We arrived in Bolton and dined at the Olympus Fish and Chip Restaurant before taking the bus to Smithills.
Smithills Hall in Bolton, a Grade I listed manor house, is three miles north of the town centre and is one of the oldest manor houses in the north west of England. The oldest parts date from 1335, but it has since been altered and extended.
When Mary, a committed Catholic, took to the throne in 1553 she was determined to overturn the religious changes made in the reign of her father Henry VIII. Many Protestants left the country, fearing her intentions.
During the early part of Mary’s reign, a fiercely devout Protestant preacher, George Marsh, was teaching in and around the parishes of Bolton and Deane. This aroused the anger of the authorities. In 1554 the local magistrate, Robert Barton of Smithills Hall, was ordered to arrest and examine him on a possible charge of heresy
Marsh was arrested and brought to Smithills Hall for interrogation in the Green Chamber. It is said that as he was leaving, he stamped his foot on the flagstone as a declaration of faith.
At the entrance to the Chapel is a mysterious mark on the flagstone. Legend has it that this is the footprint of George Marsh. The footprint is said to bleed every year on 24 April – the anniversary of his death.
In 1555, Marsh stood trial and was finally burned at the stake for refusing to deny his protestant beliefs.
Smithills Hall was the first building in Bolton to have a gas and electricity supply. Before the introduction of electricity, running a house the size of Smithills would have been a huge undertaking. Kitchen staff had to cope with conditions more like those of a busy hotel. Washing the dirty dishes required multiple sinks and at least two staff. Electricity and gas meant that lighting and heating such a large house no longer needed as much manual labour. As a result the number of staff employed decreased from the early 1900s onwards.
More photos can be seen here.
George Takei has perfect response to right-wing “grooming” hysteria
With debates around school textbooks and the passing of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida, some on the far right are increasingly accusing members of the LGBT+ community of wanting to “groom” children.
This disgusting, dog-whistle of a claim conflates LGBT+ rights with paedophilia.
Using the term “grooming” to discuss LGBT+ issues in the school curriculum also detracts from the serious issue of paedophiles who actually do target and groom kids.
Actor George Takei, who turned 85 on 20 April, tweeted the perfect response. He reminded people about how gay kids are usually brought up in a wholly heterosexual environment and it does nothing to change their sexuality.
“They ‘groomed’ me to be heterosexual, you know. It didn’t change a thing. Still gay as a rainbow sprinkle-covered cupcake,” he said.
Takei’s tweet has had over 211,000 likes and thousands of comments. Takei followed it up with a second tweet saying, “The only things ‘gay grooming’ will ever do to a straight child will be better hygiene and more desirability from the other sex.”