Gunpowder on the 'village' plot

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Your weekend walk with Bob Clare of www.lancashirewalks.com

The Reformation in England played out in a way that has echoes in the Brexit crisis of today. There were remainers - Catholics who wanted the country to retain its ties to the Church of Rome and Protestants who wanted to break away. The Protestant cause was given a big boost when Henry VIII in failing to secure an annulment for his marriage to Catherine of Aragon from the Pope declared himself the Head of the Church of England in 1534 Act of Supremacy. The convulsions that followed lasted almost 300 years – a sobering thought just three years after the Vote to Leave referendum. One of those convulsions occurred in 1605 when a group of Catholics disillusioned with the attitude of the new king – James I – decided to blow him up when he went to re-open Parliament in November 1605. The plot came to light after Lord Monteagle (1574-1622) was advised to find an excuse not to attend. “For though there be no appearance of any stir, yet I say they shall receive a terrible blow this Parliament; and yet they shall not see who hurts them”. The authorities were alerted and on the night of November 4th a search of cellars discovered one Guy Fawkes close to a great number of barrels full of gunpowder and several matches. So the plot was foiled something we celebrate to this day. A merchant, John Sumner from Lancashire, gave an eye witness account of the first celebration writing to his friend William Farrington at Worden Old Hall, “Great bonfires are made throughout all the streets, and ringing of bells throughout all of London upon Tuesday, 5th of November, at night, for joy the said devilish practice was revealed…”

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The walk below will take you to Worden Old Hall on the edge of Buckshaw Village on a short circuit from Cuerden Valley Park.

Walk Facts

Start: Cuerden Valley Park. Lower Kem Mill Car Park (Pay & display). PR6 7EA

Distance: 3 miles

Time: 1 ½ - 2 hours

Summary: Easy walking on well-maintained paths and cycle track.

Map: OS Explorer 285 Southport & Chorley

Directions

On the left side of the car park from the entrance take a footpath. This quickly leads uphill between fields to Lisieux Hall. This is the Lancashire home of the Brothers of Charity. The path turns left and goes through the wood just before the hall and edges round to the visitors car park. Here cross the main drive to follow a narrow lane with the complex on the right. When you reach Dawson Lane cross the road on the corner (taking care for the traffic) to a track opposite. Though there is no sign to indicate it you have just entered Buckshaw Village. Where the track divides we suggest you take the left fork and after this reaches a brow turn right onto a grassy path that soon arrives at the first of two viewpoints. 250yds further on continue to the second and higher viewpoint - one of the finest viewpoints in this part of Lancashire. Nearby is the village itself. This is one of the largest development sites of its kind in the north of England (see below). To view Old Worden Hall retrace your steps from the viewpoint a short distance to pick up a narrow path leading downhill to the right. After the Green Man matchstick statue appears bear left to a gateway onto Central Avenue. Walk down over 300yds crossing the roundabout on Old Worden Avenue to a pedestrian crossing. Old Worden Hall is opposite (please note that it is private property and can only be admired from outside its grounds). To continue the walk return to the roundabout and turn right onto Old Worden Avenue. Walk along it for ¼ mile and then turn left onto cycle route 55. This takes you past football pitches on the left and continues to Dawson Lane. Cross the road and take the lane back onto Brothers of Charity land but this time turn left onto the tarmac cycle track. This track takes you through farmland that surrounds Lisieux Hall and drops down into Cuerden Valley Park. As you reach the main path turn right for the car park.

Points of Interest

- Lisieux Hall. This is the Lancashire base of the Brothers of Charity. Founded in Belgium in 1807 by Canon Peter Triest this religious order worked to provide care and support for the poor, the aged and the disabled. This religious foundation now has a worldwide mission. In Lancashire Brothers of Charity services have been supporting people with learning disabilities since 1930.

- Buckshaw Village is a place where brown means green. Situated on the former Royal Ordnance site between Chorley and Leyland this brown field site has been developed as a commercial and residential community with good transport links to the rest of the county and north west. It is 'green' not just because it relieves pressure on Lancashire’s countryside but has been planned with regard to existing habitats as well as incorporating corridors and open spaces that in future years will provide amenity for those who live and work in the 'village'. Of course as an ordnance factory one of its main products would have been – gunpowder!