Sir John Holcroft (Politician, Soldier and Landowner) c1495-1560

Born c.1495
Died 1560
Aged about 65

Sir John Holcroft of Holcroft Hall, Culcheth, was a soldier, politician, and landowner of the Tudor period. He was returned twice as a member of the English parliament for Lancashire.

He was the eldest son of John Holcroft of Holcroft: the remains of Holcroft Hall are close to the Glaze Brook, east of Culcheth. Holcroft’s mother was Margaret Massey, daughter of Hamnett or Hamlet Massey of Rixton, which lies a few miles to the south of Holcroft, on the River Mersey. The Masseys also had lands in the township of Pennington.

The Holcrofts were minor landed gentry. The manor of Holcroft had come into being after Gilbert de Culcheth was murdered in 1246, leaving four infant daughters as heirs. As wards of William le Boteler, lord of Warrington, their marriages were sold to Hugh de Hindley, who married them to his own four young sons and divided the estate among them. Holcroft, along with Peasfurlong and Risley, was hived off the original manor of Culcheth. Joan de Culcheth married Thomas de Hindley and took Holcroft. They or their successors seem to have adopted the name Holcroft, although little is known of the estate’s history until the early 16th century, when John Holcroft senior was lord. Sir John Holcroft’s generation were the first of the family to attain regional and national eminence.

His younger brother, Sir Thomas Holcroft, profiled later, was to become rather wealthier and more prominent than himself, mainly through speculation in former monastic lands, building up a substantial estate around the estates of the former Vale Royal Abbey.

Holcroft’s early career is slightly hazy, not least because his father and eldest son were both called John, and the father’s dates are uncertain, so it has proved impossible to disentangle their participation in events definitively. When Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derby, raised troops in 1536, a John Holcroft answered the call, but it is not certain which. However, John Holcroft was certainly picked as High Sheriff of Lancashire for 1537–38. This appointment, important but not always welcome, suggests he was now notable at a county level, and possibly possessed of his own fortune.

Landowner and official

It is likely that Holcroft had inherited the family estates by 1537, when he was first appointed sheriff. His importance locally was confirmed by his appointment as Justice of the Peace for Cheshire in 1539 and for Lancashire at some time over the next two years. He served as High Sheriff of Cheshire during 1541–42, and for Lancashire again in the following year. He held the Cheshire shrievalty for a second time in 1546–47.

During these years, Holcroft became involved in his brother’s schemes to profit from the Dissolution of the monasteries. Together they were appointed receivers for the lands formerly belonging to Lenton Priory, a Cluniac house at Nottingham. The Valor Ecclesiasticus had valued the property at £387 10s. 10½d., well above the threshold of £200 set by the Dissolution of the Lesser Monasteries Act of 1536.


With the accession of Edward VI in 1547, Holcroft was summoned to London for the coronation on 20 February and there knighted. The ceremonies were abbreviated because of the king’s youth, and so Holcroft was not formally invested with the Order of the Bath, as originally planned. However, he and the others so treated were nevertheless regarded as Knights of the Bath (KB).

It is possible that it was Holcroft who had answered Derby’s call to arms in 1536. However, it is certain that it was he who was joint commissioner for the musters with George Blagge for the 1547 phase of The Rough Wooing, the campaigns intended by the English to force a marriage between Edward VI of England and Mary, Queen of Scots. It is likely that Holcroft was actively involved in the campaign, like Blagge, who was knighted for his services. Holcroft’s son, also John Holcroft, was knighted by Protector Somerset at Roxburgh during the campaign. A John Holcroft was appointed in 1557 to command 100 men with Richard Assheton of Middleton and others. It is possible this was the younger man.

Parliamentary career

Holcroft was elected to Parliament for the first time as Knight of the Shire for Lancashire on 23 November 1554, the election, according to the indenture, being unanimous. All the county’s freeholders were entitled to vote, but the numbers were in practice variable but low. Elections were held at Lancaster Castle, extremely inconvenient for most of the county’s inhabitants.

The parliament had been called for November 1554 and was Mary’s third. By this time Holcroft was a notable man in the county and may have had sufficient prestige and influence to secure his own election. However, he had powerful allies too. His brother Thomas, a close ally of Somerset, had been imprisoned after the Protector’s fall, but was for the time being in favour with Mary.

The parliament assembled on 12 November. However, John Holcroft was found absent in the January sittings and informed against in the King’s Bench. He was fortunate to avoid further problems, as the parliament was dissolved on 16 January 1555.

Holcroft was not elected to the parliament summoned later in 1555, but he was returned for Lancashire again in January 1558. It is not known whether he served the county any better on this occasion. The senior member was Sir Thomas Talbot, who was a relative of the Earls of Shrewsbury, and whose mother had married a Stanley. However Talbot died on 1 August 1558, leaving Holcroft as the sole representative of the county for the remaining three months of the parliament.


Probably foreseeing his impending death, Holcroft made his will on 2 December 1559. Most of his goods had already been divided up between his wife and children. The documentation relating to this was entrusted to Gilbert Gerard. He left an annuity of 40 shillings a year to Gerard, the sum of £5 to Sir William Gerard and a gown to Sir Thomas Stanley. Lest his family should quarrel, he promised The Earl of Derby £6 13s.4d. to act as mediator.

Holcroft died some time in 1560. He was buried at Newchurch, Culcheth, the local parish church where he had bought the tithes in 1539.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia, where you can read a more detailed account of Holcroft’s life than I have space for here.

Sir Thomas Holcroft (Politician) 1505-

Born 1505
Died 31 July 1558
Aged 52 or 53

Sir Thomas Holcroft (1505–31 July 1558) was a sixteenth-century English courtier, soldier, politician and landowner.

Holcroft’s fortune was made from speculation in former monastic properties, after having distinguished himself during the Anglo-Scottish Wars. He was a close supporter of Lord Protector Somerset and represented three constituencies in the English Parliament.

