sights" of poverty and depravity; you can have them
nearer home--at home--in the murky streets, sinister courts, crowded
houses, dim cellars, and noisy drinking dens of St. Saviour's
district. Pass through it, move quietly along its parapets--leaving
a tour through its internal institutions for some future occasion--
and you will see enough to convince you that many missionaries, with
numerous Bibles and piles of blankets, are yet wanted at home before
being despatched to either farthest land or the plains of Timbuctoo.
The general scene may be thus condensed and described: Myriads of
children, ragged, sore-headed, bare-legged, dirty, and amazingly
alive amid all of it; wretched-looking matrons, hugging saucy,
screaming infants to their breasts, and sending senior youngsters
for either herring, or beer, or very small loaves; strong, idle
young men hanging about street corners with either dogs at their
feet, or pigeon-baskets in their hands; little shops driving a brisk
"booking" business with either females wearing shawls over their
heads or children wearing nothing at all on their feet; bevies of
brazen-faced hussies looking out of grim doorways for more victims
and more drink; stray soldiers struggling about beer or dram shops
entrances, with dissolute, brawny-armed females; and wandering old
hags with black eyes and dishevelled hair, closing up the career of
shame and ruin they have so long and so wretchedly run.

Anybody may see the sights we have just described. We mention this
not because there is anything pleasing in it, but because it is
something which exists daily in the heart of our town--in the centre
of St. Saviour's district. No locality we know of stands more in
need of general redemption than this, and any Christian church, no
matter whatever may be its denominational peculiarities, which may
exist in it, deserves encouragement and support. The district is so
supremely poor, and so absolutely bad, that anything calculated to
improve or enlighten it in any way is worthy of assistance. A
Baptist chapel was built in the quarter we are now describing--it
was erected in Leeming-street, at the corner of Queen-street--in
1783. Fifty years afterwards it was enlarged; subsequently the
Baptists couldn't agree amongst themselves; the parties to the
quarrel then separated, some going to Pole-street Chapel, others
forming a new "church"--that now in Fishergate; and on the 10th of
August, 1859, the old building was bought by certain gentlemen
connected with the Church of England. A young man, named William
Dent Thompson, strong in constitution, greatly enamoured of
Reformation principles, keenly polemical, and brought up under the
aegis of the Rev. Geo. Alker, was appointed superintendent of the
place. He stayed awhile, then went away, and was succeeded by the
Rev. Geo. Donaldson, who in turn left for Blackburn, and was
followed by the Rev. Geo. Beardsell, the present incumbent of All
Saints' in this town. Mr. Beardsell did an excellent business in the
district--worked it up well and most praiseworthily; but he, in
time, left.

For seven months after this, there was no regular minister at the
place; still it didn't go down; several energetic, zealous laymen
looked after it and the schools established in connection with it,
and, considering their calibre, they did a good work. But they
couldn't keep up a full and continuous fire; a properly stationed
minister was needed; and Mr. Thompson, who had in the meantime
entered holy orders, was summoned from Blackenall, in Staffordshire,
to take charge of the church and district. In 1863 he came; under
his ministrations the congregation soon augmented; and in a short
time a movement was started for a new church; the old building being
a ricketty, inconvenient, rudely-dismal place, quite insufficient
for the requirements of the locality. The principal friends of the
new movement were R. Newsham, the late J. Bairstow, J. Horrocks, and
T. Miller, Esqrs., and what they subscribed constituted a
substantial nucleus guaranteeing the commencement of operations. In
1866, the old edifice was pulled down to make way for a new church,
and during the work of re-construction divine service was performed
in Vauxhall-road schools, which were, sometime after Mr. Thompson's
appointment, transferred by the Rev. Canon Parr from the Parish
Church's to St. Saviour's district. R. Newsham, Esq., laid the
corner-stone of St. Saviour's Church on the 26th of November, 1866;
the building was consecrated by the Bishop of Manchester, on the
29th of October, 1868; on the 9th of December in that year, the Rev.
W. D. Thompson was licensed to its incumbency; and on the 16th of
April, 1869, the district was "legally assigned" by the
Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

St. Saviour's--designed by Mr. Hibbert, architect, of this town--is
one of the handsomest and best finished churches we have seen. It
almost seems too good for the district in which it is situated. The
style of it is Gothic. Externally its most striking feature is the
tower. We thought at one time, when the tower had been run up a
considerable distance, that it was positively "going to the dogs."
At each of its angles there is a strange arrangement of dogs; they
bristle out on all sides, and are not over good looking--are thin,
hungry, weird-looking animals, appear to have had a hard time of it
somewhere, and to be doing their best to escape from the stone
whence they are protruding. But the pinnacles placed above have
completely taken away their grotesqueness, their malicious,
suspicious appearance, and the tower now looks beautiful. There are
three entrances to the church--one at the back, another at the
north-western corner, and the third beneath the tower on the south-
western side. If you please we will enter by the door on the last-
named side.

We are within the building--just within; and here we have on the
right a glass screen, on the left a multiplicity of warm water
pipes, and in the centre of the spot a handsome substantial
baptismal font, the gift of Sir T. G. Fermor-Hesketh, M.P. This font
can't be too highly praised; its workmanship is excellent; its
material is most durable; and with care it will last for at least
four thousand years. Behind it are two stained glass windows; one
being in memory of the father of the incumbent's wife; the other in
remembrance of the architect's mother. Adjoining is a plain window
which will shortly be filled in with stained glass, at the expense
of Mr. W. B. Roper, in memory of a relative. Leaving the font, and
the water pipes, and the windows, we move forward, and are at once
struck with the capaciousness, the excellent disposition, and the
handsome finish of the interior. Directly in front there is a
magnificent five-light chancel window--beautifully coloured, well
arranged, containing in the centre a representation of our Saviour,
and flanked by figures of the four evangelists. We have seldom seen
a more exquisite, a more elegantly artistic window than this. Edward
Swainson, Esq., whose works are in the district, presented it. Still
looking eastward, but taking a nearer view and one of less altitude,
we notice the pulpit--a piece of fine carved oak-work, resting upon
a circular column of stone, and given by Mrs. Newsham; then we have
a lectern, of the eagle pattern, presented by the Rev. R. Brown; and
to the left of this there is a most excellently finished, carved-
oak, reading desk, given by R. Newsham, Esq. The communion plate--
most choice and elaborate in design--was, we may observe, given by
the same gentleman. Turning round, we notice a pretty four-light
window in the western gable. This was also presented by R. Newsham,
Esq., in memory of the late J. Bairstow, Esq. The church consists of
a nave and a northern aisle. If an aisle could be constructed on the
southern side the building would assume proportions at once most
complete and imposing. But space will not permit of this. Land
constitutes a difficulty on that side; and the general building is
considerably deteriorated in appearance at present through
"associations" in this part. At the south-eastern end there is a
small wretched-looking beershop, and near it a dingy used-up
cottage. These two buildings are a nuisance to the church; they
spoil the appearance of the building at one end completely, and they
ought to be pulled down and carted off forthwith.

