Volume 4 No.10 .................................. December 1997
WRG volunteers erecting the accommodation building
John Clegg, 25 The Farthings, Astley Village, CHORLEY PR7 1TP
Tel: 01257 271198
A Walk Around Euxton
WRG at Work
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.
Whilst writing this report I realised that I was coming to the end of my first year as Chairman and had to sit back to reflect how fast the year has gone.
Annual General Meeting
The 1997 AGM was held at the Novotel in Bamber Bridge and was well attended. Thanks to all of you who managed to attend and for those who could not make it here is a summary of the proceedings.
A number of guests attended this year including our President The Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Atkins who kindly took the chair. Others attending were Richard Spalding the Divisional Director of Babties (our consulting engineers), Paul Snape, project manager of the scheme also from Babties, Richard Eastwood, the Trust's solicitor, of Brabner Holden Banks Wilson who is also the Chairman of Preston & South Ribble Partnership, Richard Shepherd of Enterprise PLC. and Spence Collins from Navvies Anonymous a division of WRG.
The business of the night was soon completed and questions invited from the floor at the end of the proceedings. Paul Snape of Babties read out a report bringing everyone up to date on all the work which has been carried out on the scheme, concluding that he hoped that next year he would be reporting on the progress of the construction.
One final note, we still need to keep up our campaign for additional funds and anyone who wishes to make a donation please contact me on 01772-433273.
Porta cabins, to be used by WRG, as accommodation, whilst assisting with the building of the Link, have now been erected at the Preston Marina site. (see full report)
Further work, both internally and externally, is required to finalise the project and we are looking to hold a weekend work party in the very near future. Any volunteers - we are particularly in need of joiners, painters and plumbers - please contact Frank Parker on 01772-717367 (who is now the Vice Chairman of the Trust)
One piece of excellent news to pass on to you is that we have received a cheque for £500,000 from Cleanaway via the land fill tax. This has boosted our matching funding somewhat and has been invested at a good rate of interest. We are now almost there with matching funding but we cannot stop now as we have to raise additional funding to secure the long term future of the 'Link'. Please help if you can!
The Babtie group is at present trying to finalise the details for the Millennium Commission and a presentation is being prepared. We are planning to meet with the Commission officers in London in mid December and I would like to thank Virgin trains for their generosity in sponsoring the train tickets.
Our service offering you the chance to have photographs of your boat, car or family to be enlarged to A4 or A3 size and framed is still available. If anyone wishes to take advantage of this offer please contact me on 01772-433273 as once again funds will be donated to the Trust.
That's it for this, the last report of 1997, by the next issue the main construction should be almost ready to go and there will be a full report in that issue.
If you require any other information just give me a call or speak to any of the committee members.
Best regards and a Happy New Year.
A Walk Around Euxton
If you feel like a three hour stroll around the more historical parts of Euxton, which is about two miles west of Chorley in Central Lancashire, why not try this walk? It starts, and finishes, at an Italian restaurant and passes a public house (twice!). By the time you read this the new railway station on Balshaw Lane should be open.
- n.nn Shows estimated elapsed time in hours and minutes from the start.
- p.nn Refers to page number or photograph in Euxton Burgh by Kenneth Hodkinson which is available from local book shops and libraries.
- 0.00 The walk starts from Papa Luigi's which is on the A49 in the middle of Euxton.
- p.14 Have a look at at St Mary's RC Church, currently a Grade II Listed Building, which was designed by E W Pugin and opened in 1865 by the Bishop of Liverpool. The Anderton family, of Euxton Hall, had private access from the hall via a small bridge over the Ransnap brook to their own chapel (the south transept of the present church). The foundations can still be seen by each side the path leading down to the brook which starts by the entrance gates to the schools. Also, note the old school, the second Catholic school building in the village, and the ornate lamp posts.
- p.18 Back at the end of the lane pause to examine the stocks and the remains of the cast iron village water pump to be seen to the right.
- p.19-21 To the northeast across Wigan Road (A49) from Bank Lane is School Lane and the National School which was built in 1837. The original school house was on the site of the dentist's surgery. The present line of School Lane is much changed from the original which left Wigan Road further south and passed behind the National School before turning eastwards and crossing the railway by a level crossing.
- 0.15 Cross the main road, turn right and proceed southward along Wigan Road, a main north-south pack-horse route during the Middle Ages, which possibly followed the line of a Roman highway from Wigan to Walton-le-Dale.
- p.18 Note the old buildings, made of stone, on the right hand side of the road. The 18th century cottage has been extended and converted to business premises, but the pair of windows on the ground floor at the southern end show that here was once the loom shop of a hand-loom weaver.
- 0.25 The semi-detached cottages a little further on were originally built for the Anderton's gamekeepers.
