Mr. Shepperd is a man of middle age, and looks after his sheep fairly, but at times eccentrically. He has a polished, tasteful, clerical contour; attends well to his hair, whiskers, and linen; wears a hat half bishoply and half archidiaconal in its brim; is a good scholar, a clear reasoner, an able-preacher, but repeats himself often, and gets long-winded on Sunday nights; is highly enamelled, touchy, and imperial; is lofty in tone, cream laid and double thick in manner; is full of metal, and there is a stately mystery about him, as if he were a blood relation of the Great Mokanna; he is nearly infallible, and would make a good Pope; he is strongly combative, and would be a vigorous bruiser in stormy ecclesiastical circles. We fancy no parson in Preston has had more officials than Mr. Shepperd. In less than half a dozen years there have been at the place many organists, singers, curates, scripture readers, and eight or nine churchwardens. Either they have been very uneasy people or he has been uniquely antagonistic. Mr. Shepperd resides at a good parsonage some distance north of the church, and he has a pretty garden adjoining, the walls thereof having been built at the expense of Mr. Hermon, who has been a capital friend to the church. In the garden there is a quantity of handsome rockery, purchased by the late Mr. James Carr (who was at one time a warden), out of the church funds. This rockery was originally placed in the church yard, along with that still remaining there; but it was thought by somebody that the yard didn't require so much ornamental stone, so a quantity of it was removed to the place mentioned. If Mr. Shepperd has it set in a circle he may play the Druid amongst it, reserving the biggest block for a cromlech and the smoothest for a seat; if it is concentrated in one mass he may stand upon it, defy all the ex-churchwardens, and quoting Scott, cry out, "Come one, come all, this rock shall fly" &c. Originally, St. Thomas's cost a considerable amount of money, and in consequence of improvements subsequently made, there is still, it is said, a pretty round sum due to the late wardens and the contractors, and they, are much in the dark as to when they will get it. The parson can't see the force of paying it himself, the officers of the church make no move in the matter, the congregation is apathetic on the subject, the beadle keeps quiet, and does his central church walk calmly, never thinking of it. But, if owing, somebody should settle the bill, and the sooner it is liquidated, the more respectable will the affairs of the church become. Bother without end has prevailed at St. Thomas's about money, and until people get their own, and see regular annual statements of accounts—things which seem to be scarce in these times—they will continue to be uneasy and, probably, noisy.
Associated with the church are superior schools—one for infants, in the unchristened street near the church, and two others for boys and girls, in Lancaster-road. The average day attendance is—boys, 250; girls, 220; infants, 240. The average attendance on the Sunday is— boys, 250; girls, 320. The day schools are in a good state of efficiency, and are of great service to the district. They are well managed, and with respect to some of their departments Government reports speak most encouragingly. Worn old grievances with ex- churchwardens are duly squared, when a greater amount of what is called "fixity of tenure" exists in respect to the officials, and when Mr. Sheppard drops his little dogma as to personal immaculacy, and allows other people a trifle more freedom, his flock will be fatter, woollier, and quieter than ever they have been since he came.
CROFT-STREET WESLEYANS AND PARKER-STREET UNITED METHODISTS.
In 1827, a little school was opened in a building at the corner of Gildow-street, abutting upon Marsh-lane, in this town. It was established in the Wesleyan Methodist interest, and one of its chief supporters was Mr. T. C. Hincksman, a gentleman still living, who has for a long period been a warm friend of the general cause of Methodism. Although begun tentatively, the school soon progressed; in time there was a good attendance at it; ultimately it was considered too small; and the result was a removal to more convenient premises—to a room connected with the mill of the late Mr. John Furness, in Markland-street: But the little old building did not change so much in its character after being deserted by the Wesleyan scholars; it was still retained for juvenile purposes— still kept open for the edification, if not improvement, of youngsters. Old-fashioned sweets were sold in it, and the place was long known as "Granny Bird's toffy shop." At the mill in Markland- street, which used to be called "Noggy Tow," the school was very prosperous; but the accomodation here at length became defective, and in 1832 the scholars retraced their steps to Gildow-street,—not to the small toffy establishment, where sucklings, if not babes, were cared for, but to a building at the opposite end of the thoroughfare erected specially for them. In 1840 they withdrew from this edifice and went to a new school made in Croft-street, the foundation stone of which was laid by the Rev. John Bedford, a well- known Wesleyan minister, who at that time was stationed in Preston. In 1858 two wings for class and other purposes, principally promoted by the late Mr. T. Meek, costing 700 pounds, and opened clear of debt, were attached to the school, and twelve months ago—scholastic business still proceeding—the central portion of it was set apart for regular religious services on the Sabbath.
The building is large, good-looking, and well-proportioned. There is nothing of an ecclesiastical complexion about either its external or internal architecture. Substantially it is a school, utilised twice every Sunday for devotional purposes. The floor of it is well cared for, and ought to enjoy much fresh air, for there are 18 ventilators, grate shaped, in front of it. When that which formed the nucleus of the school was started, the neighbourhood was open; there was a suburban look about the locality; but entire rows of new dwellings now surround the school; the part in which it stands is densely populated; all grades of men, women, and children inhabit it; "civilisation"—rags, impudence, dirt, and sharpness, for they mean civilisation—has long prevailed in the immediate neighbourhood; a fine new brewery almost shakes hands with the building on one side; the "Sailor's Home" beershop stands sentry two doors off on the other. What more could you desire? A large industrious population, lots of crying, stone-throwing children, a good-looking brewery, a busy beershop, a school, and a chapel, all closely mixed up, are surely sufficient for the most ardent lover of variety and "progress." The room wherein the Wesleyans associated with Croft-street school meet for religious duties is square, heavy- looking, dull, and hazy in its atmosphere. It is ventilated by curious pieces of iron which work curvilinearly up huge apertures covered with glass; its walls are ornamented with maps, painted texts, natural history pictures, &c.; and at the eastern side there is a small orthodox article for pulpit purposes. There are several ways into the room—by the back way if you climb walls, by the direct front if you ascend steps, by the sides of the front if you move through rooms, pass round doorways, and glide past glass screens.
We took the last route, and sat down near a young gentleman with a strong bass voice. In a corner near there was a roseate-featured, elderly man, who enjoyed the service at intervals and slept out what he could not fathom. Close to him was a youth who did the very same thing; and in front there were three females who followed the like example. The service was plain, simple, sincere, and quite Methodistical; it was earnestly participated in by a numerous congregation; the responses were quiet and somewhat internal; an easy respectable seriousness prevailed; nothing approaching either cant or wild-fire was manifested. Working-class people preponderated in the place, as they always do; the singing was clear, and plain, odd lines coming in for a share of melodious quavering; and the sermon was well got-up and eloquent. The Rev. C. F. Hame, who has recently come to Preston in the place of the Rev. W. H. Tindall (Lune-street Circuit), was the preacher on this occasion. He is a little gentleman, with considerable penetration and power; has a good theological faculty; is cool, genial, and lucid in language; and, although he can shout a little when very warm, he never loses either the thread of his argument or his personal equilibrium. There are 120 members at this place of worship; the average attendance at the different services is 250; and the number is gradually increasing.
Regular ministers and local preachers fill the pulpit in turns; there being, as a rule, one of the former at either the morning or evening service every Sunday. Sometimes both kinds may be present and ready for action at the same moment; but they never quarrel as to which shall preach—never get "up a tree," figuratively speaking, and everything is arranged quietly. The school, wherein the services we have referred to are held, has been one of the most useful in Preston; more scholars have probably passed through it than through any other similar place in the town; old scholars—men and women now—who received their religious education here, are in all parts, and there is not a quarter of the globe where some may not be found who have a pleasant recollection of the school. Its average day attendance is 240; its average Sunday morning attendance 275; whilst on a Sunday afternoon the regular number is 425. The school, which is conveniently arranged and well fit up with every sort of ordinary educational contrivance, is in a satisfactory state, and, in conjunction with the "chapel," which it makes provision for, is doing an excellent work in the district, which is open to all comers, and will stand much drilling and spiritual flogging ere it reaches perfection.
