A Wigan memorial marking the place where a well-known Royalist fell in one of the key battles of the English Civil War is now shining brightly, thanks to local residents and the council.
The Battle of Wigan Lane, one of the decisive skirmishes of the civil war, took place on August 25th 1651. Royalists loyal to King Charles I, including Sir Thomas Tyldesley, were “routed” or “hunted to their death through the countryside”, according to contemporary accounts. The New Model Army was victorious, and it was nearly a decade before the monarchy was restored.
The site of Tyldesley's death has been marked by a memorial on Wigan Lane since 1679. And now, thanks to a partnership between Swinley residents and Wigan Council, the stone obelisk is illuminated at night.
Sheila Livesey, of the Swinley Residents Group, says:
“We have worked hard to ensure this important piece of local history is accessible to everyone. I’d like to commemorate the work of the community and councillors past and present, for their dedication to the project.
“It’s right that people should be aware of the part their area, and locals like Sir Thomas, played in shaping our past.”
Council street lighting officers have provided a sensitive illumination to the memorial, which is a key landmark north of Wigan town centre on the A49. It is one of a number of local structures – from Atherton cenotaph to Hindley town hall – which are benefiting from careful lighting schemes using special low-energy technology.
Lynn Kay of the council’s community engagement team adds:
“We are working in partnership with community, voluntary groups and individuals on many levels. Groups like Swinley Residents Group are not only helping improve their own communities, they are playing a major part in helping deliver the borough’s community plan.”
To commemorate the work, an attractive display showing the Tyldesley memorial and outlining the infamous Battle of Wigan Lane, was presented to the residents' group by Lynn Kay this week.
Cllr David Molyneux is chair of Wigan North Township Forum. He says:
“The forum have provided the bulk of funding for this project. It’s good to support the reinstatement of this historic landmark for the community and visitors.”
Local ward members, Cllr Henry Cadman and Cllr Jean Peet, met the balance of the scheme’s cost with their Brighter Borough funding in honour of the late Cllr Davies who had pledged his support from Brighter Borough for this project.
Other local landmarks where the council has recently installed careful illumination include the obelisk in Leigh and cenotaphs in Standish, Hindley, Aspull and Atherton.