The ancient chapel of St. Mary was apparently built in prior to 1292. The Chapel was situated on the north side of the River Douglas and at the bottom of Chapel Lane in Parbold about half a mile south of Christ Church.
The Chapel was on a slight rise above the river at Landranger grid: SD 495104
Quoting from William Frederick Price in 1895 (whose father was incumbent at the Chapel from 1860 to 1874):
'There was apparently no graveyard or burial ground attached to the chapel, but unbaptised infants were occasionally interred in the small plot of ground at the entrance in the north-west corner.'
'In the year 1859, when laying down an apparatus for warming the chapel, a human skeleton was dug up from under the flag flooring in the south- west corner of the building; the bones were very much decayed, and I believe they were re-interred. Later on I shall shew proof of burials within the chapel. They were, however, unaccountably few in number. A careful exploration of the ground around the chapel (which was used as an orchard and a garden) might possibly reveal some traces of ancient burials outside the walls.'
The 'later on' referred to in the above paragraph is a reference to the Registers at St Mary's, Eccleston (the mother church) which records three burials at the Chapel, which Price says were inside the building. Robert Walke, a 'Scothman', in 1682-3, Robert Simpson of Parbold in 1684 and Jane Turner of Parbold in 1689.
Price mentions that 'it has always been doubted whether Douglas Chapel had been consecrated, and if there had ever been a consecrated burial ground the site of it has been lost.'
In another account (which must have been written during the 20th century as it refers to Price's account of the last century) the writer says that:
'It is held by some authorities that the chapel was a chapel of ease for Eccleston, a theory which is born out by the fact that there have been no outside graves discovered here, except those of stillborn children.'
Christ Church, Parbold, replaced the Douglas Chapel in the 1870's. 28 October, 1875 was the date that Christ Church was consecrated and the Douglas Chapel was demolished three years later in 1878. The site of the Chapel is commemorated by the monument below.
Additional information and photos can be obtained here. See 'History and Architecture'.
The registers of Douglas Chapel are as follows:-