"Over the hills and far away"—up the brow of Maudlands, down new streets on the other side, under the canal, up another brow, through narrow, angular roads, flanked with factories, by the edge of a wild piece of land supplying accomodation for ancient horses, brick- makers, pitch and toss youths, and pigeon flyers, and then turning suddenly at a mysterious corner in the direction of mill gates you reach Parker-street United Methodist Free Church. Externally this church is a very simple, prosaic building. Viewed from the front it looks like the second storey bedroom of a cottage; eyed from the side it seems like a long office, four yards from the ground, with a pair of round-headed folding doors below, and at the extreme end a narrow aperture, which apparently leads round the corner. It was built 12 or 13 years ago, for a school, by Messrs. J. and J. Haslam, near whose mill it is situated, and it is still used for educational purposes. During the latter end of 1858 and the beginning of 1859 there was a dispute amongst the United Free Church brethren assembling in Orchard Chapel. Both men and women entered into the disturbance freely; but they did not follow the plan lately adopted by some United Methodist Christians, living at Batley, who, having a grievance at their chapel, "fought it out" in the back yard; what they did, after many a lively church meeting, was to appeal to the authorities of the denomination, state their case quietly, and abide the decision of their superiors. That decision sanctioned a separation and the establishment in Preston of a second United Methodist circuit, totally independent of the Orchard-street people, but responsible to the general executive for its actions. Those forming the new circuit in Preston—about twenty "members"—had not, however, a chapel, so Messrs. Haslam, who sympathised with the movement, permitted them to meet in the school they had built in Parker-street. The course pursued by the secessionists was approved of by some United Methodists at Cuerden Green, where the Orchard brethren had a small chapel, and they left the parent body when the separation already mentioned took place. There was a fair amount of goodly squabbling about the Cuerden Green Chapel. Each side wanted it. For a time the secessionists held it; then the owner of the building died; and, after various movements, the Orchard brethren "went in and won," and they have retained possession of the premises ever since. The second circuit includes no country place except Brindle, where the denomination has a good chapel.
The "full members" of the circuit number about 90, and 75 of them are in Preston. There are 25 "on trial" at the present moment, but as we cannot tell how they will pass through the alembic, it would be out of place to make any absolute statement as to their fate. The circuit is increasing in strength; its finances, notwithstanding bad times, are in a very fair state; a good feeling exists between the members of both circuits; they have become peaceable and pachydermatous, thin-skinnedness being considered an evil; and altogether affairs are satisfactory. The system under which ministers are appointed to Parker-street chapel is the same as that prevailing amongst the general body, and as we described at in a previous article no allusion need now be made to it. The first parson at the chapel in Parker-street was the Rev. Robert Eltringham; since then the following have been at it—the Revs. J. Nettleton, J. Shaw, J. Mara (who is now a missionary in China for the United Methodist body), W. Lucas, C. Evans, J. W. Chisholm, and the Rev. T. Lee. The names show that there has been a new parson at the chapel almost every year. The present pastor (Rev. T. Lee) only came in August last; his predecessor (Mr. Chisholm), who is a sharp, shrewd, liberal-minded gentleman, having been removed to Manchester.
Not long ago, after struggling through many far-away streets, we found ourselves at the corner of a little opening at the top of Parker-street. "This is the place," said a friend who was with us. We knew it was, for several yards before reaching the building, the torrents of a strong voice came impetuously through an open window, and the burthen of its strains had reference to a revival of "our connexion." Such a noise as this we thought ought to have aroused the whole neighbourhood; but we could see nobody about except a woman right opposite, who was engaged in the serious business of front step washing, and who seemed to take no notice whatever of the strong utterances coming through the window. She washed on, and the good man above prayed on. It was rather difficult to find the way to the chapel. It could not, we fancied, be by the front door of a shop which we saw beneath; it could not, we were certain, be through a window above, for whilst there was a pulley roller in front of it there was neither rope nor block visible for regular lifting purposes; neither, we thought, could it be through a large double- door at the side, for that was bolted, and seemed to have been made for something taller and broader than the human form. After sauntering about, the grand rush of words through the window still continuing, in the interests of "our connexion," we moved towards a corner at the far end of the side opening, passed up twelve narrow steps, rushed past a charity box, seventeen hats and caps, and a small umbrella stand, and then sat down.
We were surprised at the cleanness and neatness of the building, and at the large number of people within it. Rumour had conveyed to us a notion that about three persons visited this chapel; but we found between 100 and 200—all well-dressed, orderly, and pleasant—in attendance. We also noticed a policeman amongst the company. He was present, not to keep the peace, but to get some good, for Heaven knows that policemen need much of the article, and that they have very little Sunday time to find it in. The policeman behaved himself very well during the whole service. The building will accommodate about 200 persons, and the average attendance at the Sunday services is 120. Three or four middle-class persons, several good-looking young women, a number of men, including the policeman; a wedding party, and a numerous gathering of children, made up the congregation we saw. The service was simple and heartily joined in; the singing, supported by a small harmonium, went off well; and the minister preached a fair sermon. But he is far too excitable to last out long. The speed he goes at would kill a man directly if he were made of cast-iron.
Mr. Lee, the preacher, is a ten times breezier man than his vivacious namesake at the Parish Church; he is small like him, dark- complexioned like him, wears spectacles like him; but he travels at the rate of 1000 miles an hour, and his namesake has never yet got beyond 500. The gentleman under review is a pre-eminently earnest man. We never saw any minister throw himself, head, arms, shoes, and shirt, so intensely into the business of praying and preaching as he. Nothing seems to impede his progress. He rushes into space with terrible vehemence; prays until the veins on his forehead swell and throb as if they would burst; and when he sits down he pants as if he had been running himself to death in a dream, whilst sweat pours off him as if he had been trying to burn up the sun at the equator. In his preaching he is equally intense and earnest. He puts on the steam at once, drives forward at limited mail speed; stops instantly; then rushes onto the next station—steam up instantly; stops again in a moment without whistling; is at full speed forthwith, everybody holding on to their seats whilst the regulator is open; and in this way he continues, getting safely to the end at last, but driving at such a frightfully rapid speed that travellers wonder how it is everything has not been smashed to atoms in readiness for coroners, and juries, and newspaper reporters. As to his sincerity there cannot be a question. He is not profound, but is very honest; he has nothing strongly ratiocinative in him, but he has for ever of earnestness in his composition—indeed he burns himself up in a great blaze of zeal and blows himself to pieces in a self-generated whirlwind. If he were quieter he would be more persuasive; and if he expended less of his vital energy in trying to brew forty storms in one tea pot he would live longer. "Easy does it" is a phrase plucked from the plebeian lexicon of life, which we recommend for his consideration. If he doesn't attend to it we shall have a case of spontaneous combustion to record; and we want to avoid that if possible. There is not a more sincere man, not a man more anxious to do good in Preston than Mr. Lee, only he piles Ossa upon Olympus too stiffly, and that was a job which the gods couldn't manage properly.
The building where the Parker-street brethren meet is used for school purposes regularly—barring the periods when worship is being conducted in it. On week days about 100 scholars attend it; and on Sundays about 150. The school and the chapel have done much good in the locality, and we wish both prosperity. Whatever maybe the character of the building, and however difficult it may be for strangers to get to it, those living in the neighbourhood know its whereabouts, many having derived improvement from it, and if more went to it, pigeon-flying, gambling, Sunday rat hunting, tossing, drinking, and paganism generally—things which have long flourished in its locality—would be nearer a finish.
GRIMSHAW-STREET INDEPENDENT CHAPEL
Long before two-thirds of the people now living were born there was a rather curious difficulty at the Unitarian Chapel in this town. In 1807, the Rev. W. Manning Walker, who at that time had been minister of the chapel for five years, changed his mind, became "more evangelical," could not agree with the doctrines he had previously preached, got into water somewhat warm with the members, and left the place. He took with him a few sympathisers, and through their instrumentality a new chapel was built for him in Grimshaw-street, and opened on the 12th of April, 1808. It was a small edifice, would accommodate about 850 persons, and was the original ancestor of the Independent Chapel in that street. In 1817 the building was enlarged so as to accommodate between 500 and 600, and Mr. Walker laboured regularly at it till 1822, when declining health necessitated his retirement. The Rev. Thomas Mc.Connell, a gentleman with a smart polemical tongue, succeeded him. Mr. Mc.Connell drew large congregations, and for a time was a burning and a shining light; but in 1825 be withdrew; became an infidel or something of the sort, and subsequently gave lectures on theological subjects, much to the regret of his friends and the horror of the orthodox.
On the 23rd of July, 1826, the Rev. R. Slate began duty as regular minister of the chapel, and remained at his post until April 7th, 1861, when through old age and growing infirmity he resigned. Mr. Slate was a tiny, careful, smoothly-earnest man, consistent and faithful as a minister, made more for quiet sincere work than dashing labour or dazzling performance; fond of the Puritan divines, a believer in old manuscripts, disposed to tell his audiences every time he got upon a platform how long he had been in the ministry, but in the aggregate well and deservedly respected. No clergyman in Preston has ever stayed so long at one place as Mr. Slate; and Grimshaw-street Chapel since it lost him has many a time had a "slate off" in more respects than one.
After Mr. Slate retired from his post at Grimshaw-street Chapel, the Rev. J. Briggs, a young and vociferous gentleman, fresh from college, given to Sunday evening lecturing, Corn Exchange serenading, virtuous speech-making, and other—we were going to say evils—labours of love, appeared upon the stage. Soon after he arrived a new black gown was presented to him, and if one of the local papers which recorded the event at the time tells the truth, he had it donned in the vestry, after which there was a procession round the church, Mr. Briggs leading the way, whilst the deacons, including some mythological "Mr. Clinkscales"—that was the name given—and others brought up the rear. If the town's beadle and mace-bearer had been present, the procession would have been complete. In October, 1866, Mr. Briggs retired, with the gown, and he has since, like Brother Clapham, formerly minister of Lancaster- road Independent Chapel—"par nobile fratrum"—gone over to "mother church."
On the 20th of January, 1867, the Rev. Evan Lewis became minister of Grimshaw-street Chapel, but after staying about a year and a half, he, on account of ill health, resigned, went south, and died there. Mr. Lewis was a cautious, cultured person, had very many letters, which were always coming in a row to the surface, after his name, was a man of ripe and polished intellect, was clever in brain work, had good strategic skill, could manage an ill-natured church meeting well, and would have been a power in his own denomination and in the town if he had been physically stronger. He was an invalided intellectualist, well up in everything, but defective in stamina, muscle force, and lung strength. For about nine months after the retirement of Mr. Lewis no fixed minister occupied the pulpit. Sunday "supplies" were tried in the meantime; finally the Rev. G. F. Newman was selected, and about two months ago he commenced his ministerial labours.
The building as enlarged in 1817 remained without molestation for years; but in 1850 it was thought that a better place was needed; in 1856 it was decided to have a better place; soon afterwards the old edifice was pulled down; and in 1859 the Congregational Chapel we now see was opened. It stands upon the original site, but is extended nearer the street than its predecessor. There used to be a considerable portion of the graveyard in front, but owing to the enlarged character of the new chapel it was mainly covered over— built upon; and only a remnant of the old burial ground can now be seen in this quarter. Two small upright tombstones, immediately adjoining the chapel, and a few flat slabs on the ground below, are the only sepulchural indications remaining here. On the southern side of the building there is a dull and dreary square piece of ground, railed round, which constituted a portion of the old burial- yard, and which now contains a few forsaken-looking tombstones. The new church cost between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds, and it is not entirely finished yet. At the front it has a one-sided irregular look; and this is owing to the non-completion of a collateral spire. In the original design the facade consists of a central elevation with two flanking towers and spires; but one of the towers, whilst being constructed, gave way, got seriously out of the perpendicular, and it was decided to pull it down rather than allow the stone-work to fall of its own accord. New foundations, ten feet deep, had to be sunk into the old front burial ground for it, and during the excavations 33 coffins were taken up and conveyed to a more peaceable place of sepulture. They literally couldn't stand the pressure of the tower, and for their sake; as well as the safety of the building, a change was necessary. Afterwards the tower was raised to its former elevation, but it is still without a spire. The re-erection of the tower coat 380 pounds, which was raised by a weekly offertory.
The chapel, barring the incomplete masonry mentioned, is a well made, neat-looking building. In front there is a large four-light window, which had to be taken right out when the tower was being re- made; on each side there is a long and very narrow window, more for ornament than use; and below there are two small triangular apertures of a similar character. Strong rails, intended to prevent people from approaching the building too closely on week-days, surround the chapel. There are three arched doorways immediately adjoining one another at the front, and on a Sunday you are at perfect liberty to use any of them—to try all of them if so disposed—and pass through that which appears most agreeable. The chapel has a large and remarkably clean interior. It is well lighted with numerous windows bordered with coloured glass, and has a fine arched roof, supported by four principals, and filled-in centrally with elaborate designs. Around the building there is a large octagonal gallery; and whilst all the seats in it run up to a pretty fair height, those at the western end approach quite an aerial altitude. It is almost a question of being "up in a balloon, boys," when you are perched in the loftiest of them.
All the pews are plain, strong, and without doors. The central ones on the ground-floor are very uniform in design; those at the sides are, of various shapes, and are whimsically disposed—seem to be up and down, straight, diagonal, and semi-circular. The first pew on the right side was occupied, when we last saw it, with three brushes, an elderly shovel, and two gas-meters, one of them being a very full-grown fatherly affair—a sort of deacon amongst ordinary meters, and looking very authoritatively upon its smaller colleague and the brushes. The pulpit, at the eastern end of the chapel, is neatly made, but when the parson sits in it you can't see him from the front. When we went the other Sunday evening, we could see no one in it; but after a hymn had been sung, a spring seemed to be touched, and up jumped the parson, who had been reclining on his dorsal vertebra for eight minutes at the rear. The pulpit formerly stood about a foot-and-a-half higher than it does now; Mr. Slate, who was a little man, would have it a good height; but a hole was afterwards made in the platform supporting the pulpit, and it was dropped through it to the level of the ordinary floor, where it now stands. Six chairs, in Gothic design, with cushions of rich velvet, are placed upon the platform near the pulpit; in the centre there is a more patriarchal-looking seat—a sort of pastoral throne; and in the front of the whole there is a strong table. The deacons and the minister sit here periodically, feeling grand and furzy all over, weighing up the universe on special occasions, but endeavouring always to discharge their executive duties with due propriety and gravity. We have seen them once or twice on this platform—on those silk velvet-bottomed chairs, resting upon Brussels carpet—and they looked majestic. One old gentleman we know, who used to be a deacon here, never would sit in any of these chairs. He seemed to have either a dread of the eighteen-inch elevation they conferred, or a fear that the platform would give way, or a dislike of the conspicuousness caused by it, and on all occasions when his official brethren took possession of the chairs, he sat upon an open bench adjoining.
An ancient-looking organ, of Gothic pattern, and formerly used in a Blackburn chapel, is placed within an archway in the eastern gallery. It is a moderately fair instrument, and is decently played, but it is not good enough for the place, and it is quite time to sell it to some other chapel, and get a better. The choir contains about the usual complement of smiling young men and maidens, with a central gentleman "bearded like the pard," who sits in state in an elaborately backed chair, and conducts the proceedings with legitimate authority. The singing of the choir is pretty exact and melodious; but it is too weak—needs more harmonic energy and general strength. The congregation do their duty mildly in the singing portion of the proceedings, and at times, when some good old tune is started, they rush to the rescue with much dexterity and thoracic power. There are about 200 "members of the Church" at this place of worship, and several young people are now, we believe "ready for admission." The average congregation will be about 300— not a large number considering the size of the building; but then, through ministerial changes, &c., the place has had much to contend with, and it has not had a chance for some time of getting into proper working order. Peacefulness prevails now at the chapel.
Prior to the advent of the late Mr. Lewis, there were many storms at the place. The parson never got to literal fighting with any of the members; the members never threatened to hit him; but one or more of them have been heard to say that they would put him "behind the fire" in the vestry, and he in turn has been heard to remark that he would return the compliment. But all this sort of Christian courtesy has disappeared—let us hope forever; and the members now nestle in their seats lovingly, casting calm glances at each other betimes, and attending duly to the parson, who eyes them placidly, and encourages their affection. If they had to nestle upon each other's bosoms during the intervals—properly, and without falling asleep over the job—he would not grow sullen and angry. On Sundays, there are a couple of services—morning, and evening—at the chapel; and every Wednesday evening there is a prayer meeting, but it is not a very savage gathering; men and women seldom lash themselves into a foam at it; and nothing is uttered during its proceedings out of the ordinary run of Queen's English.