Background and early life

Thomas Holcroft was born at Holcroft Hall, Culcheth, near Warrington, the son of John Holcroft of Holcroft and Margaret Massey.

The Holcrofts were minor gentry who had been resident since the Middle Ages at Holcroft Hall, the remains of which lie close to the Glazebrook, to the east of Culcheth. The manor of Holcroft was the product of a division of the manor of Culcheth in the mid-13th century and the Holcrofts may have been descended from the de Culcheth family, the original holders of the manor, although the succession of the estate is not certain before John Holcroft, the lord of the manor in the early 16th century and Thomas’s father. The Holcrofts had made little impression even regionally before Sir Thomas’ generation. His mother’s family descended from a junior branch of an ancient noble family, but were scarcely more important: Margaret was a daughter of Hamnett or Hamlet Massey of Rixton, south of Holcroft, on the River Mersey. The Masseys also had a scattering of other estates, including holdings at Pennington.

Thomas being a younger son was not first in line to inherit the Holcroft lands. His brother, John Holcroft, profiled earlier, who was about ten years his senior had children by his wife Anne Standish, but none reached adulthood; thus the Holcroft estates were entailed to Sir Thomas’ family.

Thomas Holcroft married Juliane Jennings. As she was the sole heiress of Nicholas Jennings, who had property at Preston, Lancashire, and in London, the marriage gave Thomas a start in making his fortune. They had a son, Thomas, and a daughter, Isabel, who married Edward Manners, 3rd Earl of Rutland.

Holcroft enlarged his fortune through a series of linked routes: serving as a soldier, exploiting contacts at court, obtaining lucrative posts in the administration, buying monastic lands, and serving as a member of parliament.

Soldier, Diplomat, Courtier

Holcroft seems to have allied himself to Edward Stanley, 3rd Earl of Derby, the most powerful magnate in Lancashire, while still young, serving on his council. This brought him to the attention of Thomas Cromwell, and most of his later preferment stems from his able service of Henry VIII and Cromwell over the next few years. He was put on the payroll of Furness Abbey under royal mandate.

In October 1535 he was entrusted with an important mission. Holcroft and William Barlow, Prior of Bisham, were sent to James V of Scotland to pave the way for an alliance between the two countries, hitherto in conflict. The aim was to arrange a meeting between the two kings, and to explain to James, King Henry’s unfolding policy of breaking with the Pope and enriching the Crown through Dissolution of the monasteries. In 1536 Holcroft was sent to deliver messages to Queen Margaret, Henry’s sister and James’s mother. However, this diplomatic effort was futile and the countries drifted towards war.

In the reign of Edward VI of England, Holcroft was given still more power and responsibility. During 1548–9 he headed the English spy network in Scotland and spent more than £400 of his own money on the work. He won great distinction in the Siege of Haddington, in an important but ultimately unsuccessful attempt by the English to threaten Edinburgh once more. The English garrison, however, held out against a Scottish army, aided by French engineers, until a relieving force arrived.

Parliamentary career

Holcroft was first elected to Parliament as knight of the shire (MP) for Lancashire in 1545. By this time he was already wealthy and had earned a knighthood through his military exploits. The Lancashire representatives were formally elected by freeholders but in reality the Duchy of Lancaster was the dominant force in the county, and the Earl of Derby had great sway as the major landowner: all MPs in the period had some sort of connection with him. Holcroft was a duchy official and had started his career as a client of Derby. As such, he was a natural choice for member of parliament.

The parliament was summoned in December 1544 but did not meet for the first time until almost a year later, on 23 November 1545. It then held only two sessions before its dissolution three days after Henry VIII’s death in January 1547. Among its concerns were the war with France and Scotland and the abolition of chantries. Despite his expertise in these areas, there is no record of his contributing to work in committee.

Holcroft was not returned in the parliament of 1547, the first of Edward VI’s reign. His appointment as Vice-Admiral of the Coast for both Cheshire and Lancashire in that year was the work of Thomas Seymour, Protector Somerset’s brother.

The second and last parliament of Edward VI was summoned in January 1553 and elected in a hurry, ready for assembly on 1 March. Holcroft was returned for Cheshire, the county where his interests were increasingly centred. Cheshire and Chester had not been represented in parliament until an act of 1542 gave them two seats each.

In the next parliament, which assembled in April 1554, Holcroft represented Arundel. The constituency was tightly controlled by Henry Fitzalan, 19th Earl of Arundel, another former Seymour supporter who was now a partisan of Mary. He also controlled Steyning, which returned Holcroft’s nephew Gerard for this parliament. Holcroft assisted Arundel in the negotiations that led to the marriage between Mary and Philip II of Spain. The seats for himself and Gerard were probably a token of Arundel’s gratitude. The parliament lasted for only one month and Holcroft never sat in parliament again.

Landowner and official

Holcroft seems to have acquired control of a wide range of small properties through his marriage, including a number of valuable business premises in London. It seems that these were used to provide funds when required. Holcroft made his fortune mainly by speculation in monastic lands. Initially he was appointed by Thomas Cromwell to assist the commissioners for the Dissolution of the monasteries in Lancashire. He went on to act as receiver of monastic estates. He then moved into the leasing, purchase, development and resale of lands. He spent a total of £3,798 on monastic estates.

When Holcroft made his will on 25 July 1558, he was in Wenham, Suffolk, at the home of Michael Wentworth, a Yorkshire politician and courtier. He named his wife executrix and gave her all his goods and leases. His brother, John Holcroft, and his nephew, Gilbert Gerard (albeit described as his cousin – a common usage in the 16th century), were appointed supervisors. Thomas Holcroft died on 31 July 1558.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia, where you can read a more detailed account of Holcroft’s life than I have space for here.

