St Thomas the Martyr Parish Church
Upholland shown within Lancashire
|OS grid reference|
|Civil parish||Up Holland|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
|UK Parliament||West Lancashire|
The village is on a small hill rising above the West Lancashire Coastal Plain. There are views towards St Helens and Liverpool in the south west, Ormskirk and Southport in the north-west and towards Wigan, Manchester and on to the High Peak of Derbyshire in the east.
The name Upholland differentiates it from another place locally called Downholland, 10 miles to the west (on the other side of Ormskirk). Both derive their names from the manor of Holland, a possession of the de Holland family until 1534.
One of Upholland's claims to fame is that George Lyon, reputed to be one of the last English highwaymen, is said to be buried in the churchyard of the Anglican Church of St. Thomas the Martyr. The truth of the matter is that Lyon was little more than a common thief and receiver of stolen goods. The grave can be found under the concrete parapet opposite the White Lion pub.
A burial place of greater historical significance can be found at the south east corner of the church. Here, in a railed enclosure is the grave of Robert Daglish; a pioneer in steam locomotive engineering and design. In 1814, when George Stephenson was still working on his early locomotive Blucher, Daglish built The Yorkshire Horse, a 'rack and pinion' locomotive to haul coal wagons at a nearby colliery. This proved to be a great success. Daglish went on to construct other locomotives and work on railway systems both in Great Britain and America.
Upholland has its own art society known as Upholland Artists' Society that consists of a group of amateur and professional artists that live in or near Upholland. They hold regular exhibitions and paint a wide range of subjects from local scenes to contemporary abstract pieces.
Upholland railway station is on the Kirkby Branch Line.
A Catholic seminary, St Joseph's College, used for training Catholic priests, was once based in Upholland. The college closed down in 1987 after over 150 years of serving the northern Catholic dioceses of England. Notable former students include Paul Addison, Tony Brindle-Wills, comedians Kenny Everett, Tom O'Connor and Johnny Vegas, the libel lawyer George Carman, pop musician Paddy McAloon of Prefab Sprout, the editor of the Jerusalem Bible and British Member of Parliament John Battle.
Actor Ian Bleasdale and Richard Ashcroft (of The Verve) come from Upholland. Richard's mother, Louise, is the daughter of Reg and Lilian Baxter. The Baxters were a prominent family in Up Holland throughout the 20th century. The comedian Ted Ray (born Charles Olden), spent his childhood in the town, his father being the licensee of the Bull's Head public house, which used to stand in School Lane.
The phonetician John C Wells, who was president of the International Phonetic Association between 2003 and 2007, was born in Upholland to the vicar of the parish, Philip Wells. He has commented on the accent of the area and how it contrasted with the Received Pronunciation that was spoken in his home.
- EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton EU Commission (official website)
- Lady Ashton: Principled, charming ... or just plain lucky Nicholas Watt, Brussels, guardian.co.uk, Friday 20 November 2009 19.58 GMT
- J C Wells - personal history
- Blog entry of 17th March 2012, John Wells's phonetic blog: "English places"