The Rev. G. F. Newman, a south of England gentleman, who, during the past seven or eight years, through delicate health, has spent much of his time in France, is the minister. He has an income independent of his clerical stipend. From Grimshaw-street Chapel he gets about 3 pounds per week. It is derived from pew rents, which range from 1s. to 2s. 11d. per seat per quarter, so that its increase will depend upon the manner he fills the place. Mr. Newman is about 34 years of age, is of middle stature, has nothing physically ponderous or irrelevant about him; is a dark complexioned, moderately-sized person, of gentlemanly taste, deportment, and expression; knows manners—"they order this matter better in France," as Sterne would say; his commingling with our lively neighbours has evidently given him the direct cue to them; has a temperament of the nervous-bilious order; is more perceptive than reflective; but has a calm, clear intellect notwithstanding; is rather fond of the sublime, and likes a strong dash of the beautiful; believes in good music, and understands notes a little himself; is an excellent reader—one of the best we have heard; is an average preacher; has nothing flashy or terrific in his style, but goes on quietly, tastefully, and with precision; cares more for short than long sermons; repeats himself rather often; likes to give his own experience during illustrations; talks much of France, and never forgets to let his hearers know that he has been there; takes long, careful pauses in his sermons, as if he were elaborating his conceptions, or selecting the exact words in which to convey them most definitely; has a special regard for the gas pendant on the left side of the pulpit, which he handles affectionately as a rest; dislikes being interrupted when either reading, or praying, or preaching; can't stand coughing; doesn't like a Preston cough—it has a half-harsh half-oily sound, which he could detect if in London or Paris; believes more in faith than good works, but respects both; is scrupulous as to punctuality, and is almost inclined to emulate the incumbent of Christ Church, who once threatened to lock the doors of that building at a certain time after business commenced, if all were not in their places; particularly objects to a lady coming late, because, as a rule, she makes a great noise with her dress on entering a place of worship, and, in addition, induces all the other ladies present to turn round, or look on one side, for the purpose of seeing what she is wearing; is more of a conversationalist than a speaker; likes chit- chat; would be at home in a conversazione or al fresco tea party, where the attendants walk about, gossip merrily, and, whilst holding a tea cup in one hand, poise with two fingers a piece of delicately- buttered toast in the other—a continental style quite aesthetic and refined in comparison with our feeding, and gormandising, and sweating exhibitions. Mr. Newman promises to be a good minister. His commencement has been, satisfactory, and his prospects are encouraging. He is a bachelor, and seems mildly happy; but his bliss might be consummated—let no lady prick her ears too highly, for Mr. Newman has cautiousness largely developed—if he would study and practically carry out that notion expressed at a meeting over which he recently presided; the lecturer on that occasion saying that "marriage is essential to the true happiness of man."
The young men at Grimshaw-street are pretty intelligent and controversial. They have a mutual improvement class, which is one of the best of its kind in the town, and they discuss the laws of life,—mental, physical, political, and spiritual—like embryonic philosophers bent upon rectifying all creation. Their class is prosperous, and is calculated, if correctly managed, to be of much importance to those visiting it. All such classes ought to encouraged, and we hope the Grimshaw-street essayists will go on rectifying creation—never forgetting themselves at the same time. For a long period there has been a Sunday school in connection with the chapel. Several years, in the earlier stages of the denomination's career, the scholars were taught in the vestry and in pews at the chapel; but in 1836 a school was erected for them upon a plot of land adjoining, and in 1846 it was enlarged to its present size. The average Sunday attendance is about 300. In January, 1868 a day school for boys, girls, and infants was opened in the same building, under the conductorship of Mr. J. Greenhalgh. So far it has been very successful. Its average attendance is about 190. Government reports speak very hopefully of the place; more prizes have been awarded to it by the Science and Art Department, South Kensington, than to any other school in the town; and its present status indicates a prosperous future. An unsectarian night school is also held in the building, and its average attendance is about 120. In addition there is a band of hope society at the place, and it is better attended than any other similar association in Preston. All that Grimshaw-street Chapel wants is a fuller congregation. That would develope every department of it; and energy, combined with continuity of service, would secure this. Mr. Newman who understands French, must adopt as his motto, and have it embossed on the buttons of his own and his deacons' coats, and on the backs of the seven chairs they use in the chapel, the words "Boutez en avant."
ST. PAUL'S CHURCH.
There are nearly 13,000 people in the "district" of this church. What a difference time makes! At the beginning of the present century the greater portion of the district was made up of fields; whilst lanes, with hedges set each side, constituted what are now some of its busiest streets. Volunteers and militiamen used to meet for drill on a large piece of land in the very heart of the locality; troops of charwomen formerly washed their clothes in water pits hard by, and dried them on the green-sward adjoining; and everything about wore a rural and primitive aspect. St. Paul's Church is situated on a portion of land which, 50 years ago, was fringed with trees and called "The Park;" and this accounts for the name still given by many to the sacred edifice—namely "Park Church." The sisters of the late J. Bairstow, Esq., kept a school at one time on, or contiguous to, this park. A road, starting opposite the Holy Lamb, in Church-street, and ending near the top of High- street, formerly passed through "The Park." Years ago a ducking or cucking stool was placed at the northern side of it, adjoining a pit, and at the edge of the thoroughfare known as Meadow street. This ducking stool was intended for the special benefit of vixens and scolding wives. It consisted of a strong plank, at the end of which was a chair, the centre working upon a pivot, and, after the person to be punished had been duly secured, she was ducked into the water. If this system were now in force, it would often be patronised, for there are many lively termagants in the land, and lots in Preston.
The first stone of St. Paul's Church was laid on Tuesday, 21st October, 1823. Out of the million pounds granted by Parliament for the erection of churches, some time prior to the date given, Preston, through Dr. Lawe, who was then Bishop of Chester, got 12,500 pounds. It was originally intended to expend this sum in the erection of one church—St. Peter's; but at the request of the Rev. R. Carus Wilson, vicar of Preston, the money was divided, one half going to St. Peter's, and the other to St. Paul's. Some people might consider this like "robbing Peter to pay Paul," but it was better to halve the money for the benefit of two districts, than give all of it for the spiritual edification of one, and leave the other destitute. The land forming the site of St. Paul's was given by Samuel Pole Shawe, Esq. The full cost of the building was about 6,500 pounds. Around the edifice there is a very large iron-railed grave yard, which is kept in pretty good order. St. Paul's is built entirely of stone, in the early English style of architecture. It has a rather elegant appearance; but it is defective in altitude has a broad, flat, and somewhat bald-looking roof, and needs either a good tower or spire to relieve and dignify it. In front there are several pointed windows, a small circular hole above for birds' nests, two doorways with a window between them, a central surmounting gable, and a couple of feathery-headed perforated turrets, one being used as a chimney, and the other as a belfry. There is only a single bell at the church, and it is pulled industriously on Sundays by a devoted youth, who takes his stand in a boxed-off corner behind one of the doors. At the opposite end of the church there are two turrets corresponding in height and form with those is front. Two screens of red cloth are fixed just within the entrance and, whilst giving a certain degree of selectness to the place, they prevent people sitting near them from being blown away or starved to death on very windy days when the doors happen to be open.
The interior consists of a broad, ornamentally roofed nave (resting upon twelve high narrow pillars of stone), and two aisles. The pillars seriously obstruct the vision of those sitting at the sides; indeed, in some places so detrimental are they that you can see neither the reading-desk nor the pulpit. Above, there is a very large gallery, set apart on the west for the organ and choir, and on each side for general worshippers, school children, as a rule, being in front, and requiring a good deal of watching during the services. In some parts of the gallery seeing is quite as difficult as in the sides beneath, owing to the intervening nave pillars. Efforts have been made to rectify this evil, not by trying to pull down the pillars, but by removing the pulpit, &c, so that all might have a glance at it. The pulpit is situated on the south-eastern side, near the chancel, and one Sunday it was brought into the centre of the church; but it could be seen no better there than in its old position, so it was carried back, and has remained unmolested ever since. If it were put upon castors, and pushed slowly and with becoming reverence up and down the church during sermon time, all would get a view of its occupant; but we believe the warders have an objection to pulpits on castors, so that there is no hope in this respect. The reading-desk stands opposite the pulpit, and looks very broad and diminutive. The chancel is plain. A large, neatly designed stained glass window occupies the end. On each side there is a mural monument—one being to the memory of Samuel Horrocks, Esq., Guild Mayor in 1842, and son of S. Horrocks, Esq., of Lark-hill, who for twenty-two years represented Preston in Parliament; and the other, raised by public subscription, to the memory of the Rev. Joseph Rigg, who was minister of St. Paul's for nineteen years, and who died in 1847. The general fittings and arrangements of the church indicate plainness of design, combined with medium strength and thorough respectability. In no part of the building is there any eccentric flourishing or artistic meandering. The roof, the walls, and the base of the window niches, which have become blackened with rain, need cleaning up; and some day, when money is plentiful, they will no doubt be renovated. The seats are strong, broad, and regular in shape. All of them, except one, are let, and it would speedily be tenanted if more conveniently located. There is a pillar in it, and, in order to get a proper view of the officiating minister, you must stand up, lean forward, and glance with a rolling eye round the corners of the obstruction—a thing which many of the more bashful of our species would not like to do.
