Rev Noble Wilson and
Haydock Lodge Lunatic Asylum

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Spring 1845 Pamphlet

On March 28th 1845, the Rev Noble Wilson, chaplain to the patients at Haydock Lodge, folded a bright new leaflet about the asylum, stamped it and posted it to his brother Nicholas in Westmoreland. One and a half centuries later, the four page leaflet was brown and frayed, but still preserved with Noble Wilson's letters. I reproduce the full text of the leaflet:


Pamphlet and letters were sent to me by Patricia Wilson, wife of the great great grandson of Nicholas Wilson.

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(Near Newton Railway Station, half-way between Liverpool and Manchester)


The Reception and Cure of Insane Patients


Late One of Her Majesty's Poor-Law Assistant Commissioners

Amongst the wants occasioned by the increase of population, no one is more urgent than the extension of the enlightened management and humane treatment to that most pitiable portion of our fellow-creatures, the Insane Poor. This want is made the more sensible by the constantly improving opinion of the public, and the general recognition of the interest which both society and the individual have in the prompt and skilful treatment of insanity in the earliest stage of the disorder

Many public Asylums and private Establishments are conducted upon the most improved and enlightened principles, but their accommodation is too limited in its extent for existing wants.

The want of an Asylum in which arrangements could be made for the proper care of a lower class of private patients, than are received in the Houses at present licensed, on terms suitable to the means of persons of limited income, has been long felt. The comparatively high charges have deprived the more respectable classes of small Tradesmen and Mechanics of the opportunity of providing proper security and treatment for their insane relatives as Private Patients; and this has given rise to and sustained a widely spread practice of illegal connivance with Parish Authorities, greatly to be deplored, whereby patients of those Classes are commonly confined under fraudulent certificates as Pauper Patients.

Moreover the private Establishments, for the most part, receive insane patients only on terms which are inconsistent with the station of Paupers; and the Guardians of the Unions are thereby induced, either to violate the law, by keeping insane Paupers in their workhouses, or to allow them to remain at large with their relative or friends, in a state of neglect which retards the chance of cure, and frequently involves great danger to the public.

These considerations have induced the proprietor to appropriate separate parts of this Establishment as Asylums for the reception and cure of Insane Patients of those separate classes with full confidence that the undertaking will confer a great benefit on those classes of Insane, as well as on the several parties burdened with their support.

The healthy situation and eligibility of HAYDOCK LODGE for such a purpose, are to well known in the county of Lancaster, and adjoining counties, to need remark.

The noble modern mansion stands within a spacious park, secluded from the public sight, and is connected with suitable attached and detached buildings, and large walled gardens, surrounded by about 370 acres of land, in a ring fence, affording facilities for recreation, healthful and interesting employment, superior to those attainable in any similar Asylum in England, - or indeed in Europe.

The Establishment is conducted upon the system of non-restraint and kind moral-treatment so successfully employed by Dr. Connolly, and now followed at the Hanwell Middlesex County Asylum, forming a most gratifying contrast with the cruel and disgraceful treatment Pauper Lunatics were formerly subject to.

The Medical Department is under the direction of eminent Physicians, Dr. R. BARRON HOWARD, of Manchester, and Dr JAS. VOSE, of Liverpool, with the constant attention of Mr. PORTUS, an able and experienced Resident Surgeon.

The religious duties are performed by the Rev. NOBLE WILSON, the Chaplain to the Establishment, to all such Patients as are considered fit to attend Divine service.

A variety of in-door and out-door games are practised; and books and amusing periodicals are abundantly provided for recreation.

The dietary has been fixed under the sanction of the Medical Officers of the Establishment, and will be varied, under their direction, as circumstances may require.

It will be seen that the Establishment is not intended as a place merely of safe custody for the insane. A year's experience has proved it to be what its natural advantages and the proprietor's arrangements promised to make it - pre-eminently a CURATIVE ESTABLISHMENT. From the statistical returns of this and other large Establishments, the great importance of a removal to an Asylum in the earliest stage of insanity is abundantly evident; the Medical Officers having often to deplore the irremediable delay which has occurred during the only period when a course of proper moral and medical treatment might reasonably have been expected to be crowned with success. It is accordingly most desirable for all parties concerned, that Guardians and other persons sending patients to this establishment should (although such are least profitable, in a pecuniary sense, to the proprietor) select, as far as possible, such cases as, under favourable circumstances afford a prospect of speedy or at least of eventual recovery.