James Stanley (Nobleman and Politician) 1607-1651

Born 31 Jan 1607
Died 15 Oct 1651
Aged 44

James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby by Sir Anthony Van Dyck (died 1641) – Unknown source, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6365589

James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby, KG was an English nobleman, politician, and supporter of the Royalist cause in the English Civil War. Before inheriting the title in 1642 he was known as Lord Strange. He was feudal Lord of the Isle of Man (“Lord of Man”), where he was known as “Yn Stanlagh Mooar” (“the Great Stanley”).

He held his headquarters in Church Street, Warrington, during the English Civil War.


He was born at Knowsley, near Lathom House, on 31 January 1607, the eldest son of William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby (1561–1642), KG, by his wife Elizabeth de Vere, a daughter of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.

Early life

After travelling abroad he was elected as a Member of Parliament for Liverpool in 1625. On 2 February 1626 he was created a Knight of the Bath on the coronation of King Charles I. In 1626 he served jointly with his father as Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire and Chamberlain of the City of Chester. He assisted in the administration of the Isle of Man and in 1627 was appointed Lord of Mann, a position first awarded in 1405 by King Henry IV to his ancestor John Stanley (c. 1350–1414), KG. Subsequently, he was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of North Wales.

Civil War

He took no part in the political disputes between King and Parliament and preferred country pursuits and the care of his estates to the royal court or public life. Nevertheless, when the English Civil War broke out in 1642, Lord Strange, a title he now owned, devoted himself to the king’s cause. With the death of his father on 29 September 1642 he succeeded as 7th Earl of Derby.

His plan of securing Lancashire at the beginning and raising troops there, which promised success, was however discouraged by Charles, said to be jealous of his power and royal lineage, who commanded his presence at Nottingham.

His subsequent attempts to recover the county were unsuccessful. He was unable to get possession of Manchester, was defeated at the Battle of Chowbent and at the Battle of Lowton Moor, and in 1643 after gaining Preston failed to take Bolton and Lancaster Castle. Finally, after successfully beating off the attack by Sir William Brereton on Warrington, he was defeated at the Battle of Whalley and withdrew to York, whereupon Warrington surrendered to the Parliamentarian forces.

In June 1643 he left for the Isle of Man to attend to affairs there. In the summer of 1644 he took part in Prince Rupert’s successful campaign in the north. The Siege of Lathom House was relieved (the defence of which had been led by his wife Charlotte de la Tremoille), and the town of Bolton was taken with much bloodshed, in what became known as the Bolton Massacre.

He followed Rupert to the Battle of Marston Moor, and after the complete defeat of Charles’s cause in the North, withdrew to the Isle of Man, where he held out for the king and offered asylum to royalist fugitives. His administration of the Isle imitated that of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford in Ireland. It was strong rather than just. He maintained order, encouraged trade, remedied some abuses, and defended the people from the exactions of the church; but he crushed opposition by imprisoning his antagonists, and aroused a prolonged agitation by abolishing the tenant-right and introducing leaseholds.

In July 1649, following the execution of Charles I, he refused with scorn the terms offered him by Henry Ireton. On 12 January 1650 he was made a Knight of the Garter by the late king’s exiled son the future Charles II. He was chosen by the future Charles II to command the troops of Lancashire and Cheshire, and on 15 August 1651 he landed at Wyre Water in Lancashire in support of Charles II’s invasion, and met Charles on 17 August 1651. He proceeded to Warrington but failed to obtain the support of the Presbyterians due to his refusal to take the Covenant, and on 25 August was totally defeated at the Battle of Wigan Lane, being severely wounded and escaping with difficulty.

Capture, execution and burial

He was with Charles at the Battle of Worcester, after which on 3 September 1651 he accompanied him to Boscobel House. While on his way north alone he was captured near Nantwich and was tried by court-martial at Chester on 29 September and was found guilty of treason under the terms of the Act of Parliament passed in the preceding month (which declared those who corresponded with Charles II guilty of treason), and he was condemned to death.

His appeal to Parliament for pardon, although supported by Oliver Cromwell, was rejected. He endeavoured to escape but was recaptured by Captain Hector Schofield. He was taken to Bolton for his execution because of his part in the Bolton Massacre. He was beheaded on 15 October 1651 at the market cross in Churchgate, Bolton, near the Man and Scythe Inn, owned at the time by the Earl of Derby’s family.

Today the market cross bears an inscribed tablet commemorating the execution. In the Inn survives a chair inscribed “15 October 1651:

In this chair James, 7th Earl of Derby sat at the Man and Scythe Inn, Churchgate, Bolton, immediately prior to his execution.

He was buried in the Derby Chapel, built in about 1572 in accordance with the will of the 3rd Earl of Derby, in the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Ormskirk.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

Richard Atherton (Politician) 1656-1687

Born 22 September 1656
Died 11 January 1687
Aged 31

Sir Richard Atherton was a Tory politician and an English Member of Parliament elected in 1671 to represent Liverpool. He also served as Mayor of Liverpool from 1684 to 1685. He resided at Bewsey Old Hall, Warrington and died in 1687. He was 11th in descent from Sir William Atherton MP for the same county in 1381 and was the last Atherton in the male line to have been a member of parliament.

Born in Warrington on 22 September 1656, the posthumous son of John Atherton (1624-1656). He was raised by his mother Mary Rawsthone (née Bolde, daughter of Richard Bolde, of Warrington). It is possible that both his mother and father descended from Edward I of England.

His father has been described as of the traditional political elite, a Presbyterian, who had served as a captain in the parliamentary army during the English Civil War (1642-1651) and taken prisoner at the Battle of Marston Moor. During peacetime his father served twice as Sheriff of Lancaster under the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell. His elder brother died days after his father.

Atherton, unlike his father was an Anglican and a High Tory. He was educated at Brasenose College, Oxford in 1672 and Gray’s Inn in 1675.


