Leyland Historical Society
When this bridge was built prior to the opening of the railway from Wigan to Preston, it was one of only two in the village, the other being the now demolished Rose Whittle Bridge, level crossings being situated at Golden Hill and Turpin Green. The original bridge was blown down on January 27th 1878, to make way for the new four-track width bridge.
While Bent Bridge is named after the lane, the bridge actually became bent when Heald House Road was realigned with Church Road on the building of the M6 Motorway Bridge; the kink was only corrected many years later by the widening of the railway bridge.
The bridge had originally made a T-junction with Bent Lane to the left and Heald House Road to the right. While the bridge remained bent, a footbridge was added to save the provision of a footpath across the bridge. This was later removed after the widening to become a crossing of the River Douglas near Rufford.
This was built by the Leyland Urban District Council and Leyland Motors as the Leyland Motors Housing Society Ltd., between the wars, as part of their grand plan to create a garden suburb between Sandy Lane and the railway.
The houses in the cul de sac were built for sale in 1920. They were constructed of concrete and steel, materials, which were much in favour at that time.
Balshaws Grammar School
Following the announcement at the 1928 speech day that the new school was in the planning stage, it was in September 1931, when 165 scholars from the Golden Hill School moved into this building in Church Road on a green field site.
The official opening of the school was on June 18th, 1932, just 150 years since the anniversary of the foundation on June 14th 1782. The school has been extended over the years to meet the demands of the varying education policies.
Beechfield Gate House
This was built by John Morrell to form the entry to his new Beechfield House. The house, however, now can only be approached from within the new Beechfield housing estate, the present owners having renovated the house to its original condition.
Beech Villa, as Beechfield was then known, was built in 1855 by John Morrell, the land agent to the Farington estate. In 1837 at the time of the Tithe Award this estate was known as “Shuttleworths” and was owned by Thomas James Baldwin, a Major on the " Retired List " in the Honourable East India Company's Bengal Army.
The property appears to have descended to him from his uncle, the Reverend Nicholas Rigbye Baldwin, Vicar of Leyland 1809 - 1824, but this has not yet been established. The original Shuttleworth House stood on Church Road by what is now Beechfield Road, the entrance to the Mayfield estate.
John Morrell, therefore, built the imposing Beechfield House in a more central position on his eleven acres, leaving Shuttleworth House still standing in its roadside location until it was demolished in the 1960's.
The Morrell family were followed at Beechfield by the Middleton family of Adlington who owned the Springfield Mill at Heath Charnock. By the middle of the 1920's, the occupier was Mr John Pilkington, the owner of Earnshaw Bridge Mill, who lived there until the 1950's when he moved to Baldwin Croft.
About this time the Beechfield estate was bought by Leyland Motors Ltd., who also bought the adjacent field, the Paddocks. In the late 1980's, these were sold by Leyland Daf and have now been almost entirely built on. The Beechfield House and Lodge, however, survive as a reminder of the old estates origin and former glory..
Wellington House Gardeners Lodge
This is an unusual building of rounded design which was the lodge house and gardener's cottage of Wellington House. The main drive to Wellington House entered the estate at this point; the estate covered a large area, with kitchen gardens, outbuildings and cottages.
The house is shown on the 1848 Map as Wellington Place, having been first noted in 1819 in a survey of Leyland. This large rambling house appears to have been erected on the site of a former residence but it has not been possible to confirm this from documentary evidence. It was rebuilt in 1861, and following periods of being owned by various captains of industry, the house was used for a period at the turn of the century by Balshaws Grammar School.
Elias Sumner Berry, a member of the firm of Berry's cotton manufacturers, bought the property, which included the house, outbuildings, gardener's lodge and two cottages with 33.296 acres, the price being £ 3000. In 1919 it was sold by Mr Berry to Leyland Motors. It was inaugurated as a residential hostel for their engineer apprentices or " premiums " as they were known. The last occupants were Mr & Mrs Glassbrook who was the wardens of the house.
It was named after the Duke Of Wellington and had 38 rooms. The most interesting feature of the house was the stone carved Doric columns with a figurehead over the centre of the doorway. The house was demolished following the opening of Stokes Hall in the 1960's, itself now demolished, the site being occupied by the new Wellington Park in 1989..
The cottage on this site were said by Miss Farington of Worden Hall to be one of the oldest buildings in Leyland. For several generations, it was occupied by the sextons of Leyland Parish Church, being an old fashioned type of thatched house with two rooms above and two below, with a little place under the roof for storing apples and similar fruit. The last tenant of the old cottage was Harry Bridge, formerly coachman to Dr Berry, a local doctor.
Following the demolition of the cottage, the site was then occupied by Stokes Hall, which replaced Wellington House as the training establishment for Leyland Motors. This was opened by Harold Wilson, the Prime Minister, in September 1965 and provided individual study bedrooms for 100 trainee technologists in addition to a common room, library, dining room and games, music and committee rooms. Following the decline of the Motors, it too was demolished to make way for the Stokes Hall housing estate.
Rev. Octavius De Leyland Baldwin built this " bungalow " as he called it in Beechfield to which he retired in 1912. Leyland, the last of the Baldwins, died on January 16th 1913, thus ending the long line of seven Baldwins who had been vicars of Leyland for 164 years.
The house was built on glebe land, being renamed Beechfield when John Pilkington, the owner of Pilkington’s Mill of Earnshaw Bridge moved there from " Beechfield “ in the early 1950's. The front of the building looks onto Beech Avenue though it is not possible to obtain a view from this angle.
This was the site of the May Festival field events from the first festival in 1889, when the procession began from the schools in Union Street to the Railway Station and then returned to the Mayfield.
