Up Holland Church 1307-2007

Up Holland Church 1307-2007

:   Dr Allan Miller
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-6756-7
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Up Holland Church 1307-2007'

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The Reverend George FrederickWills, a formerVicar of Up Holland Parish Church, wrote: "The history of Up Holland is largely the history of its ancient church, and that again is mostly bound up with the history of the Holland family." Sir Robert de HolIand's early religious foundations were discussed by Father Brendan Alger in his article 'Religious Life at Up Holland, 1310-1319', published in North West Catholic History (1971).

In 1823, writing about Up Holland's Benedictine Priory in Monosticon Anglicanum, William Dugdale wrongly asserted that: "The history of this house is comprised in a narrow space." Likewise, TheVictoria History of the County of Lancoshire (1908) contended: "The house has little history." In fact, Audrey Coney detailed the history of Up Holland Priory (1319-1536) in her PhD thesis 'On the fringe: landscape and life in Up Holland, c.13 00-1599' (Li verpool University 1998) and in her article 'Holand Priory: Lancashire's Poorest Monastery' published in the Regional Bulletin of Lancaster University Centre for North West Regional Studies (1997). Up Holland Priory's history was also covered by Brian Marshall in his book Lancashire's Medieval Monasteries (2006).

Joseph Bagley's book Up Holland Grammar School (1944) andAudrey Coney's MA thesis 'Up Holland 1599-1633' (Liverpool University 1989) included much information about Up Holland Parish Church in the centuries after the dissolution of the monastery. Mr J Aitkin in A Description of the Country Thirty to Forty Miles Round Manchester (1795) simply commented: Up Holland "had formerly a priory of Benedictines, of which nothing now remains but the

church and a few walls." A Pictorial History of the County of Lancaster (1834) described the "ivied walls" of the former priory, in which "sorne ofthe old stone work ofthe windows yet remains shrouded in the richest green" alongside traces of the foundations, "with fragments of arches" . During the 1860s Edwin Waugh enjoyed the "fine old church" and the "ivied monastic ruins close by". Sir Stephen Glynne in his 'Notes on the Churches of Lancashire' edited by the Reverend J A Atkinson for the Chetham Society (1891-2) graphically described the nadir to which Up Holland Parish Church descended in the 19'h century.

The Reverend Frederic Daustini Cremer, Vicar of Up Holland 1881-1888, elucidated the architectural complexities of the Church in the parish magazine (1886).The ReverendW A Wickharu's 'Architectural Notes on the Ancient Churches of the Diocese' in the Liverpool Diocesan Gazette (1907) contained a detailed description of the fabric of Up Holland Parish Church. The Reverend Wills wrote about 'Up Holland Church' in the Liverpool Diocesan Gazette (1907) and his article 'Three Touches of a Lancashire Parish with National History' in Transactions of the Historie Society of Lancashire and Cheshire (1908) highlighted three key events in Up Holland's history. The Reverend C W Budden described "The Church of St Thomas of Canterbury, Up Holland' in Liverpool Review (1926).The Reverend RA WheeIer, Vicar of Up Holland 1954-1965, gave an account of 'The 65 O'" Anniversary of the Founding of the Church of St Thomas the Martyr, Up Holland' in Transactions of the Historie Society of Lancashire and Cheshire (1957). Mr David Bray's article on

'TheArchitectural History ofStThomasThe Martyr Priory Church of Up Holland' was published in Lancashire History Quarterly (1999).

The primary sources of information about the church in Up Holland are in the record offices in Chester, Preston, Lichfield, Liverpool, London and at Wigan History Shop and Wigan Archive Service in Leigh. West Lancashire District Council allowed me to use illustrations from the Abbey Lakes Heritage Project. The Venerable Peter Bradley, Rector of Up Holland, made the parish ehest available to me. A number of people permitted me to tap into their private collections and they have my gratitude. The Reverend Anthony Wheeler, Canon Michael Wolfe and Canon Peter Goodrich, former incumbents, Harold Charnock, Lay Reader, Brian Sixsmith, Head Server, and the Reverend Judith Ball, Associate Vicar, all made constructive comments.

