James Bromley, J.P., Some Literary Reminiscences of Lancashire records "....I now come to Wordsworth's Burscough Sonnet. The true story and site of this sonnet were first told in a note of mine to the Athenaeum, May 17th, 1890, which I have unfortunately mislaid. