Worden Lane runs south from the top of Fox Lane towards Holt Brow passing Worden Park. Like many roads in Leyland it has had numerous names in the past: Whittaker Lane, then Lodge Lane, more recently New Road, and today – Worden Lane.
A pair of carved date stones in a wall beside Clough House on Worden Lane. One shows 1584 and the second shows 1585. They are not in their original locations as it is thought they came from St Andrew’s Church.
St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church
Established in 1854 by Rev. Henry Anselm Brewer, the Roman Catholic Church of St Mary’s replaced the earlier chapel of St Andrew the Apostle that had been opened in Leyland House. The church was enlarged in 1919 and was used until it closed in 1961 when the new St Mary’s church was built in Broadfield Drive. Only the front wall now remains. There is a graveyard behind which includes a war memorial.
A very minor diversion from Worden Lane takes us to North Lodge and the entrance to Worden Park. The neoclassical North Lodge and gateway with its Tuscan style columns are still one of the main entrances to the parkland. The road that leads from it into the grounds is probably one of the original estate drives shown on the 1725 map. It forms a crossroads with another original drive ‘The Avenue’ which leads down towards the hall.
Worden Park was acquired by the Farington in 1534. It remained in the possession of the family until their home, Worden Hall, was damaged in a fire in 1947. The lands and the ruined hall were sold, in 1950, to Leyland Urban District Council and the current park was opened to the public in 1951.
The hall has been demolished, but many of the early buildings and gardens can still be enjoyed today.
Our walk begins on the north side of the park at the 19th century gateway beside North Lodge heading south towards the junction with the former Hall Lane and the remains of Worden Hall.
The site was included in land granted to the Knights of St John of Jerusalem in the C12 or early C13. Worden subsequently passed from the Bussel family to the Anderton family. In 1534 it was acquired by Sir Henry Farington and it remained in the Farington family until 1947. In 1950 Leyland Council purchased it. It was opened to the public on 18 June 1951 and it remains in use as a public park (1999).
Off Worden Lane, the neoclassical North Lodge and gateway with its Tuscan style columns is the main pedestrian entrance to the parkland for many in the town. The road that leads from it into the grounds, heading south, is probably one of the original estate drives shown on the 1725 map. It forms a crossroads with another original drive ‘The Avenue’ which leads west towards the site of the hall.
Worden Lodge came about around 1761 following an agreement between Captain Isaac Hamon and Sir William Farington. Captain Hamon rented the northwest corner of a close known as Great Low Field, which was part of the Shaw Hall demesne.
All that remains now, at the western end of thecae park, is a short section of standing wall, a gatepost, and some dressed stone blocks in the trees around the car park.
The Service Wing
The Stable Block
Originally, possibly mid 19th century, a conservatory attached to Worden Hall, later used as a greenhouse, it is has a wooden frame on a stone plinth, and glazed walls and roof. A short section of the wall of Worden House remains standing to the right.
The icehouse door, called an ogee, is S-shaped in section and is very unusual. Some of the ornamentation originates from the Parish Church and were relocated when the nave was altered in 1816. This includes two carved figures, either side of the door, which date to around 1500. They sit on two corbels that were clearly not designed to hold them. Other carvings include three shield shapes and a block with a hollow spandrel. There is no public access to the inside of the icehouse.
The Helvellyn Erratic
On the mound of the icehouse is a large inscribed rock with the inscription reading “Greenstone porphyry, Helvellyn, Prof I Phillips, brought from Worden drift”. This is a “glacial erratic”, and was brought from Helvellyn in the Lake District by a glacier during the last ice age.
The Worden Obelisk
Now situated at Churchtown, Southport, Mersyside this 18 century commemorative obelisk was formerly at Worden Hall, Leyland. Following the fire at Worden Hall the obelisk was sold around 1948 to Colonel Roger Fleetwood Hesketh of Meols Hall and placed here in 1950. It is made from dressed gritstone blocks, of square section. The pedestal is c. 2m high, with a chamfered base, one broad band and a cavetto-moulded cornice with a worn inscription running round the east, north and west sides: Rebuilt in Commemoration of the Glorious illegible. More photographs can be seen in my blog.
Fox Lane is one of the early roads in Leyland and today it links Severn Stars with Towngate. On the 1844 Village Plan it is named Liverpool Road, but the 1830 and subsequent Ordnance Survey maps name it as Union Street. By 1890 the eastern end was known as Union Street as far west as the alms houses, the centre section was Fox Lane, and the western end around Seven Stars was named Brook Street.
All the older buildings are at either the eastern end, Union Street, or the western end, Brook Street. All the centre section is modern build.
Our walk commences outside the Fox & Lion at the eastern end of Fox Lane.
