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A Short History of Windle Parish- HTML Version


The Early Years .

Picture of Windle Parish Road Sign The name Windle means, Windy Hill and was sometimes spelt as Wyndell
The early mention of Windle dates back to the Battle Of Hastings when Roger Montgomery who was a leader at the battle was rewarded by William The Conquerer with the gift of three hundred and ninety manors, including one hundred and eighty eight in land between the Mersey and the Ribble known as Lancashire. Amongst these manors was Windle which contained Hardshaw. Pain de Vilars was made the first baron of Warrington by Montgomery and his territory included Windle.
Windle Chantry , known as Windle Abbey was probably built by Thomas Gerard on his return from Agincourt around 1415. The ruins of the Chantry are still standing and the stump of the medieval cross is still visible, the last of many we had in this district. Near Windle Abbey is the holy well dedicated to St.Thomas, the waters of which had curative properties for eye troubles.
In 1548 the Chantry Commissioners reported on the Chantry within the Chapel Of Wyndell.
It is claimed that Prince Rupert who was defeated at Marston Moor in 1644 and escaped towards Lancashire, heading towards Knowsley, had hid in the tower of the ancient Windle Abbey. The building fell into disuse after the dissolution and it is rumored that Cromwells soldiers stripped lead from the roof to make balls for their muskets.


The Witch Of Windle.

On July 12th 1612, evidence was given against Isobel Roby of Windle in front of Sir Thomas Gerard.She was accused of upsetting the ship which was bringing the bride of James 1 of England, she was Princess Anne of Denmark. Two women were tried in St.Helens Chapel in 1602 for witchcraft and sent to Lancaster for trial. Isobel was listed with the Pendle and Salmesburg witches at Lancaster assises, and was tried and hanged on the same day, 20th August 1612. The reputed cottage she lived in as long been demolished, which was situated on Crank Road near Windle Island, and is now occupied by a bungalow.


Formation Of The Townships.

The historical township of Windle is one of the four townships in existence before the town of St.Helens was founded. The four townships of St.Helens are, Windle, Sutton, Eccleston and Parr, and its name taken from a Chapel-of -ease which was situated at the junction of the boundaries of the four townships. Eighteenth century Windle took in Windle Ashes, Windle Smithy, Moss Bank up to Carr Mill Dam, Laffak, Islands Brow, Gerrards Bridge, Pocket Nook, Hardshaw, Cowley Hill and St.Helens.


Industrial Windle.

Coal Mining

Coal mining is mentioned in Windle as early as 1610, and no difficulty appears to have been placed in the way of mining expansions by the local lords of manors. The Bolds in Sutton, the Eccleston in Eccleston, the Gerards in Windle, the Byrons in Parr were all willing to have their coal exploited.In 1756, a local yeoman family, the Tarbucks. Two brothers Robert and John Tarbuck, sank mines in Windle at their joint cost, and continued to work them for over a decade. A smaller local coal master, Charles Dagnall. In the mid- 1750s,opened pits at Ashes Farm in Windle, described as an out-of-the-way site between St.Helens and Rainford. By 1765 the colliery was up for sale.

Comb Manufacture

Another business of the Dagnall family was the manufacture of ivory combs. They are first encountered as comb makers in Windle as soon as Liverpool became interested in the Africa trade. Richard Dagnall, a horn comb maker of Windle, became a freeman of Liverpool in 1701.

Windle Brewery

There is mention in the history books of a brewery in Windle, in the eighteenth century, called Dentons Green Brewery. Two Inns mentioned in the directory of 1870 are, The Gerard Arms and the Abbey Hotel, are still there and have been for over three hundred years, but the brewery has gone and so have some of the cottages. A few still remain, notably the Cockleshell Cottage on Rainford Road. The date over the door is 1742 and J and A.C. these being the initials of John and Alice Cross, the date being their wedding date. They were brewers and later moved to a larger house opposite called Windle Grange, and the old Malt House is now the homes of local residents.


The Jim Malone Garden.

Picture of The Jim Malone Garden The garden which is situated in Rainford Road just before the bus stop at Windle traffic lights.It is in memory of one of the past Windle Parish Clerks and also includes the Windle Parish sign and one of two notice boards in the parish. The old seat that was situated there, has been replaced by a new Millennium seat, purchased by Windle Parish Council and was one of the items purchased to mark the year 2000, the other item being the clock tower which was installed over the front entrance of the new school building.


