Walker Fold, Lancashire, UK
In the River Ribble Valley about fifteen miles northeast of Preston, Lancashire, is the hamlet of Walker Fold. An extant home there once belonged to Reverend John Richards. This home, known as the Manse, still stands next to the chapel and schoolhouse used by Reverend Richards in his capacities of school teacher and minister. With the images presented herein, the Richards’ home is the darker stone structure seen on the left; the chapel/schoolhouse is the smaller, lighter structure seen to the right of the home. The two structures are basically surrounded by farmland with few neighboring buildings in the area.
The reverend’s daughter, Jennetta, was one of the first persons baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the UK. Moreover, it is believed that she was the very first to be confirmed a member of that faith in the British Isles. This took place as a result of missionary work in the UK that was initiated by Elder Heber C. Kimball and his associates in July 1837. Elder Kimball first arrived at Walker Fold on August 12, 1837. He preached in the chapel several times. As a result, other persons in Reverend Richards’ congregation were baptized by the LDS missionaries. The success of those missionaries became a serious threat to Reverend Richards who was losing members of his flock. He eventually banned the missionaries from preaching there, but otherwise remained a friend.
During this period, Heber wrote to his colleague, Willard Richards, who was single at the time. Making reference to Jennetta Richards, Heber noted the following to Willard: “I baptized your wife today.” Willard and Jennetta eventually married. Jennetta later passed away in Nauvoo before the family began their journey across the plains to the Salt Lake Valley.
In many historical sources, this site is written as a single word: Walkerfold. However, in current sources the site is usually presented as the two-word name: Walker Fold.
Map and Directions
Walker Fold is a small hamlet in the county of Lancashire, England. Little more than a few homes and buildings, it is found about five miles west of the town of Clitheroe.
The home and former chapel/schoolhouse once owned by Rev. John Richards is privately owned and not open for tours. The road on which it is located is narrow and without a parking area. Visitors should not use the owner’s driveway. The privacy of the owners should be respected.
Articles & Resources
Kenneth R. Mays, Pioneer, 2010, Vol. 57, No. 3, 15.
James B. Allen, Ronald K. Esplin, David J. Whittaker, Men With A Mission, 1837-1841: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the British Isles, 39-41.
Richard L. Evans, A Century of “Mormonism” in Great Britain, 36.