Reverting to the interior of St. Saviour's, we observe that the
northern side is supported by four arches, the central one depending
upon double columns of polished granite, and all of them having
highly ornamented capitals. A couple of stone angels support the
primary principal of the chancel roof, and they bear the weight put
upon them very complacently. The northern aisle is occupied below
with free seats; and above, in a gallery, with ditto. At the western
end there is a continuation of the gallery, filled with free seats.
The church will hold 800 people, and more than half the seats are
free. All the pews are strong, open, and good to sit in. The central
ones on the ground floor are very lengthy--perhaps thirty feet in

The congregation, considering the capacity of the church, is large,
and consists almost absolutely of working people. We noticed during
our visit to this place what we have seen at no other church or
chapel in the town, namely, that many of the worshippers put in an
early appearance--several were in their seats at least a quarter of
an hour before the service commenced. We further noticed that the
congregation is a pre-eminently quiet and orderly one. At some
places you are tormented to death with stirring feet, shuffling,
rustling clothes, coughing, sneezing, &c.; here, however, you have
little of these things, and at times, a positive dead calm prevails.
It may also be worthy of mention that we saw fewer sleepers at St.
Saviour's than in any other place of worship yet visited by us. Only
one gentleman got fairly into a state of slumber during the whole
service; a stout girl tried to "drop over" several times, and an old
man made two or three quiet efforts to get his eyes properly closed,
but both failed. All the other members of the congregation appeared
to be wide awake and amazingly attentive. The free seats are well
patronised by poor people, and it is to such a class as this that
the place seems really advantageous.

The music at the church is simple, hearty, and quite congregational.
The tunes are plain, and the worshippers, instead of looking on
whilst the choir perform, join in the music, and get up a very full
volume of respectable melody. The regular singers have their
quarters at the north-eastern end, on the ground floor, and they
acquit themselves with a very good grace. Near them is a small,
poor-looking organ; it is played well, but its music is not very
consolatory, and its tame, infantile appearance throws it quite out
of keeping with the general excellence of the church. Some money
has, we believe, been promised towards a new organ, and if somebody
else would promise some more, a seemly-looking instrument might be

Two or three "classes" meet every Sunday for instruction in the
church. Formerly, owing to defective accomodation, the members of
them had to assemble in two public-house rooms, where the education
was in one sense of the "mixed" kind, for whilst virtue was being
inculcated above, where the members met, the elegant war-whooping of
pagans below, given over to beer, tobacco, and blasphemy, could be
heard. This wasn't a thing to be desired, and as soon as ever the
church was ready, a removal to it was effected. Educational business
in connection with St. Saviour's is carried on in various parts of
the district. In Vauxhall-road there are day schools with an average
attendance of 220. On Sundays, the work of education is carried on
here; also at the Parsonage-house (which adjoins Lark-hill convent),
where a mother's class is taught by Mrs. Thompson; in Shepherd-
street, where a number of poor ragged children meet; and likewise,
as before stated, in the church; the aggregate attendance being
about 900. The Parsonage-house was purchased and presented to St.
Saviour's by the late J. Bairstow, Esq. Handsome new schools are
being built (entirely at the expense of R. Newsham, Esq., who has
been a most admirable friend to St. Saviour's) near the church. They
will accommodate about 400 scholars, and will, it is expected, be
ready by the end of the present year. The entire cost of the church,
parsonage house, &c., has been about 10,000 pounds; and not more
than 50 pounds will be required to clear off all the liabilities
thus far incurred.

The incumbent of St. Saviour's is plain, unpoetical, strong-looking,
and practical. He was reared under the shadow of Ingleborough. We
have known him for 30 years. On coming to Preston he was for
sometime a mechanic; then he became missioner in connection with the
Protestant Reformation Society, first at St. Peter's in this town,--
and next at St. Mary's. Afterwards he left, studied for the
ministry, and six years since, as already intimated, came to St.
Saviour's as its incumbent. For a time after the church was erected,
he had nothing to depend upon but the pew rents, which realised
about 70 pounds a year: but fortune favours parsons: the
Ecclesiastical Commissioners subsequently increased his stipend,
then 1,000 pounds was left by J. Bairstow, Esq., and the income is
now equal to about 300 pounds per annum. Mr. Thompson is not a
brilliant man, and never will be. He is close-shaven, full-featured,
heavily-set, slow is his mental processes, but earnest, pushing, and
enduring. He is an industrious parson, a striving, persevering,
roughly-hewn, hard-working man--a good visitor, a willing worker,
free and kindly disposed towards poor people, and the exact man for
such a district as that in which he is located. If a smart, highly-
drawn, classical gentleman were fixed as minister in the region of
St. Saviour's, the people would neither understand him nor care for
him. If he talked learnedly, discussed old cosmogonies, worked out
subtle theories of divinity, and chopped logic; if he spiced up big
homilies with Plato and Virgil, or wandered into the domain of
Hebrew roots and Greek iambics, his congregation would put him down
as insane, and would be driven crazy themselves. But Mr. Thompson
avoids these things, primarily because he doesn't know much about
them, and generally because plain words and practical work are the
sole things required in his district.

The gentleman under review used to be a tremendous anti-Popery
speaker, and more than once thought well of the Reformation
perorations of Henry Vincent; but he has toned down much in this
respect, like Panjandrum the Grand, under whose feathers he
originally nestled. He is still, and has a right to be, if that way
inclined, a strong believer in the triumph achieved at Boyne Water;
only he doesn't make so much stir about it as formerly. Mr. Thompson
is a determined and aspiring man; is earnest, windy, and clerically
"large;" knows he is a parson without being told of it; has a
somewhat ponderous and flatulent style of articulation; has not the
faculty of originality much developed, but can imitate excellently;
could sooner quote than coin a great thought; believes in stray
polemical struggles with outsiders; used to have a Byronic notion
that getting hold of other people's thoughts, and passing them off
for those of somebody else, was not a very great sin; is a better
anecdote teller than reasoner; can be very solemn and most
virtuously combative; could yet, though he seems to have settled
down, get up, on the shortest notice, any amount of "immortal
William" steam, and throw every ounce of it into a good ninth-rate
jeremiad. Still he has many capital points; he is a most
indefatigable toiler in his own district, and that covers all his
defects; he is not too proud nor too idle to visit everybody,
however wretched or vile, requiring his advice and assistance; he is
homely, sincere, and devoted to the cause he has in hand, and the
locality he has charge of; he does his best to improve it; he has
not laboured unsuccessfully; and no better minister could be found
for such a place. He can adapt himself to its requirements; can
level himself to its social and spiritual necessities; does more
good in it every day than a more polished, or brilliant, or namby-
pamby parson would be able to accomplish in a year; has an excellent
wife, who takes her share of the district's work; attends to the
varied wants of the locality--and there are many in a godless
district like his, with its 5,000 souls--in a most praiseworthy
manner. He is the right man is the right place, and it is a good job
that he is not too learned, for that would have interfered with his
utility, would have dumfounded those in his keeping, and operated
against his success. Mr. Thompson, adieu, and good luck to you.


All over, there are many who consider themselves Christian brethren;
but the number taking up the name specifically, with a determination
to stick to it denominationally, is small. In all large towns a few
of this complexion may be found; and in Preston odd ones exist whose
shibboleth is "Christian Brethren." We had a spell with them, rather
unexpectedly, on a recent "first day"--"Christian Brethren" always
call Sunday the first day. And it came about in this way: we were
on the point of entering a Dissenting place of worship, when a
kindly-natured somewhat originally-constituted "pillar of the
Church" intercepted our movements, and said, "You mustn't come here
today." "Why?" we asked, and his reply was, that a fiftieth-rate
stray parson, whom "the Church doesn't care for" would be in the
pulpit that day, and that if we wished for "a fair sample" we must
"come next Sunday." We didn't want to be hard, and therefore said
that if "another place" could be found for us, we would take it
instead. Violent cogitation for five minutes ensued, and at last our
friend, more zealous than erudite, conjured up what he termed, "them
here new lot, called Christians."

