Battles and Intrigues
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Preston was a Royalist stronghold and fortified itself by erecting earthworks, within which were rough brick walls, around the town. In addition to fortification, “engines made of timber” were placed in the streets as protection against horse soldiers. On the 7th of February, 1642, the Parliamentary Forces, under the leadership of Major General Sir John Seaton, crossed the Ribble Bridge and drew up on fields near the footway (Swillbrook Lane) from the bridge to the town. On the other side of the town, the outworks were soon breached, in spite of stiff resistance, and some troops were able to enter the town by way of the “Fryers Gate Barrs” while the main body went round to the “East Barres, where the water voides the town.” A strong body of soldiers was left in the town and the fortifications were repaired. On the 21st of March, Lord Derby’s Royalist troops, after a sharp encounter of about two hours’ duration, re-occupied the town. The Royalists, however did not consider it worthwhile to garrison the town and left after destroying such of ramparts and fortifications that they considered dangerous. In consequence, after the Battle of Marston Moor, Prlnce Rupert marched towards Preston and entered the town on the 1st of September 1644 and, while there, arrested the mayor and his bailiffs and sent them for safe custody to Skipton Castle, where they were detained for three months. For the next four years, Preston was left in peace, but in 1648 It was once again the scene of bloody con flict.
On the 16th of August 1648, the Duke of Hamilton’s army of Scottish troops and supporters from the north of England had reached Walton Bridge and, on the other side of the River Ribble, on Ribbleton Moor, was the army of Sir Marmaduke Langdale. They met resistance from the Parliamentary troops under the leadership of General John Lambert – meanwhile Cromwell had reached Stonyhurst after marching from Skipton. On the next day, the 17th of August, Cromwell joined up with Lambert and routed Langdale’s forces on Ribbleton Moor and then, at Walton, he was able to split Hamilton’s forces in two and scatter the rear-guard. The site of the battle is remembered by Cromwell Road, while adjoining Lambert Road, Hamilton Road and Langdale Road name the respective generals, and Stuart Road refers to the Royalists. There is also a Cromwell Street in the St. Paul’s Road area of the town, and not far away, was Lambert Street, the former name of the southern end of Kent Street. The valley of the Moor Brook forming the dip in Kent Street was known as Lambert Bottoms.
The next major battle in Preston occurred when the Old Pretender’s army of Jacobites occupied the town. As the army was some 4,000 strong, the townspeople were in no position to oppose its advance. They marched straight to the Market Cross where the order of St. George the Chevalier was proclaimed. On the next day, the 11th of November, General Carpenter was advancing from Clitheroe with 2,500 horse and General Wills was already on the banks of the River Ribble. The Jacobites erected barricades in town, with two cannons mounted on each of the main thoroughfares. One of the barricades was erected a little below the church and another on the outside of the hedge that flanked Sir Henry Houghton’s garden in Fishergate Street. On the 12th of November, Wills, finding Walton Bridge unguarded, entered the town by way of Churchgate with 200 men but had to retreat with the loss of 120 men when they were met with a hail of firing from the Highlanders concealed behind windows and in cellars. Another party was sent to dislodge them by setting fire to the barns and houses where they were stationed. Several other attacks were attempted, but the Government troops were repulsed each time. The next morning, General Carpenter arrived with his dragoons and, joining up with Wills, soon had the town surrounded. The English Jacobites were ready to capitulate, but the Highlanders refused to surrender. The Scots requested to be allowed to come to a decision overnight, on the condition that hostilities were suspended, and the Earl of Derwentwater and Colonel Macintosh were given up as hostages. The Jacobites surrendered the following morning: the principal prisoners were sent to Wigan and then to London, the others to Lancaster and Chester. Four officers were court-martialled and shot in Preston, among them Captain Lockhart, named in Lockhart Road. Five others were hanged on Gallows Hill, now Garstang Road. The Earl of Derwentwater and Lord Kenmure were sent to London to be tried and were later executed: their names are commemorated in the name of the Church of the English Martyrs situated near Gallows Hill. Derwentwater Place and Kenmure Place, off Garstang Road, name the two leaders. Butler Place, Shuttleworth Road, Arkwright Road, and Muncaster Road name some of the martyrs. St. George’s Road refers to their symbol, the Chevalier St. George, and James Road (now called St. James Road) to James Stuart, the Old Pretender.