The charge for maintenance of pauper Lunatics per week will be SEVEN SHILLINGS PER HEAD. - For the lowest Class of Private Patients EIGHT SHILLINGS AND SIXPENCE PER HEAD.

Haydock Lodge is about a mile and half from the Newton Railway Station, forming a junction of the railways from Birmingham, Lancaster, Leeds, &c.; thus affording a quick and ready conveyance from the surrounding districts of Lancaster, Cheshire, the West Riding of Yorkshire, and Westmoreland, and from all parts of England and Wales, in communication with the great lines of Railway.

Careful Keepers and Nurses will be sent to take charge of Patients to the Asylum on application for that purpose.

Forms for the admission of Pauper Patients, with proper certificates for the Medical Officers, may be had at the Asylum.

The Patients may at all times be inspected by the Guardians and Medical Officers of the respective Union to which they belong.



The Reception and Cure of


A large portion of the Establishment and of the Grounds is set apart and furnished for the reception of a higher class of PRIVATE PATIENTS. Every variety of superior accommodation, care, and service will be provided, according to the desire of the friends of the Patients. Separate houses, with their distinct garden, forming part, however, of the same Establishment, and inclosed within the same boundary, will be furnished, and separate servants and carriages kept for Patients who may require them.

The terms for Private Patients will vary according to the accommodation required.

Particulars and Forms may be had on application.

Rev Noble Wilson

Born in
Troutbeck (Westmoreland) in 1796, the third son of Nicholas Wilson (senior), a yeoman farmer. Noble was obliged to make his own way in life as his elder brother (Nicholas Wilson (junior) was due to inherit the estate .

He was married to Sarah who had three sons who all became clergymen.

For twenty two years (1822-1844?) Noble Wilson was the curate and schoolmaster at Witherslack, south west of Kendal (Westmoreland) but when the incumbent died he was not promoted, much to the disgust of Noble and all the parishoners in the village. He wrote to the Bishop and all the papers putting forward his case but to no avail.

Noble took the post of curate at Newton, south Lancashire, starting on 1.2.1844.

I think he was curate at St Peters Church, Newton. Haydock may have been in another parish. We do not know when he was appointed chaplain at Haydock Lodge, but I presume this was a private arrangement between Charles Mott and himself.

Noble Wilson stayed at Newton until 1847, although his correspondence to his brother shows that he was seeking a better situation in another parish. Then, early in 1847, he obtained a post at Disley in Cheshire

Letters from Rev Noble Wilson

[To] Mr N. Wilson Senior
near Kendal

Witherslack November 21st 1828

My Dear Father

As it is sometime since I have seen you, and not very convenient to me, at present to come to Troutbeck having neither Horse nor any other means of conveyance, I should like to see you hear shortly and I think there is nothing to hinder you as you have both Horse and Shandry, as you please, at your command. But as I do not like to be troublesome to Bownas' people you might make free to leave you Horse at Witherslack Hall and I will name (?) it to Mr Stockdale the first time I see him.

I shall be glad to see you on Friday the 28th instance to stay over Sunday if you can make it convenient so to do.

It often hurts much to think that no one of the family ever comes near me - it appears as if I was either a disgrace to the family or that you were glad I was quitted of the premises --- and the result must be that I must seek a friend in some other family to share my pleasures and my hardships and I am afraid there is more of the latter in store for me than the former, while I remain in this unfriendly world, where everyone grasps at what he can get, - regardless both, as to what shall become of the rest or the awful account he must one Day give before an all seeing and impartial God ---

I am in good health than God at present - and if that be but continued to me I fear no difficulties. I shall fag on like a weary traveller on his journey - to the end of life - and though poor, yet contented - still reposing my trust in God - who maketh sick and maketh poor - who, though he permits distinctions to be made in this world, will set all upon a level, as soon as we are laid in our Graves - if we have but served him faithfully - and one to others as we would wish them to do to us under like circumstances.

Ann is also quite well and desires to be kindly remembered to you all - And believe me

Dear Father

your affectionate Son,

Noble Wilson.

PS. I hope I shall have the pleasure of seeing you as soon as convenient.

Mr Nicholas Wilson

Dear Brother,

I write to inform you that we shall break up on Thursday the 2nd of July and the school will open again on the 27th of the same month - You will, perhaps find time to come down for Nicholas and I hope will be able to stay all night. I hope Ann is quite recovered. The rest of the family I trust are quite well as we all are here.