We had heard of this section before, and at our request he
accompanied us to a small, curiously-constructed building in Meadow-
street. At the side of the doorway we observed a strangely-written,
badly-spelled sign, referring to the different periods when the
"Christian Brethren" met for worship, &c.; and above it another sign
appeared, small and dim, and making some allusion to certain
academical business. Hurrying up fourteen steps we reached a dark,
time-worn door, and after pausing for a moment--listening to some
singing within--our guide, philosopher, &c., opened it, and we
entered the place with him. The room was not "crowded to
suffocation;" its windows were not gathering carbon drops through
the density of human breathing; there were just fourteen persons in
the place--four men, three women, two youths, a girl, and four
children. A Bible and a hymn book--the latter, according to its
preface, being intended for none but the righteous--were handed to
us, and our friend want through the singing in a delightfully-
dreadful style. He appeared to have a way of his own in the business
of psalmody--sang whatever came into his head first, got into all
manner of keys, and considering that he was doing quite enough for
both of us, we remained silent, listening to the general melody, and
drinking in its raptures as placidly as possible.

Prior to describing either the service we witnessed, or the
principles of those participating in it, we must say a word in
reference to the building. It stands on the northern side of Meadow-
street, between sundry cottage houses, retiring a little from the
general frontage, and by its architecture seems to be a cross
between a small school and a minute country meeting-house. It was
originally built in 1844 by Mr. John Todd of this town. He started
it as a chapel on his own account--for at that time he had special
theological notions; and probably considered that he had as much
right to have a place of worship as anybody else. We have been
unable to ascertain the primal denominational character of the
building; the founder of it is unable to tell us; all that we have
been able to get out of him is, that the place "had no name," and
all that we can, therefore, fairly say is, that he built it, and did
either something or nothing in it. Mr. Todd did not occupy it very
long; he struck his colours in about a year; and afterwards it was
used by different Dissenting bodies, including some Scotch Baptists,
on whose behalf the building was altered. Originally it was only one
story high; but when the Baptists went to it a second story was
added, and, having either aspiring notions or considering that they
would be better accommodated in the higher than the lower portion of
the building, they went aloft, leaving the ground floor for
individuals of more earthly proclivities. Two years ago Mr. Todd
sold the building, and about six months since certain Christian
Brethren hired the top room for "first day" purposes, week day work
being carried on in it by an industrious schoolmaster.

Like the Quakers, Christian Brethren are a "peculiar people." They
believe more in being good and doing good than in professing
goodness formally. They recognise some forms and a few ceremonies;
but vital inherent excellence--simple Christianity, plain,
unadorned, and earnest--is their pole-star. They claim to be guided
in all their religious acts solely by the Scriptures; consider that
as "the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch," their
followers have no right to assume any other name; think, baptismally
speaking, that whilst there may be some virtue in sprinkling and
pouring, there can be no mistake about absolute immersion, inasmuch
as that will include everything; think baby baptism unnecessary, and
hold that none except penitent believers, with brains fairly
solidified, should be admitted to the ordinance; maintain that, as
under the apostolic regime, "the disciples came together on the
first day of the week to break bread," Christians should partake of
the sacrament every Sunday; call their ministers "evangelists;" hold
that at general meetings for worship there should be full liberty of
speech; that worship should be perfectly free; and that everything
should be supported on the voluntary principle. Those now
worshipping in Meadow-street are the first "Christian Brethren" we
have had, regularly organised, in Preston. How they will go on we
cannot tell; but if present appearances are any criterion, we are
afraid they will not make very rapid progress. They have about ten
"members" at present; when the "baker's dozen" will be reached is a

The executive business of Christian Brethren is managed by deacons;
but the diaconal stage has not yet been reached in Preston. There
are branches of the body in Blackburn, Southport, Bolton, &c.; but
none exist in Lancashire north of Preston. The brethren here have no
Sunday-school; but the establishment of one is contemplated, and it
may be in time fairly attended. What the number of attendants will
be we can't tell, but this may be fairly said--that if each of the
ten members happens, in the lapse of time, to have 12 children, and
if all are sent to school, 120 scholars will be raised, and that
this would constitute a very good muster for a small denomination.
But we must return to the subject.

After the singing, which our friend so improved--and he continued
"in the werry same tone of voice," as poor Sam Cowell used to say in
his "Station Porter's" song, through every hymn--a bearded,
mustached, and energetic young man (Mr. W. Hindle), originally a
Methodist town missionary, at one time connected with Shepherd-
street Ragged School, Preston, and now an "Evangelist" belonging the
Christian Brethren, labouring at Southport, Blackburn, &c., but
generally engaged for Sunday service at Preston, read several verses
from the Bible; then be prayed, his orison being of a free and wide-
spreading type; and afterwards he asked if any "brother" would read
from Holy Writ. A pause followed, doubt and bashfulness apparently
supervening; but at length a calm, thoughtful gentleman got up, and
went through sundry passages in Isaiah. The singing of a hymn
succeeded, and Mr. Hindle then asked if "another brother" would
read. A gentleman, spectacled, with his hair well thrown back, and
very earnest, here rose, and having put a small Bible upon a little
table in front, and taken up a larger volume which the minister had
been perusing, diced into Corinthians, and gave a tolerably
satisfactory reading. The minister then commenced discussing certain
antithetical points in St. Paul's writings, and next asked if "two
or three brethren" would engage in prayer. Thirty seconds elapsed,
and then one of the brethren made a prayer. The sacrament--bread and
wine--directly followed, and after a purse, suddenly pulled out from
some place by the minister, had been sharply handed round for
contributions, a serious young man gave out a hymn, which the
company genially sung. More speaking ensued: but the minister had
it all to himself. He said--"Will any brother speak; now is the
time; if you have anything to state utter it; lose no time, but say
on." Never a brother spoke; eye-squeezing and thumb-turning, and
deep introspection followed; and in the end the minister rose, took
his text from three or four parts of the Bible, and gave a lengthy
discourse, relieved at intervals with genuine outbursts of
eloquence, relative to Christian action and general duty. He seemed
to have a poor notion of many Christians, and somewhat fantastically
illustrated their position by saying that they were, spiritually
troubled with consumption and apparently with diabetes!--were
continually devouring good things, constantly wasting away, and
doing no particular good amongst it at all. We felt the force of
this; but we didn't ejaculate; quietness, except on very excited
occasions, being the rule here. His discourse lasted about 30
minutes, and it was well and forcibly delivered. At the conclusion
two or three of the Brethren came out of their circle--they were all
round a table before the parson--and shook hands with us.

We shortly afterwards retired, leaving our "musical" friend engaged
in a hot discussion with the parson as to the propriety of certain
observations he had made in his sermon. How the matter was fought
out we cannot tell. The Brethren assemble every Sunday morning and
evening in the building; sometimes they have a Bible class meeting
on a Sunday afternoon; and occasionally a week night service. They
are a calm, devout, forlorn-looking class; are distinctly sincere;
have strong liberal notions of Christianity; seem to love one
another considerably, and may at times greet each other with a holy
kiss; but they don't thrive much in Preston. In time they may become
a "great people," but at present their status is small. Ten
Christian Brethren up 14 steps may grow potent eventually; but they
may, figuratively speaking, fall down the steps in the meantime, and
so injure the cause as to defy the influence of theraputics.

A few words now as to Brook-street Primitive Methodist Chapel, which
we visited the same day. This is a tiny building, and appears to
stand in a dangerous region. On one side all the windows are
continually shuttered, so as to prevent the mischievous action of
stones, and in front the door is railed in closely so as to
frustrate the efforts of those who might be inclined to kick it. The
chapel, which is also used for Sunday school purposes, was built in
1856. It is a very humble, plain-looking edifice externally; and
internally it is equally unassuming. You get to it collaterally,
through a pair of narrow doors, which bang about very much in stormy
weather. The roof is supported by two iron pillars, with which a
tall stove pipe keeps company. In the centre there are 16 pews, each
capable of holding three persons, and a large pew which will
accommodate six. Rows of small forms run down each side. Those on
the left are used by men and boys; those on the other side are
principally patronised by women and little children, some of whom
are too young to engage in anything but lactary pursuits. Green is a
favourite colour here. The inside of the pews are green; portions of
the walls are green; some of the windows are similarly coloured at
the base; the music stands in the orchestra are green; and there is
a fine semi-circular display of green at the back of the pulpit. At
the south-eastern corner there are sundry pieces of old timber piled
up; at the opposite side there is a cupboard; and over the entrance
numerous forms, colour poles, and a ladder are placed. These
constitute all the loose ornaments in the chapel. About 150 persons
can be accommodated in the place. When we visited it--the time was
rather unfavourable, owing to the roughness of the weather--sixty-
six persons, exclusive of the choir and the parson, were in it.

The congregation is a very poor one, but it is singularly sincere
and orderly--is not refined but devout, is comparatively unlettered
but honest. There is neither silk, nor satin, nor diamond rings, nor
lavender kids, in the place; a hard working-day plainness, mingled
with poverty, pervades it; but there is no sham seen: if the people
are poor, commonly dressed, noisy--if they effervesce sometimes, and
shout "Hallelujah" with a fiery joyfulness, and pray right out, as
if they were being ship-wrecked or frightened to death, why let them
have their way, for they are happy amongst it. Their convictions are
strong, and when they are at it they go in for a good thing--for
something roughly exquisite, hilariously pious, and consumingly
good. They don't mince matters; are neither dainty nor given to
cant, but shout out what they feel at the moment whatever may become
of it afterwards. Sunday services, prayer meetings, and class
meetings are held in the chapel regularly. The pulpit is occupied by
various persons.

The minister stationed at the place is the Rev. J. Hall--colleague
of the pastor at Saul-street Chapel--but he only takes his turn in
it. A strong-built man, plainly attired, earnest, and not so given
to flights of violent fancy as some preachers, had charge of the
pulpit during our visit. His style was homely, and in his easier
periods he had a knack of putting his left hand into his breeches
pocket, and talking in a semi-conversational Lancashire dialect
style. He dilated for thirty minutes upon the horn-blowing at
Jericho, the siege, the wall-falling, and the sin of Achan; and then
wound up by telling his hearers--drawing the moral from Achan's
fate--that if they did wrong they would be sure to be found out. The
sermon was quite equal to the bulk of homilies given in Primitive
Methodist Chapels, and it seemed to go right home to the
congregation. The plundering of Achan was well told, and when it was
announced that he was stoned with stones, and then burned, the
congregation sent up a mild, half-sighing groan, shaking their heads
a little, and apparently determining to do right as long as ever
they lived.

The music at the chapel was strong, and, remembering the nature of
the place, satisfactory. Three men, three young women, and a boy
managed it. The women sometimes drowned the men; the boy often got
into a shrill mood; but the men finally reached the surface, the
women quietly subsided, the boy toned down his forces somewhat; and
on the whole the singing was well done. After the sermon there came
a prayer meeting. We determined to see it out, preserving that
quietude and respect which one ought always to evince towards those
believing in the great cardinal points of Christanity, however
peculiar may be, the modes of their expression. Only about twenty-
five, who assembled on the southern side of the chapel, joined the
prayer meeting. The proceedings were of a most enthusiastic,
virtuous, hot, and bewildering character. Singing, feet-beating,
praying, hand-clapping, and reciprocal shouting constituted the
programme. One elderly man went fairly wild during the business. He
shook his head, doubled his fists, threw his arms about, ejaculated
with terrible rapidity and force, and appeared to be entirely set on
fire by his feelings. A thorough craze--a wild, beating,
electrifying passion--got completely hold of him for a few minutes,
and he enjoyed the stormy pulsations of it exceedingly. At the end
somebody said, "Now, will some of the women pray?" Instantly a
little old man said, "God bless the women;" "Aye," said another,
while several gave vent to sympathetic sighs. But the women were not
to be drawn out in this style; none of them were in the humour for
praying; they didn't even return the benediction of the little old
man by saying "God bless the men;" they kept quiet, then got up, and
then all walked out; the last words we remember being from a woman,
who, addressing us, said, "Now, draw it mild!"


We have made no inquiry as to the original predecessors of those
attending this church. They may have been links in the chain of
those men who, ages ago, planted themselves on the coast of Malabar,
rejoicing in the name of "Christians of St. Thomas," and struggling
curiously with Nestorians, Franciscans, Dominicans, and Jesuits;
they may have constituted a remnant of the good people whom Cosmas
Indicopleustes saw in the East twelve hundred years since; they may
have only had a Preston connection, knowing nothing of the Apostle
of India--St. Thomas--beyond what anybody knows, and caring more for
his creed than his title. Whatever may have been their history and
fate, it is certain their successors believe in that most
apostolical of unbelievers just mentioned--so far, at least, as the
name is concerned. The church they respect is situated at the
northern end of Preston, near the junction of Moor-lane and
Lancaster-road. It is a small, strong, hard-looking building; seems
as if it would stand any amount of rain and never get wet through,
any quantity of heat and never have a sunstroke; it is stoical,
cold, firm, and very stony; has a bodkin-pointed spire, ornamented
with round holes and circular places into which penetration has not
yet been effected; and its "tout ensemble" is in no way edifying. It
is neither ornate nor colossal. Strength, plainness, and smallness,
with a strong dash of general rigidity, are its outward

St. Thomas's is one of the local churches erected through the
exertions of the late Rev. R. Carus Wilson; and, like all those
churches, it is built in the Norman style of architecture--a
massive, severe style, which will never be popularly pleasing, but
will always secure endurance for the edifices constructed on its
principles. The first stone of this church was laid in August, 1837.
The building stands upon a hill, is surrounded by a powerful stone
wall, can be approached two ways, and has its front entrance
opposite a small street, which has not yet received any name at all.
To a stranger, ingress to the building is rather perplexing. A
gateway in Lancaster-road, leading to a footpath, fringed with
rockery, would appear to be the front way, but it is only a rear
road, and when you get fairly upon it you wonder where it will end--
whether you will be able to get to the interior by it, or only to
some rails on one side and a wall on the other. It, however,
eventuates round a corner, at the main entrance. We recommend this
back way, for the legitimate front road is much more intricate and
harassing; you can only become acquainted with it, if
topographically unenlightened, and bashful as to making inquiries,
by hovering about an ancient windmill, moving up narrow hilly
streets, flanked by angular bye-paths, and then following either the
first woman you see with a prayer book in her hand, or the first man
you catch a sight of with a good coat on his back. The main entrance
is ornamental but diminutive in many respects. There are three
doorways here, the collateral ones, which are very low, and quite
calculated to prevent people from entering the building with their
hats on, being patronised the most--not because there is an
offertory box in the central passage, but because the side roads are
the handiest. During a second visit to the church we went in by the
middle door, the medium course, as the proverb hath it, being the
safest, and seeing the offertory box--a remarkably strong, iron-
cornered article, fastened to the wall--we remarked to an official,
in his shirt sleeves, who was with us, "This will stand a deal of
money before falling." The official replied "It will so," and the
look, he gave us superinduced the conclusion that the offertory box
was not going to fall for some time.

We have seen no more deceptive-looking church than that we are now
at. Viewed externally, you would say that scarcely a good handful of
people could be accommodated in it; it seems so narrow, so entirely
made up of and filled in with stone, that one infers at first sight
it will hardly hold the parson and the sacrament-loving "old woman"
who invariably exists as a permanent arrangement at all our places
of worship; but this is a fallacy, for the building will accommodate
about 1,100 people. The interior consists of a nave, two aisles, and
a chancel. Everything in the building seems strong, clean, and good;
and considering the ponderous character of its architecture a fair
share of light is admitted to it. At the entrance, there is a glass
screen, ornamentally got up and surmounted with a small lion and
unicorn design. Just within this screen there is a curtained pew,
and sitting within its enclosure must be a very snug and select
thing. It is occupied by Mr. Hermon, M.P., and when he draws the
curtains all round--"he sometimes does," said the official
accompanying us--no one can see a morsel of him whilst he can see
never a one in the building, not even the parson, without a special
effort. The nave is broad and quadrangular, is supported by
immensely strong pillars, and has a fine high roof, looking clean
and spacious, but considerably spoiled by several commonplace
awkwardly fashioned beams. The roof of each aisle is similarily
marred. The seats are disposed in six parallel ranges, and the
generality are quite good enough for anybody. Along each side there
is a row of free seats--about 50 altogether--capable of
accommodating upwards of 300 persons. There are also many free seats
in the gallery.

The present incumbent has an idea that he has made some addition to
this accomodation; but people who have known the church ever since
it was built say that the extra "free pews" appropriated for the
poor by him were never charged for. At the end of each aisle there
is a neat stained glass window; that to the right bearing this
inscription--"To the memory of W. P. Jones, M.A., ob. January 29,
1864, aged 77 years," and that on the left these words "To the
memory of Mrs. Fanny Jones, ob. January 27, 1864, aged 75 years."
Mr. Jones was a former incumbent of St. Thomas's. He was a quiet,
mild-minded man, devoid of bombast, neither cynical nor meddlesome,
and was well liked by all. His wife died just two days before him,
and both were interred in one grave in St. Peter's church yard. The
pulpit and reading desk at St. Thomas's are good-looking and
substantial, but both are rather bad to get into and out of--the
steps are narrow and angular, with a sudden descent, which might
cause a stranger to miss his footing and fall, if he had not firm
hold of the side rail. Right above, perhaps 20 feet high, and
surmounting the chancel arch, there is a small ornamental
projection, like a balcony. It would make a capital stand for the
minister; or might be turned into a conspicuous place of Sunday
resort for the wardens; but, then, they would have to be hoisted to
it, for there is no road up, and that would not be seemly. Formerly,
we believe, this balcony was used by the singers, but they were
subsequently transplanted to the western gallery. The passage to the
balcony front is now shut off. A considerable effort at
ornamentation has been made on the walls flanking the balcony
described. But we don't care much for it. Little pillars, quaint
window models, and other architectural devices, are heaped upon each
other in curious profusion, and it is difficult to get at their real
meaning. They relieve the walls a little, but they do the work
whimsically, and you can neither get a smile nor a tear from them.
The chancel arch is strong and ornamental; within it there is
another arch, the intervening roof being neatly groined and
coloured; and beyond there is the chancel--a small, somewhat
cimmerian, yet pretty-looking place. There are five windows in it;
three having sacred figures painted upon them, and the remaining two
being filled in with fancy designs, which don't look over well,
owing to the decay of the colours.

The congregation is tolerably numerous, has in it the high, the
fair-middling, and the humble--the good-looking, the well-dressed,
the rubicund, the mildly mahogany-featured, the simply-dressed, the
attenuated, and the indigent. But there is a clear halo of
respectability about the place; superior habiliments are distinctly
in the ascendant; and orderly behaviour reigns throughout each
section of worshippers. The free seats are very fairly patronised,
and sometimes very oddly. In one part of them we saw nine persons
all near each other, and out of that number five wore spectacles,
whilst three could only see with one eye. At the western end of the
church there is a beautiful circular window, but it has not met with
very good treatment. It has been broken in one part, and every
morsel of it is covered up from general view by the organ occupying
the gallery. Only the organ blower can see it properly, and having
the whole of it to himself, it is to be expected he will derive some
consolation from his special position. If he doesn't, then he
neither gets up the wind nor looks through the window properly. The
organ is a good one, and it is played with average ability, but it
is too big for the place it occupies, and entirely swamps what was
once considered a fine gallery. The singers are rather afraid of
giving vent to their feelings. They discourse the music tastefully,
but they are too quiet, and don't get into a temper, as they ought
to do occasionally, over it. Prior to the advent of the present
incumbent, the choir, considering its numbers, was, perhaps, as good
as any in the town or neighbourhood; but one Sunday morning the
gentleman referred to, having apparently been fiercely stung by a
Ritualistic wasp, blew the trumpet of his indignation very strongly-
-got into a whirlwind of denunciation all at once and without the
aid of a text, regarding Ritualism; and the organist and singers,
whose musical services embraced chants, &c., fancying that the rev.
gentleman was either tired of their presence or performances, many
of which were voluntary, sent in their resignations. Since then the
music has not been very brilliant.

There are religious services every Sunday morning and evening at St.
Thomas's, and on Thursday night a small gathering of the faithful
takes place in the building. The trustees of the church are--Miss
Margaret Ann Beckles, St. Leonard's; Samuel Husband Beckles, Esq.,
of the Middle Temple; the Rev. Edward Auriol, St. Dunstans; the Rev.
Charles F. Close, St. Ann's, Blackfriars; the Rev. W. Cadman,
Marylebone; and Sir Hugh Hill. The Rev. L. W. Jeffrey was the first
incumbent of the church; then came the Rev. W. P. Jones, who died,
as before stated, in 1884; afterwards the Rev. J. T. Becher was
appointed to the incumbency, but he died from typhus fever in five
weeks and was succeeded by the Rev. J. P. Shepperd who still holds
the post and receives from it about 400 pounds a year.

Mr. Shepperd is a man of middle age, and looks after his sheep
fairly, but at times eccentrically. He has a polished, tasteful,
clerical contour; attends well to his hair, whiskers, and linen;
wears a hat half bishoply and half archidiaconal in its brim; is a
good scholar, a clear reasoner, an able-preacher, but repeats
himself often, and gets long-winded on Sunday nights; is highly
enamelled, touchy, and imperial; is lofty in tone, cream laid and
double thick in manner; is full of metal, and there is a stately
mystery about him, as if he were a blood relation of the Great
Mokanna; he is nearly infallible, and would make a good Pope; he is
strongly combative, and would be a vigorous bruiser in stormy
ecclesiastical circles. We fancy no parson in Preston has had more
officials than Mr. Shepperd. In less than half a dozen years there
have been at the place many organists, singers, curates, scripture
readers, and eight or nine churchwardens. Either they have been very
uneasy people or he has been uniquely antagonistic. Mr. Shepperd
resides at a good parsonage some distance north of the church, and
he has a pretty garden adjoining, the walls thereof having been
built at the expense of Mr. Hermon, who has been a capital friend to
the church. In the garden there is a quantity of handsome rockery,
purchased by the late Mr. James Carr (who was at one time a warden),
out of the church funds. This rockery was originally placed in the
church yard, along with that still remaining there; but it was
thought by somebody that the yard didn't require so much ornamental
stone, so a quantity of it was removed to the place mentioned. If
Mr. Shepperd has it set in a circle he may play the Druid amongst
it, reserving the biggest block for a cromlech and the smoothest for
a seat; if it is concentrated in one mass he may stand upon it, defy
all the ex-churchwardens, and quoting Scott, cry out, "Come one,
come all, this rock shall fly" &c. Originally, St. Thomas's cost a
considerable amount of money, and in consequence of improvements
subsequently made, there is still, it is said, a pretty round sum
due to the late wardens and the contractors, and they, are much in
the dark as to when they will get it. The parson can't see the force
of paying it himself, the officers of the church make no move in the
matter, the congregation is apathetic on the subject, the beadle
keeps quiet, and does his central church walk calmly, never thinking
of it. But, if owing, somebody should settle the bill, and the
sooner it is liquidated, the more respectable will the affairs of
the church become. Bother without end has prevailed at St. Thomas's
about money, and until people get their own, and see regular annual
statements of accounts--things which seem to be scarce in these
times--they will continue to be uneasy and, probably, noisy.

