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St Elphins Gravestone Inscription.


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I came across this little 'ditty' in a library book, I haven't personaly seen the headstone so am not sure if it still exists or was moved when the new cemetary was created.

The 'Canal Song' is not directly attributed to Warrington although "Old Quay Canal passed through the outskirts of the town.







Near the west door of St. Elphin's Church, Warrington, is a gravestone inscribed

as under :


This grave is not to be disturbed after the interment of John Leigh.


The old Quay Flats was my delight ;

I sail'd in them both day and night.

God bless the Masters, and the Clerks,

The Packet people, and Flatmen too,

Horse drivers, and all their crew.

Our sails are set to Liverpool ;

We must get under way

Discharge our cargo, safe and sound,

In Manchester Bay.

Now all hands, when you go home,

Neither fret any, nor mourn ;

Serve the Lord where'er you go,

Let the wind blow high or low.


Mary Leigh, his sister, died Oct. 6th, 1801, aged 29 years.

Betty, Mother of John and Mary Leigh, died 6th May, 1826, aged 88 years.


To our God let us pray

Keep us from drunkenness and wickedness both night and day.


This stone and grave is free gift of John Yates, Mariner, Captain of the Old Quay



God bless all British sailors, Admiral Nelson, and all the English Fleet ;

When we must go, we do not know, sweet Jesus Christ to meet.










Air : The Ram of Darby.


The following song, purporting to be written by

" Poor Jack," was published in 1840, on a small

handbill, by Wilmot Henry Jones, of Market Street, Manchester, whose name is well known in literary

circles owing to his having been the first printer of Philip James Bailey's poem Festus.]


The Union flag is flying,

By the Company's wharf, Old Quay,

And Mary of Dublin lying

Unloading her Murphies to-day.

In the Irish Sea I hail'd her,

As I stood in the packet boat ;

With equal pride I never saw

A merchant sloop afloat.

" Your name ?"

" The Mary, Captain Hill !"

" Your cargo ?" "

Pratees, sir !"

" Where from ?

" " Dublin."

" Whither bound ?"

" The Port of Manchester !"

Eighteen hundred and forty,

October the twentieth day,

At half-past four in the evening

She anchored by the quay.

It always does my heart good

To see the Union Jack,

So here's success to Mary,

And soon may she come back.

And soon may scores of others

Perform the trip with her,

And trade and commerce double

In noble Manchester.

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Coming in late on this one. Many John Leigh,s of Bank quay in my family history, but an interesting posting in its own right.


Wonder if anyone can help on this one. As a policeman at just after dawn some 50 years ago, I was reading the inscriptions and the last three words of one sent an early morning shiver through my spine.

The wording was roughly (with a made up name)


"Here lies the body of Mary Brown,

The hand of man never defiled her,

She was plain."


I hope the good lord is making some reparation to that poor girl - and indeed her parents.


Happy days

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