St Helen's Church

Churchtown

St Michael's Church

St Michael's-on-Wyre

 

 

"Shoulda taken the train” was the unanimous opinion of we weary bikers as we complete our Fylde Coast journey. Indeed a highly appropriate comment because the Borough of Lytham St Annes like the rest of the Fylde Coast, including Blackpool ,only came into being with the coming of the Railway in the middle of the 19th Century. The iron railroad was to transform a collection of fishing hamlets into a series of mighty resorts and residential areas within a few years of conception. Victorian cotton magnates soon realised that they were able to live within one hours travel from their Dark Satanic Mills and settle in leafy Lytham. The mansions they built still stand today in the town, albeit many in luxury multi occupancy. These Captains had their own carriage on the Manchester trip (known as the Club Train) and shortly after World War One decided a sports club for the area would be appropriate. The ever-generous Squire Clifton gifted a large parcel of land which the founders named in honour of comrades who had fallen in the Great War. The Woodlands Memorial Ground. The only area of contention was which sport to play on these fields. By toss of a coin, the decision was to play Rugby Football .A traveller on the train was a native of Huddersfield and the Rugby Club there donated a set of used shirts. To this day, on the celebration this year of their centenary, the Fylde Rugby Club continue to play in the colours of their benefactors Claret, Gold and White hooped shirts. The Club in this time has provided, all home grown, three England Captains, Malcolm Phillips, Roger Uttley and Sir Bill Beaumont. Two England Head Coaches (Uttley and Brian Ashton) One British Lions Captain ( Sir Bill ) and the present Head of World Rugby ( Sir Bill again) .This plus numerous International and County Players in the hundreds for Lancashire plus a few along the way for Cumbria ,Durham ,Cheshire and Yorkshire and the odd one for Hampshire. Now, do we go to St Annes or to St Annes on the Sea, a conundrum that had left our dear readers in suspense for this last month, or perhaps not !! St Annes is the answer.  

 

The confusion arises because in 1873 the new Railway Station was named by the Railway Company ,St Annes on the Sea, the name the station bears to this day. This name was not taken up by the Town ,no doubt at the strong behest of the Clifton Family ,the local landowners. In the same year 1873 ,the Cliftons donated a parcel of land in the hamlet of Heyhouses for the construction of a Church with the condition that they could choose its dedicated name . The preference was to honour an elderly Aunt of the Squire named Anne, hence St Annes . The Clifton Family carried more clout than the Railway Company and consequently the new town was given the shorter name by its designer, planner and architect Elijah Hargreaves in 1874.  To summarise and put an end to all otherwise claims ,the Town carries the name of the Church and not the Railway Station!! The Church flourished as the town grew in the latter part of the 19th Century and this daughter Church of St Cuthberts Lytham ,quickly acquired Parish status in its own right .As the Parish grew daughter Churches were founded St Thomas to the East and St Margarets to the West . The young town was overtaken by tragedy in 1886 when the Lifeboat Crew attended to a stricken ship " The Mexico" on a dreadful stormy night. All hands were lost as the Lifeboat went down . There are prominent memorials to these brave men on the Promenade and in the Churchyard at St Annes. So we finish, off the bike for the last time by the Sea in St Annes .  Oh dear! Don't start that one again!! See you in Church The Churchwardens Present and Past

Church Wardens Ramblings

St Helens Home