Yours affectionately

Noble Wilson

In the Lancaster Gazette of Saturday the 5th of August 1843 is A Letter to the Editor of which the following is a Copy

Sir, -

I beg you will allow this plain Statement of facts which have occurred this week to be inserted in your paper:-

On Tuesday last the Township of Witherslack was made a place of confusion and excitement unparalleled by the Trustees of the late Dean Barwick's Charity wanting to place a Rev Mr Woodcock of St George's Church Kendal to be the Minister of Witherslack Chapel in the room of the Revd Mr Dawson deceased.

Observe! the Rev Mr Wilson has been curate to Mr Dawson about 19 years and has filled the situation to the satisfaction of the parishioners, so much so that a short time ago they presented him with a Bible neatly bound and a tribute of respect for having preached the Gospel of Christ to his hearers, till they could be known by their fruits;

This is not all. He has been their schoolmaster during this same period, and has been equally successful in maturing the minds of their children by strict discipline, enforcing by assiduous application to those under his care to become Scholars of no common kind.

Further. He has been a friend to the poor widows and fatherless children. In fact, his meekness and goodness of heart make him beloved by all his parishioners: he is continually going about and doing good: all parish affairs are arranged by him to the satisfaction of the higher and lower classes of the chapelry.

I will further remark, he was at all times was complimented by the trustees of the late Dean Barwick's Charity for his indefatigable duties and making him a present at their July meeting in addition to the salary fixed by them.

The stipend for the cure of souls was £40 per annum (the incumbent receiving perhaps £100).

The Revd Mr Wilson having served nearly three apprenticeships as above described, caused the parishioners to come forward in signing a testimonial in his behalf to be their minister. Amongst those were the three resident Trustees namely Mr Stockdale of Witherslack Hall, Mr Barrow Meathop and Mr Thornborrow: the Vicar of Kendal was his supporter also the Vicar or Rector of Beetham in whose jurisdiction the chapel of Witherslack stands.

Dean Barwick might intend that he should have the appointment of our Minister, but this we leave for the Bishop to decide, with this hope that he will stop this great evil in the bud, so that it don't grow into a tree whose roots can never be eradicated in this generation.

The love that we have for the Revd Mr Wilson is that he shall be our spiritual guide, because he preached Faith, Hope and Charity and practised the last with abundance of love.

To those who read this epistle, pray for our deliverance from cant and hypocrisy. I hope the Rector or Vicar will stand firm to have the rights of every one saved, and may the Revd Mr Wilson be a comfort to us, till it please the all-wise Providence to transplant him to the regions of bliss.

(Signed) Fair Play

August 3rd 1843

1.2.1844 Noble Wilson started at Newton

My Dear Brother,

As you will naturally expect to hear how we got home and when. We left Witherslack Hall on the Friday morning last and arrived here at half past 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Mr. Stockdale's man set us to Crooklands where we took the Packet Boat and the day was favourable for our journey and the next morning when we got up and found it raining fast we felt thankful that we had left on Friday. I thought of writing sooner, but being jaded with travelling about and having a good deal to do after a fortnight's absence I have been obliged to put off till now.

I have been to the asylum this morning and found the numbers same as I left. Several fresh patients have come in, but as many have left cured. I enquired of the Doctor his opinion respecting Jane Fisher, as he sees the patients daily. He considered her something better, but still very low.

After considering your suggestion with respect to the Inhabitants of Kentmere signing a recommendation I could not see what it would avail as the appointment rests with the Vicar and he might probably take offence at such an interference on the part of the inhabitants. As quietly as I made my application I found early in the following week that it had spread far and wide that I was a candidate for Kentmere. I was asked by several in Witherslack on the Monday and on Wednesday. Richard Wilson, Coroner, who attended the Tithe meeting on Wednesday asked me if I had not applied for it. I told him that being over to see you and hearing of the vacancy I came through Kentmere on the Friday and called on the Vicar on Saturday, not that I thought I had any chance of success and that I understood on the Saturday that the inhabitants would be glad to have me. He said he would call upon the Vicar and he thought he could be of some service to me. I thanked him and said I should be much obliged if he would do. For he will be able to tell the Vicar what good has been wrought in Witherslack by the changes. If Harrison and he should both go, they might have some weight.

If you be in Kendal on Saturday (and I'm sorry this will not reach you before) you will hear what is going on. I should be glad to hear what is the prevailing opinion. I hope Ann is better of her cold and the rest all well after being exposed to the weather more than usual.

Kind respects. I remain Dear Brother
Yours affectionately
(Noble?) Wilson.