Associated with the church are superior schools--one for infants, in
the unchristened street near the church, and two others for boys and
girls, in Lancaster-road. The average day attendance is--boys, 250;
girls, 220; infants, 240. The average attendance on the Sunday is--
boys, 250; girls, 320. The day schools are in a good state of
efficiency, and are of great service to the district. They are well
managed, and with respect to some of their departments Government
reports speak most encouragingly. Worn old grievances with ex-
churchwardens are duly squared, when a greater amount of what is
called "fixity of tenure" exists in respect to the officials, and
when Mr. Sheppard drops his little dogma as to personal immaculacy,
and allows other people a trifle more freedom, his flock will be
fatter, woollier, and quieter than ever they have been since he


In 1827, a little school was opened in a building at the corner of
Gildow-street, abutting upon Marsh-lane, in this town. It was
established in the Wesleyan Methodist interest, and one of its chief
supporters was Mr. T. C. Hincksman, a gentleman still living, who
has for a long period been a warm friend of the general cause of
Methodism. Although begun tentatively, the school soon progressed;
in time there was a good attendance at it; ultimately it was
considered too small; and the result was a removal to more
convenient premises--to a room connected with the mill of the late
Mr. John Furness, in Markland-street: But the little old building
did not change so much in its character after being deserted by the
Wesleyan scholars; it was still retained for juvenile purposes--
still kept open for the edification, if not improvement, of
youngsters. Old-fashioned sweets were sold in it, and the place was
long known as "Granny Bird's toffy shop." At the mill in Markland-
street, which used to be called "Noggy Tow," the school was very
prosperous; but the accomodation here at length became defective,
and in 1832 the scholars retraced their steps to Gildow-street,--not
to the small toffy establishment, where sucklings, if not babes,
were cared for, but to a building at the opposite end of the
thoroughfare erected specially for them. In 1840 they withdrew from
this edifice and went to a new school made in Croft-street, the
foundation stone of which was laid by the Rev. John Bedford, a well-
known Wesleyan minister, who at that time was stationed in Preston.
In 1858 two wings for class and other purposes, principally promoted
by the late Mr. T. Meek, costing 700 pounds, and opened clear of
debt, were attached to the school, and twelve months ago--scholastic
business still proceeding--the central portion of it was set apart
for regular religious services on the Sabbath.

The building is large, good-looking, and well-proportioned. There is
nothing of an ecclesiastical complexion about either its external or
internal architecture. Substantially it is a school, utilised twice
every Sunday for devotional purposes. The floor of it is well cared
for, and ought to enjoy much fresh air, for there are 18
ventilators, grate shaped, in front of it. When that which formed
the nucleus of the school was started, the neighbourhood was open;
there was a suburban look about the locality; but entire rows of new
dwellings now surround the school; the part in which it stands is
densely populated; all grades of men, women, and children inhabit
it; "civilisation"--rags, impudence, dirt, and sharpness, for they
mean civilisation--has long prevailed in the immediate
neighbourhood; a fine new brewery almost shakes hands with the
building on one side; the "Sailor's Home" beershop stands sentry two
doors off on the other. What more could you desire? A large
industrious population, lots of crying, stone-throwing children, a
good-looking brewery, a busy beershop, a school, and a chapel, all
closely mixed up, are surely sufficient for the most ardent lover of
variety and "progress." The room wherein the Wesleyans associated
with Croft-street school meet for religious duties is square, heavy-
looking, dull, and hazy in its atmosphere. It is ventilated by
curious pieces of iron which work curvilinearly up huge apertures
covered with glass; its walls are ornamented with maps, painted
texts, natural history pictures, &c.; and at the eastern side there
is a small orthodox article for pulpit purposes. There are several
ways into the room--by the back way if you climb walls, by the
direct front if you ascend steps, by the sides of the front if you
move through rooms, pass round doorways, and glide past glass

We took the last route, and sat down near a young gentleman with a
strong bass voice. In a corner near there was a roseate-featured,
elderly man, who enjoyed the service at intervals and slept out what
he could not fathom. Close to him was a youth who did the very same
thing; and in front there were three females who followed the like
example. The service was plain, simple, sincere, and quite
Methodistical; it was earnestly participated in by a numerous
congregation; the responses were quiet and somewhat internal; an
easy respectable seriousness prevailed; nothing approaching either
cant or wild-fire was manifested. Working-class people preponderated
in the place, as they always do; the singing was clear, and plain,
odd lines coming in for a share of melodious quavering; and the
sermon was well got-up and eloquent. The Rev. C. F. Hame, who has
recently come to Preston in the place of the Rev. W. H. Tindall
(Lune-street Circuit), was the preacher on this occasion. He is a
little gentleman, with considerable penetration and power; has a
good theological faculty; is cool, genial, and lucid in language;
and, although he can shout a little when very warm, he never loses
either the thread of his argument or his personal equilibrium. There
are 120 members at this place of worship; the average attendance at
the different services is 250; and the number is gradually

Regular ministers and local preachers fill the pulpit in turns;
there being, as a rule, one of the former at either the morning or
evening service every Sunday. Sometimes both kinds may be present
and ready for action at the same moment; but they never quarrel as
to which shall preach--never get "up a tree," figuratively speaking,
and everything is arranged quietly. The school, wherein the services
we have referred to are held, has been one of the most useful in
Preston; more scholars have probably passed through it than through
any other similar place in the town; old scholars--men and women
now--who received their religious education here, are in all parts,
and there is not a quarter of the globe where some may not be found
who have a pleasant recollection of the school. Its average day
attendance is 240; its average Sunday morning attendance 275; whilst
on a Sunday afternoon the regular number is 425. The school, which
is conveniently arranged and well fit up with every sort of ordinary
educational contrivance, is in a satisfactory state, and, in
conjunction with the "chapel," which it makes provision for, is
doing an excellent work in the district, which is open to all
comers, and will stand much drilling and spiritual flogging ere it
reaches perfection.

"Over the hills and far away"--up the brow of Maudlands, down new
streets on the other side, under the canal, up another brow, through
narrow, angular roads, flanked with factories, by the edge of a wild
piece of land supplying accomodation for ancient horses, brick-
makers, pitch and toss youths, and pigeon flyers, and then turning
suddenly at a mysterious corner in the direction of mill gates you
reach Parker-street United Methodist Free Church. Externally this
church is a very simple, prosaic building. Viewed from the front it
looks like the second storey bedroom of a cottage; eyed from the
side it seems like a long office, four yards from the ground, with a
pair of round-headed folding doors below, and at the extreme end a
narrow aperture, which apparently leads round the corner. It was
built 12 or 13 years ago, for a school, by Messrs. J. and J. Haslam,
near whose mill it is situated, and it is still used for educational
purposes. During the latter end of 1858 and the beginning of 1859
there was a dispute amongst the United Free Church brethren
assembling in Orchard Chapel. Both men and women entered into the
disturbance freely; but they did not follow the plan lately adopted
by some United Methodist Christians, living at Batley, who, having a
grievance at their chapel, "fought it out" in the back yard; what
they did, after many a lively church meeting, was to appeal to the
authorities of the denomination, state their case quietly, and abide
the decision of their superiors. That decision sanctioned a
separation and the establishment in Preston of a second United
Methodist circuit, totally independent of the Orchard-street people,
but responsible to the general executive for its actions. Those
forming the new circuit in Preston--about twenty "members"--had not,
however, a chapel, so Messrs. Haslam, who sympathised with the
movement, permitted them to meet in the school they had built in
Parker-street. The course pursued by the secessionists was approved
of by some United Methodists at Cuerden Green, where the Orchard
brethren had a small chapel, and they left the parent body when the
separation already mentioned took place. There was a fair amount of
goodly squabbling about the Cuerden Green Chapel. Each side wanted
it. For a time the secessionists held it; then the owner of the
building died; and, after various movements, the Orchard brethren
"went in and won," and they have retained possession of the premises
ever since. The second circuit includes no country place except
Brindle, where the denomination has a good chapel.

