published by George Routledge, London, in 1854.
We entered Ormskirk, thirteen miles from Liverpool, a little after noon, and found it to consist of one principal street, from which the main thoroughfares branch off somewhat like the last letter but one of the alphabet; while there is a fourth small street, joining one of the other three near the termination. It is a parish, township, and market town, in a district considered particularly healthy, and contains besides its<Picture own township those of Lathom, Scarisbrick, Burscough, Bickerstaffe, and Skelmersdale. The church was greatly repaired in 1729; it stands on the site of another that existed before the Conquest. The square tower, bold, broad, and massy, probably remained from the ancient edifice, for it is much timeworn, and carries marks of considerable antiquity. The tower and spire, it will be seen, stand separate, if the lower part of what most people would call a spire, can be deemed a tower. Still, whenever erected, no satisfactory statement can be given to justify the above monstrosity in architecture.
"Who built this odd-looking church ?" we asked a decent-looking farmer- like individual who was reading the tombstones.
"That's more en I naw; connaw zay, nor no mon elze I spoze." " You do not know much more about the matter than I do, I perceive, friend; you are not of this part of the county ?" "Naw, Ize be fro' o'er Morcom zands."
This was no satisfactory answer; and directing our steps to a second and more intelligent person, we were informed that two maiden ladies repaired or reconstructed the church in the present grotesque manner, because they could not agree about connecting the towers together. Some of the windows have circular arches and the window-frames terminate in Gothic points, evidently of recent date, while over each is a narrow rim, sculptured with angels and cupids; from which execrable taste we suspect that the steeple was placed as it stands, under the idea that it was a happy thought, "a grace beyond the reach of art." There is a burial vault in this church in a chapel belonging to the Derby family, built after the dissolution of Burscough Priory; some of the monuments of the Stanleys, first erected at Burscough, are said to have been brought here; and there are effigies of ladies, supposed to be of that house. This church is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul; the chapel of the Stanleys is on the south-east part. There is much modern work in the way of repair mixed up with the old, in architectural confusion; here an old Saxon door, and there a pointed or a modern round arch. The bells were brought from Burscough Priory, being divided between this church and Cronton. The spire has been several times rebuilt. There are many dilapidated monuments; and near the stairs of the pulpit is a memorial to Mr. Ashton of Panketh, who died in 1707, and was six feet seven inches in height; and besides the effigies of the ladies already alluded to in the Stanley chapel, there is the figure of a knight recumbent, half destroyed by time. Here lies too the heroic Charlotte de Tremouille and her brave and headless husband. There is a free grammar school in Ormskirk, and an English one established by the Earl of Derby, together with several charitable benefactions; a town-hall, market, and court-house, are among the other public buildings.