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Providence School Stockton Heath ? Help


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As the title says....


Do any of you local history boffins know anything about the 'Providence School' which was situated in Chapel Lane, Stockton Heath ?


The original building is still there and is dated 1827 and is shown as the Providence Chapel (Methodist?) on an old map but is now known as the 'Stockton Heath Christian Felowship Church Hall and Youth Centre'.


I'm going round in circles and finding bits and bobs but nothing that really mentions a 'school' and says if it was an actual school or just a Sunday School etc.


Reason for asking... well I like many others retrieved my own little bit of Stockton Heath history out of a skip outside there yesterday to go with my roman road cobble (sad I know). So I am now the proud owner of a couple of cups, saucers and two sized plates that had been thrown out in their piles. They are not very exciting to look at and obviously not worth anything but are all are printed with the words 'Providence School Stockton Heath'.


Anyway now I’ve got them I want to know what the providence school was and when it closed blah blah balah and I wonder how old my little ‘treasures’ are. I had to have some sort of new 'wonder' now I know what the weird fish was the other day.


The cups are very thin and delicate though so goodness knows how they survived more than a month of being used. They certainly wouldn't in our house so maybe they are not very old really. Two of the cups have an indented makers mark on the bottom which looks like it says B & K Ltd England. Nothing fancy and just stamped into the bottom. The rest ie plates and saucers have nothing other than the same words printed on ie ''Providence School Stockton Heath'.


Anyway here’s a couple of pics and if anyone knows anything about the Providence School that would be great.. otherwise I may give them to someone else so it doesn’t start to bug me. :lol:






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I'm not ignoring you Algy... I'm still trying to get my head around all that info you posted. Thanks for that :)


I definately don't get why the current little building (where the skip was near to DJ Southerns end) has 1827 on it from reading all that. Inface I'm confused by all three chapels/churches on Chapel Lane and around the corner on Walton Road too now..... methodist, christian felowship... aarrgh which one's which BRAIN FREEZE.


I shall print off your info and try to digest it all slowly over a nice glass of cold 'apple juice' along with looking at the old maps on your special site too :wink:


I wonder if all these cups and plates were used at the special congregational tea paid for by Mrs Sherburn where "120 sat down" in 1905 :unsure: Probably not but may have been I suppose.


Anyway... I need to get my brain back in gear and read again :oops:

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Dizz, more information I fouund on the "Internet Archive" last night, however I thought that as you had a small amount of information to trawl through it would be prudent to leave until morning to add this to your research material. :wink:


Quoted from the Internet Archives.

accessible here http://www.archive.org/details/shorthistoryofin00moun







Returning from a preaching expedition in Cheshire,

*Lorenzo — always eccentric — took a whim that he would

like to preach in a certain wayside barn. The building

stood near to the highway and he arrested the steps of his

colleagues to point it out. For the following Sunday' per-

mission was gained and services were arranged. Those

who assembled to hear the American preacher would

probably have been incredulous if told that the services

would be held there for twenty-two years without a break.

Such, however, was the record, and the Church only moved

from the barn to enter its newly-built Chapel in 1828.


*Lorenzo Dow – an eminent American Preacher.


The incident of the Stockton Heath barn 'was typical of

Lorenzo Dow. He sowed beside all waters and reaped

many harvests, but he left others to gather and bind. His

genius was that of Whitefield rather than Wesley : he was

an evangelist, but not an organizer. It was due to Peter

and Joshua Phillips that the results of his labours at

Stockton Heath were gathered. For many years the two

brothers walked to Stockton Heath to maintain a Sunday

school in the barn and to preach at the services. There

has been preserved to us in manuscript form an account

of the beginning's of the barn Sunday School. It was

written by William Phillips, the eldest son of Peter



I was present at the opening, and well remember the circumstance.

It was a very humble beginning. The barn was cleaned out for the

purpose, some little repairs done to the walls and windows, a pair of

new doors put up. The seats were composed of a few planks, there

were only a very few books ; a large sheet was posted behind the

door, on which was printed the alphabet, and my father, surrounded

by a group of boys, pointed to, with a stick, the letters.

Amongst that group of boys. I may just mention, one or two became

preachers; one especially, who is now living in Liverpool, became

very useful I refer to D. B. . . . After the morning lessons

were over, those of the children who came from a great distance, eat

the dinner thev brought with them, after which all who were willing

assembled together to practise singing, which they took delight in,

and this was the practice for years My father used to draw a stave

upon the door and teach them the elements of music ; he was

remarkably kind and affable with them and became a great favourite.

Oh, these simple, happy days, when the preachers were to those under

their care as fathers and they as children ; would to God they would

come again.


