WINWICK : ITS HISTORY AND ANTIQUITIES.
By WILLIAM BEAMONT. Second Edition, 1878
Part 1. Etymology of Winwick.
Part 2. Oswald, King of Northumbria.
Part 3. The Domesday Survey.
Part 4. The Church.
Part 5a. The Rectors of Winwick. 1192 – 1520
Part 5b. The Rectors of Winwick. 1520 – 1610
Part 5c. The Rectors of Winwick. 1610 – 1659
Part 5d. The Rectors of Winwick. 1659 – 1764
Part 5e. The Rectors of Winwick. 1764 – 1866
Part 6. The Winwick Chantries.
Part 7. The Grammar School.
Part 8. Some Winwick Antiquities.
Part 9. Some Winwick Names and Notabilities.
Part 10. Some Funeral Inscriptions in the Church and Churchyard.
Part 11. Bibliography
THE RECTORS OF WINWICK. 1659 – 1764
1659.—Thomas Jessop is found in possession of the living immediately after Herle’s death, but who presented him or how or when he obtained it does not appear. The times were distracted, and he probably came in irregularly. He had left Winwick, however, before 1662 ; and Calamy, who assumes that he went out under the Bartholomew Act, says that on leaving Winwick he retired to Cogshall, in Essex (which was probably his native place), and that " he died there under some scandal." On the 3rd October, 1662, however, he was admitted to the vicarage of Cogshall, on the presentation of Charles, Earl of Warwick, and there on the 14th June, 1673, he buried his wife, and on the 31st Jan., 1679, when the register describes him as " Mr. Thomas Jessop, the minister," he was himself buried. The offence which Calamy calls " some scandal," probably consisted in nothing more than his accepting another Church benefice; for in the same sentence in which he refers to Mr. Jessop, he mentions Mr. Robert Dewhurst, of Whitmouth (or more properly Whitworth) chapel, who, " I understand," he says, " afterwards conformed also." But other authorities show that Calamy was mistaken; and that Mr. Jessop, was not as he, or, more properly, his informant supposed, one of the ministers ejected under the Bartholomew Act. Mr. Jessop more probably left Winwick conscious of some infirmity in his title, and not from any conscientious scruples as to his continuing to hold the living. When we come to speak of his successor it will appear that he had actually been appointed to the rectory two years before the passing of the Bartholomew Act.
1660.—Richard Sherlock, D.D., was presented to Winwick, by Charles, Earl of Derby, before the 20th June, in this year; but the patronage on some ground seems to have been disputed either by the Crown or by the lessee of the living whose term had not then expired, and Sherlock was not actually admitted full.rector until the year 1662. The scandalous lease, for 99 years, which had been made of the glebe, patronage, and tithes to the prejudice of the Rector on 25th March, 5 Eliz. 1563, expired on 25th March, 1662 ; and Sherlock was fully admitted to the living shortly after that time. Roger Lowe, the diarist, mentions his being at Warrington on the 17th March, 1662-3, and going to Mr. Barker’s to hear the organs. Were there organs in the church at that early time ? The editor of the 1841 edition of Wilson’s " Sacra Privata " is mistaken in calling Sherlock its author, for Wilson wrote the book and Sherlock only edited it. He says that the patronage being in dispute the living was given to Sherlock by the King, but probably the King did no more than merely confirm the patron’s appointment.(117) He says also that the Mr. Potter, who did the duty before Sherlock’s arrival, appears on the register as Curate in August, 1662, and October, 1663, when he married two couples from Grappenhall, at Winwick church.(118) Certain it is, however, that Sherlock had been nominated to the living of Winwick before 20th June, 1660 ; for on that day he was restored "to a fifth part of the profits of the living, till such time as he should try his right to the parish against Mr. Jessop, the then incumbent."(119)
Soon after Dr. Sherlock took possession of the living Grace Eden, an inhabitant of Winwick, sued him, pretending a right to the tenements she was in possession of upon paying a small rent and a fine certain upon the coming in of every Rector; but she was cast and forced with the rest to take leases from the Doctor upon his own terms and with what fine he thought fit, which leases he granted for the term of 21 years if he continued so long Rector, and therefore he continuing to be such until 1689, they were forced to renew with him a second time.
