St Thomas the Martyr Parish Church
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
The village is on a small hill 89m above sea level 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 place-name is first attested in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it appears as Hoiland. It appears as Upholand in a Lancashire Inquest of 1226. This is from the Old English hohland, meaning 'land on or by a hoe or spur of a hill'. The name Upholland differentiates it from another place locally called Downholland, 10 miles to the west (on the other side of Ormskirk). The manor of Holland was a possession of the Holland family until 1534, whence it may be presumed they derived their name.
George Lyon, reputed to be one of the last English highwaymen, and 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 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 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.
- "Civil Parish population 2011". Retrieved 17 January 2016.
- http://domesdaymap.co.uk/place/SD5205/upholland/ Domesday Online: [Up]holland
- Eilert Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, p.245.
- 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 17 March 2012, John Wells's phonetic blog: "English places"
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