Upon the Isles of the Sea

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



Britain is a beautiful and inspiring place. I love discovering fragments of its history and exploring how they connect. There is a certain magic in walking in the footsteps of our forefathers and learning what motivated them. But I worry! There is a danger that people, events and places can easily be forgotten in the mists of time, and what should be held sacred easily becomes a mere, irrelevant shadow. My joy is focusing a spotlight on them to make sure they continue to shine.

The Cotton Lords

Cotton mill owners were given the title of the Cotton Lords to signify their powerful status in the economy and society.  The Cotton Lords of Preston were sometimes viewed as manipulative, greedy tyrants, and other times they were lauded as the deliverers from unemployment and starvation.  They truly were benefactors of relief and community enhancements, but sometimes their wealth gaining methods were questionable or downright wrong. Continue reading “The Cotton Lords”

Charles Dickens in Preston

In our sanitised, bleached, painted and plastic homes and towns it takes a big leap to visualise Victorian living conditions.

Who better to provide those details than Charles Dickens.

In January 1854 Dickens visited Preston during a cotton workers’ strike.  He decided to educate readers about the working conditions in the northern industrial towns, and, using Preston and Manchester as his inspiration, he created a fictional place called Coketown.  He called the book “Hard Times”, and the novel first appeared in a weekly serialised form between April and August 1854.  His descriptions of ‘Coketown’ provide valuable insights into what Victorian Preston must have looked and smelled and felt like. Continue reading “Charles Dickens in Preston”

Missionary Legends

I regularly take missionaries from the Preston Missionary Training Centre on a Church History Tour of Preston and Downham.   They are always a delightful mixture of nationalities and often full of surprises.  Last week’s tour provided the coming together of descendants from four missionary legends.

The photo above depicts the great, great, great grandchildren of (from left to right): Joseph Fielding, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt and Samuel Smith.  All serving at the same time Continue reading “Missionary Legends”

What’s inside?

When this crate arrived from Utah it was like Christmas, Birthday, Easter, Father’s Day and maybe even pancake day all rolled into one.  I knew what was inside, but even so I could not wait to rip off the ‘paper’.  This wooden wrapping paper proved a little more challenging than the norm and half an hour later I finally got my hands on the contents.

I was in awe.

Continue reading “What’s inside?”

Memorial Links

Visit our web page to discover the magnificence of the message of the Hartwood Pioneer Memorial.  You’ve been asking lots of questions and this basic overview and series of links should answer most of them: Continue reading “Memorial Links”

Richard Arkwright

We have mentioned Richard Arkwright a few times in previous posts, and by the end of this post you will understand the impact he had upon the lives of many of our Preston converts. Continue reading “Richard Arkwright”

The memorial vision

The vision for the Hartwood Pioneer Memorial had been brewing for a couple of years when, in September 2016, I read that Elder Holland had just dedicated the Light of the World Garden at Thanksgiving Point in Utah.  I curiously clicked through and what I discovered was a revelation View the Garden here   The garden is magnificent with 35 monument size bronze sculptures of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ set in a couple of acres of the Ashton’s entertainment complex.  The sculptor, Angela Johnson, had spent years creating this incredible masterpiece testifying of His Divine mission. Continue reading “The memorial vision”

Domestic to Factory

Our missionaries arrived during a traumatic upheaval as cotton had moved from a domestic to a factory setting.  At first cotton manufacturing was a wholly domestic affair.  In the early 1700s many Lancashire homes were purposely built to accommodate spinning wheels and weaving looms.  Many of these homes can be easily identified today by their basement windows – the damp basement helped prevent the cotton from snapping.  Continue reading “Domestic to Factory”

All the Cs

“To understand LDS Preston you have to understand cotton”

Cotton became such a major economic force in nineteenth century Britain that some claimed that “Britain’s Bread hangs on Lancashire’s thread.”  Our LDS missionaries arrived when the cotton industry was exploding across the Lancashire landscape.  There were a number of factors that contributed to its success, but a basic way to remember why Lancashire was so cotton friendly is to list the three Cs:  Canals, Coal and Climate.

Continue reading “All the Cs”

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: