52 residents in 52 weeks #24 Roger Litchford

On 11 Feb 1705 Litchford donated a building to the Baptist congregation in Cloughfold for a meeting place ‘for the use of all Protestand Dissenters called Anabaptists, or Independents, within the Forest of Rossehdale…’ The church was not distinctly Baptist at this time, but was emerging in that direction.

Litchford stipulated in the deeds that the ‘same shall be made fit and commodious for a chapel or meeting place’. This building was used for worship until 1839 when a stone chapel was built. It is widely reported that the church was built on the site of Litchford’s property.

In the surrender entry Litchford is described as being ‘of Blakely in the County of Lancaster, Gentleman’. It appears that he was originally from Manchester, buying land in Blakley in 1676.

Robert Litchford was buried on 19 Jan 1710 in Blakley. In his will (28 Jan 1710) he left £150 upon trust to the Trustees of Sion. Apart from 40s/annum for the support of the poor, the income of this was to be used to support the ‘minister, pastor or teacher of the said congregation provided they never be at one time a month without preaching’. His will also detailed considerable tracts of land in various parts of the country which were left to his nephew.

In the same will, a Mr Thomas Jackson inherited his best cow. Hope the poor animal didn’t have to be driven too far to her new home.

He may have been married twice, with Ellen wife of Mr Robert Litchford bur Blakley 17 Jan 1701 and Mary wife of Mr Robert Litchford bur Blakley 11 Mar 1710.

In 1986 the chapel was demolished and the stone used to provide sheltered housing on the same site. This is administered by the Baptist Housing Association and the new building known as Litchford House.

Quite how Litchford became interested in dissenting congregations in general and Cloughfold in particular are not known.

Sources
(All secondary, I’m afraid)
Snell Alan P (2013).
The Theological Education of the Ministry ch 2 pp 5-56
British History Online for the Blakeley details
JS Hardman’s
Baptist History articles
extract,
indenture 1676
extract,
will Robert Litchford 1710