In the 1745 rising, the Young Pretender, Prince Charles Edward, marched through Preston. The town took no part in the strife and remained true to the Government. Lovat Road is named after Prince Charles Edward’s right-hand man, Lord Simon Lovat, who was executed in London. Elcho Street and Elcho Terrace from Lord Elcho, a colonel in the 1745 campaign. Elgin Street is named from the Burgh of Elgin, Bonny Prince Charlie’s headquarters before his complete defeat at Culloden.
Charnock Fold, a small close at the Moor Park end of St. Paul’s Road, was formerly a large house and farm where secret masses were held. From the Court Leet Records, it is stated that Evan Banastre, son of John, was ordered to leave the country for performing mass, on Lady Day 1585, at the house of William Charnock. The Charnocks were a devout Roman Catholic family; one Robert Charnock was a priest and was implicated, with Sir George Barclay, in a plot to kill William III. Barclay escaped, but Charnock was tried, found guilty, and hanged in London on 18th March 1696. Charnock Street, also off St. Paul’s Road, runs parallel with Charnock Fold.
Naval men and their sea battles are named in Hawkins Street, Vernon Street, and Rodney Street. Sir John Hawkins served as Vice-Admiral against the Armada; Admiral Vernon is renowned for the capture of Portobella, which he achieved with a fleet of six ships and the loss of only seven men. Admiral Rodney was the hero of sea battles fought mostly in the West Indies against the Spanish and French fleets and, especially, at the Battle of St. Vincent. Horatio Nelson needs no introduction, although there is very little to remember him by in Preston. He is mentioned only in Nelson Street, off Moor Lane, and Nelson Terrace on Wellfield Road. There is a Nelson Drive in Lea, but this is on an estate built for the employees of English Electric and refers to its former head, Sir George Nelson. Nile Street, off Church Street, commemorates Nelson’s Battle of the Nile, but his greatest battle at Trafalgar is referred to only once in the name of Trafalgar Terrace on Fishwick View. There was a public house on North Road called the Lord Nelson, but this vanished during the redevelopment of the area. A large and imposing hotel that once graced Lancaster Road went by the name of the Port Admiral. On the roof, overlooking the road, were the statues of two men in 19th century naval officers’ uniform with the figure of a naked woman between them. One of these figures, I am told, represented Lord Nelson and the woman, Lady Hamilton. I have not been able to ascertain whether this was authentic or not.
One person who is well-represented, not only in Preston but throughout the country, is the Duke of Wellington. He finds special favour in Ashton, where there is a Wellington Road, a Wellington Street and a Wellington Terrace. His victory over Napoleon at Waterloo overshadows his other battles which were equally successful, but less well-known. As General Arthur Wellesley, he was victorious in several battles in Spain and Portugal against the occupying French, resulting in the Convention of Cintra, in which the French had to evacuate Spain and Portugal. Cintra Avenue, also in Ashton, is named after this event. In the second Peninsular War, Wellington, or to be more correct, Wellesley, won his greatest victory so far at Vittoria, in recognition of which he was awarded the title of Duke of Wellington. In the part of North Road now swallowed up by the bus station, was a hotel with a painted sign depicting Wellington with sword raised and mounted on a charger, bearing the inscription ‘The Hero of Vittoria’. Commanding the right wing of Wellington’s army in this battle was General Lord Hill, who is remembered in the name of Hill Street off Friargate, and Hill Place, Fishergate.
