There are strange people who find graveyards and cemeteries fascinating places to spend an occasional hour or two. Who amongst us can remember the Revd William Joshua Houlgate? If you can you must have been very, very young and Mr Houlgate would have been very old.
The Revd WJ Houlgate was born July 6th 1842 in Lichfield, Staffordshire. He entered the Airedale Independent College some time before 1871. He would have received his education in an Independent College because of a university education being denied to Non-Conformists and Roman Catholics. Mr Houlgate was ordained in 1871 and called to serve in Haslingden. Six years later he accepted a call to Whalley Range, Accrington, and then in 1882 to Lee Lane, Horwich, very much a railway town.
Twelve years of service in Horwich was followed by Mr & Mrs Houlgate removal to Fleetwood in 1894. The Houlgates lived in Claremont Terrace. (Later in life Mr Houlgate lived in Albert Street.) Why the couple removed to Fleetwood is unknown. It is suspected that they came to the seaside for Mrs Houlgate‘s health. This is suggested by the headstone shown below which is in Fleetwood’s cemetery. It records that Mrs Houlgate, Elizabeth Ann, died February 5th, 1906.
Our records do not show that Mr Houlgate served as a minister of the Fleetwood church, nor any local church, from his arrival in 1894 to his death in 1934, aged 91. (We have no photograph of Mr Houlgate. Perhaps, you do.)