P.S. If a recommendation from the Inhabitants should be thought necessary you may find some kind person who can write you a few lines. Perhaps Hugh.

Newton-le-Willows, June 24th, 1845

Dear Brother,

I am much obliged to you for the information conveyed in your letter of the 22nd and shall avail myself of it. As soon as I think Mr Airey is interested I will address the Vicar again whether I succeed or not.

The more I thought about Kentmere the more gloomy it appeared. After having so many years in the lowland it appeared like transportation to go thither. The prospect at Xtmas was so wet, cold and dreary that the very thoughts of it frightened me. Ings is a pleasanter situation with a good Parsonage and near to the public road where something may be seen to cheer one's spirits and a place I should be very well satisfied with, but there may probably be some difficulty in obtaining it, if the vipers have not yet vented all their spleen. Bad luck to them. They may one day feel a sting themselves. I am afraid they have never read the parable of Dives and Lazarus.

I know not who is Chapel warden there or who is likely to have much sway in that Division but it appears at the present day that the flock is not much regarded so that the Gents can feed their sycophants. Honest men are out of fashion. It has struck me that young Jenkinson may have thoughts about it, in that case young Braithewaite of Hill would espouse his cause as if my memory be correct, he married a sister. You being more acquainted with the neighbourhood than I am at present will know more than I do and will be able to learn what the feelings of the neighbourhood are.

It used to be accounted a very poor living, indeed one of the smallest. But some years ago Mr Airey rebuilt the house at his own charge, which is better for his successor than if he had borrowed the money and the Church Commissioners gave so much a year so that it may now, probably, be as much as £85 per annum. And as the population is much increased by Bobbie Mills etc I should think there might be a pretty good school. Formerly it was said there was no quarterage, but all to be taught free for the £12. Has Mr Airey died suddenly?

I am aware that Jane Fisher is come home and thought to have seen her before she left, but on the Thursday I found she had left the morning before. I am sorry that she should have given such a bad account of the asylum, for I think she had great reason to be thankful that it has been the means of restoring her to herself again.

Some that have left under similar circumstances have applied to Mr Mott to come back as assistants or employed in any way he might think proper. They felt so grateful to him for his kindness. Such is the difference.

No institution of the same kind can be better conducted. They are fed according to circumstances by the director of the medical men. And treated as kindly as circumstances permit. Of course when they are refractory it is necessary to use some restraint to prevent them from injuring themselves or others. The woman she mentions did not hang herself for she had nothing to hang by.

It was one of the worst of cases. And as she came in at night the medical man advised that she should be placed in a cell, not dark (of which they have many) with a low iron bedstead as it was not safe for anyone to sleep with her. And being desperate she contrived by some means to strangle herself by tying something tight about her neck. What could be done without such means where there are 370

[It was about June 1845 that George Coode became so concerned about affairs at the asylum that he travelled to Haydock from London and sacked some members of the staff]

Sarah (Nob?) and son join me in kind regards to all and am glad to know that you're all well as we are.

Yours affectionately
Noble Wilson

P.S. Don't mention what I have said about the vipers nor show it to anyone.

Charles Mott to the Revd. Mr. Barnes, Vicar of Kendal

Haydock Lodge Lunatic Asylum
4 July 1845

Revd. Sir,

The Revd. Noble Wilson, Chaplain to this Establishment has informed me of his intention to solicit the appointment of a perpetual Curacy in your gift and has requested me to give him a testimonial of his having performed the duties of Chaplain to this large Establishment.

I beg leave to assure you that Mr. Wilson has exhibited much zeal and attention in the discharge of his sacred duties - that he is much esteemed by the inmates of the asylum and has gained the respect and esteem of every person connected with the establishment; and his retirement from the performance of the duties of Chaplain would be much regretted by us all.

I am
Revd. Sir,
Your much oblig. and faithful servant.
Chas. Mott.

To the Revd. Mr. Barnes
Vicar of Kendall

Newton Parsonage
July 6th 1845

Revd. Sir,

My Curate, the Revd. Noble Wilson informed me that he is a Candidate for some preferment in your Parish, vacant by the death of the late Incumbent (Mr Airey I think). I have sincere pleasure in bearing testimony to the exemplary manner, in which he has discharged his various duties in my Parish; it has to him been a very arduous field of labour in consequence of my inability to take a fair share of the duty, having been suffering for some years from the effects of a severe paralytic stroke, which has rendered me quite unfit for any duty requiring active exertion of mind or Body. Consequently nearly the whole duty of this large Parish has been devolved on him, and well indeed has he performed it. His loss to me, in my present infirm state will be a serious one. Yet the esteem and regard I entertain towards him require me to advance his interests, as far as lie in my power, by a correct and most conscientious recommendation of him to your favour and notice. I should add that Mr. Wilson came originally to me most highly recommended by the Vicar of Beetham and I believe nearly every person of his last Congregation.