The Crimean War was still in the minds of the people of Preston when a new estate was being built to accommodate the workforce of the cotton mills around Brookhouse. Here the streets were named after the officers who fought in the campaign. Raglan Street takes the name of the Commander in Chief of the British Forces; Cardigan Street after Lord Cardigan who led the Charge of the Light Brigade, and survived. Wetherall Street is named after an officer who was killed in the charge. Delacy Street and Evans Street from Delacy Evans, the hero of the battle of Alma. Colonel Parker is remembered in Parker Street, while Inkerman Street recalls one of the decisive battles. The battle of the River Alma was the first major engagement in the Crimea, and there is an Alma Street off St. Paul’s Road. The siege of Sebastopol is remembered in the name of a public house, but there is no Sebastopol Street. General Sir Colin Campbell, who took charge of the campaign after the death of Raglan, is named in Campbell Street off Ribbleton Lane, but neither of his co-generals, Simpson and Codrington, get a mention, although the latter has a pub named after him. In Haysworth Street off Ripon Street, there is a reference to Lord Cardigan in Cardigan Terrace. The youngest Commander in the Crimea was the Duke of Cambridge, a cousin of Queen Victoria, who, as Lieutenant General, was in charge of the First Division of the British Army which included the Guards and the Highland Brigade. He took part in the battles of Alma, Balaklava, and Inkerman and was at the siege of Sebastopol. There is a pub called the Duke of Cambridge in Cambridge Street. Running across Cambridge Street is Villiers Street, named after George Frederick Villiers, Earl of Clarendon who, at the time of the Crimean War, was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and was responsible for the successful negotiations during and after the war.
Havelock Street, that runs parallel with Villiers Street, was built about the time of the Indian Mutiny, in which Sir Henry Havelock was victorious in several battles, including Cawnpore, against numerically superior forces, and in the Relief of Lucknow. On Garstang Road there is a Havelock Terrace. Sir Charles Napier had a long and successful career in the British Army in India and held a commission in Sind from 1842 to 1847. His outstanding successes were against the Baluch armies of the Emirs. At Hyderabad, with a force of only 2,000 men, he destroyed an army of 30,000 in a battle in which it was reported that the Generals had to fight like privates. For this he received the K.C.B., and had a street and a pub named after him in Preston! Ripon Street was named after Lord Ripon, the Viceroy of India from 1880-84, while Hammond Street and Miles Street were named after two Generals who were active in India.
In the 1860’s, the fields and farmland around what is now Meadow Street were built on. This building programme coincided with Prussia’s threat to Denmark which resulted in Holstein and part of Schleswig being annexed to Germany. This suggested a source of street names for the developers, namely Jutland Street, Schleswig Street, Holstein Street, and Danewerke Street. Danewerke refers to the ancient earthwork fortifications between Denmark and Germany.
A mutiny of soldiers, resulting in the massacre of many Europeans, took place in Alexandria, the chief port of Egypt in 1881-82. The British Admiral, Sir Beauchamp Seymour, was sent to the port to keep it open for the evacuation of British and French nationals, but was opposed by Arabi Pasha. Arabi was given an ultimatum by Seymour, but would not submit, so an expeditionary force, with Sir Garnet Wolseley as Commander in Chief, was sent to Egypt. The division led by Major General Graham advanced as far as the Sweetwater Canal, where he was opposed and halted by a superior Egyptian force. He was eventually relieved by Lieutenant General Willis, Lieutenant General Hamley, and cavalry led by Major General Lowe, after a decisive battle in which over 2,000 of the enemy were killed. The way was left open to Cairo and little further resistance was met with. Cairo surrendered, resulting in the complete British occupation of Egypt. Wolseley, who had previously won fame in the Crimea, was honoured with streets to his name in Preston. Wolseley Road off Riverside, Wolseley Place off Bolton’s Court, Wolseley Terrace in South Meadow Lane, and Wolseley Court on St. Paul’s Road. Admiral Seymour was remembered in the name of Seymour Road which ran from the Fulwood end of Plungington Road to Woodplumpton Road, Ashton. This is now called Lytham Road, but the name is retained in a new road that leads off Lytham Road. There is a Willis Road off London Road, but neither Hamley or Lowe get a mention.
The escalation of the Egyptian rising into the Sudan resulted in the death of Major General Sir Charles George Gordon, who held on in Khartoum until he was overwhelmed and murdered by Mahdi’s forces. His death was later avenged by Field Marshal Lord Kitchener who, in victories at Khartoum and Omdurman, subdued the Sudanese Dervishes. Kitchener had an insignificant street, which was only a few yards long, .named after him off Castleton Road. It had no houses on it and led only to a footbridge over the old Longridge railway line. Gordon was slightly better favoured by Gordon Street that ran from Moor Lane to Greenbank Street, but which is now just a houseless road-end off Moor Lane.
The turn of the century and the Boer War coincided with a great clearance of property in the town centre and the building of new and imposing edifices. At the same time, new streets and estates were being built on the outskirts of the town, to house the ever-increasing population. At the north end of Tulketh Brow, a triangle of land bordered on the east side by the canal (which I have been told, but am not able to verify, was owned by the Fazackerly family) was developed by them into a new housing estate. Appropriately there is a Fazackerly Street and a Fazackerly Terrace, but the other streets (with the exception of the continuation of Stocks Road) are all connected with the Boer War. Mafeking Street, from the siege of that town, Kimberly, Ladysmith, Colenso, and Belmont from the battles that were fought during that campaign. Lower down on Tulketh Brow, on the door stoops of a house, are the stone heads of Roberts and Kitchener. Field Marshal Roberts was the Supreme Commander of the South African Campaign, and Lord Kitchener his Chief of Staff. On Addison Road, now Blackpool Road, there is a Belmont Terrace, and off Ribbleton Avenue a Belmont Avenue and a Belmont Crescent. These last two, however, were built on a Corporation estate after World War I.
In the early stages of the South African War, Lieutenant General Lord White was Commander in Chief; later, General Sir Redver Buller was appointed to Supreme Command: his divisional generals being Lord Methuen, General Hunter, Sir Wallace Gatacre, and Sir C. F. Clery. There was a Buller Street off Castleton Road, and also a White Street but, in line with other streets in this district these were changed to birds’ names. There is a Buller Avenue in Penwortham, a Methuen Avenue off Garstang Road, Fulwood, and a Hunter Street off Pitt Street. Milner Street off St. George’s Road may refer to Alfred Milner, later Viscount Milner, who, with Kitchener, met at Pretoria to draw up plans for peace proposals. Although Gatacre and Clery partook in many of the successful battles and skirmishes, neither of them gets a mention in Preston’s street names.
Off New Hall Lane is Dundonald Street, named after Douglas Cochrane who succeeded to the earldom on the death of his father, Thomas Cochrane, 11th Earl of Dundonald. He served with the Life Guards in the Nile Expedition of 1884-85 and in the Relief of Khartoum. In 1890, he led the Cavalry Brigade into Ladysmith and, in the same year, was promoted to Major General. Dundonald Street was formerly Francis Street.
It was during the Zulu War that one of the most disastrous battles in British Military History took place, when an entire company of several thousand defenders, encamped at Isandhwana, was wiped out by an unexpected attack by the Zulus. Following this victory, the Zulus moved on to Rourke’s Drift which was defended by about 80 men of the 24th Division under the command of Lieutenant Chard and Lieutenant Bromhead. They held off the attackers, although on six occasions there was hand-to-hand fighting within the encampment. The Zulus finally withdrew, leaving 350 dead: the British lost only 17 dead and 10 wounded. The only reminder of this heroic stand honours the attackers rather than the defenders in the name of Zulu Terrace on Ripon Street.
There is very little to remind us of World War I in Preston: Haig Avenue off Inkerman Street and Allenbury Road off Duchy Avenue are the only two that come to mind. The last named probably refers to Field Marshal Allenby, although the spelling of the name as Allenbury casts some doubts on this. [Simon Marshall supplied the following correction: ‘I believe it is actually called Allenby Avenue, not Allenbury Avenue – it was on my paper round as a kid – and GoogleMaps appears to confirm this.’]
The Dunkirk evacuation in World War II is noted in the name of Dunkirk Avenue off Cadley Causeway, while on the Callon Estate there is Arnhem Road, formerly Acregate Lane South, commemorating the Battle of Arnhem. The greatest name to remember from World War II is undoubtedly that of Sir Winston Churchill, who is honoured in the name of Churchill Road on the Brookfield Estate.