Whilst his father had been a parliamentarian who fought against the royalists, Atherton’s political career took place during the period of Restoration covering the reign of Charles II (1660–1685) and the brief reign of his younger brother James II (1685–1688).

His terms in office from Member of Parliament during the 1670s, followed by Mayor and Alderman of Liverpool, covered the whole Restoration period of Stuart monarchs, a period which ended with the death of Queen Anne. The growth of Liverpool had accelerated since 1660, by trading with America and the West Indies in cloth, coal and salt from Lancashire and Cheshire in exchange for sugar and tobacco. Atherton was first elected as Member of Parliament for Liverpool in 1671, on the interest of Lord Molyneux, but was unseated on petition. He is said to have been a regular visitor to the Court of Charles II.

In 1684 he became Lord Mayor of Liverpool. He secured the surrender of the Liverpool Charter, which was delivered to George Jeffreys, 1st Baron Jeffreys, known as Judge Jeffreys at Bewsey Old Hall in 1684.

Atherton was politically aligned to the young Earl of Derby, who had succeeded his father in the baronetcy at the age of one in 1672. The Stanleys of Bickerstaffe descended from Sir James Stanley, younger brother of Thomas Stanley, 2nd Earl of Derby, 3rd Baron Stanley. The Liverpool charter had been described as municipal subordination and a form of oligarchy.

The notes on the Liverpool Charters refer to Atherton as the first modern Mayor of Liverpool. He remained in this role until 1685, returning to represent the city in parliament from 1685-1687, and died in office, just one year prior to the Glorious Revolution, which deposed James II.


Atherton inherited Bewsey Old Hall from his great-aunt, Dame Margaret Ireland, the widow of Gilbert Ireland upon her death in 1675. Atherton’s grandmother was Eleanor Ireland, and like Dame Margaret, also descended from Sir Thomas Ireland. A year later, now with considerable wealth, he married Isabel, the first daughter of Richard Holt of Castleton and Stubley on 22 November 1676. They had one son John, and three daughters, Catherine, Isabel and Dorothy.

He received a knighthood months after the aftermath of the Rye House Plot of 1683 (a plot to assassinate the King), a period of trials and executions. These were politically turbulent times, leading to the rebellion of 1685, the Monmouth Rebellion and Argyll’s Rising. The ceremony took place on 22 June 1684 by King Charles II at Windsor Castle.

He remarried on 1 November 1686. His second wife was Agnes, the daughter of Miles Dodding of Conishead. They had no children.

He died in Warrington and was buried there on 11 January 1687. Immediately prior to his death he made a will on 30 December 1686 and appointed his brother-in-law, James Holt and friend William Bankes as guardians of his children.

His male line of descent became extinct with the death of his grandson, Richard Atherton (1700-1726) at an early age.


His son, John Atherton (1678-1707) inherited his estate and married Elizabeth Cholmondeley, of Vale Royal Abbey, and permitted the Unitarians to build a chapel on the Atherton estate. His grandson, was known as “mad Richard” Atherton (1701-1726), a High Tory, closed the chapel and was responsible for the construction of Atherton Hall.

His great granddaughter Elizabeth Atherton (1721-1763) married Robert Gwillym. Their son Robert Vernon Atherton Gwillym, who sat in the House of Commons from 1774 to 1780, changed his name from Gwillym to Atherton in 1779, almost certainly so he could inherit all of the Atherton estate, only to die in France in 1783, just a few years later.


John Blackburne (Politician) 1754-1833

Born 5 Aug 1754
Died 11 Apr 1833
Aged 78

John Blackburne was an English landowner, Member of Parliament and High Sheriff of Lancashire.

He was born the eldest son of Thomas Blackburne of Hale Hall, Liverpool and educated at Harrow School and Queen’s College, Oxford. He succeeded his father to Hale Hall in 1768 and his grandfather John Blackburne to Orford Hall, Warrington in 1786.

He was appointed High Sheriff of Lancashire for 1781–82 and elected MP for Lancashire in 1784, holding the seat until 1830. In Parliament he was an Independent but generally supported William Pitt. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1794.

He died in 1833. He had married Anne, the daughter of Samuel Rodbard of Evercreech, Somerset, with whom he had three sons and four daughters.

Retrieved from Wikipedia. For a more detailed biography, see the Parliament Online website.

John Ireland Blackburne Snr (Politician) 1783-1874

Born 26 May 1783
Died 27 Jan 1874
Aged 90

John Ireland Blackburne was a British Conservative politician.

Born at Hale Hall, Lancashire, he was the son of John Blackburne, lord of the manor of Hale and Member of Parliament for Lancashire, and his wife Anne née Robard of Shepton Mallet, Somerset. He was descended from two old Lancashire families, the Irelands and the Blackburnes.

He was elected to the House of Commons in 1807, sitting as MP for Newton until 1818. He subsequently became involved in the politics of the town of Warrington, helping to establish the Warrington Operative Conservative Association. Such associations were established in the north west of England in order to enlist the support of working class men against the emerging Radical and Chartist movements.

He returned to parliament at the 1835 general election when he won the parliamentary borough of Warrington from the Liberal Party. He sat as the town’s MP until he retired in 1847. He was a strong defender of the established church, and was opposed to the endowment of Roman Catholic priests and the appropriation of church property for secular purposes. He also supported the improvement of working conditions, in particular the Ten Hours Act of 1847.

Blackburne married his cousin, Anne Bamford. Their son, also named John Ireland Blackburne, was also a member of parliament from 1875 – 1885, and profiled later down this page.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

William Beamont (Solicitor, Philanthropist and Historian) 1797-1889

Born 1797
Died 1889
Aged 91

Beamont’s plaque at Golden Square

Beamont was the first mayor of Warrington after its incorporation as a municipal borough in 1847. As mayor, he founded its municipal library, the first rate-aided library in the UK, in 1848.