In the interests of readability, and to conform to the publisher's parameters, specific references have been omitted from the text; authors will understand this decision and it is hoped that historians will forgive this omission. Modernised spellings have been used throughout the book and, in the interest of consistency, the modern spelling of Up Holland has been favoured.

The Reverend Jeffrey Fenwiek, Curate at Up Holland Church in 1957, wrote on the 650'h anniversary: "The church is not just an ancient building or museum. lts history is still being made for it is the parish church and spiritual home for the people of Up Holland." St Thomas the Martyr Church is still at the centre of the community in Up Holland in 2007 on the 700'h anniversary of the original foundation.

1 Under the patronage ofThomas, Earl of Lancaster, the Holland family became one ofthe most powerful clans in medieval Lancashire, their crest still evident on the White Lion inn opposite Up Holland Parish Church. In 1307 the Bishop ofLichfield, in whose diocese Up Holland was located, granted a licence for Sir Robert de Holland to endow a small innovative perpetual chantry in Up Holland where two priests sang and prayed "for the good of the souls of his lord the noble lord Thomas Earl of Lancaster and of hirnself and his wife Matilda, and of their ancestors and heirs and of all the faithful departed." In approving the foundation, the Bishop stipulated that "adequate provision should be made for those who devote themselves to the services of the church lest their good work should flag from lack of proper sustenance." The chantry was an expensive undertaking and the initial endowment ofthree carucates ofland was indeed "quite insuflîcient for the maintenance ofits services."

2 In 1310 the failed chantry was replaced by a collegiate chapel of secular or nonmonastic canons in Up Holland. The Bishop of Lichfield licensed the gift by Sir Robert de Holland of"a messuage and a carucate ofland" in Up Holland and the advowson (living) ofthe church ofChildwall to the new chantry college. William Ie Gode and twelve other chaplains began" celebrating divine service daily in the chapel of St Thomas the Martyr." (St Thomas Becket was the patron saint ofThomas, Earl of Lancaster, Sir Robert's benefactor). Wh en William Ie Gode died, in 13 11, Ralph de Sandbach was nominated as "a fit successor" as Dean. To provide extra revenue for Sir Robert's new venture, Pope John XXII approved the Earl of Lancaster's appropriation ofthe advowson ofWhitwick in the diocese of Lincoln "to the chapel of St Mary and St Thomas ofCanterbury founded by the said knight in his manor of Holland." But Sir Robert Holland's second ecclesiastical foundation was not successfu!.

3 In 1318 Robert de Holland informed the Bishop of Lichfield that the canons had "long and rashly abandoned" the remote innovative collegiate chapel because of the "wildness" and "roughness of the place". Hence "the religion or devotion which it was hoped would there be exercised forever is dissolved and has ceased."The Bishop set up a commission "to investigate all the circumstances and to take evidences, and to make a final settlement on his behalf enforced by canonical compulsion." Three commissioners visited Up Holland on 26- 27 January 1319 and confirmed: "The canons, after they had lived awhile in harmony, deserted the place for the most part without reasonable cause, to the neglect of divine worship." Sir Robert requested that "the said place should be reformed" and, because of "the unproductiveness and situation of that place", it was decided that it would be "more convenient that religious rather than secular men should abide there forever" ,i.e. monks for Up Holland.