The Fox & Lion
Looking east from the top of Fox Lane towards St Andrew’s Parish Church. The Fox & Lion was originally a row of cottages and was converted to a public house called The Ring O’ Bells. Sometime around the 1800s, the name was changed to Bay Horse. The Georgian look to the east front of building is fake.
Originally constructed as houses, these were converted to shops and are currently derelict. They have recently been sold …
The Step Houses
A terrace of twenty-six brick-built cottages used by hand loom weavers. Originally known as the Friendly Society Houses, they are built around 1801.
The cutting of the Lancaster Canal began around 1792 and the canal has always existed as two separate sections. The southern cutting ran from Aspull, in the south, to Walton Summit. The northern section ran from Preston to Kendal. The small section between Walton Summit and Preston, which required crossing the River Ribble, was never completed and a temporary tramroad was opened in 1803 to enable the transfer of cargo between Walton Summit and Preston.
The Southern Cutting
The southern cutting from Johnson’s Hillock to Bark Hill at Aspull became part of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in 1810 and is still navigable today. At Johnson’s Hillock there is a short arm of the original Lancaster Canal running northwest from the wooden lock bridge to Town Lane.
Almost all of the cut between here and Walton Summit was filled by rubble from the construction of the M61 motorway. Through lack of use and the significant cost of constructing bridges and tunnels to accommodate the motorway, it was decided in the 1960s to close this section of the canal. Only a few very short sections of the cut are visible along with the remains of a few bridges and basins.
The two Whittle Tunnels and Moss Bridge can still be found in good condition at Whittle-le-Woods. Summit Bridge and White Bride stand in isolation in woods close to Walton Summit and can be accessed by a footpath that runs under the M61 motorway.
Footpaths can now be walked that follow the line of the canal cutting as we head north from Whittle Tunnels.
Following the former canal cutting as it passes between Brindle and Clayton Brook on its way to Walton Summit we come across the sites of White Bridge and Summit Bridge. White Bridge has been removed and replaced by a grass bank crossing the cutting. Summit Bridge stands isolated in woodland and crosses a muddy ditch.
The Northern Cutting
The northern cutting of the canal now starts at Maudlands, on the north west side of Preston, and can be navigated as far as Tewitfield.
Originally, the canal ran as far south as the basin and coal yards on the southwest side of Corporation Street between Ladywell Street and Ring Way. Heading north towards Maudlands, there is no cutting visible as UCLAN have built over the land. However, there are still indications of a number of the bridges and banks to be seen.
Signs of the tramroad can still be found at Walton Summit, in Preston city centre, and near to Walton-le-Dale where the course of the tramroad is used as a footpath. There is also a large trestle bridge crossing the River Ribble in Avenham Park, but this is currently closed. Two very small sections of the tramroad were excavated in Bamber Bridge and have been preserved at Worden Park in Leyland.
Golden Hill Lane runs east to west from the end of Station Brow in the east to Leyland Lane in the west where it becomes Longmeanygate. For most of its length, it is designated as the B5256. Much of the development along Golden Hill Lane is modern.
Our walk starts at the east end of Golden Hill Lane starting on the short stretch of road, Golden Hill. Looking at the 1848 1:10,560 Ordnance Survey map Golden Hill may have been the route to the level crossing – it’s difficult to be certain. Somewhere between 1848 and 1894, the level crossing was replaced by the modern man-made hill, Station Brow, and the bridge.
Coal Merchant’s Yard
This building has been used for many years as an office for local coal merchants. The 1848 1:10,560 Ordnance Survey map shows a coal yard in approximately this location, with a small number of associated buildings. The 1894 1:2,500 Ordnance Survey map shows this building and a small number of weighing machines outside.
The Former Police Station
The former and very impressive Police Station at the east end of Golden Hill Lane was built in 1882 to replace the Police Station that was on Towngate. It was significantly larger than the older building and had room for cells and a courthouse on the first floor. The building has recently been used as a police-station-themed Italian restaurant, but is currently vacant and is for sale. There is planning permission for nine elegant apartments.
The NatWest Bank
The modern NatWest bank stands on the site of the former Wesleyan Chapel that gave Chapel Brow its name. This ‘modern’ building dates to 1927, although the lower section built on the plot west of the bank was constructed in 1974.
The Queens & The Viceroy
Built as one building around the mid 1850s, the building to the left has always been a public house. The building on the right, now The Viceroy, was originally The Leyland & Farington Co – op shop on Golden Hill Lane. A loading hoist can still be seen on the west side of the building in the small alley running towards Grundy Street. There are two iron support beams. The top beam has the words “Leyland & Farington” embossed into the ironwork. The lower beam, now covered by a shutter, is embossed “Co-operative Society”.