He travelled extensively, including in the Holy Land, where he met William Holman Hunt. His diaries, stored in the town’s main library, are a valuable source of social history. For many years he lived at Orford Hall.

Beamont was a Member of the Chetham Society, and served as Member of Council (1849–82) and Vice-President (1879–82). He was also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

A high school (Beamont Collegiate Academy) and a primary school in the town are named after him.

His grave lies in the churchyard of Christ Church, Padgate, one of several Church of England churches that he helped found.

The photo shown here is of the plaque on the wall of Rhode Island coffee shop next to the Barley Mow pub in Golden Square shopping centre, the site of Beamont’s former office.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

Read a more detailed account Culcheth Local History Group website. None of those notes have been used here on mywarrington.

John Wilson Patten (Politician) 1802-1892

Born 26 Apr 1802
died 11 Jul 1892
Aged 90

Portrait of John Wilson-Patten, 1st Baron Winmarleigh by Charles Allen Duval (1810-1872). Image is in the public domain.

John Wilson-Patten, 1st Baron Winmarleigh PC was a British Conservative politician.

Background and education

Winmarleigh was the second son of Thomas Wilson (formerly Patten) of Warrington, Lancashire, and Elizabeth Hyde, daughter of Nathan Hyde of Ardwick. His father had in 1800 assumed the surname of Wilson in lieu of Patten in accordance with the will of Thomas Wilson (his first cousin twice removed), son of Thomas Wilson, Bishop of Sodor and Man from 1697 to 1755, to whose estates Patten succeeded. However, a few years later the family assumed the surname of Wilson-Patten. He was educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford. While at Oxford, he became friendly with, amongst others, Edward Stanley, later 14th Earl of Derby. He was the president of the Oxford Union.

He was appointed Colonel of the part-time 3rd Royal Lancashire Militia (The Duke of Lancaster’s Own) on 15 November 1842. During the Crimean War the regiment was embodied for full-time duty in April 1855 and volunteered for overseas service. Wilson-Patten accompanied his regiment when it sailed from Liverpool to Gibraltar and commanded it during a year’s garrison duty there, despite his political duties. He was appointed Honorary Colonel of the regiment on 27 February 1872 after his retirement from command.

He built Winmarleigh Hall in 1871.

Political career

In 1830 Winmarleigh was elected Member of Parliament for Lancashire, but stood down the following year. However, in 1832 he returned to Parliament as representative for the newly created constituency of North Lancashire, a seat he would hold for the next 42 years. In the House of Commons he became known as a supporter of industrial and labour reform, and took an active part in helping to relieve the Lancashire cotton famine of 1861 to 1865. However, Wilson-Patten did not hold ministerial office until 1867, when, aged 65, he was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the last administration of his old friend the Earl of Derby. He was admitted to the Privy Council the same year. He remained in this post until the following year, and then served briefly under Benjamin Disraeli as Chief Secretary for Ireland from September to December 1868. The latter year he also became a member of the Irish Privy Council.

In 1874, on his retirement from the House of Commons, he was raised to the peerage as Baron Winmarleigh, of Winmarleigh in the County Palatine of Lancaster. However, he was seldom active in the House of Lords. He was made Constable of Lancaster Castle in 1879.


In 1828 Wilson-Patten married Anna Maria Patten-Bold, daughter of his paternal uncle Peter Patten-Bold. They had six children, two sons and four daughters. However, Lord Winmarleigh survived both of his two sons, Captain John Wilson-Patten (d. 1873) and Arthur Wilson-Patten (1841-1866), as well as his grandson John Alfred Wilson-Patten (d. 1889), the only son of John. Consequently, on his death at the age of ninety in 1892 the barony became extinct.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

John Ireland Blackburne Jnr (Army Officer and Politician) 1817-1893

Born 28 May 1817
died 5 Sep 1893
Aged 77

John Ireland Blackburne was a British army officer and Conservative politician.

Blackburne came from a political family: his father, also John Ireland Blackburne was Member of Parliament (MP) for Newton from 1807–1818 and Warrington from 1835–1847, his mother was Anne née Bamford, of Bamford, Lancashire. His grandfather was John Blackburne (1754–1833), profiled earlier, also a member of the Commons. He sat for Lancashire from 1784 – 1831.

He was born at Hale Hall near Liverpool, the family home of the Ireland Blackburnes, and was educated at Eton College. He obtained a commission in the 5th Dragoon Guards and served with the regiment for 14 years, retiring with the rank of captain. On 22 March 1853 he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant of the newly-raised part-time 4th Royal Lancashire Militia (The Duke of Lancaster’s Own Light Infantry). After his retirement from the command he was appointed Honorary Colonel of the regiment on 11 July 1874 (from 1881 it became the 3rd (Militia) Battalion of the Prince of Wales’s Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment)).

In 1874 he inherited his father’s large land holdings, and was actively involved in the management of the estate until his death, when it was noted that he was popular with his tenants In October 1875, Charles Turner, MP for South West Lancashire, died. Accordingly, a by-election was held to fill the vacancy. Blackburne was the only candidate nominated, and was thus elected unopposed on 5 November 1875.

Blackburne successfully defended his seat at the 1880 general election. The Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 redistributed the two-seat South West Lancashire seat among seven new constituencies. Blackburne retired from parliament at the ensuing general election.

He was married twice. In 1846 he married Mary Hoghton, daughter of Sir Henry de Hoghton, Baronet. Following her death he married Emma Jemima Ravenscroft, widow of the 15th Viscount Hereford, who died in 1870.

Blackburne was a justice of the peace for the county palatine of Lancaster.

He died at his London residence after a long illness in September 1893, aged 77.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

Sir Arthur Crosfield (Politician) 1865-1938

Born 5 Apr 1865
died 22 Sep 1938
Aged 73

Arthur Crosfield.
The original artwork is in the
National Portrait Gallery,
and now in the public domain.

