My younger brother
and I went along to enrol at St Clement's Sunday School. We looked forward to
hearing our group teachers telling us stories from the Bible but I enjoyed it particularly
because we were given coloured crayons and scrap paper, so that we could draw pictures of
what the teachers had told us about. My pictures were nearly always hung on the wall
because I 'had made a good effort'!
When we were older, we began to attend church. I will never forget my first
impressions as I entered the great wooden doors. I had never seen a room so large;
its great stone pillars rising up into the top of the church until they were almost out of
sight. The great Lectern and the rails around the Altar were made of pure
gold - or
so I always thought. Then one day I spoke to the Verger, Mr. Carter, while he was
hard at work polishing them with Brasso and he told me that, unfortunately, they were only
made of brass.
It was very quiet in church as we waited for the service to begin. Then, in the
distance, I heard the sound of Angels singing. The sound grew louder, then the choir
appeared and made its way down the aisle towards the choir stalls. The music grew to
a crescendo and the great organ blasted forth the final chord. Then, all was silent
until Mr. Ward, the Rector, began to speak and the congregation settled down to hear his
As I grew older, I used to help the Verger and, eventually, I was asked if I would like to
take on the job of 'organ blowing.' I was to go every Sunday morning and evening and
would be paid fifteen shillings a quarter; a fortune compared to my usual two pence a week
spends. Each quarter, I would give my pay to Mam and she would give me a little back.
I felt rich and immediately joined the Christmas Club, paying for my first Meccano
set by instalments.
Mr. Willoughby, the Organist, showed me into a small, dark passageway in which I was to
spend my Sundays. It was a little frightening at first. At the end of the
passageway was a large handle; a thick wooden bar which stuck out from the great bellows.
I had to pump this handle up and down, filling the bellows with air, without which
the organ could not function. I did not like the bass notes because I had to pump
even harder then to stop the bellows emptying. It was the Organist who caused the
trouble. He was a good organist and Choirmaster, but how he loved those bass notes!
Ormskirk Parish Church
This historic and beautiful building is one of the only three churches in England
both a tower and a steeple, and is unique in having them both at the same end.
'steeple' tower dates from the fourteenth to the early fifteenth century, but the
blew down in 1731 and was rebuilt in 1790 and 1832. The massive west tower
around 1540-50 to house the bells of Burscough Priory after the dissolution.
The oldest bell,
now retired and standing in the back of the church, is dated 1497 and 1576 after
It is probable that stone from the priory was reused in the construction of the