- p.24 On the left hand side and on top of the hill, is the Parish Church, built in the 14th century and rebuilt in 1513, also originally dedicated to St. Mary. It is approached through the lychgate, and has a fascinating history and is worth closer inspection.
- p.25 At the bottom of the hill examine the inscriptions on the road bridge over Chapel Brook. The bridge has been widened no less than three times, the evidence being clearly visible in the joins in the masonry under the arch.
- p.26 The large stone gate-posts, gates, (modern, short) railings and the Lodge mark the 1850's entrance to Euxton Hall Park. Follow the footpath to the top of the hill and across Park Avenue.
- p.29,30 The brick building on the left is the Village Institute, rebuilt in 1985. The original was a wooden building where films used to be shown. It was officially opened by the Prince of Wales in 1921. Next to this and slightly set back from the road is the old Bugle Inn. Its name is perpetuated in the garage now on the site. The date stone on the house is 1767.
- 0.45 At the junction of Balshaw Lane and the A49 look for any evidence of the original line of Balshaw Lane.
- p.31 At the junction of Balshaw Lane with the A49 you can see the lane leading to the new railway station. The original station, 'Balshaw Lane and Euxton' which was built in 1895 to replace the station at Euxton Lane was demolished in the 1960's. Continue south along Wigan Road.
- p.32,33 The high sandstone wall beside the pavement on the west side of the road was originally built to enclose Euxton Hall. The now blocked-up doorway in the wall allowed guests of the Anderton's who were staying at Balshaw Villa, opposite, access to the grounds. Note the Anderton Coat of Arms on the front gable of the house. A little further along is 'South View' a 17th century random stone-built cottage, recently extended to three 'dormers'. Notice the water-shot coursing in the stonework of the end wall.
- 0.55 At the junction of Wigan Road and Dawbers Lane is the Euxton Mills Hotel which was built in 1760 as a coaching house called 'The Grapes'. Look at the sign on the pub, which has an illustration of the mills at work.
- p.34,35 At the top of Daisy Hill we pass a garage which is on the site of the old turnpike toll-house.
- 1.00 Continuing down Daisy Hill we pass more 18th century stone cottages on the left before reaching the Methodist Chapel, opened in 1902. This was the site where the 'Ranters' came to preach.
- p.36 The original 1845 Chapel was demolished in the late 1960's and replaced by the present modern building. 'Wesley House' would originally have been the manse of the resident minister.
- p.39 Across the road is the opening to Pincock Brow, but continue to the bridge at the bottom of the hill. To the left is Pincock Viaduct which carries the slow railway line 25 metres above the River Yarrow. The embankment carrying the fast line encases the original wooden trestle bridge. Two large culverts allow the river water to flow through. Down in the valley are two water courses, the river Yarrow on the right and the disused mill leat on the left leading from a broken weir beyond the railway viaduct.
- p.40 Cross over the road to the other side of the bridge (in winter go northwards for a view of Pincock Street through the hedge and then) continue southwards to the house on the corner, 'Bridge House' which has been extended and modernised in recent years. We are now just in Charnock Richard, having crossed the boundary (the river Yarrow). Turn right down the road immediately after the house towards Pincock which was named after Thurstan Pincock who leased the corn mill in 1617 from Sir Richard Molyneux)
- p.41-43 At the bottom is the old pack-horse bridge (by-passing the earlier ford crossing of the Roman road), under which flows the River Yarrow. According to local tradition the bridge was a haunt of highwaymen and Oliver Cromwell had a skirmish with one here. Upstream of it are the remains of Pincock corn mill and the mill race. Immediately downstream was the 'Lobby House' - access to it was through a lobby or passage through the now demolished south terrace of Pincock Street.
- 1.25 Continue to the T junction. This point gives a view westwards down the full length of Pincock Street. This area was once the village settlement and has been changed almost completely since the end of the Second World War. The corner shop was on the site of the first bungalow with the bakery behind it, there was a terrace of cottages on each side of the street, the miller's house was by the main road embankment and the inn, the 'Millwright Arms' was halfway down Pincock Brow.
Proceed along Pincock Street. After passing the last modern bungalow a stone wall comes close to the street. At one time the water tap for the settlement was hereabouts, the water being piped across the river from a supply on the other side. A wide gateway in the wall gave access to a sandstone quarry.
- 1.30 Most of the buildings downstream are the remains of industries which were originally dependant on water power from the river.
- p.44 The first we come to is 'Waterside House' which was originally the drying and storage rooms for the paper mill just downstream - 'Riverside Cottage' (1610). There evidence of this industrial use in the form of blocked up openings in the end wall. You may be able to hear water flowing over the weir which is sited behind the cottages.
The next buildings on the right are modern and replace The Fold, a row of 18th century cottages. The mill leat ran between the cottages and the path.
