The residents of Whitefield who paid the Hearth Tax were:
|Margaret Sergeant of Stand||8|
|Jo. Sidall Jun.||4|
|Ja. Wilson & Mater||3|
Mrs. Margaret Sergeant also contributed 2/6d to the collection in Prestwich Church made in 1678 for the re-building of St. Paul's Cathedral after the Great Fire of London.
An inventory of the possessions left by James Buckley of Whitefield, gentleman, dated 1608 included:
|Steaves and heffers||13||0||0|
|A mare, a folle and a fillye||4||0||0|
|2 Sadles and a calff skine||0||4||0|
|1 Square table and a wheelbed||0||10||0|
The following were taken from the Lancashire Quarter Sessions Records:
Even though Pilkington was in Prestwich parish, there is evidence that between 1649 and 1655 the following families resident in Pilkington regularly attended Radcliffe Parish Church. They probably lived in and around Stand Lane. The families of Thomas Fletcher, Lawrence Carter, Mary Radcliffe, Peter Walker, Roger Walker, James Walker, Henry Siddall, Richard Walker Snr., Richard Walker Jnr., John Blakelowes, John Crompton, William Barlow, Richard Ramsthorne, James Scholefield, John Davenport and Margaret Davenport, widow.
Through all these years Whitefield remained a small hamlet, and life was comparatively uneventful. But things were moving in Stand. The Five Mile Act, passed in 1665, made it an offence punishable by transportation for more than five persons to assemble for worship other than in the manner allowed by the Church of England, and for any nonconformist to minister within five miles of any parish of which he had been the parson. Stand was six miles from Manchester, six miles from Bury and six miles from Bolton, so it was a most convenient place for nonconformists to meet. In 1689, the Toleration Act gave freedom of worship to most dissenters on their own premises.
It seems that the Presbyterian congregation at Stand began when Thomas Pike was ejected from the living of Radcliffe because of his Puritan leanings. Though he went to Blackley, those who agreed with his views began to meet at Stand.
It was in 1689 that, under the will of Henry Siddall, a tailor of Whitefield, 41 acres of land were bought for a school 'to teach little boys to read English'. This land was on and around the present site of Stand Unitarian Chapel. Henry Siddall was married at Prestwich Church and was buried there in 1676.
His will stated: 'This is the will of Henry Siddall of Whitefield, tailor, in which he bequeaths his pocket watch to Roger Walker of Radeliffe, butcher, his best suit of apparel to John Siddall, a broadcloth suit to Edward Siddall also his messuage and tenement in Whitefield to his wife Alice for life - afterwards the profits are to be employed to some pious use'. This pious use was later decided to be the payment of the salary of the Master of Stand Grammr School. Alice was the daughter of Abdy Schofield, churchwarden of Prestwich. The total value of Henry Siddall's possessions came to £34.14.5d. This list included:
|One cow||3||  0||0|
|In Hay||1||  0||0|
|A pocket watch||1||  0||0|
|In apparel for his body etc.||2||10||0|
Probably the first nonconformist meetings were hold at the house of Thomas Sergeant of the Old Hall, Stand, for he belonged to an old Puritan family. Among the signatories of a parchment roll dated February 1636, dealing with a Church rate levied on the whole parish of Prestwich is Thomas Sergeante of Pillkington. The Sergeant family lived at the Old Hall for four generations. Until the late nineteenth century the road leading from the Old Hall to Molyneaux was called Sergeant's Lane. Thanks to the efforts of the Rev. Leonard Smith, the present Minister of the Unitarian Chapel, the name has been revived on the new housing estate behind the Old Hall. It is known that a trustee of the Unitarian Chapel, Joshua Crompton, formerly of Heaton, Prestwich, lived at the Old Hall in 1693.
In 1672 the barn belonging to the house of William Walker was licensed for preaching. There is documentary evidence that in that year the Rev. Robert Faston, N.A., ejected Minister of Daresbury, near Warrington, was preaching there. In 1693 he became the first Minister of Stand Chapel. William Walker's house was almost certainly the Broxups in Higher Lane, then a farm. Walker's grandson waa living there in 1736.
The will of William Walker of Stand within Pilkington, dated 1709, states that he assigns his messuage and tenement in Stand Lane called Rawsthorns to his son Daniel in trust for the use of his son William. After various bequests to his relatives and friends he left forty shillings to the poor of Pilkington and twenty shillings to the poor of Radcliffe Parish. An inventory of his possessions included the following:
|    £||    s||  d|
|Two horses one mare and one colt||  12||    5||  0|
|Five cows, a twinter, a sterk and two calves||  20||  16||  8|
|Carts, wheels, horse gears husbandry & looms||    5||    7||  0|
|Four swine and three stone troughs||    0||  19||  8|
|Barley, oats and hay||  29||  16||  0|
|Looms , gears and warping walls in the loomhouse||    1||    7||  4|
|In the parlor three tables and carpets
12 chairs and a landskip (landscape painting)
|    2||  16||  0|
|In bacon, cheese and potatoes||    2||  16||  6|
|Wheat, malt and oatmeal||    7||    4||  1|
|Six silver spoons||    3||    0||  0|
|In linnens and the decendent's aparell||    4||    3||  6|
|In wool, cloth and debts owing to the decedent||  68||  19||  0|
|The total value was||198||  19||  41/2|
This William Walker was the grandfather of Peter Walker who gave the land on which the Independent Chapel in Stand Lane was built, and great-grandfather of William Walker, master of Stand Grammarr School.
In 1711, Gilbert Haddock of Pilkington, blacksmith, desired to build a smithy of two bays on part of the waste land in Whitefield. A number of inhabitants of Pilkington signed his petition. The Commissioners for the Countess Dowager of Derby, Lady of the manor of Pilkington gave the necessary licence. Her Ladyship's Bailiff to decide on the site. This was probably the Gilbert Haddock to whom the Churchwardens of Prestwich paid seven shilling and four pence in 1665 for 'bands and mendinge the lockes of the arke', and who distrained on John Collinge for his rent.
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