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TitleSt.Helens Parish Church (formerly St Helens Chapel and St Mary's Church)
Date 1618-1948
Extent258 items, 9 volumes, 5 bundles
Level Fonds
CreatorNameSt Helens Parish Church
RelatedMaterialDr W B Price transcribed and photocopied many of the items in this collection. A bundle of these handwritten transcriptions can be consulted at St Helens Local History and Archives Library (reference code CSHA/14/8). Some of Dr Price's handwriting is difficult to decipher, but his transcriptions and analysis of the materials are useful starting points for any researchers looking at this collection. Dr Price transcribed the Register Book for Sainct Elline Chapell (St Helen's Chapel) from the 1600s in full.

The transcriptions refer to the numbering system of the original bundles which were stored at St Helens Parish Church. The records were arranged as follows:

Bundle 1 - "Sundry old documents and memo book 1788"
Bundle 2 - Tithe redemption receipt on the vicarage and grounds in Rainford Road, 1929
Bundle 3 - Mortgage agreements between David Gamble, Bart. and St Helens Corporation, 1886-1904
Bundle 4 - Petition by Rev Frank Child to the Lord Bishop of the Diocese of Liverpool to dedicate a new parish church to St Helen, 1925
Bundle 5 - Documentation and evidence presented during the court case later referred to as "the battle" between certain Presbyterian and Protestant trustees, 1691-1692
Bundle 5A - Document concerning the management and maintenance of the chapel, the keeping up of the number of feoffees or governors and the allocation of seats, 1618-1681
Bundle 5B - Notes from records of Duchy Office (1691) concerning the school
Bundle 6 - Various Trustees' records
Bundle 7 - St Helens Parish Church Trustees Minute Book, 1863-1905
Bundle 8 - St Helens Parish Church Old Register book, 1732
Bundle 9 - Achill Missionary Record, 1843-1849
Bundle 10 - Parish Church Fearnhead Estate
Bundle 11 - Robert Hodgkinson's bills and letters, 1784-1785
Bundle 12 - Land valuation documents, 1912
Bundle 14 - Wigan Savings Bank deposit book, 1948
Bundle 16 - Letters regarding St Thomas's Church, 1840s
Bundle 17 - The Register Book for Sainct Elline Chapel, 1600s
Bundle 18 - Accounts, vouchers etc. relatiing to the parsonage at Sutton 1837-1838 and specification for North gallery
Bundle 19 - Nomination of incumbents of St Helens Chapel and papers relating to Trustees' meetings
Bundle 20 - Carr vs Mostyn
Bundle 22 - Deeds relating to tithes at Pennington, Tildesley, Shackerley and Bedford
Bundle 23 - Deeds appointing new trustees and relating to the church and the churchyard, 1712-1825
Bundle 28 - Order in council of 28 Dec 1852
Bundle 41 - Form and order of the consecration of the Parish Church of St Helen, 1926
Bundle 43 - Schedule of real estate, 1903
AdminHistoryA deed dated 23 Jan 1614 shows that Catherine and her son James Downbell transferred St Helens Chapel to 9 trustees, including Thomas Eccleston, who were local residents. Nobody could go to the church or alter the seating without the permission of the feofees (governors).

The Presbyterians were in possession of the Chapel in 1660. The Chapel was vacant between 1622 and 1672 because ministers resigned as they disagreed with the Act of Uniformity which made the Book of Common Prayer compulsory in church services.

In 1675 Thomas Roughly was the heir-at-law of Richard Roughley, the last surviving trustee, and he conveyed the chapel and premises to new trustees including William Clayton by lease and release.

John Byrom, Lord of the Manor of Parr, attempted to remove Dissenters from the Chapel through legal means. In 1691 the order was made at the Court of Charitable Uses in Wigan, at the insistence of John Byrom and Nicholas Rigby, that Reverend James Naylor had misemployed several charitable gifts given to the Chapel.

St.Helens Chapel was granted to the Knights of St John in Jerusalem in 1691.

The Nonconformist minister, the Reverend Mr Naylor, died in 1710. Part of the congregation left this Church and built a small Independent Chapel on the site of the Congregational Church.

The Reverend Theopilis Kelsall, a Church of England minister was appointed to the chapel in 1713.

In 1715 a grant was obtained from Queen Anne's Bounty for the chapel and the registers date from this period. The trustees purchased tithes and rents so that land now belonged to the chapel. Reverend Kilner suggested the names of new trustees in the 1730s. A house on the chapel grounds in Sutton was built in the late 1730s. The chapel was rebuilt between 1750 and 1780. A tower was added to the chapel in 1750.

The chapel was enlarged between 1788 and 1791. A new school was built in 1793.

In 1803 Mr William Finch was curate of St Helens Chapel. He died in 1815. Mr Thomas Pigot was appointed minister of the church in 1815 and he at once proposed to enlarge the chapel. In 1816 the chapel became known as St Mary's Church.

The church was destroyed by fire in 1916. The rebuilt church became known as St.Helens Parish Church in 1925.
AcquisitionThe records were deposited by the St Helens Parish Church Trustees via Mr H L Fairclough of Barrow and Cook solicitors on 2 Feb 1989. Dr W B Price deposited his transcriptions on 10 Apr 1989.
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