Emblematically Speaking - Charnock Richard

Wed 3rd January 2018 | Charnock Richard
By Stewart Taylor

Charnock Richard FC

The history of Charnock Richard Football Club indicates that the club was formed in 1955. This is indeed the case, but there is some history of a club of that name before the Second World War.

The Second World War caused an effective pause in the organised playing of football with clubs (and Leagues) disappearing for the duration of the hostilities to re-establish at the end of the war. The original Charnock Richard football club followed this pattern and it is thought that aspects of the club emblem relate to that time.

The original emblem of the club from just after the Second World War was the shield taken from the rather more elaborate Coat of Arms of the Charnock Family.

The overall shape of the shield is identified heraldically as a bend consisting of a broad stripe running from top left to bottom right. In some examples of this type we see simply a plain stripe but, as here, the stripe can be used to convey useful information by the incorporation of a charge or charges.

In this case we see three crosses which are in the style known as bottony. This is a variation of the crosslet cross from medieval heraldry and is a representation of Christianity. Crosses in this style also appear on the Coat of Arms of South Ribble representing the Charnock Family of Leyland and Penwortham.

The Charnocks of Astley were a subsidiary branch of an ancient family from Charnock. 

In a 1586 list of persons ‘ill affected to the state’, several Charnocks appeared, including this Member’s father, while a notorious Jesuit priest, Robert Charnock of Leyland, was a kinsman.

Through their father’s five marriages, Charnock and his brother Roger were connected with three of Lancashire’s most Catholic gentry families - Norris of Speke, Gerard of Bryn and Fleetwood of Penwortham.

Charnock’s wife, Bridget, was the ward of the crypto-papist Sir Richard Molyneux of Sefton. Molyneux had arranged in 1606 for her to marry the heir of Sir John Salusbury of Denbighshire, but she broke off the engagement.

As the sole heiress of John Molyneux of New Hall, her inheritance considerably bolstered the Charnocks’ ailing finances.

Astley Hall, an impressive country manor house, had been built by Charnock’s father sometime before 1600; he inherited it at the latter’s death in 1616. Charnock also acquired, from his wife, a colliery at Bradford, near Manchester, in which he invested heavily.

He initially lost money in the venture, and sued various rivals, who had mounted a hostile takeover bid, for deliberately flooding his works.

Financial troubles in the 1620s forced Charnock to sell off much of the land he had inherited, with the exception of Astley and the manor of Charnock Richard, raising over £8,000 between c.1622-36.

This included Boothes, a parcel of land his father had purchased from the Worsleys of Wardley in the 1590s, and which had been the subject of bitter litigation between the two families for decades. 

Charnock also became embroiled in numerous debt cases, having stood as surety for his brother, Roger, and their friend Edmund Breres. By the 1640s, around 50 per cent of Charnock’s much diminished income derived from coal production.

The Charnock family crest also resides above the bed in Astley Hall where Oliver Cromwell supposedly slept.

The current Astley Hall is a Grade I listed country house built in the Renaissance style which dates back, in parts, to the 16th century but was not completed until well into the 17th century. It is currently owned by Chorley Borough Council and is known as the Astley Hall Museum and Art Gallery – well worth a visit.

The remaining charges on the shield were added by the club committee in the mid 1990s with our old friend the Red Rose of Lancaster to the top right opposite the initials of the football club.

Our thanks to Shaun Tootell of Charnock Richard FC for his help in compiling this article.

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