The "full members" of the circuit number about 90, and 75 of them
are in Preston. There are 25 "on trial" at the present moment, but
as we cannot tell how they will pass through the alembic, it would
be out of place to make any absolute statement as to their fate. The
circuit is increasing in strength; its finances, notwithstanding bad
times, are in a very fair state; a good feeling exists between the
members of both circuits; they have become peaceable and
pachydermatous, thin-skinnedness being considered an evil; and
altogether affairs are satisfactory. The system under which
ministers are appointed to Parker-street chapel is the same as that
prevailing amongst the general body, and as we described at in a
previous article no allusion need now be made to it. The first
parson at the chapel in Parker-street was the Rev. Robert
Eltringham; since then the following have been at it--the Revs. J.
Nettleton, J. Shaw, J. Mara (who is now a missionary in China for
the United Methodist body), W. Lucas, C. Evans, J. W. Chisholm, and
the Rev. T. Lee. The names show that there has been a new parson at
the chapel almost every year. The present pastor (Rev. T. Lee) only
came in August last; his predecessor (Mr. Chisholm), who is a sharp,
shrewd, liberal-minded gentleman, having been removed to Manchester.

Not long ago, after struggling through many far-away streets, we
found ourselves at the corner of a little opening at the top of
Parker-street. "This is the place," said a friend who was with us.
We knew it was, for several yards before reaching the building, the
torrents of a strong voice came impetuously through an open window,
and the burthen of its strains had reference to a revival of "our
connexion." Such a noise as this we thought ought to have aroused
the whole neighbourhood; but we could see nobody about except a
woman right opposite, who was engaged in the serious business of
front step washing, and who seemed to take no notice whatever of the
strong utterances coming through the window. She washed on, and the
good man above prayed on. It was rather difficult to find the way to
the chapel. It could not, we fancied, be by the front door of a shop
which we saw beneath; it could not, we were certain, be through a
window above, for whilst there was a pulley roller in front of it
there was neither rope nor block visible for regular lifting
purposes; neither, we thought, could it be through a large double-
door at the side, for that was bolted, and seemed to have been made
for something taller and broader than the human form. After
sauntering about, the grand rush of words through the window still
continuing, in the interests of "our connexion," we moved towards a
corner at the far end of the side opening, passed up twelve narrow
steps, rushed past a charity box, seventeen hats and caps, and a
small umbrella stand, and then sat down.

We were surprised at the cleanness and neatness of the building, and
at the large number of people within it. Rumour had conveyed to us a
notion that about three persons visited this chapel; but we found
between 100 and 200--all well-dressed, orderly, and pleasant--in
attendance. We also noticed a policeman amongst the company. He was
present, not to keep the peace, but to get some good, for Heaven
knows that policemen need much of the article, and that they have
very little Sunday time to find it in. The policeman behaved himself
very well during the whole service. The building will accommodate
about 200 persons, and the average attendance at the Sunday services
is 120. Three or four middle-class persons, several good-looking
young women, a number of men, including the policeman; a wedding
party, and a numerous gathering of children, made up the
congregation we saw. The service was simple and heartily joined in;
the singing, supported by a small harmonium, went off well; and the
minister preached a fair sermon. But he is far too excitable to last
out long. The speed he goes at would kill a man directly if he were
made of cast-iron.

Mr. Lee, the preacher, is a ten times breezier man than his
vivacious namesake at the Parish Church; he is small like him, dark-
complexioned like him, wears spectacles like him; but he travels at
the rate of 1000 miles an hour, and his namesake has never yet got
beyond 500. The gentleman under review is a pre-eminently earnest
man. We never saw any minister throw himself, head, arms, shoes, and
shirt, so intensely into the business of praying and preaching as
he. Nothing seems to impede his progress. He rushes into space with
terrible vehemence; prays until the veins on his forehead swell and
throb as if they would burst; and when he sits down he pants as if
he had been running himself to death in a dream, whilst sweat pours
off him as if he had been trying to burn up the sun at the equator.
In his preaching he is equally intense and earnest. He puts on the
steam at once, drives forward at limited mail speed; stops
instantly; then rushes onto the next station--steam up instantly;
stops again in a moment without whistling; is at full speed
forthwith, everybody holding on to their seats whilst the regulator
is open; and in this way he continues, getting safely to the end at
last, but driving at such a frightfully rapid speed that travellers
wonder how it is everything has not been smashed to atoms in
readiness for coroners, and juries, and newspaper reporters. As to
his sincerity there cannot be a question. He is not profound, but is
very honest; he has nothing strongly ratiocinative in him, but he
has for ever of earnestness in his composition--indeed he burns
himself up in a great blaze of zeal and blows himself to pieces in a
self-generated whirlwind. If he were quieter he would be more
persuasive; and if he expended less of his vital energy in trying to
brew forty storms in one tea pot he would live longer. "Easy does
it" is a phrase plucked from the plebeian lexicon of life, which we
recommend for his consideration. If he doesn't attend to it we shall
have a case of spontaneous combustion to record; and we want to
avoid that if possible. There is not a more sincere man, not a man
more anxious to do good in Preston than Mr. Lee, only he piles Ossa
upon Olympus too stiffly, and that was a job which the gods couldn't
manage properly.

The building where the Parker-street brethren meet is used for
school purposes regularly--barring the periods when worship is being
conducted in it. On week days about 100 scholars attend it; and on
Sundays about 150. The school and the chapel have done much good in
the locality, and we wish both prosperity. Whatever maybe the
character of the building, and however difficult it may be for
strangers to get to it, those living in the neighbourhood know its
whereabouts, many having derived improvement from it, and if more
went to it, pigeon-flying, gambling, Sunday rat hunting, tossing,
drinking, and paganism generally--things which have long flourished
in its locality--would be nearer a finish.


Long before two-thirds of the people now living were born there was
a rather curious difficulty at the Unitarian Chapel in this town. In
1807, the Rev. W. Manning Walker, who at that time had been minister
of the chapel for five years, changed his mind, became "more
evangelical," could not agree with the doctrines he had previously
preached, got into water somewhat warm with the members, and left
the place. He took with him a few sympathisers, and through their
instrumentality a new chapel was built for him in Grimshaw-street,
and opened on the 12th of April, 1808. It was a small edifice, would
accommodate about 850 persons, and was the original ancestor of the
Independent Chapel in that street. In 1817 the building was enlarged
so as to accommodate between 500 and 600, and Mr. Walker laboured
regularly at it till 1822, when declining health necessitated his
retirement. The Rev. Thomas Mc.Connell, a gentleman with a smart
polemical tongue, succeeded him. Mr. Mc.Connell drew large
congregations, and for a time was a burning and a shining light; but
in 1825 be withdrew; became an infidel or something of the sort, and
subsequently gave lectures on theological subjects, much to the
regret of his friends and the horror of the orthodox.