The church will accommodate about 1,200 persons, and the average Sunday attendance may be calculated at 800. The gallery is patronised extensively by the "million"; the ground floor pews are occupied by more select and fashionable individuals. The great majority of the worshippers sit above, and few vacant spaces can as a rule be seen there. Down stairs the crush is less severe. The congregation is a mixture of working and middle class people; the former kind being preponderant. At the sides there are long narrow ranges of free seats; but they are not often disturbed. On two successive Sundays we gave them a passing look, and they appeared to be almost deserted. A couple of little boys seated in the centre, and engaged in the pleasing juvenile business of swinging their legs, were the only occupants we saw on the right side during our first inspection; and when we viewed the range on the other side, the Sunday after, we could only catch tender glimpses of three females, all very quiet, and each belonging the antique school of life. "Where will you sit?" said a large-hearted young man, when we made our second appearance. "There," was our reply, pointing at the same time to a well-cushioned and genially sequestered seat at the north-west corner, and we were ushered into it with becoming decorum. In two minutes afterwards five women and a festive infant, dressed in a drab cloak, and muffled all over to keep the cold out, stopped at the pew door. We stepped out; three of the females, with the baby, stepped in; the remainder went into the next pew; and after condensing our nerve power, we settled down in the corner from which we had been disturbed, quietly lifting one hand over the door and latching it firmly at the same moment, our idea being than an environment of five females, with a baby thrown into the bargain, was quite enough for the remainder of the morning. After an inquiry as to the christening arrangements at the church, for we fancied this was a christening gathering, we got nearer the baby, and, in a delicately sympathetic whisper said—"How old is it?" The maiden who was holding it blushed, and laconically breathed out the words, "Three months." We subsequently found out that the seat we were in was the incumbent's, and that the blessed baby, whose lot we had been contemplating with such interest, was his, too.
Six minutes before the commencement there were only nine persons in the body of the church; but nearly 300 were congregated there when the service began, whilst the gallery was well filled with worshippers of all ages and sizes. All the responses here are "congregational"—none of them being in any way intoned. We believe that St. Paul's is the only Protestant church in Preston wherein this system is observed. The effect, when compared with the plans of intonation now so universal, is very singular; and it sometimes sounds dull and monotonous—like a long, low, rumbling of irregular voices, as if there were some quaint, oddly-humoured contention going on in every pew. But the worshippers seem to like the system, and as they have a perfect right to be their own judges, other people must be silent on the subject. The music is not of an extraordinary sort; it is plain, and very well joined in by the congregation. But the choir, like many others, lacks weight and symphony. Mrs. Myres, the wife of the incumbent, is a member of the choir, and if all the other individuals in it had her musical knowledge, an improvement would soon follow. The organ is a very good one. It was given by the late T. Miller, Esq., and H. Miller, Esq., and placed in the church in 1844. Recently it has been put in first-rate condition, for organs, like the players of them, get worse for wear, by T. H. and W. P. Miller, Esqrs. The organist knows his work, and is able to perform it with ability.
At St. Paul's there is morning and evening service on a Sunday; and every Wednesday evening there is a short service, but like the bulk of mid-week devotional exercises it is not much cared for, only about 150 joining it on the average. On the second Sunday in each month there is an early sacrament at St. Paul's. At no other place of worship in the town, that we know of, save Christ Church, is there a similar sacramental arrangement. Since St. Paul's was opened, there have been five incumbents at it. The first was the Rev. Mr. Russell; then came the Rev. J. Rigg, who was a most exemplary clergyman; next the Rev. S. F. Page, who was followed by the Rev. J. Miller; the present incumbent being the Rev. W. M. Myres, son of Mr. J. J. Myres, of Preston. Mr. Myres came to St. Paul's at the beginning of 1867, and when he made his appearance fidgetty and orthodox souls were in a state of mingled dudgeon and trepidation as to what be would do. It was fancied that he was a Ritualist—fond of floral devices and huge candles, with an incipient itching for variegated millinery, beads, and crosses. But his opponents, who numbered nearly two-thirds of the congregation, screamed before they were bitten, and went into solemn paroxysms of pious frothiness for nothing. Subsequent events have proved how highly imaginative their views were. No church in the country has less of Ritualism in it than St. Paul's. Its services are pre- eminently plain; all those parts whereon the spirit of innovation has settled so strongly in several churches during the past few years are kept in their original simplicity; and in the general proceedings nothing can be observed calculated to disturb the peace of the most fastidious of show-disliking Churchmen.
Mr. Myres is about 30 years of age, is corporeally condensed, walks as if he were in earnest and wanted to catch the train, has a mild, obliging, half-diffident look, wears a light coloured beard and moustache, each of which is blossoming very nicely; is sharp, yet even-tempered; bland and genial, yet sincere; has keen powers of observation, has a better descriptive than logical faculty, is not very imaginative, cares more for prose than poetry, more for facts than sallies of the fancy, more for gentle devotion, and quiet persevering labour in his own locality than for virtuous welterings and sacred acrobatism in other districts. He has endeavoured, since coming to Preston, to mind his own business, and parsons often find that a hard thing to accomplish. Polished in education, he is humble and social in manner. He will never be an ecclesiastical show-man, for his disposition is in the direction of general quietude and good neighbourship. If he ever gets into a sacred disturbance the fault will be through somebody else dragging him into it, and not because he has courted it by natural choice. He is more cut out for sincere labour, pleasantly and strenuously conducted, than for intellectual generalship or lofty theological display. His brain may lack high range and large creativeness; but he possesses qualities of heart and spirit which mere brilliance cannot secure, and which simple cerebral strength can never impart. We admire him for his courteousness, his artless simplicity of nature, his earnest, kindly-devotedness to duty, and his continual attention to everything affecting the welfare of those he has to look after. Mr. Myres is greatly respected by all in his district; he has transmuted the olden ritualistic horror which prevailed in the district, into one of love and reverence; and all his sheep have a genial and affectionate bleat for him.
The Rev. C. G. Acworth, a learned young man, whose facial capillary forces are coming gradually into play, and who seems to have the entire Book of Common Prayer off by heart, is the curate of St. Paul's. He is a good reader, a steady, sententious, epigrammatic preacher, and with a little more knowledge of the world ought to make a clever and most useful minister. Something, which we do not think exists in connection with any other Preston church for the management of affairs, is established here. It is a "Church Committee." It consists of the ministers, the churchwardens, and a dozen members of the congregation. They discuss all sorts of matters appertaining to the district, smooth down grievances when any are nursed, and keep everything in good working order. The outside machinery for mentally and religiously improving the district is very extensive and varied. There are five day and Sunday schools under the auspices of St. Paul's. They are situated in Pole and Carlisle streets, and are under the guidance of four superintendents and fifty-seven teachers. Mrs. Myres (wife of the incumbent), who is a great favourite throughout the district, is one of the teachers. The day or national schools are the largest in the town; they have an average attendance of 934; and that in which boys are taught is the only one of its kind in Preston which is self-supporting. The average attendance of Sunday scholars is 800.
Night schools also form part of the educational programme, and they are well attended. A mutual improvement class—the oldest in the town—likewise exists in connection with St. Paul's. It was established by the Rev. S. F. Page, and is conducted on principles well calculated to regulate, illumine, and edify the youths who mar and make empires at it. A temperance society, in which the Rev. Mr. Acworth, who is a "Bright water for me" believer, has taken praiseworthy interest, has furthermore got a footing in St. Paul's, and beyond that there is a band of hope society in the district, which does its share of work. Every Monday afternoon, a "Mother's Meeting," conducted by Mrs. Myres, Mrs. Isherwood, Miss Wadsworth, and the Bible woman, is held in a room of the Carlisle-street school. The mothers are pretty lacteous and docile. In various parts of the district, cottage lectures, conducted by the curate and a number of energetic teachers, are held weekly. The district of St. Paul's is great in missionary work. There are about four-and-twenty collectors in the field here, and by the penny a week system they raise sums which periodical efforts would never realise. By the way, we ought to have said that there are a good many collections in St. Paul's church—16 regular ones and 14 on the offertory principle— every year. Those who consider it more blessed to give than receive should be happy at St. Paul's. The sums collected at the church range from about 12 to 50 pounds. The Irish Church Missionary Society receives much of its Preston support from this district. Lastly, we may remark that there is a good staff of tract distributors, supervised by a ladies' committee, in connection with St. Paul's. The distributors are chiefly young women belonging the schools. Owing to the vastness of the district it is contemplated to erect as early as possible a school chapel as an auxiliary of the church. It will be built near the railway bridge in St. Paul's-road. R. Newsham, Esq., has offered to give a handsome sum towards the edifice, which is much needed. When opened a second curate will be required, and towards the stipend of such gentleman, E. Hermon, Esq., M.P., has offered to contribute liberally. The salary of the incumbent is about 280 pounds per annum. The generality of the officials connected with the church and schools have been long at their posts—a proof of even action and good harmony; everything seems to be progressing steadily in the district; and if St. Paul himself had to give it a visit he would shake hands warmly with Mr. Myres, the incumbent, praise Mrs. Myres and the baby, and throw up his hat gleefully at the good work which is being done amongst the people.
ST. MARY'S-STREET AND MARSH-END WESLEYAN CHAPELS, AND THE TABERNACLE OF THE REVIVALISTS.
"When shall we three meet again?" We can't tell—don't care about knowing; you have met now; and keep quiet, if possible, whilst being vivisected. There are worse companions, so shake hands, and sigh for universal bliss. We shall use the dissecting knife with a kindly sharpness. The first of the places named is situated in St. Mary's- street, opposite a very high wall, which we believe is intended to prevent men from scaling it, and is closely associated with the arrangements of the House of Correction. One hundred yards off, it looks like a high, modernised, seaside hotel; fifty yards off, it seems like a well-arranged gentleman's residence, in the wrong place; two yards off, it indicates its own mission, and clearly shows that something embracing both education and religion is carried on within it. It is a large, well-built, quadrangular building, with two round-headed ranges of windows in front, and a good roof above, surmounted with an iron rail, put up apparently for imaginary purposes. Nobody has yet got over that rail so far as we have heard; and if the job is ever attempted, nothing will be found on the other side worth carrying home. The foundation stone of this building—it is really a school chapel—was laid on Good Friday, 1866, and the place was opened in the same year. The place cost 2,500 pounds, and it is nearly out of debt. Internally, it is full of rooms. On the ground floor there are nine apartments—all well disposed, appropriately fit up, and set apart for general scholastic and class purposes. On week days, some of them are used as school- rooms, the average attendance of pupils, who are carefully looked after, being about 120; and on Sundays they are devoted to "class" business. In a large room above, children are also taught on Sundays: the general attendance on those days throughout the place being about 450. This school-chapel owes its existence to the cotton famine. During that trying period, when people had nothing else to do but think, live on 2s. a week, and grow good, Messrs. Wilding and Strachan generously opened a room connected with their mill in New Hall-lane, for secular and religious instruction. It was attended mainly by those belonging the Wesleyan persuasion; in time it became too little; and the result was the erection of a school-chapel in St. Mary's-street. We have never seen a better arranged nor a more commodious place of its kind than this. Its class, and ordinary scholastic departments we have alluded to. Let us now proceed above- -into the room used for worship. You can reach it from either the northern or the southern side, but from neither can you make headway without ascending a strong, winding series of steps, which must be trying and troublesome to heavy and asthmatic subjects, if any of that sort ever show themselves at the building. The room is large, lofty, clean, and airy, and will hold about 400 persons. Just within each doorway there is a box, intended for contributions on behalf of "sick and needy scholars." But both have been put too near the side; they often catch people's clothes, on entering, and as everybody is not disposed to stop and exercise the organ of benevolence, whilst the remainder wish to be judicious about the business and save their dresses, it has been decided to shift them inwards a little. From the centre of the ceiling, gas burners, in star-shaped clusters, are suspended, and when the taps are on they give good lights.
The congregation, which is generally constituted of working-class people, numbers about 350. The people attending this place are a quiet, devoted lot, with patches of pride and self-glorification here and there about them, but, on the whole, kindly-looking and sincere. Some of them are close-minded and intensely orthodox; but the majority are wide-awake, and won't pray for fair weather until it has given over raining. The members of the choir sit on the eastern side, and if not so refined and punctillious in their musical performances, they are at least pretty strong-lunged and earnest. They are located near the wall. The harmonium-player enjoys a closer proximity to it. He manipulates with fair skill, has a clock right above him, and ought, therefore, to keep "good time." If he doesn't, then let the clock be condemned as a deceiver and incumberer of the wall. The pulpit is a broad, neatly-arranged affair—fixed upon a platform at the southern end, and environed with rails of blue and gold colour. Just within, and on its immediate left, there is a small paper nailed up with four nails, and containing, is written English, these words, as a reminder for each preacher during his "supplications"—"Pray for God's ancient people of Israel." "Does this mean the Jews?" said we to an elderly man near us, whilst we were scrutinizing with a plaintive eye, the pulpit, and he replied, "Bleeve it does." That, we thought, was a bad speculation for a chapel containing two subscription boxes for "sick and needy scholars." The man who wrote out that exhortation in the interests of Petticoat-lane men and their kindred, and the patriot who drove with a fierce virtue the four nails into it didn't, we are afraid, know clearly how much it costs to convert a genuine Jew, else more caution would have been exercised by each of them. A Jew's eye is a costly thing; but a Jew's conversion is much more expensive; you can't get at the thing fairly for less than 10,000 pounds; and as five good Wesleyan Chapels could be built, in ordinary districts, for that sum, we advise Wesleyans to go in for chapels and not for Jews.
If the pulpit had not been a broad and accommodating one, in St. Mary's-street Chapel, we should have been inclined to think that the parson might have had a "walk round." There is just space enough in front of the pulpit for a medium-sized gentleman to pass between it and the front rails. In a moment of high dudgeon, a thin preacher with a passion for "action" might easily flank off and traverse it frontally; but an easy-minded individual would find plenty of room in the pulpit, and if he did not, presuming he were stout, he would have to "crush" considerably in order to accomplish a full circular route. Beyond and in the immediate front of the pulpit rails there is a circular seat. This we fancied, during our inspection, was the "penitent form"—it seemed close and handy during a season of stern excitement and warm eruption; but in a moment we were told it was for "sacrament people," who patronise it in turns, on particular Sundays. Two services are conducted on Sundays here by regular and itinerent preachers; the former coming from Lune-street Chapel, and the latter being furnished out of the general lay body. Nearly every night throughout the week, class meetings, &c., are held in the building, and they are conducted with much rapture and peacefulness. How the Jew-converting business gets on we cannot tell—badly, we imagine; but in respect to the ordinary operations of the place they are successful and promise to be still more so. A chapel whose members branched off from this place has been established at Walton. About 12 months ago it was opened. A cottage situated on the road side leading to the church constitutes the walhallah of Methodism there, and the support accorded to it is increasing. We have no more to say as to the St. Mary's-street mission. We hope it will go on and agreeably grapple with the people in its own district whatever may become of the Jews.
A mile and a half distant, on the other side of the town, and quietly resting amongst the desolate premises once occupied by the Preston Ship Building Company, at the Marsh End, there is a small preaching place, wherein the Scriptures are expounded and the doctrines of John Wesley duly inculcated. About two and a half years ago a couple of cottages in this locality were "thrown into one," and arranged so as to moderately accommodate those caring about religion, and willing to have it in a "good old Methodist" style. There was considerable briskness of trade hereabouts at that time, ships were made in the adjoining yards, the bubble of speculation was being strongly blown, large numbers of strong-armed men, caring more for ale in gallon jugs than either virtue in tracts or piety in sermons, resided in the district, the population was rapidly increasing, a new section of the town's suburbs was being strongly developed, and there being drinking houses, skittle grounds, and other accompaniments of a progressive age visible, it was considered prudent to mix up a small Wesleyan preaching room and school with the general confraternity of institutions in the locality. At the beginning of this year, owing to the insufficient accomodation of the premises, a portion of the pattern room of the Ship Building Company, which in the meantime had resolved its organisation into thin air and evaporated, was secured, and arranged in a homely fashion for the required business. After passing through a small door in the centre of a large one, leading to the shipyard, then turning to the right, then mounting 18 steep awkward steps, and then turning again to the right, you arrive at the place.
The moment we saw it we knew it. It was in this very room where grand champagne luncheons used to be given after ship launches, and where dancing and genteel carousing followed. The last time we had business at this place we saw twenty-three gentlemen alcoholically merry in it, six Town Councillors helpless yet boisterous in it, thirty couples of ladies and gentlemen dancing in it, four waiters smuggling half-used bottles of champagne rapidly down their throats in it, an ex-Mayor with his hat, thrown right back, looking awfully jolly, and superintending the proceedings, in it, and in an adjoining room, now used for vestry purposes, three ladies in silk velvet, wine-freighted, and just able to see, blowing up everybody because their bonnets were lost. The place where all this "fou and unco happy" work was transacted is now the school chapel of the Wesleyans. The room wherein the congregation meet is bare, plain, and primitive-looking, with an open roof, whitewashed all round, and boarded off from a workshop at the southern end. Its "furniture" consists of eleven forms, three stoves, a pulpit with no back, and a chair. A strip of wood is placed across a window at the rear of the chair, which is used by the officiating parson, and this wood prevents him from breaking the glass if he should happen to throw his head back sharply. On one side of the room there are 19 hat hooks, and on the other 24. There are seats in the place for about 100. The members number about 20, and the average congregation, entirely working people, and of homely, orderly character, will range from 80 to 100. The room is connected with the Wesley circuit; every Sunday there are two services in it; a meeting for religious purposes is held each Thursday night; and the preaching is done by "locals" and "regulars." The singing is neither good, nor bad, nor indifferent; but a mixture of the whole three qualities. It is accompanied by a small harmonium, played by a young lady in moderately tasteful style. The services are simple and hearty, and whilst there may be a little plaintive noisiness now and then in them—a few penitent flutterings—they are generally, and remembering the complexion of the congregation, respectably conducted.
"It's a regular bird nest, and you'll never get to it, unless you ask the neighbouring folk," said a friend to us whilst talking about the Revivalists' tabernacle. To the bottom of Pitt-street we then went, and seeing two or three females and a man dart out of a dim- looking passage beneath one of the side arches of the railway bridge there, we concluded that we were near the "nest." Having sauntered about for a few moments, and assured ourselves that this was really the place we were in search of, we went to the arch, walked six or seven yards forward, looked up a dark, tortuous, narrow passage on the right, and entered it. In the centre of the passage there was a hole, through which you could see telegraph wires and the sky, on one side a grim crevice running narrowly to the top of the railway bridge, and ahead a shadowy opening like the front of an underground store, with a wooden partition, in the centre of which was a small square of glass. Theseus, who got through the Labyrinth, would have been puzzled with this mystic passage. We never saw such a time-worn and dumfounding road to any place, and if those who patronise it regularly had done their best to discover the essence of dinginess and intractibility, they could not have hit upon a better spot than this. A warm air wave, similar to that you expect on entering a bakehouse, met us just when we had passed the wooden partition. In the centre of the room there was a stove, almost red-hot. This apartment, which was filled with small forms, was, we ascertained, a Sunday-school. At the bottom end there were some narrow steps, leading through a large hole into a room above—the "chapel." A fat man could never get up these steps, and a tall one would injure his head if he did not stoop very considerably in ascending them.
The chapel is about five yards wide, 15 yards long, very low on one side, and moderately high on the other. It is plain, ricketty, and whitewashed. The side wall of the railway bridge forms one end of it. On the northern side, there is a door fastened up with a piece of wood in the form of a large loadstone. This door leads to the top of a pig-stye. The "chapel" will hold about 70. When we visited it, the congregation consisted of 35 children of a very uneasy sort, 11 men, and five women. Every now and then railway goods trains kept passing, and what with the whistling of the engines, the shaking caused by the waggons, the barking of a dog in a yard behind, the grunting of a pig in a stye three yards off, and the noise of the 35 children before us, we had a very refreshing time of it. The congregation—a poor one—consists of a remnant of the Revivalists who were in Preston last year, and it has a kind of nominal connection with the Orchard United Methodists. The building we have described was formerly a weaving shop or rubbish store. Its present tenants have occupied it about twelve months. They are an earnest body, seem obliging to strangers, are not as fiery and wild as some of their class, and might do better in the town if they had a better room. They have no fixed minister. The preacher we heard was a stranger. He pulled off his coat just before beginning his discourse. After a few introductory remarks, in the course of which he said he had been troubled with stomach ache for six hours on the previous day, and that just before his last visit to Preston he had an attack of illness in the very same place, a lengthy allusion was made to his past history. He said that he had been "a villain, a gambler, a drunkard, and a Sabbath breaker"—we expected hearing him say, as many of his class do, that he had often abused his mother, thrashed his wife, and punished his children, but he did not utter a word on the subject. The remainder of his discourse was less personal and more orthodox. At the close we descended the steps carefully, groped our way out quietly, and left, wondering how ever we had got to such a place at all, and how those worshipping in it could afford to Sabbatically pen themselves up in such a mysterious, ramshackle shanty.
ST. MARY'S AND ST. JOSEPH'S CATHOLIC CHAPELS.
In this combination the past and the present are linked. Into their history the elements of a vast change enter. One is allied with "saintly days," followed by a reactive energy, vigorous and crushing; the other is amalgamated with an epoch of broadest thought and keenest iconoclasm; both are now enjoying a toleration giving them peace, and affording them ample room for the fullest progress. Unless it be our Parish Church, which was originally a Catholic place of worship, no religious building in Preston possesses historic associations so far-reaching as St. Mary's. It is the oldest Catholic chapel in Preston. Directly, it is associated with a period of fierce persecution. Relatively, it touches those old times when religious houses, with their quaintly-trimmed orders, were in their halcyon days. After the dissolution, caused by Henry VIII, it was a dangerous thing to profess Catholicism, and in Preston, as in other places, those believing in it had to conduct their services privately, and in out-of-the-way places. In Ribbleton-lane there is an old barn, still standing, wherein mass used to be said at night- time. People living in the neighbourhood fancied for a considerable period that this place was haunted; they could see a light in it periodically; they couldn't account for it; and they concluded that some headless woman or wandering gnome was holding a grim revel in it. But the fact was, a small band of Catholics debarred from open worship, and forced to secrete themselves during the hours of devotion, were gathered there.
When the storm of persecution had subsided a little, Catholics in various parts of the country gradually, though quietly, got their worship into towns; and, ultimately, we find that in Preston a small thatched building—situated in Chapel-yard, off Friargate—was opened for the use of Catholics. This was in 1605. The yard, no doubt, took its name from the chapel, which was dedicated to St. Mary. There was wisdom in the selection of this spot, and appropriateness, too—it was secluded, near the heart of the town, and very close to the old thoroughfare whose very name was redolent of Catholicity. Friargate is a word which conveys its own meaning. An old writer calls it a "fayre, long, and spacious street;" and adds, "upon that side of the town was formerly a large and sumptuous building belonging to the Fryers Minors or Gray Fryers, but now  only reserved for the reforming of vagabonds, sturdy beggars, and petty larcenary thieves, and other people wanting good behaviour; it is now the country prison . . . and it is cal'd the House of Correction." This building was approached by Friargate, and was erected for the benefit of begging friars, under the patronage of Edward, Earl of Lancaster, son of Henry III. The first occupants of it came from Coventry, "to sow," as we are, told by an ancient document, "the seeds of the divine word, amongst the people residing in the villa of Preston, in Agmounderness, in Lancashire."
Primarily it was a very fine edifice, was built in the best style of Gothic architecture, and had accomodation for upwards of 500 monks. Upon its site now stands the foundry of Mr. Stevenson, adjoining Lower Pitt-street. The Catholics of Preston satisfied themselves with the small building in Chapel-yard until 1761, when a new place of worship, dedicated to St. Mary, was erected upon part of the site of the convent of Grey Friars. Towards this chapel the Duke of Norfolk gave a handsome sum, and presented, for the altar, a curious painting of the Lord's Supper. But this building did not enjoy a very prosperous career, for in 1768, during a great election riot, it was pulled down by an infuriated mob, all the Catholic registers in it were burned, and the priest—the Rev. Patrick Barnewell—only saved his life by beating a rapid retreat at the rear, and crossing the Ribble at an old ford below Frenchwood. Another chapel was subsequently raised, upon the present site of St. Mary's, on the west side of Friargate, but when St. Wilfrid's was opened, in 1793, it was closed for religious purposes and transmuted into a cotton warehouse. The following priests were at St. Mary's from its opening in 1761 until its close in 1793:- Revs. Patrick Barnewell, Joseph Smith, John Jenison, Nicholas Sewall, Joseph Dunn, and Richard Morgan. The two last named gentleman lived together in a cottage, on the left side of the entrance to the chapel, behind which they had a fine room commanding a beautiful view of the Ribble, Penwortham, &c., for at that time all was open, on the western side of Friargate, down to the river. Whittle, speaking of Father Dunn, says he was "the father of the Catholic school, the House of Recovery, and the Gasworks," and adds, with a plaintive bathos, that "on the very day he left this sublunary world he rose, as was his custom, very early, and in the course of his rambles exchanged a sovereign for sixpences, for distribution amongst the indigent."
In 1815 the chapel was restored; but not long afterwards its roof fell in. Nobody however was hurt, just because nobody was in the building at the time. The work of reparation followed, and the chapel was deemed sufficient till 1856, when it was entirely rebuilt and enlarged. As it was then fashioned so it remains. It is a chapel of ease for St. Wilfrid's, and is attended to a very large extent by Irish people. The situation of it is lofty; it stands upon higher ground than any other place of worship in the town; but it is so hemmed in with houses, &c., that you can scarcely see it, and if you could get a full view of it nothing very beautiful would be observed about the exterior. The locality in which this chapel is placed is crowded, dark-looking, and pretty ungodly. All kinds of sinister- looking alleys, narrow yards, dirty courts, and smoky back streets surround it; much drinking is done in each; and a chorus of noise from lounging men in their shirt sleeves, draggle-tailed women without bonnets, and weird little youngsters, given up entirely to dirt, treacle, and rags, is constantly kept up in them. The chapel has a quaint, narrow, awkward entrance. You pass a gateway, then mount a step, then go on a yard or two and encounter four steps, then breathe a little, then get into a somewhat sombre lobby two and a half yards wide, and inconveniently steep, next cross a little stone gutter, and finally reach a cimmerian square, surrounded by high walls, cracked house ends, and other objects similarly interesting. The front of the chapel is cold-looking and devoid of ornament. Upon the roof there is a square perforated belfry, containing one bell. It was put up a few years ago, and before it got into use there was considerable newspaper discussion as to the inconvenience it would cause in the morning, for having to be rung at the unearthly hour of six it was calculated that much balmy quietude would be missed through it. Some people can stand much sleep after six, and on their account early bell-ringing was dreaded. But the inhabitants have got used to the resonant metal, and those who have time sleep on very excellently during its most active periods.
The chapel has a broad, lofty, and imposing interior; but it is rather gloomy, and requires a little extra light, which would add materially to the general effect. There is considerable decorative skill displayed in the edifice; but the work looks opaque and needs brightening up. The sanctuary end is rich and solemn, has a finely- elaborate and sacred tone, and combines in its construction elegance and power. At the rear and rising above the altar there is a large and somewhat imposing picture, representing the taking down of our Saviour from the cross. It was painted by Mr. C. G. Hill, after a picture of Carracci's, in Stonyhurst College, and was originally placed in St. Wilfrid's church. St. Mary's will accommodate about 1,000 persons. All the pews have open sides, and there are none of a private character in any part of the church. The poorest can have the best places at any time, if they will pay for them, and the richest can sit in the worst if they are inclined to be economical.
Large congregations attend this chapel, and the bulk, as already intimated, are of the Milesian order. At the rear, where many of the poor choose to sit, some of the truest specimens of the "finest pisantry," some of the choicest and most aromatic Hibernians we have seen, are located. The old swallow-tailed Donnybrook Fair coat, the cutty knee-breeches, the short pipe in the waistcoat pocket, the open shirt collar, the ancient family cloak with its broad shoulder lapelle, the thick dun-coloured shawl in which many a young Patrick has been huddled up, are all visible. The elderly women have a peculiar fondness for large bonnets, decorated in front with huge borders running all round the face like frilled night-caps. The whole of the worshippers at the lower end seem a pre-eminently devotional lot. How they are at home we can't tell; but from the moment they enter the chapel and touch the holy water stoops, which somehow persist in retaining a good thick dark sediment at the bottom, to the time they walk out, the utmost earnestness prevails amongst them. Some of the poorer and more elderly persons who sit near the door are marvellous hands at dipping, sacred manipulation, and pious prostration. Like the Islams, they go down on all fours at certain periods, and seem to relish the business, which, after all, must be tiring, remarkably well. Considering its general character, the congregation is very orderly, and we believe of a generous turn of mind. The chapel is cleanly kept by an amiable old Catholic, who may, if there is anything in a name, be related to the Grey Friars who formerly perambulated the street he lives in; and there is an air of freedom and homeliness about it which we have not noticed at several places of worship. Around its walls are pictures of saints. They make up a fine family group, and seem to have gathered from every Catholic place of worship in the town to do honour to the edifice.
There are sundry masses every Sunday in the chapel, that which is the shortest—held at half-past nine in the morning—being, as usual, best patronised. The scholars connected with St. Wilfrid's attend the chapel every Sunday. Each Wednesday evening a service is also held in the chapel, and it is most excellently attended, although some who visit it put in a rather late appearance. When we were in the chapel, one Wednesday evening, ten persons came five minutes before the service was over, and one slipped round the door side and made a descent upon the holy water forty-five seconds before the business terminated. Of course it is better late than never, only not much bliss follows late attendance, and hardly a toothful of ecstacy can be obtained in three-quarters of a minute. The singing is of an average kind, the choir being constituted of the school children; whilst the organ, which used to be in some place at Accrington, is only rather shaky and debilitated. During the past ten years the Rev. Thomas Brindle, of St. Wilfrid's, has been the officiating priest at St. Mary's. Father Brindle is a Fylde man, is about 45 years of age, and is a thoroughly healthy subject. He is at least 72 inches high, is well built, powerful, straight as a die, good looking, keeps his teeth clean, and attends most regularly to his clerical duties. He is unassuming in manner, blithe in company, earnest in the pulpit. His gesticulation is decisive, his lungs are good, and his vestments fit him well. Not a more stately, yet homely looking, honest-faced priest have we seen for many a day. There is nothing sinister nor subtle in his visage; the sad ferocity glancing out of some men's eyes is not seen in his. We have not yet confessed our sins to him, but we fancy he will be a kindly soul when behind the curtain,—would sooner order boiled than hard peas to be put into one's shoes by way of penance, would far rather recommend a fast on salmon than a feast on bacon, and would generally prefer a soft woollen to a hard horse hair shirt in the moments of general mortification. Father Brindle!—Give us your hand, and may you long retain a kindly regard for boiled peas, soft shirts, and salmon. They are amongst the very best things out if rightly used, and we shouldn't care about agonising the flesh with them three times a week.
St. Joseph's Catholic Church stands on the eastern side of Preston, and is surrounded by a rapidly-developing population. The district has a South Staffordshire look—is full of children, little groceries, public-houses and beershops, brick kilns, smoke, smudge, clanging hammers, puddle-holes, dogs, cats, vagrant street hens, unmade roads, and general bewilderment. When the new gasometer, which looks like the skeleton of some vast colosseum, is finished here, an additional balminess will be given to the immediate atmosphere, which may be very good for children in the hooping- cough, but anything except pleasant for those who have passed through that lively ordeal. In 1860, a Catholic school was erected in Rigby-street, Ribbleton-lane. Directly afterwards divine service was held in the building, which in its religious character was devoted to St. Joseph. But either the walls of the edifice were too weak, or the roof of it too strong, for symptoms of "giving way" soon set in, and the place had to be pulled down. In 1866, having been rebuilt and enlarged, it was re-opened. In the meantime, religious services and scholastic training being essential, and it being considered too far to go to St. Ignatius's and St. Augustine's, which were the places patronised prior to the opening of St. Joseph's mission, another school, with accomodation in it for divine worship, was erected on a plot of land immediately adjoining. Nearly one half of the money required for this building, which was opened in 1864, was given by Protestants. At the northern end of it, there is a closed-off gallery, used as a school for boys. The remainder of the building is used for chapel purposes. The exterior of the edifice is neat and substantial; the interior—that part used for worship—is clean, spacious, and light. At the southern end there is a small but pretty altar, and around the building are hung what in Catholic phraseology are termed "the stations." There is not much ornament, and only a small amount of paint, in the place.
The chapel will hold 560 persons; it is well attended; and the congregations would be larger if there were more accomodation. Masses are said here, and services held, on the plan pursued at other chapels of the same denomination. The half-past nine o'clock mass on a Sunday morning is a treat; for at it you can see a greater gathering of juvenile bazouks than at any other place in the town. Some of the roughest-headed lads in all creation are amongst them; their hair seems to have been allowed to have its own way from infancy, and it refuses to be dictated to now. The congregation is a very poor one, and this will be at once apparent when we state that the general income of the place, the entire proceeds of it, do not exceed 100 pounds a year. Nearly every one attending the chapel is a factory worker, and the present depressed state of the cotton trade has consequently a special and a very crushing bearing upon the mission. A new church is badly wanted here; in no part of the town is a large place of worship so much required; but nothing can be done in the matter until the times mend. A plot of land has been secured for a church on the western side of the present improvised chapel, and close to the house occupied by the priests in charge of the mission; but until money can be found, or subscribed, or borrowed without interest, it will have to remain as at present.