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A Local English Church-its Environs and Wildlife.

Updated on August 26, 2015

St Thomas the Martyr

The west tower of St.Thomas the Martyr is an original structure modified in the 18th century.
The west tower of St.Thomas the Martyr is an original structure modified in the 18th century.

Notes from a Lancashire Countryman.

My local church St.Thomas the Martyr was founded in1307 by Sir Robert de Holland. The chapel was changed to a Priory of 12 Benedictine monks in1318/19 by Walter de Langton Bishop of Lichfield. It was the last Benedictine Priory to be founded in this country.It had a great hall where Sir Robert " feasted with his equals and dispensed hospitality to the poor".

The chancel of the early 14th century Priory has been incorporated into the nave of the current church. The west tower constructed in coursed rubble sand stone is also an original feature, although it has been modified with 18th century battlements, pinnacles and a 19th century window with reticulated tracery.

In the early 14th century there was a Royal deer park in Upholland, and following the theft of venison King Edward the 2nd visited the the Priory to mete out justice. By the 17th century much of Upholland has passed into the ownership and control of the Earl of Derby who built Derby House, 55 School Lane as his Manor Court House. The building has been much changed but the crest of the eagle and child and the Legs of Man can still be seen on the front of the building. The committee of Lancashire sat to quash lingering Royalists after the end of the Cival War in 1648.

It is believed that the origins of Upholland may well go back as far as Roman times. There are records of a Roman statue being found in a field in Upholland in the 19th century. In the Domesday Book of 1087-it is stated that " there are ploughlands in Holland."

A survey of 1653 described Upholland as " a manor of fair green acres, friendly farm cottages and of peaty wastes and fertile moss lands".The Upholland Conservation Area was designated in 1995 in order to preserve and enhance the SpecialHistoric character created by these ancient buildings.

Across from the church a sign has been erected to welcome people to the village. I am proud to say that my wife thought of this tribute when chair of the residents association. The sign was made by a local man from the village whose skill in his art can clearly be observed.

The welcome

The sign was made by the skill of a village man.The red rose of Lancashire is incorporated in the design.
The sign was made by the skill of a village man.The red rose of Lancashire is incorporated in the design.

White Lion

Directly opposite the church stand the White LionHotel. Legend has it that a tunnel once ran from the Inn to the church, in order that monks and other church dignitaries could escape or travel from the former Inn without being observed. Whether this legend has any truth I have not been able to find out. The priory house stands at the side of the church its Georgian facade belies its older origins.It is now the Conservative club.

In the churchyard head stones pay homage to those departed. They date from 1720 onwards. these archaic headstones are near to the church. The modern day burial ground is surrounded by arableland in the most scenic part of the environs.

Historic buildings

The historical White Lion Inn.
The historical White Lion Inn.
The old Priory house is now the Conservative Club.
The old Priory house is now the Conservative Club.
The archaic head stone s date from the 1700s
The archaic head stone s date from the 1700s
The garden of the Priory House taken from the church yard.
The garden of the Priory House taken from the church yard.

Wildlife abounds

Wildlife abounds in the church environs and the surrounding arable land. Birds in particular use the locality to nest and to make a living. The tall beech trees that divide the different areas of the burial grounds are utilised by birds such as the magpie and jay. Wood pigeons too, frequent the trees cooing contentedly throughout the spring and summer. Small species such as the chaffinch wren, robin, dunnock and members of the tit family are all known to breed here. Many take advantage of the nest boxes provided while others will utilize the stone walls shrubs and other favourable locations. Lapwings often feed on the surrounding arable land and other Corvines such as the rook, jackdaw and carrion crow will compete with them.

The flora in the grounds vary in numbers and distribution. Many are wild flowers such as the red dead nettle and ground ivy while others are planted or escape from the village gardens. daffodils snowdrops and crocus all abound at this time of the year.

The fox ,whose den is in a banking on the near by field, will often be seen roaming, late in the evening and at dawn. Bats frequent the westtower and other areas they can access. They are regularly seen in the twilight flitting around the trees. The song thrush can be heard in the evenings its repetitive notes cascading from its lofty perch. The whole place gives one a sense of well being and inner contentment. In short UphollandVillage is a lovely place to live and to be laid to rest!

Early nest

early nester's such as the magpie will refurbish their homesteads before the leaves appear.
early nester's such as the magpie will refurbish their homesteads before the leaves appear.
crocus abounds at this time of the year.
crocus abounds at this time of the year.
The modern day School Lane runs down from the church and takes one out of the village
The modern day School Lane runs down from the church and takes one out of the village

Comments

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    • D.A.L. profile image
      Author

      Dave 7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Marliza Gunter, thank you. Your comments are appreciated. Best Wishes.

    • Marliza Gunter profile image

      Marliza Gunter 7 years ago from South Africa

      Beautiful hub... :)

    • D.A.L. profile image
      Author

      Dave 8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      jayjay40,thank you for you visit and for leaving your appreciated comment

    • jayjay40 profile image

      jayjay40 8 years ago from Bristol England

      Great hub, wonderful photos. What a lovely place

    • D.A.L. profile image
      Author

      Dave 8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      jill,thank you for your visit and taking the time to comment.

      Yard of nature,Thank you also for your encouraging comment.

    • Yard of nature profile image

      Yard of nature 8 years ago from Michigan

      Very nice. Keep up the good work.

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 8 years ago from Philippines

      Wow, what a very inviting place! I love the architecture and the flowers!

      Thank you for sharing D.A.L.

    • D.A.L. profile image
      Author

      Dave 8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      PeggyW, thank you for visiting and for taking the time to comment.

    • D.A.L. profile image
      Author

      Dave 8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      hypnodude, once again I have to thank you for your encouraging comments thank you.

    • D.A.L. profile image
      Author

      Dave 8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Amanda Severn, I have taken your advise and change the title. thank you also for your appreciated comments.

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

      Lovely photos, and interesting article. Would you consider changing the title to incorporate 'Upholland'? It's a great hub, and the change might help people to find it easier on Google.

    • hypnodude profile image

      Andrew 8 years ago from Italy

      One of the things that I really love about UK is churches like this one, and the small surrounding graveyard, and villages. They are so beautiful. Great hubs, wonderful pictures. Rated up and stumbled.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      What a beautiful church and gorgeous setting! Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • D.A.L. profile image
      Author

      Dave 8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Darlene, there is a lot of history to research and I will take your advise about e-bay. Thank you for reading once again.

      loriamoore, thank you and for taking the time to comment.

      graymarye, thank you also for visiting and taking the time to comment.

    • gramarye profile image

      gramarye 8 years ago from Adelaide - Australia

      Nice place I'll put it on my travel wish list.

    • profile image

      loriamoore 8 years ago

      It's beautiful!

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 8 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      How I would love to live thier, such a quiant town, I love this church, notthing that old here in the US...I love the pictures of your town, I can how you can become so inspired by the majestic old building, oh what stories they could tell. You must find out about this tunnel I am courious to know? Oh, by the way, check out ebay, I think they carry it...there....

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