Eccleston Windle Bleak Hill C.P. School - a brief history

Picture of Bleak Hill School Following discussions which Mr. Isaac , the present head teacher at the school had with people of the parish who have lived and worked in this part of St.Helens, the following information was gained. Like most histories, while they strive to be accurate they are only the creation of flawed human beings, so it is with this one.The County Primary Schools at Bleak Hill was formed in 1984, from two schools, Bleak Hill Infant Scholl and Bleak Hill Junior School. The early Eighties had seen a nationwide reduction in the birth-rate which had resulted in some empty classrooms in various schools. The logical step for the St.Helens Council to make was to amalgamate Infant and Junior Schools and create County Primary Schools.
This is what happened at Bleak Hill in 1984. Prior to that the Junior School and the Infant School had opened their doors on the present site in 1951 and run with huge class-sizes right through the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies.In fact at some point in the Sixties the infant School had 3 extra Classrooms added so that it became a two form entry Infant School with all of its pupils transferring at the age of seven to the two-form entry Junior School. Previously the Infant School had provided half of the intake while the Old Village School, situated in Chapel Lane, had provided the rest. However at that time Lancashire County Council built Eccleston mere Junior Scholl and the Chapel lane School became its designated Infant Feeder School. That situation existed until 1984 when Eccleston Mere also became a County primary and the old Chapel Lane School was closed, and later demolished.
It became obvious that the Old School had served its purpose but it is appropriate to acknowledge the excellence of provision which the old building has afforded in its fifty years of its existence. So the decision was taken to replace the old school with a brand new one. In December 2000 the foundation stone for the new school was laid, and later a Time Capsule was buried on the site. The capsule contained items to illustrate the typical classroom of 2001 including merit badges, trophies and examples of childrens work, and will not be opened for fifth years. The Windle Parish Council funded a new clock tower which is situated on the building near the main entrance, which has made a pleasing feature on the building, and will become a landmark for the future.


Ecclesfield Sports Facility

Picture of Ecclesfield Sports Facility In early 1980 Eccleston and Windle Parish Councils identified the need for a changing facility at Ecclesfield and a joint working party was set up. They raised the cash, drew up plans and their efforts culminated in the opening of the changing rooms at the rear of Eccleaton library in November 1991. A Management Committee was formed from the two Parish Councils and a constitution drawn up. Eccleston Parish Council, which provides 70% of the funding, has the numerical superiority and the Chair is shared on the same basis. Initially the two Councils provided the bulk of the running costs but, as the number of teams using the facility increased, the contribution form the rate payers has been significantly reduced.


Lynton Way Play Ground

Picture of Lynton Way Play Area This facility provide to the Parish by St.Helens M.B.C. suffered attacks of vandalism until the residents of the area contacted the Parish Council, attended one of the Parish meetings and it was agreed that a security fence system be put in place. The site would be closed during the hours of darkness and a security company be employed and funded by the Windle Parish Council, to lock the gates at night and unlock them each morning.This system has been highly successful and secures a facility for the youngster of the Parish to enjoy.


Parish Church Bowling Club.

Picture of Parish Church Bowling Club The bowling club is situated in Dartmouth Drive, off Rainford Road, and has provided recreational pleasure for a lot of the local residents in Windle.


Liverpool St.Helens RUFC, Moss Lane

Picture of Moss Lane Rugby Club Liverpool St. Helens Football Club traces its Origins to 1857 when Liverpool Football Club was formed, making it the oldest open rugby club in the World. It provided four of the England team that played Scotland in the first ever International in 1871. In 1914 the club had three International captains in the 1st XV, Ronnie Poulton-Palmer with England, F.H. Turner for Scotland and R.A. Lloyd of Ireland. Internationals who played for Liverpool more recently include Fran Cotton, Maurice Colclough, Mike Slemen and Kevin Simms.
St. Helens RUFC was founded in 1919 as St. Helens Old Boys, the original membership being predominantly old students of Cowley School, a powerful rugby institution to this day.
Internationals who played for the club include Alan Ashcroft, John Horton, Nigel Heslop and the current club President Ray French who has the rare distinction of International honours in both League and Union.
Liverpool and St. Helens merged in 1986 and play at Moss Lane the former St. Helens club ground. In the early years of the merger the club had two seasons in National Division One separated by one in Division Two. But thereafter it sank to Division Four and spent virtually the whole of the 1990s coming to terms with the new age of professionalism and the new order in the game. During its time in the upper strata it furnished internationals in Dewi Morris and Simon Mason.
(Thanks to Ron Hall at


Dartmouth Drive Playground And St.Andrews Scout Headquarters.

Picture of Dartmout Drive Playground St.Andrews Scout Group was formed in 1921 and is still thriving today. It is the aim of the group to work with the young People of the area and through providing enjoyable activities help them to develop physically,Mentally and spiritually. They have Beaver scouts aged between six and eight years. The Cub scouts accommodates eight and eleven, the Scouts are between eleven and fourteen and then the youngsters go into the Explorer Scouts until the age of 25. If you feel that your son/daughter would benefit from joining the group, please contact Mrs. Janet Smee tel. 01744 631178. If you would like to assist as an adult please come along you will be made most welcome.The playground near the Scout Hut was provided as part of the agreement with the builder when planning permission was granted to develop what was the Parish Church Field.