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Photo-a-Day Archive
Photo-a-Day Archive

Photo-a-Day  (Wednesday, 1st February, 2023)

The Thicknesse Monument


The Thicknesse Monument
The Thicknesse Monument in All Saints’ Churchyard.

When it was decided to place the town’s Great War Memorial outside the Parish Church, one of the issues was that the planned site was filled with graves - some of Civil War combatants - for which approval was required before they could be disturbed. Among those interred in the area were members of the Thicknesse family, of Beech Hill Hall. As it happened the Rector of Wigan at the time was the Revd. Cuthbert Carroll Thicknesse, who was appointed in 1922. As he had served as a Chaplain to the Royal Artillery until invalided out in 1917 after being injured in Flanders, I don’t suppose it took him long to waive any family rights in favour of the Memorial. As this cross is described as the Thicknesse Monument I don’t know whether it indicates that those members of the family who were buried on the memorial site were re-interred beside it, or whether it is a substitute for their graves. I think it looks too 20th century to have been the original grave marker, but someone may know better.
Further information about the Thicknesse family may be found through this site: https://www.wiganbuildings.co.uk/building.php?id=557

Photo: David Long  (Sony DSC-RX10M3)
Views: 1,653

Comment by: Wigan Mick on 1st February 2023 at 07:17

Thicknesse hall gate post are still standing on Beech hill lane.

Comment by: irene roberts on 1st February 2023 at 08:59

I have heard of the Thicknesse family and know of Thicknesse Avenue in Beech Hill but I never knew about this cross, although I have walked through or sat in the Church Gardens many times. I will have a look next time I am in there.

Comment by: Veronica on 1st February 2023 at 09:47

I can’t say I have ever seen any indication to show that there are many graves in the Parish gardens although it’s said there are. It used to be a nice place to sit on a fine day years ago, but I don’t think I would nowadays. The church itself is full of history. So familiar and yet hidden behind other buildings. I like to hear the bells ringing.

Comment by: Rev David Long on 1st February 2023 at 11:13

Veronica - the graves are still there - it's the grave stones which have gone.

Comment by: Bruce Almighty on 1st February 2023 at 14:37

Apparently, the church graveyard used to go right down past Wallgate Station.
Ron Hunt put a photo on Album showing what it was like before being made into a garden by the council.

https://www.wiganworld.co.uk/album/photo.php?opt=5&id=31470&gallery=Parish+Church%252C+Wigan&offset=0

Comment by: Cyril on 1st February 2023 at 15:33

That is only what is still there now Bruce, you can see the old courts buildings along Crawford Street and the old Blue Coat school on Bishopgate, I've never heard of graves being found or moved when the railway was being navigated, as anyone heard anything of this?

Comment by: Veronica on 1st February 2023 at 16:00

Thanks for the pointer Almighty B I have just been reading the post. I had forgotten about it. I did see it before when it was posted. It really was bad in those days. I notice the stones were buried but doesn’t say if they were buried underneath the garden. Perhaps they were.

Comment by: Bruce Almighty on 1st February 2023 at 18:06

From a post in the link I gave, by John S Taylor (I hope he doesn't mind me re-posting it) -

"Rector, Canon John Park, commented that the Parish Church stood on 'a hill of bones'. He also said that many graves had been disturbed when Wallgate station was built."

Comment by: Cyril on 1st February 2023 at 19:51

I hadn't seen any comments on the photo in the link before, though having read through them I can see where you got the info about the extent of the original graveyard, so my apologies B A.

Comment by: Rev David Long on 3rd February 2023 at 14:35

Mather's 1827 plan of Wigan shows the area before the railways came to Wigan. It shows yards and buildings stretching down from Wallgate hemming the churchyard in from the south - and no King Street West. Presumably that was cut through at the same time as the Bolton - Liverpool line was opened in 1848, with its station at the bottom end of the street (opposite Coops). It looks as if the street was built through the site of the Methodist Chapel, which conveniently closed in 1845. The main disturbance to All Saints churchyard would have been from the making of the street. From what I can see it didn't stretch far enough to reach the site of the station, nor, I think, the cutting through of the railway line itself.

Comment by: Florence on 11th February 2023 at 13:19

I’ve recently walked through past the war memorial and I was quite alarmed to see have dirty and neglected the memorial is. I’m lead to believe it was erected by public subscription can it not be cleaned up again to make it look respectable. It always used to be cleaned up each year ready for Remembrance Sunday. But not now.

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