I have the honour to be
Revd. Sir
Your ob. and faithful servant
P. (Legh?)
Rector of Newton in Makerfield
Warrington, Lancashire


Newton le Willows Nov 3rd 1845

To the Trustees of Witherslack Chapel

The undersigned having been acquainted with the Revd. Noble Wilson since he became resident here - nearly two years, beg to testify as to the regularity and attention, with which he has discharged his ministerial duties. His visitation of the Poor has been constant and we are sure that his whole conduct has been such as to merit the approbation of his Incumbent.

John Pennington, Rector of Lowton
Edmund (Sibson?), Vicar of Ashton in Makerfield
John Whitley, (Official Minister?) at the Parish Church, Newton
N. G. Thomas, Incumbent of Burtonwood
J. J. Whittington, Curate of Winwick
J. A. Weeks, Curate of Winwick

July 4th 1846

Dear Brother,

I see your letter duly and am sorry to hear of your bad fortune among the cattle but at the same time glad to hear that you are all pretty well at present. You are very kind to wish Noble to stay a while longer with you and I feel grateful for it, but at the same time I must not allow him to do so. He has already lost a great deal of time by the inconvenience I was put to at Witherslack and since here by having a (puppet?) of a master; but as soon we are likely to have a new one and I hope one that will make himself useful to the neighbourhood.

I should like Noble to be at home and he must try to make up lost time. If he is at School during the day I shall be at liberty and can assist him in the evening.

He must contrive to see the Barrows in time and then write to say when they are coming. He ought to go to Oakhead. I am much afraid he will spoil his good clothes and they are expensive.

It is extremely hot today and I have been walking from place to place among the sick and I am so heated that I can scarcely write and I am also in haste, as I have to provide for four duties tomorrow. My place is no sinecure!

You mention that Winster is likely to be vacant but I don't think it will be of any use my applying for it, so maliciously are the Gentlemen set against me, without any fault of mine. The Parsonage and land I believe is in a much better state than it was when Long had it, but he borrowed some money from Queen Anne's Bounty which has to be paid off by instalments and that will lie heavy upon the next Incumbent. Perhaps you could make some enquiry into it.

Sarah and (John?) join me in kind regards to all at Town End and believe me.

Dear Brother
Yours affectionately

Noble Wilson

Newton Aug 8th 1846

Dear Brother,

I sit down to perform a duty which ought to have been done sometime ago and for the neglect of which I have to apologise, that is, to acquaint you of Noble's safe arrival at home. I feel particularly grateful for your kindness to him but was sorry you kept him so long that he had to travel alone, his companions being obliged to return before he had seen all his near relations. He left Grigghall on the 18th ult. and arrived at Parkside Station at half past two in the afternoon when Tom and I were waiting, thinking he might come that day, for he had not written to say when we might expect him.

He seems to have enjoyed himself very much during his visit to you and had embraced the opportunity, I find, of seeing Wray Castle and sailing in the steamer the length of Windermere Lake, which I am glad he did, though I was surprised he should venture alone having never before been upon water and not knowing any of the passengers. He may never have the opportunity again and when one sees a youth bold enough to venture upon such an unaccustomed expedition and among strangers, it leads one to suppose that when the time arrives that he must be turned out into the world, he will do far better to fight his way through it.

He found no difficulty in coming alone by Railway, but it appears the Porters at the Preston station were very urgent upon him to get out and procure a new Ticket, but he knew better than to listen to them, as he had entered himself from Lancaster to Parkside which rendered it unnecessary for him to get out at Preston.

I hear you will have had a tedious time amongst your Hay as I understood from Noble you were only commencing when he left and we have had very unsettled weather ever since. I don't remember such thunder, fire and rain in any one summer as we have had this and yet we have suffered as little from its effects here as in any part of the Kingdom. Last night was awful in the extreme; thunder accompanied with vivid lightning and torrents of rain commenced about nine o'clock and continued for nearly two hours : at times it was really horrifying and water poured from our Garden and back part of the house into the street sufficient to turn a Mill. This is the third visitation of this kind we have had this summer, but last night was by far the worst. I fear we shall hear of serious damage done. Harvest has commenced and the crops in general are very good. I pray God may send us weather to secure them in good condition.