Sir Arthur Henry Crosfield, 1st Baronet GBE was a Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) for Warrington from 1906 to December 1910.

In 1907 he married Domini Elliadi who was also active in Liberal politics.

Political career

He was elected during the 1906 Liberal landslide gaining Warrington from the Conservative Robert Pierpont. He was re-elected in January 1910 but defeated by the Conservative Harold Smith in December 1910. He was created a baronet, of Highgate in the County of Middlesex, on 24 June 1915. He was interested in the Balkans, and wrote The Settlement of the Near East, published in 1922.

Business career

From his parents, he inherited the business of Joseph Crosfield and Sons, soap and candle manufacturers. He sold the company in 1911, bought Parkfield, an elegant 18th-century house in Highgate, north London, on the proceeds and rebuilt and enlarged it over the next seven years as Witanhurst (“Parliament on the Hill”), being the largest house in London after Buckingham Palace.

He was a keen golfer and won many championships. Crosfield was also Chairman of the National Playing Fields Association, for which he was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in 1929. He served as a School Governor for Highgate School from 1929–1930.

Crosfield lost a fortune in a failed Greek mining venture in the mid-1930s, and was killed shortly thereafter when he fell out of the window of a railway sleeper car near Toulon in southern France.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

Reginald Essenhigh (Politician) 1890-1955

Born 7 Sep 1890
Died 1 Nov 1955
Aged 65

Reginald Clare Essenhigh  was a Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP) from 1931 to 1935 and a judge from 1936 to 1955.

He was born in Warrington, Lancashire and was the younger son of Henry Streeter Essenhigh and Elizabeth Clare. He was later to assume his mother’s maiden name. He was educated at Warrington Secondary School and the Manchester School of Art. He originally worked for a local cable manufacture company. He subsequently gained a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London, where he studied applied art and architecture.

On the outbreak of World War I, he joined the University of London Officer Training Corps before being commissioned as an officer in the 3rd Battalion, The Manchester Regiment. He rose to the rank of captain before losing his leg in action during a coastal assault on 27 June 1917 at Nieuport on the Belgian coast.

While recuperating in hospital, he studied law. He was called to the bar by Gray’s Inn in January 1922. He practised on the Northern Circuit. In 1924 he married Dr Helen Hogg of Cambuslang, Glasgow, and they had four children.

He stood as a Conservative candidate in the 1929 general election. He contested the Newton constituency of Lancashire, but lost by over 6,000 votes to the sitting Labour MP Robert Young. As Labour’s vote collapsed at the 1931 general election, Essenhigh stood again and took the seat with a majority of only 381 votes. Young regained the seat at the 1935 general election, and Essenhigh did not seek election again.

In 1936 Essenhigh was appointed a county judge for Circuit No.13, which included parts of Derbyshire and Yorkshire and included the city of Sheffield. He retained this position until his death, aged 65, in 1955.

His granddaughter is the artist Inka Essenhigh.

Retrieved from Wikipedia.

Arthur Waugh (Politician) 1909-1995

Born 1909
Died 1995
Aged 85 or 86

Arthur James Waugh (1909 – 1995) was an English politician, and the son of a railwayman.

Born in Warrington, Lancashire, his left wing political beliefs were forged early in his life when, as an apprentice fitter in Rugby, he was sacked during the 1926 General Strike at 17 years of age. That experience was never forgotten and was the basis for the many years of Trade Union membership and Union activist.

He married Edith Muriel Collins (Lila) in 1935 and fathered two daughters and five sons. He left the railways in 1940 and moved to Coventry only to see the family home and all possessions destroyed in the wartime bombing within months of settling. His Union activities and membership of the local Labour Party was to propel him to being elected to the Coventry City Council in 1945.

Within 15 years he was appointed Deputy Leader of the Labour Group and leading the various committees responsible for the redevelopment of the war torn City, regarded by many as one of the chief architects of the Coventry’s reconstruction.

Elected Lord Mayor of Coventry in 1962, he presided at the Consecration of the Coventry Cathedral and made an Honorary Freeman of the City in later years, retiring from active politics in 1990 after 45 years as a Councillor. A man of great political skills whose motto was “The rent of life is service.”

Waugh died in 1995 less than a year after losing his wife.

Retrieved from Wikipedia.

Eric Naylor (Politician and Mayor of Warrington) (1919-2007)

Born 1919
Died 2007
Aged 88

Eric Naylor, aged 88, from Stockton Heath, was born in St Helens in 1919.

A pharmacist by trade, he served in the Royal Artillery in the Middle East and Italy during the Second World War, rising to the rank of captain.

In 1945 he married Joyce Yates, with whom he was happily married for more than 40 years, and had two children, Mike and Jill.

Son, Mike, said: “He was a very caring man.”

Moving to Warrington, Mr Naylor opened his first pharmacy in 1950 in Lodge Lane, Bewsey. He was elected as a Conservative councillor for Latchford in the sixties, before he took on the role of Mayor from 1970-1 and became a magistrate on the Warrington bench.

Read more of his story in the Warrington Guardian.

Doug Hoyle (Politician) 1930-

Born 17 Feb 1930

Doug Hoyle with the Rugby League Challenge Cup after Warrington Wolves won it in 2009.

My Badge of Honour from my charity work in the 1980s and 1990s, presented to me by Baron Hoyle on behalf of Help the Needy Over Sixties Club.

As worn by Frogstar from Rainbow After the Storm, where Mental health matters rainbowafterthestorm.org

Eric Douglas Harvey Hoyle, Baron Hoyle JP (born 17 February 1930) is a British politician and life peer who was chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party from 1992 to 1997 and a lord-in-waiting from 1997 to 1999. A member of the Labour Party, he was Member of Parliament (MP) for Nelson and Colne from 1974 to 1979 and Warrington North from 1981 to 1997.