Originally known as the Paddocks, the May Festival continued to use the field until the last festival prior to the Second World War in 1936. When the festival recommenced in 1951 for the Festival of Britain, Worden Park had become available following the purchase by the Leyland Urban District Council, so this and subsequent festivals used these facilities while the former festival site together with the adjoining Beechfield estate were eventually developed as a housing estate in 1989.
Eagle & Child Inn
One of Leyland’s oldest inns, the Eagle & Child's role as a public house dates from 1753, the innkeeper being William Cooper, the pub then being known as The Holy Lamb. Whilst according to the Quarter Sessions records of Innkeepers for 1786, the landlord was a Nicholas Plaskett.
The original building dates back to the cottage built on this School Hillock site in 1749, although the main body of the public house probably dates from the 18th Century with some 19th Century additions. It has been suggested that part of the premises were reputedly used as Leyland's Court House with the cellars being used as holding rooms for offenders, though it has not been possible to confirm this from any documentary evidence.
About 1880, before piped water came to Leyland, people carried water from a pump at the rear of the Eagle & Child. In 1981, the inn was renovated internally and externally to its present condition, managing to retain the stone flag floor, though the interior has now become open plan, the small rooms becoming one long room and the bar moved to a central position.
Site Of Eagle & Child Barn
Where the cars now park opposite the Eagle & Child was the site of the inn's barn, which jutted out in the road before it was demolished to make way for an improved Church Road.
The floodlights behind the car park lighten up the Eagle & Child bowling green. The M6 motorway sign that was adjacent is one of the few signs sited in the original position from when the motorway opened in 1963.
The Old Grammar School
The former Leyland Free Grammar School stands at the north-east corner of the churchyard of Leyland Parish Church. Following being established in the church in 1524, the present building was built between 1580 and 1620, the schoolmasters house being added in 1790. The schoolroom being long with oak beams, the present floor level of the room, lowered in the early years of this century, being considerably lower than the churchyard against which it stands.
Following the closure of the school in 1874, the building was offered for sale and was purchased by John Stanning, who then gave the building to the church. The Charity Commissioners gave the proceeds of the sale and an endowment of about £20 to scholarships at Balshaw's Grammar School. In the early twentieth century, it was used for meetings, for a Men's Sunday School Class, for a Club Room on three evenings a week connected with the same Men's Class, and for many other useful purposes.
The building then slowly fell into disrepair until the 1970’s when plans to demolish the building to use the space for a car park was overturned and the restoration of the building began, reopening on 7th December 1977 as the South Ribble Museum and Exhibition Centre.
Parish Church of St. Andrew, Leyland
The church is said to have been built in 1050. In 1086, it was recorded in the Domesday Book that among the inhabitants of Leyland there was a priest, who would no doubt have a place of worship. In 1220 a new church was built and the chancel of this church still stands today.
The tower is said to date from 1220, but has been extensively restored C 1500. There are many emblems carved near the top of the tower to commemorate some of the notable people involved in the work. In 1816, the nave was taken down and rebuilt the following year, the width being increased by nineteen feet.
When the old walls were taken down, the foundations were left in below the floor of the nave. When alterations were made in 1852 in the south - east corner removing some of the old foundations, there were fragments of a still earlier church found including 12th century masonry, incised slabs and parts of stone coffins
The Village Cross
The village cross, which stands in the middle of the road at the junction of Towngate and Church Road, about one hundred yards west of St Andrews Parish Church, probably dates back to Saxon times and is the oldest construction known to exist in Leyland. There were four steps, though the shaft and cross have been rebuilt and repaired many times after numerous collisions with different forms of transport.
Until 1887, there were two gas lamps attached to the top of the shaft. These lamps were removed and the cross restored to the design of Charles Deacon, Architect of Liverpool, funded by the Rev. T. Rigby Baldwin and Miss Susan Maria Farington.
The stocks were removed that year and a new fountain and water trough were set up and connected to the main water supply to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. These replaced the old iron pump and stone water trough, which were removed. The fountain stands approximately over the old well though recent investigations have found that the cross has been moved about a foot on its base.
Around The Cross
The small shop between the entry into the Roebuck coaching inn yard and the public house itself was a sweet shop for many years under the ownership of Daniel Swarbrick and later Polly Darwin. The property remained empty until the Leyland & District Model Railway Society occupied it.
The Roebuck public house on the right is built on the site of the oldest pub in Leyland, its previous name prior to 1824 being " The Stag ". Many local families, including the Critchleys and the Iddons have been involved in the running of the public house, until it was taken over by Whittle Springs Brewery. This was the venue for the Worden tenants dinners.
Though this book is named after the lanes of Leyland, we take the thoroughfare east from the Cross being called Church Road (B 5248).
This route from Clayton and the old manor house of Worden, now within the R.O.F., was formally a sunken track way between two high hedges, the width being determined by the site of the Eagle & Child barn, which jutted into the modern day road until it was demolished.
The lack of importance of this road can be obtained from the original Ordnance Survey 1844 Map of Leyland, which shows only two buildings eastwards on Church Road, namely The Grove and Wellington Place after the Eagle & Child Inn, whereas Towngate for instance was already built up to Westgate. The tithe award map compiled around 1837 also included Shuttleworth House.
The Original 6" Ordnance Survey Map of 1844 was originally surveyed between 1844 and 1846 by two members of the Ordnance Survey, a Captain and Lieutenant, the Survey being closely linked at that time to the Artillery and the Engineers, the map being published by the Ordnance Survey in 1847. These maps of Lancashire and Yorkshire were the first of the large-scale maps on the mainland, the only previous 6" maps being of Ireland.
By the appearance of the 1896 Map, the large estates of Beechfield and Wellington House together with Shuttleworth House covered the west of Church Road, whilst east of these estates the fields were still farmland.