We have had bustling work here lately with the Election and Races and next week the great fair comes on. One of our Farmers with a horse of his own breeding won at the Races £750 and has had £1000 offered for the horse and I fear he is fool enough not to part with it.

Haydock Lodge is full of lunatics and we have Methody parsons amongst them.

Sarah and Boys join me in kind respects to all at Town End hoping you are all well and I remain

Dear Brother
yours affectionately
Noble Wilson.

Jan 6th 1847

My Dear Brother,

I am very sorry indeed to hear of your severe indisposition but hope that with care you will recover. You must be aware that if you expose yourself to cold you will be in danger of a relapse which is oftentimes worse than the first attack.

The insertion of any appointment to Disley in the Gazette was rather premature as I was not actually appointed at the time but report said so and that spreads fast and wide.

I went to Lyme Hall on the first instance to receive my appointment as a new year's Gift and I assure you, I was received with the greatest kindness. When Mr. Legh had signed the nomination he said he was sorry he had nothing better to give me; he then shook hands and said

"I wish you health to enjoy it such as it is for many years to come and if it ever be in my power to forward your news, I shall have great pleasure in doing it."

Such treatment as this is a great contrast to that I received at Witherslack. Mr Legh is worthy to be called a fine old English gentleman and you will say he is a great landed man when I tell you that he has 1200 tenants and a mansion equal in size and splendour to any that the Queen has.

Disley is more desirable to me on account of its being the Church Mr Legh attends and as he has many distinguished visitors it may probably lead to something better; at any rate it is a comfortable thing to be under the protection of a great and good man and I believe a better man does not exist than Mr. Legh is.

I do not know the real value of the living but I suppose it is somewhere about £150 per annum. It is 7 miles from Stockport, 11 from Buxton and 2 from Lyme Hall. The Church is a very beautiful one calculated to hold over 1000 persons: the population of the District is 3000.

I once thought of coming over for a few days before I removed from Newton but my duty is so heavy that I fear I cannot get away. It is my intention at present to pack up after the 31st of this month and move if the weather will permit. The distance is 36 miles.

I suppose you don't know what George is doing as you make no mention of it in your letter. It is some comfort to know that he is alive. I often think about him and feel hurt that he should never write to say where he was and what he was doing.

I hope this will find you better and Ann and the Boys quite well. We are all well except Sarah who has felt the cold very much and felt considerable alarm about her leg. But I hope for the best, that the uneasiness she has felt is only the effects of the cold.

Sarah and Boys join me in kind regards to you all. Wishing a happy new year and better health I remain,

Your affectionate Brother

Noble Wilson

P.S. On the 1st of February I shall have been 3 years at Newton.

June 7th 1847

Dear Brother,

As it is now a long time since I had a letter from you I should like to hear from you how you are, and whether you have heard any thing more of George. I hope he is better and you too.

We are all well at present and very probably shall visit Westmorland about the end of this month as Sarah has very pressing invitations from her Mother and Sisters. It is impossible at present to fit any particular time as I shall have to attend the Confirmations on the 21st and then after that it will depend upon my being able to find a substitute for one Sunday, that would allow us a fortnight absence. He must come of course while the Boys have Holidays.

Have you any of those nice polyanthuses still growing in your garden or in that at Longmire or anywhere in the neighbourhood, that I used to have in such abundance; if there are I could wish you to procure me some seed from them, as they are a favourite flower of mine. I purchased seed at Warrington last year and at Stockport this year and have not had one plant from either lot.

There was also a musk plant in your garden which I should like to have some seed from, but perhaps it cannot be had, as I fear there is not that taste for flowers in Troutbeck that used to be.

I have a very large garden which is a source of great pleasure to me; everything looks well in it. Peas and beans in flower and I hope to see it very gay with flowers by August.

We have had a very fine season so far and crops of all kinds are promising well and forward. At the commencement of May every thing was very backward, but now I think many of the farmers may commence haytime in a fortnight from this time.

We have had hot dry weather for a fortnight but this morning there is appearance of rain which would be a great benefit.

Great distress prevails all around us and we are almost devoured with beggars on account of the depressed state of trade and high prices of provisions.