Dr. Sherlock was the son of the Rector of Woodchurch, of both his names, and was born at Oxton in that parish, on the nth November, 1612. Like very many eminent men, Sherlock had an excellent and pious mother. He was educated for a while at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, and afterwards at Trinity College, Dublin, where he became M.A. in 1633. His first preferment was a living of £80 a year in Ireland, which he lost on the breaking out of the great rebellion in 1641, whereupon the Marquis of Ormond appointed him chaplain to one of the regiments then going over to England. In the defeat of the King’s forces under Lord Byron, before Nantwich, on 25th Jan., 1643, where Sherlock was with his regiment, he was made prisoner, but he was taken in good company, Monk, afterwards celebrated as the restorer of the King, being taken prisoner at the same time. Fairfax, in his despatch from Nantwich of the 29th Jan., 1643, mentions the fact of Sherlock’s being made prisoner in the battle. To be named in an official despatch has proved of service to many a young soldier ; and although Sherlock was but a non-combatant and was only named as among the prisoners taken, the circumstance kept him before the eye of the Court, and possibly had some effect on his future fortunes. The great Duke of Wellington, at the end of one of his Peninsular Despatches, threw in an expression of regret that the enemy had taken Tom Waters, the best earth-stopper in the army. Tom Waters was a colonel in the service; and the Duke’s regard for him thus casually thrown in did not hinder his promotion. From Nantwich, where he was captured, Sherlock was sent to Oxford, where he became chaplain of New College, was made a B.D. in 1646, and had for his colleagues two men of mark, Isaac Barrow and Peter Gunning, both afterwards bishops.(120) From this employment he was removed in 1648 by the Parliamentary Commissioners, and he then became curate of Cassington, in Oxfordshire, where he must have laboured for love of the work, and not for lucre, for his stipend was only £16 a year. Leaving this cure upon his rector being ejected, he next entered the service of Sir Robert Bindloss, of Borwick Hall, whom he faithfully reproved for indulging in those excesses to which some of the cavaliers at that time were but too much addicted. We should remember, to Sherlock s honour, says Whitaker, that when he reproved his patron the established clergy were a persecuted race, and were often in want of bread.(121) Wilson says he was a father and a priest to Sir Robert, and that’ the latter to his honour did not resent his faithfulness. At Borwick he had a controversy with George Fox, who frequently resorted to that neighbourhood, and during the controversy some pamphlets and papers appeared as well from Sherlock’s pen as from that of Fox and his partisans. From Borwick he removed to the more congenial atmosphere of Knowsley, to become chaplain to the Earl of Derby, the patron of Winwick, who, as we have seen, at the Restoration presented him to that living. And about the same time he received from Dublin his D.D. degree. In 1664 Roger Lowe mentions going to see Winwick Hall and the chapel, so that Sherlock must have had a domestic chapel there. The Earl, after the Restoration, entrusted Sherlock with a commission to settle the church in the Isle of Man, and possibly that detained him awhile from Winwick after he was presented to the living. When he first came to his living the rumour that he was a High Churchman which had preceded him, had so prejudiced the people against him that on the very day that he read himself in, when he came to the XXII. Article against Purgatory, one of his hearers, who had not patience to hear him to the end, arose and left the church exclaiming, " Nay, if you be for purgatory,-you shall be no teacher of mine." In 1666 Mr. Potter was his curate, and in 1669, at the Bishop’s Visitation, Sherlock preached the sermon, which was afterwards printed in London. We learn from the parish register that in 1679 a Mr. John Shaw was Sherlock’s curate; and in 1681 Thomas Crane, of Brazennose College, Oxford, who had graduated there as an M.A. in 1670, filled the same office.
In 1672 the house of Richard Birchall, in the parish of Winwick, was licensed for a presbyterian meeting place, and at the same time William Aspinwall received a licence to be a presbyterian teacher in the above house, which was no doubt situated in Ashton.
In 1674 Thomas and Anne Sherlock, the rector’s nephew and niece, erected the house at Owler Root, in Winwick, on which their initials appear.