House of Commons

Hoyle first stood for Parliament at Clitheroe in 1964, but came second. In 1970, he first fought Nelson and Colne, and was defeated by the Conservative incumbent David Waddington by 1,410 votes. He fought the seat again in February 1974, and reduced Waddington’s margin to 177. He was finally elected at the general election of October 1974 for Nelson and Colne by 669 votes; this was the first Labour gain to be announced on election night.

Hoyle narrowly lost his seat at the general election of 1979, but returned to Parliament in 1981 when he saw off a strong challenge from Roy Jenkins in a traditionally safe Labour seat. This was a notable by election in Warrington when enthusiasm for the newly created Social Democratic Party was at its peak. Constituency boundaries were redrawn for the general election of 1983, when he became MP for Warrington North.

House of Lords

Hoyle stepped down from the House of Commons at the general election of 1997, and on 14 May 1997, he was created a life peer as Baron Hoyle, of Warrington in the County of Cheshire.

His son Lynsey became the Speaker of the House of Commons on 4 November 2019, having served as an MP in his own right since 1997.

Other interests

Lord Hoyle, as he was previously known, served as chairman of Warrington Wolves Rugby League Club from 1999 to 2009 He has also been a non executive director of the major local employer Debt Free Direct. Already having received the Freedom of Gibraltar in 2004, he was awarded the Gibraltar Medallion of Honour, in March 2010, for being a ‘supporter of Gibraltar and its people’.

He received the Freedom of the Borough of Warrington on 11 November 2005.

In November 2010, Lord Hoyle was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the University of Chester for his ‘outstanding contribution to the Borough of Warrington’.

Baron Hoyle presented me with my Badge of Honour for services to charity in 1993 on stage at the Parr Hall during a fundraiser for Help the Needy Over Sixties Club, a charity working for the elderly housebound of Bewsey, Dallam and Whitecross.

Some information retrieved from Wikipedia.

Den Dover (Politician) 1938-

Born 4 Apr 1938

Densmore Ronald “Den” Dover is a British politician. Representing the Conservative Party, he was the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Chorley from 1979 to 1997. He then served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the region of North West England, from 1999 to 2009.

He was forced to resign the position of Chief Whip, before being expelled from the party, over investigations into his expenses, and stood down from the European Parliament at the 2009 European Elections.


Dover was born in Stockton Heath, Warrington. Educated at King George V School, Southport until transferring to Manchester Grammar School where he won the bowling prize at cricket. Dover gained a First Class Honours degree in Civil Engineering at Manchester University.


Dover worked in the construction industry across Europe, working for John Laing plc, George Wimpey, and as Chief Executive for the National Building Agency. Dover was latterly Director of Housing Construction with the Greater London Council, before entering politics on a full-time basis when he became an MP.

Political career

Dover served on the London Borough of Barnet Council, and was a Member of its Education, Finance and Public Works Committees. He stood unsuccessfully for Parliament at Caerphilly in October 1974, being beaten by Labour’s Fred Evans.

MP for Chorley

Dover served as the Conservative Member of Parliament for Chorley, from May 1979 to April 1997, until he was defeated by Lindsay Hoyle, future Speaker of the House of Commons.

MEP for North West England

Dover was first elected to the European Parliament in 1999, and was re elected in June 2004.


Dover resigned as Conservative Chief Whip in the European Parliament on 6 June 2008. The revelation that forced the resignation was that over nine years he had paid his wife and daughter £750,000 from public funds. (This came after the Conservatives’ Leader in Europe, Giles Chichester, resigned because he put large sums of money for secretarial and office work through the account of a company of which he was a paid director).

Dover was forced to resign by acting Conservative MEP Leader, Philip Bushill-Matthews, who was appointed only a day prior. Dover was replaced as Conservative Chief Whip by Richard Ashworth MEP.

An inquiry by the European Parliament found him guilty of a conflict of interest, and he was ordered to repay £500,000 of the expenses. The Parliament’s ruling lead to Dover being expelled from the Conservative Party. Dover’s case has been passed to the European Anti-Fraud Office for investigation. Dover stood down from the European Parliament at the 2009 European Elections.

Personal life

Dover is married to Kathleen, with a son and a daughter, Amanda. He plays cricket, golf and hockey.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.

Les Morgan (Councillor and Mayor of Warrington) 1943/4-2023

Born 1943 or 1944
Died 23 Jan 2023
Aged 80

Les Morgan and his wife Gwyn at a Radio Warrington outside broadcast on 6 Aug 2017.

Warrington-born and bred Cllr Morgan was appointed as Warrington Borough Council’s 134th Mayor in May 2017.

The former doorman worked at various nightclubs around the town in his younger days and was a trade union stalwart. Described as a ‘true community champion, Cllr Morgan, aged 80, represented the Latchford West Ward from 2014. He was married to his wife Gwyn for 46 years with four children and eight grandchildren.

He was also a long-standing campaigner in the Warrington community who has a particular interest in protecting the most vulnerable residents. He was a founder member of St Werburgh’s community hub.

During his Mayoral year, Cllr Morgan raised more than £14,000 for Warrington MS Society, Warrington Street Pastors, Papyrus, and Warrington Foodbank.

He was a great supporter of Radio Warrington and often gave interviews to presenters, including myself during my time at the station. My tribute on Warrington-Worldwide reads: My sincere condolences to the family. Les was always there for a friendly chat and encouraged. R.I.P. Les. You will be greatly missed.

He served on a number of committees as councillor, including the Development Management Committee and Health Scrutiny Committee. He was also chair of the Licensing Committee.


The current Mayor of Warrington, Cllr Jean Flaherty, hailed the enduring impact of Cllr Morgan’s work in the community, serving his residents with ‘devoted commitment’.

Cllr Flaherty said: “Cllr Morgan was a true community champion who was highly respected by those who worked with him and benefitted from his dedicated support.