The barn services owed much of their influence -to

Thomas Eaton, who came to reside at Stockton Heath as

the local manager of the Bridgewater Canal. That Stock-

ton Heath, a small village, should have attained such

importance and secured such frequent mention in the

journals of notable men would be a puzzle indeed did we

not know something of this good man's home. William

Clowes, one of the founders of Primitive Methodism, called

it a veritable '•'• pilgrims' inn." Its doors were ever wide

open to men who sought the good of others. Dorothy

Ripley, the Quakeress, and Lorenzo Dow were entertained

there. Hugh Bourne found help and consolation on

many occasions, and eulogy of Thomas Eaton and his

good wife comes often in his journals. The house in which

he lived, though somewhat altered, still remains to us. To

Thomas Eaton, Stockton Heath owes the most important

event in its history — the formation of the first total abstin-

ence society. Providence Chapel — so called because of the

chain of circumstances which made possible its erection —

had been opened in 1828 and it was to this building that

the temperance advocates were invited when all other doors

were closed. The barn disappeared some years ago, but

" Providence Chapel," used as the Sunday school, remains.

A new and commodious building, erected in the village in

1901, is now the home of the Church.



It appears that Stockton Heath played a large part in the forming of the Temperance/Abstinence Society if not in it's actual formation, I'm sure I have read while looking for this information that the populace of Stockton Heath being close to the Wilderspool Brewery had major problems due to the consuming of alcohol in the village also Warrington had a number of brew houses and a massive number of ale houses in the town at that time.

Hang on to your pottery Dizz as the tea cup and saucers could be of historical value as artifacts representing the formation of the Temperance movement throughout the world, who knows what famous lips have drank from them?.


I have more information that confirms where the barn may have been and I think it could have been Chapel Lane, short of time now so will post later.


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Flippin heck Algy..... my brain is still going in overdrive with all the info you are finding. You are good at this and it's very much appreciated, THANKS :D:wink:


I've been looking on the tithe maps this morning but that only show what is there now.


I'll upload it anyway




I've also searched through the Chester Archives and all I can find is a reference to a collection of records "Stockton Heath Independent Methodist Chapel (Providence Chapel): Christenings 1815-38 and 1852-55"


Even more frustrating... there is a book listed as being in the Library called 'From Barn to Chapel'... so I raced down there to borrow it but the library is shut today :(


I might hold onto my pottery for a while rather than giving it away, but saying that the skip had masses of it in apparently (most of which had gone before I wandered down the next morning for a nosey). Everyone in Stockton Heath probably has some now and probably better condition than the bits I got and I bet they are wondering what it is too.


Maybe we should type in code and make them research it themselves :lol:

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Ooop sorry Algy.. I was so slow typing that and got distracted before pressing submit so your previous post wasn't there when I started.


On your map (re Thomas Eaton) is the bit in yellow and the red cross where you think the original Barn chapel was prior to the one on Chapel Lane being built?


Your (Thomas E's) plot (ie 134)would be fronting on Bedford Street with the rear on Carlton Street which is only around the corner from the 1827 buiding where the skp was so makes sense that they would build somewhere near the barn.


The bit thats confusing me though is the new chapel is said to have been built/opened in 1905 but ON THE SAME LAND so surely the building referred to there is the one around the corner on Walton Road.


Oooh I need to print it all off and read it all again :oops:

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Sorry! Dizz, I unintentionally confused you, the Tithe map that I displayed is the cottage where Thomas Eaton lived in what is now Bedford street, whereas the Tithe map that you displayed is the chapel in Church lane built in 1827 (on the plaque above the doorway) and most likely where the barn was?, it now serves as the meeting hall for the Christian Fellowship and Youth Center at least it says so over the door. :blink:

Getting pretty deep this one and come a long way in a short time from a part tea service. :wink:

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For anyone who may be wondering what building we are talking about.


Here is what was called 'The Providence Chapel' on Chapel Lane, Stockton Heath. Plaque dates it as 1827. It is also referred to as 'Stockton Heath Independant Methodist Chapel, Providence Chapel' in the archives


As Algy pointed out it it is now called 'Stockton Heath Christian Felowship Chruch Hall and Youth Centre (and this is the building the skip was at where I got the cups etc.)




Then around the corner on Walton Road is what is now the 'Stockton Heath Christian Felowship' Church. Which looks to me like it was buit 1905 ish due to it's design so this must have been the 'Independant Methodist Church' . But if this is the one that was built on the footprint of the original church why was the other one there .... bugger I'm confused again....





and just for good measure this is the 'Stockton Heath Methodist Church' which is on the other side of Walton Road close by.



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Brain in gear and I;ve just read your first post info again Algy...




In 1884 the Wesleyans took over The Barn chapel, a large stone building. This was behind the shops on the SW angle of London Road and Walton Road and had already been used by various denominations for worship: Primitive and Quaker (Independent) Methodists and Baptists. It had originally been a clay pipe factory in the late 1700s and the Independent Methodists had used it from 1803 so it had already been well used and in fact was in quite a dilapidated condition.

Because of this dilapidated condition it wasn't long before the Wesleyans started to collect money to build themselves a chapel. The chapel they built was called Ebenezer, The chapel, a one-roomed building which seated about 150 people, was erected on the site of the present church in 1886. The foundation stone was laid on 11 September 1886


I've seen a picture somewhere which has the words Ebenezer on the rooftop in the vicinity of the Walton Road Church.


Why did the Wesleyans take over the Barn Chapel in 1884 as that is 57 years later than the Chapel Lane 'Providence Chapel' and I thought the Providence replaced the Barn.


I think I'm getting my Wesleyans and Methodists confused.


Damn I'm late for an appointment... gotta go OOPS

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Damn I forgot about the other Church which is also on Walton Road directly opposite the 'Methodist Church' shown in picture 3 above.


I'm even more confised now as the one I forgot about until I drove past today is also 'The Methodist Church'


Here it is anyway and this looks like it could have been built around 1905 too from it's design.




So does anyone have any idea at all which church I am supposed to be looking into ... as I certainly don't right now :unsure:


The little one which was definately Providence Chapel on Chapel Lane is now Christian Fellowship Hall/Youth Centre. The one near to where I thought Ebeneezer was is also Christian Fellowship.... and the two I never consdered almost within spitting distance are Methodist and the one above seems more likely to be the one that was built to replace The Barn but that's not the one I was looking at until now.


Goodness me... it's going to be a long night and for once I am not seeing or using any logic or sense at all :lol: (Please do not reply to that statments or I may delete your post :P8) )

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Bloody Hell.....


See here Algy (sorry if I am boring you and everyone else now with my obsession)




That Church ir the one above which I forgot about is ,according to it's website, is being redeveloped as is it's Hall.


IT (according to the GENUIK Link http://www.genuki.eu/CHS/Church612.htm is shown as the "Ebenezer, Stockton Heath - Wesleyan Methodist" and says IT was founded in 1886.


1886: Chapel built (congregation moved from Barn Chapel).

1905: New larger chapel built on same site.


Do they mean the Church and Hall on Walton Road as they belong together not the other two ... if so why was there a skip outide the other one now Christian Felowship (Providence Chapel) on Chapel Lane containting the cups and plates saying 'Providence School' on them which links to the other one which I thought was where Ebeneezer was actually was based on an old photo which I can't for the life of me remember where I saw but I guess it may have been one of your Algy) .


I wonder if the original BARN had a School and that was the little building on Chapel Lane but it doesn't look older than the other two Churches even though it says 1827 on the plaque.


Dear God... this is so confusing now and I promise never to rummage in skips again and by the way the chap who sent me the text telling me about the plates etc is going to set a frustrated slap from me next time I see him... I am sorry <_<

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Dizz, to me the ex chapel in Chapel lane is the oldest of all three buildings so it seems logical to me that the barn would have been local to where that chapel was built also you would expect a barn to be connected to a farm, a farm would more than likely be in a rural aspect and if you look at the 1875 map where the chapel at the top of Chapel lane is, it is on the edge of what appears to be fields, at the moment I can't prove that but perhaps if you manage to obtain that book on the subject from SH library it may hold the answer to our puzzle. Please let me know if you find the answer. :blink:

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I shall try to be brief here.....not a chance probably :lol: I got the book from the Library. It is fascinating although I've only managed a brief skip though as I am naff at reading books especially small ones that do not have many images.


Well worth a read as not only does it tell the story of how things came about with regards the Chapel it gives a fascinating insight into what the area was once like round here.


Here are some snippets of bits relevant that I’ve read and noted down so far but there is so much it’s hard to remember and digest.


In the early 18th Century Stockton Heath was a place with little identity at all, there was no village and the area was thinly populated. An area of unbroken land swept from Hill Cliffe down to the River Mersey and stretched from Lower Walton to Lumb Brook.


This open space was referred to as “The Heath” or “The Common” and was mainly covered in heather, gorse and broom.


There were very few buildings of any kind but it was crossed by many paths.


Anyway…. In 1771 Robert Hamblett a blacksmith in Stretton moved his business to Stockton Heath where he put up his spade works “on open ground”. This later became Cawdwells Spade manufacturers which moved to the “Forge”.


Robert H's arrival and his industry generated employment and provided the impetus towards the transformation of Stockton Heath from a simple hamlet to a village.


As such other cottage industries developed a notable one being File Cutting done in the row of cottages on Walton Road know as “Turnpike Row”


This is all relevant to the Barn Chapel by the way…………


Another factory was established for a while in a barn along London Road. This was a Clay Pipe Factory although it closed down.


AND the 'Barn Chapel' is said to have been in this very building ie the old 'Clay Pipe Factory' detailed as being along London Road and on another page its location is described as being “set slightly back from London Road just below Beech House".


The location of the original Barn Chapel is shown in the book and ringed on a copy of the 1877 map and it says according to HJ Westbrook was ‘it stood on vacant land at the rear of the Caldwell’s shop” (now Menzies)…. Isn’t that Walton Road rather than London Road… I guess the road layouts were a lot different in those days though.


Here is the same map with it ringed in red



So how and why did the Barn Chapel come about… well very long story but in brief there are two accounts.


One being that Lorenzo Dow the preacher who you have already mentioned Algy was staying at the home of Peter and Hanna Philips (Ship Yard Warrington) when he was passing through Stockton Heath on his was to Stockton Quay. He saw the large stone barn and said to Peter Phillips that he would like to preach there… he got permission and that is what he did.


The other account is the same apart from it says he and Peter P had been preaching when they saw it.


Your Thomas Eaton was involved and it says probably from the beginning but they don’t really know in what way but later he became a very important person when it came to future events.


He and his wife lived at Stockton House (which is near to the Barn Chapel and subsequent Providence Chapel on Chapel Lane). Chapel Lane used to be called Providence Lane by the way.


In 1838 a new ecclesiastical parish of Stockton Heath was created based on St Thomas’s but it was some 30 years later that the Independent Methodist Church started.


There is a subscription list dated 1827… and I think monies from this aswell as donations went to building the Providence Chapel on Chapel Lane.


In 1807 the first Sunday School was held in the stone Barn Chapel…. And it was the first real place of learning ‘a school’ in Stockton Heath and taught very basic literacy skills to deprived kids and by its second decade it was a prospering church and the only place of worship in the growing village, yet it still had no building to call its own. The Barn had served it for 20 years but then the owner decided to re-possess it as it was needed for other purposes so it was time to move on and a new permenant building was needed. Lorenzo Dow had long gone by this time after various turmoils in his life I think... I will re-read that bit



Thomas Eaton and Daniel Leather managed to buy a portion of a piece of land owned by Mary Guest (she was the wife of the landlord of the London Bridge Inn). That is quite ironic really considering their views on alcohol.


The piece of land cost them £40 and was 16 yards by 25 yards and to it’s south lay an orchard. The road there today bares the name ‘Orchard Street’ because of this, and to it’s east lay a curved lane/road now known as ‘Chapel Lane’ (formerly named Providence Lane at the time of the chapel although I think I already mentioned that. It was all fronted by open fields and was clearly visible from London Road which of course had been the main through fare for many many years.


Restrictive covenants were placed on all these fields preventing anyone from building any place of religious worship on them. It is thought that presumably the vendors were all chapel members and they didn’t want their new chapel to have any competition.


They conveyance was completed on 10th October 1827 and Thomas Eaton and Daniel Leather were the legal owners of the freehold piece of land rather than the church which caused a few problems for later generations re the question of ownership.


Before I forget…. Daniel Leather was a schoolmaster who also had his own academy and he was also a leading figure in the Sunday School at Brick Street.


Anyway…. Building works on ‘Providence Chapel started almost straight away and an appeal for contributions was made with Thomas Eaton and a Samual Balmer acting as collectors. Many willing hands dug the foundations and supplied much of the labour of construction.


The chapel had it’s opening ceremony on Sunday 9th March 1828.


It should be noted that the original did not have the additional rooms at the back at first or the rear of the building divided into two storeys. Where the stage stands was a pulpit and like already said it was used as a school and a chapel. Tall desks were fixed around the side walls and it had a stone floor and was lit by candles.


At the back of the building where the classrooms now are (when I say ‘now’ remember I am reading a book written in 1989 so it may have changed again) was a yard where members of the congregation tied their horses and the adjoining cottage which is now a workshop was the home of the resident caretaker

landand build ‘Providence Chapel’. Records show it was named ‘Providence’ because of the happy chain of events that made its building possible


Anyway… that’s enough for now and of course I’ve only covered a tiny snippet of info here and there is far more including how the new larger church on Walton Road came about and how in 1909 (after the main church was build on Walton Road) a memorial plaque was unveiled in the Providence Schoolroom which was not longer a Chapel then)


Sorry if I’ve bored anyone and for any typos in this ‘short’ post… I’m not really ha ha.



More later..........

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:P I wondered how long it would take for someone to mention that :lol:


I guess this is the point where my informative and interesting topic goes off the rails and I've not got to the rest of the story yet as I got sidetracked with Bewsey Hall, finding another Providence School cup and my grotty cold :(

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