Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

Wigan Album

Graves and Monuments


Absent wealth
Photo: Rev David Long
Views: 1,038
Item #: 32744
Many wealthy Wigan folk took the money they'd earned from their businesses in Wigan and migrated to the clean air of Southport. Whilst researching war memorials on graves in Southport's Duke Street Cemetery, I've come across many graves with references to Wigan origins - as well as other industrial towns - but none as ostentatious as this one.
Johnson Grounds, of Hampton Road Southport, and Standishgate, Wigan, is in the 1881 Wigan Directory under Watch and Clock Makers.

Comment by: Edna on 29th October 2020 at 18:30

This reminds me of Gothic architecture from the middle ages,David, when churches were built in this style.I like Gothic style.I also like Baroque style as well, although this is more of a theatrical style I've seen lots of memorials in the past, but none as tall as this one.

Comment by: A.W. on 30th October 2020 at 10:07

Johnson Grounds was a well known watchmaker in Wigan in the late 1800's. I used to have a very fine English Lever fusee watch that he made.

Comment by: Keith on 30th October 2020 at 12:18

I find that very interesting Reverend, I wonder if in your perambulation around the cemetery you might have come across the gravesite of Maskell William PEACE,(1834 - 1892), a family relative, who died at Southport on 9th November 1892, and his wife Ann(ie) (1834-1893).
He was the son of the late Mr. William Peace, who was formerly the mineral agent for the late Earl of Crawford. Maskell was born in Wigan on 3rd April 1834 and was married to my great, great grandmother who was the mother of my great grandfather.
Maskell also worked for the Earl, and was a Wigan Solicitor. As a conveyancing lawyer, particularly as regards mining leases, he was also an authority. He was the author of several books relating to mining law, and held numerous public appointments.
He was also Town Clerk for many years and secretary of the Wigan Mining and Mechanical School, from its foundation in 1858. He could not accept the office of Mayor because of failing health.

Comment by: John on 30th October 2020 at 13:52

Keith, I remember Peace and Ellis, solicitors, of King Street, presumably a descendant of your ancestor?

Comment by: Keith on 30th October 2020 at 17:58

Hi John, yes Maskell was a partner at Peace & Ellis. Maskell (it was his fourth and final partnership) and lived variously at Moat House, Haigh, then at Greenhills, Wigan Lane and later at Ashfield House Standish, before moving to an even larger property in Southport. All these properties are still standing and in use, for which I was very grateful as I explored my mother’s side of our family history. Unlike the rest of the family they lived the “upstairs” life.
Maskell’s wife, my great grandmother, her father was John Wood, a Banker, who for over 50 years was “Factor” (Land Steward) for the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, but up in Fife, Scotland. It was the same Lindsay clan as that in Wigan, where Ann(ie)’s husband Maskell did a similar job down here for the Haigh Lindsays. Her brother, James Wood had been brought down earlier from Scotland to manage the Haigh Farms.

Comment by: PeterP on 30th October 2020 at 19:43

Drove past this cemetery many times and commented to the wife the rich are buried on one side of the road and the poor on the other side of the road.

Comment by: James Hanson on 30th October 2020 at 22:05

PeterP, the cemeteries you mentiion will be Birkdale cemetery and Liverpool Road cemetery, both on opposite sides of Liverpool Road, Birkdale. The one here is Duke Street cemetery in Southport.

Comment by: Rev David Long on 30th October 2020 at 22:38

The cemetery on the south side of Liverpool Road Birkdale is the churchyard of the Roman Catholic Church, Sacred Heart. The Council cemetery is on the north side of the road - a bit nearer Ainsdale.
Keith - I've almost finished my trawl around Duke Street Cemetery, so I may not get to see Maskell Peace's memorial - it's a pity I didn't know about it when I started, having spent many hours finding the 270+ graves which carry a memorial to a casualty of war ( from the Sudan to WW2).
I'll move on to the two Liverpool Road cemeteries in due course. Keeps me active - and away from live, Covid-carrying folks - in these strange times.
Just to stay the chauvinists - I've already covered all Wigan Borough's burial grounds....
You'll find the results on the Imperial War Museum's War Memorials Register.

Comment by: John on 31st October 2020 at 16:24

Keith, Very interesting information, thank you. I never knew he had lived at Ashfield.

Comment by: Keith on 1st November 2020 at 13:49

Thank you for your reply Reverend.
In the course of my 20+ years of family research I've trawled around many a cemetery, in Wales, Scotland and England but this one "escaped" me. Unfortunately those days are well behind me (arthritis) but good to know you are carrying on the tradition.

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