Read the articles published on our website for an insight into the history of Brindle and find out more about the lives of the people that have lived in the village and local connections.


Reviews of our last meetings



Our speaker on 15 October was Barbara Williams talking on James 1st of England and 6th of Scotland.

James became King of Scotland in 1567 when he was 13 months old after his mother, Mary Queen of Scots, had been forced to abdicate in his favour.  He was separated from his mother at this time, never seeing her again, and brought up by guardians, Scotland being governed by a series of regents until James reached his majority.  He became King of England after the death of Elizabeth 1st in 1603; he was a great-great-grandson of Henry 7th.  He was baptized as a catholic but brought up by strict protestants; he was extremely well educated, being able to speak Latin and French at the age of seven; amongst other things he wrote a treatise expounding the divine right of kings to rule, a practical guide to kingship for his son, Henry, and poetry.  He promoted music, poetry, and other literature, including the English re-translation of the Bible, what is now known as the King James Bible.  He had though suffered a series of traumatic events in his early life (apart from the separation from his mother), which must have had an impact on his later life.  Some say that he wore so many clothes because he feared attempts at assassination, as a protective layer against the dagger.  He also did his best to avoid war, in particular with Spain, and, when Sir Walter Raleigh was sent on an expedition to South America, instructed him not to exchange fire with the Spanish under any circumstances, even to defend himself and his force.

King James of course visited Hoghton Tower in 1617 where, it has been claimed, he knighted the loin of beef.  Barbara’s view was that, although James never allowed any sharp instrument anywhere near him, he was fond of theatrical gestures, was verbally witty, and so he may well have borrowed a sword from a guard to perform the deed.  On balance she thought it likely that he had.

An interesting and amusing view on King James’ life.


Members and some guests visited Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, Cheshire on 22 September on the Society’s Annual Outing.  The weather was kind and it stayed dry the whole time we were there.  The organised tour of the Apprentice House opened our eyes to the very hard life of children from the age of 9 in the late 18th century – up at 6 am, 2 hours work in the Mill, breakfast at 8 am, then back to work in the Mill till approximately 7 pm, dinner, and then an hour’s schooling before bedtime.  No plates or cutlery for breakfast – only thick gruel on the hand – and so no wasted cost or time on washing up!  But they were fed home grown vegetables and suchlike; and they were better off than many elsewhere although most certainly not when compared with today’s standards.  The engineering skills on show in the Mill were amazing – the huge water wheel and associated gearing which provided power to the spinning and other equipment, and the steam engines, which were installed to ensure that, when the River Bollin was unable to provide sufficient water, the Mill could continue to operate at full capacity.  An industrial community comprising mill, owner’s house and garden, workers’ houses and apprentice accommodation could be visited.  This mill and other similar mills built in the latter part of the 18th century revolutionized the cotton industry.   So much to see and learn from.  Thank you, Kathy, for organising the trip for us.

On 17 September 2018 Bill Brierley spoke on “Mesopotamia – The Forgotten Front in WW1 and why it’s important today”.   The Ottoman Empire, which had controlled huge areas for centuries, had been losing territory and influence in the 19th century.  Early in the 1900’s they allied with Germany to help stem the losses.  Very shortly after the European war had begun, they attacked the Russians in the Black Sea at the end of October 1914.  Within a matter of days the Allied Powers had declared war on them and the British offensive, led by the British Indian Army, began. By 22 November 1914 Basra had been occupied and forces advanced up the Tigris.  A year later British forces were close to Baghdad but were forced to retreat to Kut where in April 1916 they were forced to surrender.  The British launched a further offensive in from the south in late 1916 and by March 1917 had taken Baghdad.  Behind the scenes though other things were happening which continue to have impact today.  Promises were made by the British to Arabs that in return for their support against Ottoman forces in the region a national Arab homeland would be created in what was then known as Greater Syria.  At much the same time the British, however, secretly negotiated with France what is often known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement (signed in May 1916) in which both powers agreed on the extent of their respective spheres of influence and control in the former Ottoman controlled Arab areas drawing boundaries which exist today; but they made no provision for an Arab homeland.  In 1917 the Balfour Declaration was published providing for a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.  The Treaty of Sevres in 1920 marked the beginning of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire by the Allied Powers; but the terms were such that they led to the Turkish War of Independence and in 1923 the creation of the modern Republic of Turkey.  It is though impossible to summarise here in a few words the complications which arose from all that happened.  Those who attended the talk listened in awe to Bill’s exposition and careful analysis of the complexities.  Thank you, Bill.


On 21 May Dr James Mawdsley took members and guests on a Tour of the Cemetery and then the Church of St James We were fortunate in having a pleasant warm evening.  James drew our attention to various points of interest on the outside of the Church and in the Cemetery.  A large monument on the Goodier family grave brought mention of Preston North End.  William Sudell, who had been instrumental in making North End so successful in the late 19th century, had, it seemed, funded the success by embezzling thousands of pounds from the Goodier family business, of which he had been the manager, to pay players wages and expenses.  He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to 3 years.  Inside the church there was much of interest about both people and artifacts, but worth mentioning in this short article are the chandelier from 1793 (one of a few examples in Lancashire but a particularly nice one), the choristers’ memorial placques behind the choir stalls (not commonly seen in churches), and a small portable communion set.  The church web site has a useful summary of the history of the church, mentioning just some of the detailed information we were given by James.  Throughout we were accompanied by the peal of bells as the bell ringers had their usual Monday evening practice session.  Our thanks to James for the tour and to David Ward and Martin Coane for allowing us into the Church and making it possible.


Our talk on 19 March by Ralph McMullen, “Brindle and the Gerards – A Tale of Adventure and Loss”, gave us a fascinating insight into the rich history of the village. The Gerard family owned the Brindle Estate for two hundred and fifty years before losing it in 1572 in the reign of Elizabeth 1. The story, which, for Ralph began in Baddesley Clinton in Warwickshire, was the story of two men, Thomas Gerard and his son, John, a Jesuit priest and Brindle’s own Scarlet Pimpernel. Both were at various times imprisoned in the Tower of London and survived. Thomas unfortunately lost the Brindle Estate in the process to the Cavendish family. Thank you, Ralph. We all enjoyed it enormously.