4 The Charter for the Foundation ofthe Priory of Holland, sent by the Bishop of Lichfield on 10 June 1319, confirmed that the failed college would be replaced by a monastic order on the same "beautiful spot". Up Holland Priory, which retained the dedication to SaintThomas of Canterbury, was the last monastic house built in medieval Lancashire and the final Benedictine foundation in England before the Reformation. The first Prior, Thomas, came from the Priory of Saint Iohn in Pontefract to take charge ofthe new community of twelve monks. Up Holland Priory was "not a wholly purpose built" structure. It incorporated features of the previous foundations and it has been suggested that the blocked up aisle and pillar seen in this picture indicated more ambitious plans for the western side ofthe building, which were not carried out because of the devastating effe cts of the Black Death on the Up Holland community The present tower was a 15,h centuryaddition to the west end.

5 According to Dr Coney, in addition to being a place ofprayer, study and care, Up Holland Priory was "the most substantial farming unit in the township" wh ere it was "a major agricultural enterprise" , dominated by cattle. Pastoral farming also featured sheep, horses, pigs, rabbits and game birds. Wheat, oats, rye, barley and herbs were cultivated while wildfowl and fish were available "in the dam of the monastic water mil!" at Abbey Lakes. Like all medieval monasteries, Up Holland Priory offered hospitality and accommodation to travelIers. King Edward Ir stayed at Up Holland Priory, 15-28 October 1323, wh en he came to investigate the "incessant local warfare" involving the Holland family. On the day ofSaintThomas the Martyr (29 December) each year the Holland family provided "240 poor persons" with food "served after the manner of gentle-folk" in "the great hall of the maner" and gave them "4d or one pair of shoes of the same price". The recipients may have been pilgrims.

6 Dr Coney has speculated that Up Holland Priory was "a place ofpilgrimage" to which visitors were attracted by two holy relics - a bane of Saint Thomas of Canterbury and a bane of Saint Richard of Chichester. These were displayed in a shrine perhaps supported by stone pedestals, one of which is shown in this picture. After his murder in 1170, a Becket cult developed in England and pilgrims visited religious centres like Up Holland with its Becket relic. The feeding ofthe 240 people in Up Holland each December by the lord ofthe manor may have been to help out the Priory which was unable to cape with the influx ofthe extra visitors to the holy shrine at the feast ofSaintThomas. Alternatively, Dr Coney suggested that the Holland family's apparent philanthropy on 29 December was a ploy to put Up Holland firmlyon the pilgrimage map and to ensure that the extra winter hospitality would attract a regular supply of pilgrims, who made donations that helped the Priory to survive.

7 When King Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of the monasteries, two royal commissioners of inquiry visited Up Holland Priory in 1536. Their undoubtedly biased report alleged that the monks were not observing the Benedictine rule and were guilty of excesses. The five monks each had separate rooms, some with beds, mattresses, bolsters, pillows, sheets, blankets, windows and desks. In comparison with the bigger and richer Lancashire monasteries, Up Holland Priory was providing very little philanthropy Their monastic commitment to education was limited to "two children at School kept of devotion" and their medical assistance was restricted to the support of "two aged and impotent persons". In proportion to its size, Up Holland Priory also had the worst moral record of any monastery in Lancashire. The Prior was allegedly guilty of"incontinence" (sexual relations) with seven women. One monk was accused of "incontinence" with a young girl and another was charged with sodomy

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8 The initial assessment of the financial value up Holland Priory in 1535 indicated an annual net income of only f,5 3 3s 4d, making it the least wealthy of all the monasteries in Lancashire and an obvious target for early dissolution. The buildings were in "good repair" but it lacked resources; there were only four old mass books for the services, "two in paper printed and two in parchment written". The Priory's assets included the glass from "twelve fair windows glazed with divers and many pictures", plate, crosses, beils, books, lead, relics, ornaments, vestments, furniture, woods, carts, cattle, sheep, horses and corn; the holy relics of the two saints were valued at f, 16 13 s 4d. There were attempts to transfer or pawn some of these assets "before the day ofthe dissolution ofthe house" to conceal them from the valuation officials. The net income of Up Holland Priory in 1536 was finally assessed at f,7 8 12s 9d. "Holand Priory" was indeed Lancashire's "poorest monastery".

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