Stone seat for travelling migrants, in particular Irish harvest workers, of approximately 1860, designed by James Kendrick to suit men, women and children, and inscribed.
Reasons for Designation
The Travellers’ Rest stone at the Stag Inn traffic island, a stone seat for travelling migrants, of around 1860 and designed by James Kendrick, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* manifesting the area’s history, well into the second half of the C19, of migrant-labourer foot traffic by local and Irish migrants in particular, and enhanced by the presence of other listed examples surviving along the route.
* for the careful design by a doctor to cater for the needs of men, women and children and their loads;
* for the interest of the stepped shape with doming to the central seat, enlivened by an incised inscription.
This stone is one of several stones placed by Dr James Kendrick in the Warrington area around 1860. In September 1859, inspired by Charles Melly’s donation of drinking fountains in Liverpool, Kendrick proposed a series of stone seats for foot travellers through Warrington, in particular along the road from Liverpool to Manchester. This road was much travelled by itinerant labourers including many Irish harvest-time migrants. The stone was designed by Kendrick to provide an easy resting position for an adult, leaning forward with elbows resting on knees, and with space for companions or for baggage to be rested off the ground. The lower steps were intended for children, and to provide a footrest for a nursing mother.
Kendrick himself supplied only 2 stones, the rest being donated by others. By January 1860 the road from Warrington to Prescot had stones spaced on average about every 2 miles (thus probably around 5 stones) and Kendrick stated that he had secured a donor to continue from there to Liverpool (around another 10 miles, although none of these stones are known to survive). He also stated that he had enough stones to supply the road from Manchester to Hollins Green (around 14 miles), but that time to visit proposed sites was a limiting factor. The cost of stones for use outside the borough of Warrington, which were made of a cheaper stone, was 2 guineas (including transport and an inscription). The suggested routes and locations indicate that around 30 stones might have been installed altogether if the project was completed as planned - and Kendrick noted that the suggestion was taken up elsewhere.
The stone is thought to be one of two stones marked close to this location on the 1877 Ordnance Survey (OS) 1:2,500 map and on a map of 1966 (1:1,250) and the stone has probably only been moved a short distance due to road widening. Its inscription is (in 2022) worn and difficult to read due to plant growth.
James Kendrick MD (1809-1882) was the son of a notable botanist and surgeon, and also became a physician, but was an important Lancashire antiquarian and sigillographer who contributed significantly to the excavation of Roman remains at Wilderspool, and the collections of Warrington’s museum and free library. He was a member of the British Archaeological Association.
Stone seat for travelling migrants, of approximately 1860, designed by James Kendrick.
MATERIALS: red sandstone.
DESCRIPTION: set in concrete in a small enclosure on the island, overlooked by number 33 Chester Road.
The stone has an overall length of 63 inches, a depth of 22 inches and an overall height of 16 inches. The stone is slightly domed in the centre to shed water, across a width of 39 inches; at either end it steps down by 6 inches, to a lower seat 12 inches wide, and 10 inches high.
The stone is inscribed TRAVELLERS’ REST on the vertical face of the upper step.