- 1.40 Follow the river by passing under the bar-gate. Look for evidence of the mill leat: trees in straight lines, bridges without apparent reason, a straight depression parallel to the river, stone 'walls'.
- p.45-47 The buildings of Pincock Spinning Mill (1792) (XELFLEX) are the last remnants of industry in the Pincock area. The car park is on part of the site of the mill pond which extended between the path and the mill as far as the oldest part of the mill which is at right angles to the river and would originally have contained the water wheel.
Soon the start of the third, and possibly the oldest, mill leat can be seen. It was built to provide water power for Armetriding Corn Mill
- 1.50 Look and listen for the water falling over an arch weir a little way downstream on a horse-shoe bend in the river. A little further on is the stone arch of another bridge over the dried up mill leat, the 'White Rail Bridge'.
- p.48,49 The mill leat continued in front of Armetriding Cottages which are sited just before we pass under the M6 motorway and continue along the lane. The next building on the left was the Bobbin Mill or Bobbin Shop which was built in the 18th century when the corn mill leat was tapped to drive its water wheel. The mill was rescued from dereliction in the 1980's and converted into a house.
On the opposite side of the lane to the house look for evidence of steps down the steep slope which might have led from Sparrow Hall, the mill owners home.
- p.50 A footbridge crosses the river here. The water from the Bobbin Mill wheel discharged upstream of the bridge and the water from Armetriding Corn Mill downstream of it.
Further downstream across the fields are the remains of the file manufactory.
- p.51 Turn right up Mill Lane and look for the date stone from Sparrow Hall which is built into the retaining wall of Armetriding Farm. 'Richard : Johns 1662'. Armetriding Farm is probably the second oldest building in Euxton, after the Parish Church, having a date-stone '1570 H A' on its north wall. Continue up the lane to Dawbers Lane.
- 2.10 At Dawbers Lane turn right again and cross over the M6 motorway.
- p.53 Shortly after cross the road into Old Dawbers Lane and aim for the houses with battlements on top. The first one of these, 'Old School House', was the original Roman Catholic school.
- 2.25 Double back, take the first path on the right and follow the arrows through the woods back to Wigan Road.
- p.28 Euxton Hall can be seen to the left across the fields. The 1850's main entrance door was on the West Front, the drive coming from the gates at Chapel Bridge. It was transferred to the South Front in 1929 when the original entrance was re-opened.
- 2.40 At Wigan Road turn left and follow the road northwards making a detour into Euxton Hall Gardens (through the original entrance to the Hall) to have a closer look at the remains of the Hall, minus its upper stories, which is now a private hospital and also the Anderton's private chapel which is now deconsecrated.
Walk around the back of the chapel and through Euxton Hall Mews into Church Walk. Turn right to return to Wigan Road at a point opposite the Village Institute.
- 2.55 Arrive back at Papa Luigi's tired but, hopefully, wiser.
WRG at Work
A group of volunteers from the Navvies Anonymous section of the IWA's
Waterway Recovery Group (WRG), held a working weekend of the 25th/26th
October 1997 to erect a purpose built headquarters and accommodation for
themselves whilst involved with work on the Ribble Link.
The building, which originally housed offices, was donated by Urenco (part of
British Nuclear Fuels Ltd) to the Trust to enable WRG and other volunteers to
be accommodated whilst working on the Ribble Link Navigation. The premises
consist of units which bolt together to form a building 11 metres x 8 metres,
and when completed will house toilets, showers and a kitchen as well as
The weekend was organised by Spence Collins of Navvies Anonymous along with
Frank Parker of the Ribble Link Trust and consisted of two teams from WRG,
one located on the site at Chester to assist and supervise the lifting of the
units for transportation to Preston. The other team was located at the
Preston Marina site to assist with the off loading and the preparation of the
Marsdens of Chorley, a crane hire specialist company, were employed to load
the units at Chester, and Ken Abrams Ltd of Skelmersdale provided the
vehicles to transport the units to Preston.
Chris Miller of Preston Marine Services kindly supplied a crane to off load
the units at the Preston end and has also been very helpful in allowing the
building to be erected on his site which is in close proximity to the Ribble
The Trust wishes to thank all those involved for the help given to complete
the project. Finally please could we have some volunteers to help finish off
those bits and pieces, please contact Cliff Fazackerley on 01772-433273 or
Frank Parker on 01772-717367.
For further information on Navvies Anonymous or WRG contact Mr Neil
114 Regents Park Road, LONDON, NW1-8UQ Tel: 0171-586-2510
Send questions and comments to RLT@aaug.net
Last Revised: Tue 6th October 1998
Copyright © 1997, 1998 by John Clegg,
Cliff Fazackerley and the Ribble Link Trust Ltd.
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