Wigan and Leigh Archives Online

1867-1887, Richard Pennington, Chairman Hindley Local Board


Chairman, Hindley Local Board       1867 – 1887

b 1830     Bapt 27 Aug 1830, Hindley All Saints                                                            Parents: Richard Pennington (merchant) and Hannah, nee Hargreaves

m Elizabeth Cash, 9 Feb 1861, St John’s Church, Liverpool                                                    Children: Matilda (1857); Richard (1858); Elizabeth (1859); Mary Sharples (1861); Helen Tipping (1863); William Tipping (1865); Jane (1867); Alfred (1869); Joseph Leyland (1870); Thomas Seddon (1870)

d 10 July 1887, Hindley Lodge, Hindley, aged 57, Manufacturer                                                                             Buried Hindley Cemetery, 13 July 1887, Plot CC 9-3, C of E


Richard Pennington was the grandson of John Pennington, a fustian manufacturer who started his business employing a few handloom weavers and went on to build cotton mills in Hindley at the end of the 18th century. The mills were inherited by his sons, Richard and Alfred.

The elder son, Richard married his cousin, Hannah Hargreaves. Their first born son, Richard Jnr., grew up to work in the family firm and eventually became sole owner of both Hindley Twist Co. Lowe Mill [89,980 spindles, 168/248 water twist, 408 mule twist] and Worthington Mill [43,000 spindles, 208/368 mule and water twist; 645 looms, printers and skirtings], which provided employment for many people.

Richard jnr. qualified as a magistrate for the county in 1853. He moved to Rainford in 1857 to set up home with Elizabeth Cash, a mill girl from Hart Common, of whom his family disapproved. Richard and Elizabeth married in Liverpool in 1861 following his mothers’ death.

In Jan 1858 Richard bought an old farmhouse in Rainford, Mount Pleasant, which became the family home. On the site of this house, he later built a stone mansion with a lake and extensive gardens. Work was completed in 1866 and it was renamed Muncaster Hall. He also acquired several other properties in the Rainford area which were rented out.

Although he now lived in Rainford, Richard always maintained his strong links with Hindley and proved a generous benefactor. Throughout his lifetime, he worked tirelessly on behalf of the community and held many public offices.

He was instrumental in the creation of Hindley Local Board and in determining its policy, serving as Chairman for 20 years until his death. The town saw significant progress during his time in office   -   it acquired its own gas undertaking, entered into an agreement with Leigh Local Board for a water supply to Hindley and accepted the gift of a Library, Museum and Public Park donated by the late Mr John Leyland. Richard was also Chairman of Hindley Board of Health, Chairman of Rainford Local Board and Chairman of Hindley Conservative Club.

Heavily involved with churches and schools in Hindley and Rainford, he was generous with both his time and money. He was largely responsible for the building of Hindley Parish Church and the Pennington Memorial School, contributed to St Peters and also to local nonconformist churches. He was senior churchwarden at the Parish Church, the sole trustee of All Saints School, a Governor of Hindley and Abram Grammar School and was also known to support the aged poor.

Richard and Elizabeth divorced in 1878 and Richard apparently returned to live in Hindley. He was living at Hindley Lodge, Market Street when the 1881 census was taken.

He was unwell for a few days before his death in July 1887. Unable to attend a meeting of the Water Joint Committee on Friday 8th July, the meeting was instead held at his home, where it was said he was signing official cheques from his sickbed. He died on Sun 10th July aged 57.

His eulogy describes his “affection for his native place, his wise and far-seeing policy, his firm and undeviating purpose, his generosity, his lavish expenditure of time and money on behalf of all good objects, on behalf of the town with its churches and chapels and schools, on behalf of families and individuals who seldom applied to him in vain”.

There is a memorial clock dedicated to Richard Pennington in St Peter’s Church, Hindley.

Sources :         Ancestry ; Lancashire Online Parish Clerks ; Wigan Observer ; Preston Chronicle ;

                        rainfordhistory.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/muncaster_hall.htm ; Grace’s Guide 1891 ;

Wigan Directory 1881

Joan Unsworth