In 1683 there occurs in the register a notice of a ceremony now forgotten, that of the King touching for the evil, which seems to have been a kind of exorcism, and to have had a regular religious service appropriated to it, the form of which may be seen in " Notes and Queries." There seems at this time to have grown up some laxity in admitting people to the touch, in consequence of which there issued a proclamation which enjoined upon all ministers and
churchwardens, before giving any certificate to persons desirous of being touched, to enquire into the truth and reality of their complaint, and not only to assure themselves that such persons had not been touched before, but to see that a regular register was kept of all the certificates which they granted. In the above named year Rector Sherlock and his churchwardens granted a certificate, which is duly entered in the register, signifying that Henry, the son of Ralph Bate, of Croft, "who had the evill, had been touched by his majestic" A similar certificate appears in the register of the parish of Eccles-ton, on the 21st March, 1685.(121) We need not wonder at the proclamation against the promiscuous issue of such certificates, seeing that in the year 1682 no less than 8,500 people were touched.(122) The persecution which he had suffered as a Royalist had taught Sherlock mercy. His life was so consistent, and his charity so tolerant, that he lived down the prejudices which met him on his coming into the parish, and in the end the people learned to revere and love him, which is the more remarkable considering how opposite his doctrines and teachings were to those of Herle, one of his near and great predecessors. He would never, however, tolerate any open profaneness; and one day observing a person, who ought to have known better, openly misbehaving in church, he desired the churchwardens to remove him; but as they were doing so the man expressed sorrow for his misconduct, and so was allowed to remain, which he did, observing at the same time that " he did not fear the devil half so much as he did that old gentleman with the long grey beard" (Sacra Privata).
Sherlock was a great benefactor to his native parish of Woodchurch, and founded there several useful charities, of which an account will be found in the history of Cheshire.
At Winwick also his charities were abundant and judicious. It was his maxim that when the shepherd is absent the flock will wander; and so unlike was he to Rector Herle, that in 30 years he was not absent as many weeks from his benefice, where he constantly kept three curates, who always resided in his house, and who, being thus placed near so experienced a master worker, were able to learn from him both by precept and example. Dr. Sherlock was active in his pastoral duties, and was eminently a man of prayer, and the effect of both showed itself in the good order of his parish.
He was a great polemical writer, and the divine may still consult his voluminous works with profit.(123)
A portrait of Sherlock, which still remains at Winwick, and of which there is a copy at Lyme, represents him wearing a black skull cap, with a grave and benevolent but somewhat mortified countenance. He wears a long beard, which he is said to have never shaved after the execution of Charles I. This feature in the portraits of our old divines gives them so very reverent a look that a humourist took occasion lately to observe that he doubted whether there had been any sound divinity since beards were left off. Perhaps, as they have now again begun to be cultivated, divinity may revive also.
Sherlock died at Winwick on the 20th June, 1689, and was buried in the chancel of the church. He maintained a constant and decent hospitality at the parsonage, which for some time was at Broad Oak Cottage, but the greatest part of his revenue was spent in charity. He fasted much, and practised habitual self-denial. He voluntarily chose to live a single life, and he leaned towards asceticism; and he left behind him not more than one year’s profit of his benefice. He left by his will, made the same year that he died, £10 to the poor of Eccles.(124) Bishop Wilson, his nephew and former curate, wrote his life, and Crane, another curate, afterwards a non-juror, preached his funeral sermon, which in 1690 was printed in London for Philip Burton, bookseller, in Warrington. Sherlock wrote his own epitaph, which by his desire was inscribed on his tomb. It has the great fault common to epitaphs in that age of omitting all mention of the deceased’s faith; but in other respects it accords well with Sherlock’s characteristic humility :—
‘ Exuviae, Richardi Sherlock, D.D., Indignissimi hujus Ecclesias rectoris. Obiit xxo. die Junii Ao. Mtat. 76 Anno Do. 1689. Sal infatuatum conculcate.
The Remains Of Richard Sherlock, S.T.P., The very unworthy Rector of this Church. He died 20th June, aged 76, Anno Domini i68g. Tread under foot the worthless salt.
To this epitaph some one(125) who knew Sherlock, and had a higher estimate of his character, has added this comment, (126) which is engraved upon the same plate:—
En Viri Sanctissimi Modestia qui epita phiu se indignu inscri bi volebat cum vita et merita ej’s laudes omnes / Longe superarent.
Behold the modesty of this holy man! Who wished this unworthy epitaph Inscribed on his grave, while his Life and merits exceed all praise !