“He was a proud councillor and worked with staunchness to support the residents he represented. He typified everything a local councillor should be – hard working, loyal, committed, and willing to roll up his sleeves.

“He had a great love for Warrington and its people and will be truly missed.”

He served on a number of committees as councillor, including Development Management Committee, Health Scrutiny Committee and was also chair of the Licensing Committee.

The flag at the Town Hall will fly at half-mast in recognition of Cllr Morgan’s service to the council and to Warrington.

Fellow Latchford Cllrs Hans and Karen Mundry said: “We are sorry to hear the sad news. We have known Cllr Les Morgan for a long time from his Trade Union days, leading to his community champion role. He will be sadly missed. Our thoughts are with his family.”

Fellow Latchford West ward councillor, Maureen McLaughlin, said: “Les was a true community champion and we worked closely together in Latchford West for over ten years. He was proud to be elected as a local councillor in 2014 and was passionate about helping local residents and bringing improvements to the local area. He had his own unique style, and was rarely without a joke or a smile. I will miss him greatly, and send my deepest condolences to his wife Gwyn and all the family.”

Labour’s Warrington South Parliamentary candidate and fellow councillor Sarah Hall, said: “I was deeply saddened to hear that Les has passed away. Les has left a legacy as a hardworking councillor embedded in his community, supporting older people and making a difference to the lives of everyone across Latchford West. I want to send my heartfelt sympathy to Gwyn and family at this difficult time.”

Chair of the Warrington South Labour Party, Councillor Janet Henshaw, said: “Les was always guaranteed to light up the room, he will be missed by all his friends in the Warrington South Labour Party. Many of our members will have fond memories of Les. He will never be forgotten as a longtime committed member of the Labour Party.”

Leader of Warrington Borough Council, Councillor Russ Bowden, said: “We were all saddened to learn about the death of our dear friend and colleague, Councillor Les Morgan. Our thoughts are with his wife Gwyn and his whole family at this incredibly difficult time.

Chair of Warrington Borough Council Labour Group, Councillor John Kerr-Brown said: “Les was a long-serving and respected councillor in his community. He will be sadly missed by his friends, colleagues and the whole Warrington Labour Group. I would like to send mine and the Labour Groups sincere condolences to his family.”

Other colleagues have taken to social media to pay tribute.

One of the first was Cllr Amanda King who posted: “To my darling Les Morgan such a sad day. I will miss you always. love to Gwyn all your family and friends. You taught me so much and dedicated your life to helping others.”

Andy Burnham (Politician and Mayor of Greater Manchester) 1970-

Born 7 Jan 1970

Andrew Murray Burnham is a British politician who has served as Mayor of Greater Manchester since 2017. He served in Gordon Brown’s Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2007 to 2008, Culture Secretary from 2008 to 2009 and Health Secretary from 2009 to 2010. A member of the Labour Party, he served as Shadow Home Secretary from 2015 to 2016 and was Member of Parliament (MP) for Leigh from 2001 to 2017.

He was brought up in Culcheth and educated at St Lewis Catholic Primary School and St Aelred’s Roman Catholic High School, in Newton le Willows, St Helens. He studied English at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.

Political career

Burnham joined the Labour Party when he was 15. From 1994 until the 1997 general election he was a researcher for Tessa Jowell. He joined the Transport and General Workers’ Union in 1995. Following the 1997 election, he was a parliamentary officer for the NHS Confederation from August to December 1997, before taking up the post as an administrator with the Football Task Force for a year.

In 1998, he became a special adviser to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Chris Smith, a position he remained in until he was elected to the House of Commons in 2001.

Following the retirement of Lawrence Cunliffe, Burnham successfully applied to be the parliamentary candidate for Leigh in Greater Manchester, then a safe Labour seat. At the 2001 election he was elected with a majority of 16,362, and gave his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 4 July 2001.

Following his election to Parliament, Burnham was a member of the Health Select Committee from 2001 until 2003, when he was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Home Secretary David Blunkett. Following Blunkett’s first resignation in 2004, he became PPS to the education secretary Ruth Kelly.

Burnham was promoted to serve in the Government following the 2005 election as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, with responsibility for implementing the Identity Cards Act 2006. In the government reshuffle of 5 May 2006, he was moved from the Home Office and promoted to Minister of State for Delivery and Reform at the Department of Health. In Gordon Brown’s first cabinet, announced on 28 June 2007, Burnham was appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury, a position he held until 2008. During his time at the Treasury, he helped write the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review.

Burnham became Shadow Secretary of State for Health after May 2010 following the defeat of Gordon Brown’s government.

In October 2010, during Ed Miliband’s opposition, Burnham was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Education and election co-ordinator for the Labour Party. As shadow education secretary, Burnham opposed the coalition government’s plans for “free schools”. He argued for moving the education system back towards a comprehensive system.

On 13 May 2015, Burnham announced that he would stand to replace Ed Miliband in the 2015 leadership election. He stressed the need to unite the party and country and “rediscover the beating heart of Labour.”

In September 2015, Burnham accepted an appointment as shadow home secretary in the first Shadow Cabinet of Jeremy Corbyn and remained in the role after the 2016 reshuffle.

Mayor of Greater Manchester

On 5 May 2016, a spokesperson for Burnham confirmed that he had been approached by party officials in Greater Manchester, asking him to consider resigning from the Shadow Cabinet of Jeremy Corbyn in order to run in the upcoming mayoral election in 2017. On 18 May 2016, he confirmed that he was running for Mayor. Burnham was selected as the Labour candidate in August 2016. In September 2016, Burnham said that he would resign as Shadow Home Secretary once a replacement had been found, in order to concentrate on his mayoral bid. Burnham was elected to the new role of mayor of Greater Manchester on 5 May 2017.

Information retrieved from Wikipedia.