Butcher's meat 8d to 9d per lb -
Flour 2/10 per doz lbs.
(Meal?) 2/9 per doz.
Butter is falling (1d? or 1s?) per lb. at present
Potatoes 2/2 per score lbs; but I hope if it please God we shall soon be relieved from that heavy charge.

In your quiet agricultural district you can have no idea of the state of a manufacturing district in bad times. Here we can see young men by scores lounging on the banks by the roadsides and in the fields in a state of despair as they have no work nor any immediate prospect of any.

God grant that trade may revive soon and crops may be abundant or else I know not what must be done next winter. I should think you do not feel the times so much as cattle of every description are selling well and you have corn etc. within yourself and I hope to spare.

I saw a gentleman the other day who had been sojourning in Crosthwaite for a time. He told me that the Ings parson after setting Hugill people in an uproar was gone to Winster where he was likely to do the same thing. What peacemakers have been sent into the North of late!

Sarah and Boys join me in kind regards to all at Town End and I remain

Your affectionate Brother
Noble Wilson

Noble Wilson
July 12 1847

Dear Brother

You will think me long in writing to say how we got away. We left Kendal at half after one and reached home about 8 o'clock. We had to wait in Manchester nearly one hour as we were too late for the Stockport train at 5. Consequently Mr. Orford's carriage had to wait for us an hour at Stockport but he made no fault of it. We all arrived safe and have all been well since.

I hope you and Ann are both better and I suppose you will now have commenced Hay but will not be able to make much progress if the weather with you be the same as it is here. We have had thunder and rain every day since we returned and no appearance of improvement yet.

I had a letter again from George the other day. He says he must part with his furniture and go to the Union Workhouse as no-one will assist him and his infirmities increase for want of proper nourishment and the situation he had in view he must abandon.

I shall be glad to hear from you soon to know how you are and also how George Brown goes on.

Sarah and Boys unite with me in kind regards to you all hoping you are in good health and I remain

Your affectionate Brother
Noble Wilson.

Dec. 9th 1847

Dear Brother,

You have become quite mute for I believe I have not heard a word from you since we were over in July which is now six months; surely you can find time, now and then, to scrawl a few lines to say how you are and how things are going in your neighbourhood.

I observed a short time ago what a narrow escape Nicholas had from an untimely death; I hope for the time to come he will go a little round before he will venture over a rotten Bridge, especially when the River is swollen. It must have gone much worse since July or it would have given way under my weight as Noble and I popped over it the morning we left your house for Underbarrow. Your servant (there?) it seems perished and I think would be a sad figure when found, after being buffeted against the rocks, such a distance as it is between (Thickholmes?) and the Lake. I know well what that River is in a flood, having seen so much of it and sometimes run great risks myself.

I hope you have enjoyed better health during the Autumn and things are going well with you. The harvest was generally good and as far as I have had opportunity of observing, the Markets have been good for Cattle. I suppose Potatoes are failing again as they are high in Kendal Market.

How is George Browne? Hird (Mounsey?) I saw was dead and Anne Birkett otherwise Anne O'Williams. I frequently see William Lion. He drives the Mail coach between Manchester and Derby through this village: he is looking well, we sometimes exchange a few words. He did not know me for some time after I came here. He had not heard of Hird's death till I told him.

Trade is improving a little. Still times are very bad in this neighbourhood - scores of men unemployed and robberies very frequent. There have been several in this district. A Gang has got broke into and some of them will get transported; but thinking that there are more we have hired a night watch for three months: so that I hope we may now sleep safely. For some time past our nights have been anything but pleasant- always in fear of being attacked.

I am happy to say we are all well. The Boys continue to go to Mr. Smith's Academy. They are learning dancing and drawing this half year, and I think are doing very well. Noble is drawing steam engines etc. Tom - houses, landscapes etc. - and they are very fond of it.

We have had a great deal of wet, stormy weather of late. Yesterday all was covered with snow, but we had heavy rain in the night and the ground is clear this morning.

Sarah and Boys join me in kind regards to you all, hoping you are all well and I remain

Your affectionate Brother
Noble Wilson.

P.S. Let me hear from you soon.

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Noble Wilson 21.11.1828
From Witherslack to Troutbeck

Noble Wilson 25.6.1840
From Witherslack to Troutbeck

Fair Play 5.8.1843
In the Lancaster Gazette

Noble Wilson 16.1.1845
From Newton

Noble Wilson 24.6.1845
From Newton

Charles Mott 4.7.1845

Newton Parsonage 8.7.1845

to Witherslack 3.11.1845

Noble Wilson 4.7.1846
From Newton

Noble Wilson 8.8.1846
From Newton

Noble Wilson 6.1.1847
From Newton

Noble Wilson 7.6.1847
From Disley

Noble Wilson 12.7.1847
From Disley

Noble Wilson 9.12.1847
From Disley

Jane Fisher:

Geographical notes: North West England (1870)

See the map of England and Wales. In the north-west of England (moving south) are Cumberland, Westmoreland, Lancashire and Cheshire.

