Churches and schools
There was no Anglican church in Freckleton until 1837 and its minute books begin only in 1894, so it was only possible to establish the history of the first 57 years from miscellaneous sources such as press reports, personal scrap-books, and memorial inscriptions in the church. I suspect that some apparently lost minute books were long ago taken away for safe-keeping and may still survive somewhere - archives can often turn up quite unexpectedly.
'Quaker records are among the most detailed of all.'
For example, during my research into the Wesleyan Methodists it was especially rewarding that, as a result of making personal contact with officials, the original 1814 Freckleton church deeds were discovered in the safe of a neighbouring church.
Quaker records are among the most detailed of all. Their minute books contain a treasury of information about individual members. Bequests in wills helped to reconstruct the background to building the first meeting house and told how the earliest burial ground came into use.
I carried out similar research for the other churches and by using a combination of written sources and reliable anecdotal evidence it was possible to build up a picture of events and the lives of these institutions which, until recent times, played a central role in the lives of most village people.
The most important source for the history of education was school log books, which gave information about many aspects of village life. They began in 1876 and present a vivid picture of daily events, including reasons for the absence of pupils (such as health and epidemics) and social events held in the school.
Evidence for the employment of young people is found here, with references to the owners of the local cotton factory. I transcribed the log books and analysed the contents under various headings.