Upon the Isles of the Sea

Discovering the LDS heritage of England, Ireland, Scotland, & Wales


Welcome to the first post of “Upon the Isles of the Sea” which aims to inspire, educate and entertain you with all things pertaining to the British LDS experience.  The blog title takes its inspiration from Continue reading “Welcome”

Featured post

Cotton in Utah

This post brings to and end our series on the influence of cotton on the early Preston church.  This fluffy little plant put people in bondage in the growing fields in the USA and in the ‘satanic’ mills of England.  It is curious how the production of a white bit of cloth helped humble hundreds of oppressed English souls and made them ready for something better – a restored gospel message.

To bring things full circle I thought you might be interested to see how this cotton legacy made its way to Utah. Continue reading “Cotton in Utah”

A tour of the mill

In 1913 the LDS church magazine Improvement Era published a lengthy article written by a missionary who was given a tour of a Preston cotton mill.   Elder Clyde Candland Edmonds reported in great detail the whole process of creating the cotton.  His recollection is a wee bit longer than the normal missionary letter home – but provides a fascinating look behind the scenes.   Initially I was just going to give a few excerpts, but decided to put nearly the whole article in.

NOTE: If you don’t have a great interest in how cotton goods are made most of this post will be of little interest, BUT you must, at least, skim down to the 20th paragraph and read what the cotton workers did when they saw the Mormon Elders coming to their departments.

The rest of this post is entirely In Their WordsContinue reading “A tour of the mill”

Civil War

Avenham Park in Preston was opened by the Duke of Cambridge in 1867.   Running through the bottom of the park is the River Ribble – where the first LDS baptisms in Britain were performed, and in the heart of the park is a Japanese garden within which lie four plaques mentioning the church.  It seems quite fitting that this park, which has such rich Mormon connections, was created because of cotton.  I told you cotton permeated everything here!  Okay, here’s what happened:

Continue reading “Civil War”

Rules to be Obeyed…

What was it like to work in one of these cotton mills?

William Ainsworth (1807-1862) helped his father and brother run some mills in Preston.  The ‘RULES TO BE OBEYED BY THE OPERATIVES’ in his mill in Cotton Court were unbelievable. They bore evidence of long working hours, restrictions on personal freedom, and a ruthless system of fines, which the management did not fail to enforce in the courts. Continue reading “Rules to be Obeyed…”


In 1837 the Mormon missionaries first arrived in Preston.  In 1840 a second mission – the Mission of the Twelve – arrived in town.  Missionaries were soon at work throughout the nation harvesting one of Britain’s greatest decades of converts.   The backdrop of that harvest was not always a peaceful one as illustrated by the events of August 1842 in Preston. Continue reading “1842”

1836 Spinner’s Strike

Then came 1836.

It is significant to remember that the following strike took place only months before our first missionaries appeared in Preston.  I propose that this conflict actually softened many hearts to be receptive to the restored gospel message.

Continue reading “1836 Spinner’s Strike”

April 6, Lady Day and Tax

A couple of replies to yesterday’s post asked for more details about the significance of April 6 to LDS members plus whether there is any connection to Lady Day or the quirky decision by Britain to make this day the start of our tax year.  Continue reading “April 6, Lady Day and Tax”

April 6 – Incredible Mission

The date of April 6 has a lot of meaning to LDS folk, but did you know it was also the beginning of a mission to Canada that would have a huge impact on Britain.

On April 6 1836 Parley P Pratt left his wife behind in Kirtland to serve a mission to Canada.  Over the next few weeks he would find himself crossing paths with two spirit led individuals – a nameless stranger in Hamilton and Isabella Walton in Toronto – who would both direct Parley’s path by some tender miracles. Continue reading “April 6 – Incredible Mission”

Thomas Miller

Mr Thomas Miller, (1810-1865) of the cotton firm, Horrockses, Miller & Co, was the most powerful cotton manufacturer in Preston.

By the time of his death in 1865, Thomas Miller operated ten mills, 155,970 spindles, 2,865 looms, twelve steam engines, and employed 3,000 hands to spin 104,000 lbs of yarn and weave 227 miles of cloth each week. One of his mills, The Yard works, was the largest ‘single site’ in Lancashire, and a number of our early converts were employed there including Jonathan Clegg who, along with his wife Ellen, were such notable stalwarts in the Martin Handcart company.   The missionary Joseph Fielding spoke of working in a mill to gain some extra money, but he does not indicate if it was one of Millers, but there is the possibility that this was also his employer. Continue reading “Thomas Miller”

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