In 1974 the old counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland, with the northern part of Lancashire, were combined to form Cumbria. The "Lake District" is part of Cumbria. The boundary between Lancashire and Cheshire has also been altered so that, for example, Warrington is now in Cheshire.

The following is developed from Maunders Comprehensive Universal Gazetteer of 1870.

Cumberland: County of 958,080 acres, south of Scotland. Population 205,293. One city (Carlisle) and ten market towns. The mountains feed large flocks of sheep, the valeys produce corn and there are mines for coal, lead, copper and iron. (Click for asylums)
GenUKI link

Westmoreland: County of 488,320 acres, south of Cumberland. Population 60,809. Eight market towns. A region of lofty mountains (usually called fells), naked hills, forests and barren moors, but it is watered by numerous rivers and lakes. Lake Windermere is the largest in England. (Click for asylums)
GenUKI link

Kendal Market town on the river Ken (which flows into Morecambe Bay). Population 12,029.
modern map

Beetham Parish includes Witherslack 1829 Directory shows Rev Noble Wilson, Rev John Dawson, William Stockdale, Robert Thornborrow and three Mr Barrows at Meathop... [modern map Witherslack village]

Windermere Parish includes Troutbeck 1829 Directory shows Nicholas Wilson and George Brown
modern map

Hugill Ings 1829 Directory shows Rev. John Airey, James Braithewaite and a Thomas Jenkinson

Lancashire: County of 1,171,840 acres, south of Cumberland. Population 2,428,744. The southern part of the county contains a rich coalfield and is studded with populous towns and villages. As a commercial and manufacturing county, Lancashire is superior to any other in the kingdom. It has twenty-seven market towns. (Click for asylums)
Lancashire maps
GenUKI link

Warrington A market-town on the Mersey with mixed manufactures. Population 26,431.

Newton-le-Willows or Newton in Makerfield
North west of Warrington, south east of Haydock. Here the railway from London meets the railway between Liverpool and Manchester -
see timeline
1808: 5 miles north of Warrington, 7 miles south of Wigan, 193 miles from London. In the parish of Winwick, under which it has a chapel of ease. The living is a perpetual curacy; patron, T. Leigh, Esq.
modern map
a Newton-Le-Willows website
a history

The river Mersey used to be the boundary between Lancashire and Cheshire

Cheshire: County of 673,280 acres, south of Lancashire. Population 505,153. Rich in pasture and corn lands. Makes excellent cheese. One city (Chester) and twelve market towns. (Click for asylums)
GenUKI link

Stockport A manufacturing town in Cheshire, and a great seat of the cotton manufacture, which has spread itself over all the neighbouring villages. Population of borough (in which several adjacent townships are included) 54,681.

Disley In the parish of Stockport. The living of Disley is a perpetual curacy, of which Thomas Legh, Esquire, is the patron: Lyme Hall, the seat of this gentleman, is about two miles hence. The population of the chapelry, in 1831, was 2,037, and, in 1841, 2,191. (Slaters Directory 1850)
modern map with arrow pointing to position of Lyme Hall
Lyme Hall - another - another. The hall was the home of the Legh family from 1346 until 1946 when it became a National Trust property.

Legh family The name is sometimes spelt Leigh.

Thomas Legh who was the author of Narrative of a Journey in Egypt and the Country beyond the Cataracts. London, Murray, (1816?), second edition 1817 carried out major reconstruction on Lyme Hall. William John Legh became Lord Newton in 1892.

Property listed by John Rylands Library: Cheshire estates: in Lyme Handley, Disley, Pott Shrigley, Macclesfield, Grappenhall, Norbury, Marple, and Broomedge and Heatley in Lymm. Lancashire estates: the manors of Newton and Golborne, and property in Newton-le-Willows, Golborne, Lowton, Haydock, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Ince-in-Makerfield, Warrington, Burtonwood, Poulton and Fearnhead, Bold, Pemberton and Dalton

Thomas Legh owned Haydock Lodge. The family owned the manor of Newton and the incumbency of the parish was in their gift.