Battle of Waterloo: The place names in Chorley which still recall the victory against Napoleon
As the Chorley Guardian reflects on the 150 years since it first published, we're telling stories from within our community in our Chorley 150 series.
The Peninsular Wars (generalising the war in Europe during the overall Napoleonic period) took place in Portugal, Spain and France, from 1808 to 1814.
During that same period Britain was also fighting in the Americas and France was also fighting in North Africa and Russia.
Britain and the allied armies under the command of Arthur Wellesley (who became Duke of Wellington) pushed the French Army back through Spain and finally into France before Napoleon abdicated as Emperor and France surrendered.
The French Royal Family was reinstated and Napoleon was forced into exile on the island of Elba.
In March 1815 while the European powers were still struggling to restore order, Napoleon escaped from Elba and returned to France with a 1,000 soldiers.
His support increased and his soldiers of the loyal Old Guard reformed under the French Eagle.
The allied armies, now including Russia and Prussia formed the Holy Alliance to finally end the problem of Napoleon.
In June 1815, fighting took place for four days and culminated on the 18th with the Battle of Waterloo.
The final battle was fierce and bloody and lasted nearly 10 hours.
The Allies were victorious, the French army broken and eventually Napoleon was captured and imprisoned on the British island of St.Helena in the South Atlantic ocean.
Although this took place so long ago and so far away, the victory against Napoleon was celebrated far and wide and Chorley was no exception.
It is known that men from Chorley borough served in the British forces during this time but it is not known for sure if the area suffered any casualties.
While there are no memorials to those lost in battle, the area has had memorials in tribute of the great victory.
Over the years there have been pubs named after contemporary historical figures such as the Duke of York, there is a Waterloo Street in Chorley, and on the edge of the town is Waterloo Lodge which is now an independent school.
One of the grandest testimonies of the period is St.George's Church in Chorley, which was dedicated and consecrated in 1825.
The church was a part of a Government-led scheme to build churches throughout the country during this period and many of these became unofficially but commonly referred to as “Waterloo Churches”.
Chorley 150 countdown
This story is part of our Chorley 150 series to mark the 150th anniversary of the Chorley Guardian.