1689.—Thomas Bennet, D.D., who was presented to the living on the death of Dr. Sherlock, was a native of Wiltshire, and studied at Oxford, where he became Fellow, and afterwards Master of University College. He had been promised the next presentation to Winwick three years before Sherlock’s death, and upon hearing it, Sherlock immediately invited him down to Winwick to take part in the duties of the cure, and share the profits of the living. Another writer says, but erroneously, that it was not Bennet but Obadiah Walker who received this invitation from Sherlock.(127) But whoever was the person, the motive was the same, and the invitation was equally creditable to Sherlock. When Bennet succeeded Sherlock several of the tenants commenced a suit in chancery against him upon the like pretences as they had formerly sued his predecessor, but after several hearings their bill was dismissed. Dr. Bennet lived only a short time to enjoy his benefice, and during that time was probably but very little there. At any rate, he died at Oxford in May, 1692, and the living again became vacant. He had for his curates Wilson, the future bishop, and William Yates. Dr. Bennet must not be confounded with his namesake, another Thomas Bennet, of whose numerous works an account may be seen in Watts’ " Bibliotheca."
1692.—The Honourable and Reverend Henry Finch, who was presented by William George Richard, Earl of Derby, after the death of Dr. Bennet, was presented on June 30th, instituted 30th July, and inducted August ist, 1692.(128) Mr. Finch was the 6th son of Heneage, Earl of Nottingham, and Lord Chancellor, and a younger brother of Daniel, Earl of Nottingham, a nobleman of great political influence at that time, and who filled the office of Secretary of State the same year that Mr. Finch was presented to Winwick. Heneage Finch, the rector’s father, was the Amri of Dryden’s " Absalom and Achitophel," one of the few characters commended in that peom, where he is thus spoken of—
Sincere was Amri, and not only knew But Israel’s sanctions into practice drew ; Our laws that did a boundless ocean seem, Were coasted all and fathomed all by him. No rabbin speaks like him their mystic sense So just and with such charms of eloquence.
For a short time after the rector’s presentation, both Wilson, Sherlock’s nephew, and the Rev. Edward Allenson, were his curates, and the latter remained his curate after Wilson was promoted to the Bishopric of Man. On the 7th July, 1694, Allenson was examined on the Jacobite trials at Manchester, when he was described as "parson of Newtown, or minister of the chapel there for Mr. Legh," but he was at the same time curate for Mr. Finch.(129) In 1695, or (according to other accounts) a few years later, Rector Finch was made Dean of York.(130) There is a tradition at Grappenhall that, in the last century, a window of stained glass was removed from that church to York, and as Dean Finch is known to have enriched York minster with several windows of that kind, and as his former curate, Allenson, became rector of Grappenhall while Finch continued Dean of York, it is likely that if a window was removed from Grappenhall it was removed in the Dean’s time. Wilson calls Finch "his most kind and worthy friend for thirty years." It is no wonder, therefore, that when Wilson was married at Winwick, on October 27, 1698, Finch, at his request, performed the ceremony. Finch was not only the decorator of the minster, but he promoted during several years the repair and restoration of Winwick Church, as is shown by the following inscriptions on different portions of the wood ceiling. On the beams of the south aisle:—John Birchall (1699), Henry Taylor, wardens; Richard Barker (1699), Joseph Birchall, wardens. On the beams of the north aisle : (1700) Samuel Pairt, John Sherlock, Peter Hart, John Naylor. On the beam adjoining the chancel: Robert James Orrell (1701), George Ingham, Samuel Barrow ; the honourable and Rev. Master Henry Finch, rector. 1701, Robert Eden, James Orrell; 1701, George Ingham, Samuel Barrow, William Wright, Thomas Edwardson; 1702, Henry Clayton, Henry Richardson.—In 1701, the rector and churchwardens filed a terrier in the Bishop’s register, which stated, amongst other things, that there were then three chapels in the parish, namely, Newton, Ashton, and Newchurch. That fifty pounds had been left towards maintaining a preaching minister at the last named place ; and that at Ashton twelve pounds had been left, the interest of which was to go to a curate there for preaching a sermon on Good Friday, and twenty shillings for a sermon on St. Thomas’s Day.
In 1698 we have notice of the continuance of the shameful practice of piracy, probably by the Sallee rivers mentioned in " Robinson Crusoe," for on 22nd November in that year the Winwick register mentions that 2s. 6d. and 4s. were given by John Worsley and James Sorrocold to Mary Engle-field towards ransoming- her husband from the Turks.
On the 13 November, 1702, Zachary Taylor, A.M., one of the Queen’s preachers for Lancashire, preached the funeral sermon of John Risley, esquire, of Risley, in Winwick Church. The sermon, which was entitled " On the decency and moderation of Christian mourning," was printed the next year with a dedication to the virtuous Madame Ashton, the deceased’s mother.(131)
Queen Anne’s reign seems to have been fatal to old church bells, and like most of those in the neighbourhood, the Winwick peal of six were recast, as their date shows, in 1711. If these were the Winwick bells seen there in I552, when the Royal Commissioners came in Bishop Stanley’s time, they must have required large additions to cast a peal of six out of them. Mr. Finch preached a sermon on Ephes. II., 18, which was printed and published the same year. Besides those before mentioned, he had for his curates at Winwick at different times Mr. Thomas Waring and Mr. John Smith.
In 1724 there was a suit of Finch v. Masters and others, respecting a modus for hay and small tithes in Winwick parish, which came on for decision, and was decided on the 7th April in that year.(132) In 1725 Mr. Finch resigned the rectory of Winwick, and in 1728 he died, being still Dean of York.
1725.—Francis Annesley, LL.D., presented by Arthur, Earl of Anglesey, and Francis Annesley, Esq., trustees for the Hon. Henrietta Ashburnham, on the resignation of Hon. H. Finch. In this rector’s time Winwick Hall, the rectory,, was rebuilt. He died, ist May, 1740 (133)
1740.—The Honourable John Stanley, younger brother of Edward, eleventh Earl of Derby, was presented by Charles Stanley, of Crosse Hall, esquire, patron for this turn, on the death of Francis Annesley, September 11, 1740. James Earl of Derby, who died in February, 1735, having left the presentation to his relation Mr. Stanley, brother to Mr. Stanley, of Crosse Hall(134)
1742.—Thomas Stanley, LL.D., second son of Thomas Stanley, esquire, who was sheriff of Lancashire in 5 Geo. I.,(135) was presented by Edward, eleventh Earl of Derby, after the resignation of John Stanley on the 18th May, 1742.
In the year 1745 a detachment of the Scotch rebels found their way from Wigan to Winwick and committed depredations on the farmers and others, and in the following year we have these entries in the parish books :—
" 1746. Gave the ringers when General Ligonier’s horse passed by is." (They were then on the way to Falkirk.)
" Gave the ringers on the news of the rebels being disperst, Feb. 8." (This must have been premature, as the decisive battle of Culloden was not fought until April 16.)
Dr. Stanley died in 1764.
(117) The Winwick terrier of 27 May, 1701, says all the glebe and tithes of Winwick were leased out in the 5 Eliz., for the term of 99 years, at a rent of about £200 per annum.
(118) Keble’sLife of Wilson, i. 53, and Pref. to Practical Christian, edit. 1846 p.52.
(119) Kennet’s Register and Chronicle, p. 185 ; Wood’s Athena?, Bliss edit., iv. 259 ; and Journals of the House of Lords, June 20, 1660.
(120) Barrow became bishop of St. Asaph and held also the bishopric of Man in commendam ; Gunning became Bishop of Ely. Both the Bishops were Cambridge graduates. The sneer at the cavalier chaplains might be spared when it is recollected that besides Sherlock, Jeremy Taylor, Fuller and Pearson were among them.
(121) Hist. Lanc, iii. 476.
(122) Macaulay’s Hist. Eng.
(123) Wood’s Athena?, Keble’s Life of Wilson, Hickes’s Life of Kettlewell, Whit-taker’s Richmondshire, ii. 313-14-15 ; and Hist. Ches., ii. 388-89-90.
(124) Hist. Eccles, p. 23.
(125) Mr. Hy. Prescott, of Chester.
(126) Keble’s Life of Wilson, i. 41-45.
(127) Sacra Privata, edit. 1841
(128) Winwick Terrier of 1701.
(129) Wilson’s Life, by Keble, pp. 45-35-36; Blundell MSS. and Jacobite Trials at Manchester, both by Chetham Soc. 88.
(130) Wilson’s Life, by Keble, 118.
(131) A short notice of this preacher, who was at one time Vicar of Ormskirk, will be found in the Lan. and Chesh. Hist. Soc. Proceedings, 3 series, vol. v., pp. 130-1.
(132) Bunbury’s Reports, 231.
(133) Gent.’s Mag. x. 262.
(134) Gregson’s Fragments.
Transcribed by Steven Dowd from the original book which he owns, Originally publication is from 1878, this text version and layout, edits and errors is © 2008 Steven Dowd, for use at the Newton-le-willows website