On the 23rd of July, 1826, the Rev. R. Slate began duty as regular
minister of the chapel, and remained at his post until April 7th,
1861, when through old age and growing infirmity he resigned. Mr.
Slate was a tiny, careful, smoothly-earnest man, consistent and
faithful as a minister, made more for quiet sincere work than
dashing labour or dazzling performance; fond of the Puritan divines,
a believer in old manuscripts, disposed to tell his audiences every
time he got upon a platform how long he had been in the ministry,
but in the aggregate well and deservedly respected. No clergyman in
Preston has ever stayed so long at one place as Mr. Slate; and
Grimshaw-street Chapel since it lost him has many a time had a
"slate off" in more respects than one.

After Mr. Slate retired from his post at Grimshaw-street Chapel, the
Rev. J. Briggs, a young and vociferous gentleman, fresh from
college, given to Sunday evening lecturing, Corn Exchange
serenading, virtuous speech-making, and other--we were going to say
evils--labours of love, appeared upon the stage. Soon after he
arrived a new black gown was presented to him, and if one of the
local papers which recorded the event at the time tells the truth,
he had it donned in the vestry, after which there was a procession
round the church, Mr. Briggs leading the way, whilst the deacons,
including some mythological "Mr. Clinkscales"--that was the name
given--and others brought up the rear. If the town's beadle and
mace-bearer had been present, the procession would have been
complete. In October, 1866, Mr. Briggs retired, with the gown, and
he has since, like Brother Clapham, formerly minister of Lancaster-
road Independent Chapel--"par nobile fratrum"--gone over to "mother

On the 20th of January, 1867, the Rev. Evan Lewis became minister of
Grimshaw-street Chapel, but after staying about a year and a half,
he, on account of ill health, resigned, went south, and died there.
Mr. Lewis was a cautious, cultured person, had very many letters,
which were always coming in a row to the surface, after his name,
was a man of ripe and polished intellect, was clever in brain work,
had good strategic skill, could manage an ill-natured church meeting
well, and would have been a power in his own denomination and in the
town if he had been physically stronger. He was an invalided
intellectualist, well up in everything, but defective in stamina,
muscle force, and lung strength. For about nine months after the
retirement of Mr. Lewis no fixed minister occupied the pulpit.
Sunday "supplies" were tried in the meantime; finally the Rev. G. F.
Newman was selected, and about two months ago he commenced his
ministerial labours.

The building as enlarged in 1817 remained without molestation for
years; but in 1850 it was thought that a better place was needed; in
1856 it was decided to have a better place; soon afterwards the old
edifice was pulled down; and in 1859 the Congregational Chapel we
now see was opened. It stands upon the original site, but is
extended nearer the street than its predecessor. There used to be a
considerable portion of the graveyard in front, but owing to the
enlarged character of the new chapel it was mainly covered over--
built upon; and only a remnant of the old burial ground can now be
seen in this quarter. Two small upright tombstones, immediately
adjoining the chapel, and a few flat slabs on the ground below, are
the only sepulchural indications remaining here. On the southern
side of the building there is a dull and dreary square piece of
ground, railed round, which constituted a portion of the old burial-
yard, and which now contains a few forsaken-looking tombstones. The
new church cost between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds, and it is not
entirely finished yet. At the front it has a one-sided irregular
look; and this is owing to the non-completion of a collateral spire.
In the original design the facade consists of a central elevation
with two flanking towers and spires; but one of the towers, whilst
being constructed, gave way, got seriously out of the perpendicular,
and it was decided to pull it down rather than allow the stone-work
to fall of its own accord. New foundations, ten feet deep, had to be
sunk into the old front burial ground for it, and during the
excavations 33 coffins were taken up and conveyed to a more
peaceable place of sepulture. They literally couldn't stand the
pressure of the tower, and for their sake; as well as the safety of
the building, a change was necessary. Afterwards the tower was
raised to its former elevation, but it is still without a spire. The
re-erection of the tower coat 380 pounds, which was raised by a
weekly offertory.

The chapel, barring the incomplete masonry mentioned, is a well
made, neat-looking building. In front there is a large four-light
window, which had to be taken right out when the tower was being re-
made; on each side there is a long and very narrow window, more for
ornament than use; and below there are two small triangular
apertures of a similar character. Strong rails, intended to prevent
people from approaching the building too closely on week-days,
surround the chapel. There are three arched doorways immediately
adjoining one another at the front, and on a Sunday you are at
perfect liberty to use any of them--to try all of them if so
disposed--and pass through that which appears most agreeable. The
chapel has a large and remarkably clean interior. It is well lighted
with numerous windows bordered with coloured glass, and has a fine
arched roof, supported by four principals, and filled-in centrally
with elaborate designs. Around the building there is a large
octagonal gallery; and whilst all the seats in it run up to a pretty
fair height, those at the western end approach quite an aerial
altitude. It is almost a question of being "up in a balloon, boys,"
when you are perched in the loftiest of them.

All the pews are plain, strong, and without doors. The central ones
on the ground-floor are very uniform in design; those at the sides
are, of various shapes, and are whimsically disposed--seem to be up
and down, straight, diagonal, and semi-circular. The first pew on
the right side was occupied, when we last saw it, with three
brushes, an elderly shovel, and two gas-meters, one of them being a
very full-grown fatherly affair--a sort of deacon amongst ordinary
meters, and looking very authoritatively upon its smaller colleague
and the brushes. The pulpit, at the eastern end of the chapel, is
neatly made, but when the parson sits in it you can't see him from
the front. When we went the other Sunday evening, we could see no
one in it; but after a hymn had been sung, a spring seemed to be
touched, and up jumped the parson, who had been reclining on his
dorsal vertebra for eight minutes at the rear. The pulpit formerly
stood about a foot-and-a-half higher than it does now; Mr. Slate,
who was a little man, would have it a good height; but a hole was
afterwards made in the platform supporting the pulpit, and it was
dropped through it to the level of the ordinary floor, where it now
stands. Six chairs, in Gothic design, with cushions of rich velvet,
are placed upon the platform near the pulpit; in the centre there is
a more patriarchal-looking seat--a sort of pastoral throne; and in
the front of the whole there is a strong table. The deacons and the
minister sit here periodically, feeling grand and furzy all over,
weighing up the universe on special occasions, but endeavouring
always to discharge their executive duties with due propriety and
gravity. We have seen them once or twice on this platform--on those
silk velvet-bottomed chairs, resting upon Brussels carpet--and they
looked majestic. One old gentleman we know, who used to be a deacon
here, never would sit in any of these chairs. He seemed to have
either a dread of the eighteen-inch elevation they conferred, or a
fear that the platform would give way, or a dislike of the
conspicuousness caused by it, and on all occasions when his official
brethren took possession of the chairs, he sat upon an open bench

An ancient-looking organ, of Gothic pattern, and formerly used in a
Blackburn chapel, is placed within an archway in the eastern
gallery. It is a moderately fair instrument, and is decently played,
but it is not good enough for the place, and it is quite time to
sell it to some other chapel, and get a better. The choir contains
about the usual complement of smiling young men and maidens, with a
central gentleman "bearded like the pard," who sits in state in an
elaborately backed chair, and conducts the proceedings with
legitimate authority. The singing of the choir is pretty exact and
melodious; but it is too weak--needs more harmonic energy and
general strength. The congregation do their duty mildly in the
singing portion of the proceedings, and at times, when some good old
tune is started, they rush to the rescue with much dexterity and
thoracic power. There are about 200 "members of the Church" at this
place of worship, and several young people are now, we believe
"ready for admission." The average congregation will be about 300--
not a large number considering the size of the building; but then,
through ministerial changes, &c., the place has had much to contend
with, and it has not had a chance for some time of getting into
proper working order. Peacefulness prevails now at the chapel.

Prior to the advent of the late Mr. Lewis, there were many storms at
the place. The parson never got to literal fighting with any of the
members; the members never threatened to hit him; but one or more of

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest