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Up Holland
St Thomas the Martyr Parish Church, Upholland.JPG
St Thomas the Martyr Parish Church
Upholland is located in Lancashire
 Upholland shown within Lancashire
Population 7,376 (2011)
OS grid reference SD518052
Civil parish Up Holland
District West Lancashire
Shire county Lancashire
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Skelmersdale
Postcode district WN8
Post town Orrell
Postcode district WN5
Dialling code 01695
Police Lancashire
Fire Lancashire
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament West Lancashire
List of places

Coordinates: 53°32′28″N 2°43′41″W / 53.541°N 2.728°W / 53.541; -2.728

Upholland is a civil parish and village in West Lancashire, England, approximately 3 miles east of Skelmersdale and 4 miles west of Wigan. The population of the civil parish at the 2011 census was 7,376.[1]


The village is on a small hill 89m above sea level[2] that rises 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 locality was referred to as Holland in 1086 in the Domesday Book.[3] 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 Holland family until 1534.

Notable claims[edit]

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,[4] 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[5] 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.


The church was previously a Benedictine monastery, the Priory of St. Thomas the Martyr of Upholland.

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 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 village, his father being the licensee of the Bull's Head public house, which used to stand in School Lane.

The life peer Catherine Ashton, appointed as the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in 2009, was born in Upholland.[6][7]

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.[8] He has commented on the accent of the area and how it contrasted with the Received Pronunciation that was spoken in his home.[9]

Prof Richard James Arthur Berry, eminent surgeon and brain surgeon, was born in Upholland.[10]


See also[edit]


External links[edit]