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Rev. James Lyon

Rev. James Lyon (1830) - Rector of St Mary's for over 50 years

James's great grandfather had left Balmuchtie in Scotland attracted by King Cotton in Lancashire, and settled in Warrington. The family bought land, and settled down.

James Lyon was christened 17th November 1757, son of Matthew Lyon and Ellen Fairclough, daughter and heiress of James Fairclough of Wigan. The heir of the Lyon estate was James's elder brother, Thomas (b:1756)

Thomas had inherited the family estate in June 1782, and in October that same year bore witness the marriage of James & Mary Radcliffe in St Mary's, Prestwich.

Marriage of James & Mary

Thomas himself had married Eliza (1792-1865), youngest daughter of George Clayton of Lostock Hall, and commenced the building of Appleton Hall, Warrington, for them to live in. He went on to become a Deputy Lieutenant for Lancaster & Chester, and a magistrate.

Appleton Hall, Warrington (demolished 1969)

Thomas's 1st son, Thomas (1823-85), was a captain in the 17th Lancers before he married Helena, daughter of Baron Posse of Alsponga, Sweden in 1863.

His 2nd son, Thomas Henry (b:1825) joined the Navy and served on H.M.S. Blonde; H.M.S. Columbine; and H.M.S. Ganges, and the stories from his adventures in the First Opium War can be read here.

James studied at Brazenose College, Oxford, then after two years as curate, James became Rector of St Mary's Prestwich in 1783, after his father had purchased the advowson in 1781, and after his marriage to Mary in the same church in 1782.

James performed his first marriage at St Mary's in July 1781 as a lay minister.

James & Mary went on to christen nine children at Prestwich. Their 1st Son, James Radcliffe Lyon, married the sister of his Uncle Thomas's wife (of Appleton Hall) and went on to become Rev James Lyon Rector of Pulford in Cheshire. James and his family lived at the old Rectory of The Deyne.

The Deyne

[James sold the advowson (1815) to Robert, first Marquis of Westminster. The patronage was afterwards vested in Thomas, second Earl of Wilton, second son of the Marquis of Westminster]

Ellen, daughter of James, married Rev. Thomas Corser, who was himself the Curate of All Saints' Church, Stand, for almost 50 years (1826-1876). A second daughter Sarah, was married to Rev. Henry Fielding, both marriages were conducted by their father James at St Mary's Church. A third daughter was married to Rev. George Dugard by Rev. Corser at St Mary's.

John, son of James, was a midshipman when he died on board the HMS Minden (74-gun Ganges-class third-rate ship of the line, ) Cape of Good Hope, in 1820.

Ganges Class Ship

During his time as Rector of St Mary's (1783-1836) he oversaw the installation of Northern (1791) and Southern (1800) galleries inside the church. He also oversaw a single storey vestry on the East end of the church in 1803

Outside the church in 1811, he had built the joining properties of 32 & 34 Church Lane, which originally had separate dwellings on the ground floor. In 1816 James gave £20 to the building of the National School on the Glebeland in Prestwich.

32 & 34 Church Lane

In 1833, to commemorate 50 years as Rector, a marble monument by Sculptor Robert William Sievier(costing £250, raised by public subscription) was installed, showing Rev. Lyon administering the Holy Communion. Originally fixed to a pillar at the west end of the chancel, and in 1843 it was removed to the centre of the chancel to make room for the new pulpit, later moved to the Organ transept.A series of festivities marked his half-century, a public dinner for 150 was held attended by "Rev. Thomas Stone, A.M., Venerable Rector, John Lever, Esq., the Rev. James Lyon, of Pulford, Dr. Lyon, Matthew Lyon, Esq., and George Lyon, Esq., and on the left by Thomas Drinkwater, Esq. (lord of the manor), Thomas Lyon, Esq., the Rev. J. Holme, of Oldham, Rev. Corser " Amongst the gentlemen present were "George Scholes, Esq., John Tetlow, Esq., John Bowker, Esq., Thos. Greenwood, Esq., James Ramsbottom, Esq., Jos. Winter, Esq."; and he was presented with two elegant pieces of plate and a massive embossed silver ink stand.

Monument to Rev. Lyon

During his incumbency he presided over these notable services:

Burial: 30 May 1791 St Mary the Virgin, Prestwich, Lancashire, England Dame Catharine Egerton - relict of Thos. Egerton, Sr. Bar. 1st Earl of Wilton.

Thomas, 1st Earl of Wilton

Burial: 1 Oct 1814 St Mary the Virgin, Prestwich
Thomas Egerton, 1st Earl of Wilton

Burial: 12 Feb 1816 St Mary the Virgin, Prestwich
Eleanor Egerton - daughter of Thomas Egerton, (late) 1st Earl of Wilton

Baptism: 5 Jan 1826 St Mary the Virgin, Prestwich
Thomas Grey Egerton - Son of Thomas Egerton, 2nd Earl of Wilton & Mary Margaret (Stanley), Countess of Wilton

Baptism: 28 Feb 1830 St Mary the Virgin, Prestwich
Margaret Grey Egerton - Daughter of Thomas Egerton, 2nd Earl of Wilton & Mary Margaret (Stanley), Countess of Wilton

Baptism: 7 Jan 1834 St Mary the Virgin, Prestwich
Arthur Edward Holland Grey Egerton (became the 3rd Earl) - Son of Thomas Egerton, 2nd Earl of Wilton & Mary (Stanley), Countess of Wilton

Baptism: 7 Jan 1834 St Mary the Virgin, Prestwich
Elizabeth Egerton - Daughter of Thomas Egerton, 2nd Earl of Wilton & Mary (Stanley), Countess of Wilton

James performed his last marriage at St Mary's in March 1834, died in 1836 and was buried in a vault next to a former Rector Isaac Allen, in St Mary's Church on the 19th August, aged 78, after 53 years as Rector. Mary died in 1859.

After his death, a new Rectory was built close by to the ancient Deyne, designed by the architect Henry Hobden in 1837.