to the Parish Church of St. Thomas
St. Thomas' is in a lovely setting, surrounded by fields, and you might be thinking it's quite a distance to go to get there. It's interesting that the first generation of worshippers felt the same way about their journey to church and that is the reason St. Thomas' is here now.
Their jouney was somewhat daunting compared to ours. Before 1841, residents in Lydiate, Haskayne and Downholland, the villages now in this parish, could attend services at either Halsall or Maghull, a walk of six miles for some of them. The suggestion, by Lydiate resident Mr. Richard Bryan Smith, that a church be built at Lydiate was greeted enthusiastically by those whose spent an hour or two just getting to Sunday worship.
Mr. Smith was a deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire, and the Hanoverian Consul in Liverpool. He provided £1500 towards the church building project. Stone from the quarry at Aughton was carted by 61 local farmers who were presented with a medal for their services. The walk to church was now considerably lessened, though the church was an extremely basic structure and was unkindly described as being "barn-like".
St. Thomas' remained a chapel within Halsall Parish until 1871 when it became a parish in its own right. By this time two church schools educated local children.
In 1912, just prior to the outbreak of war, the building of a fine new chancel, was completed. At a cost of £6000, money raised by the parishioners, it considerably improved the appearance of the church.
In 2004, there was the addition of a car park, an extension to the graveyard, and the building of a new church centre. More recently there has been the addition of a new entrance and porch with new facilities.
There has been 173 years of worship at St. Thomas', come and be a part of the tenth generation.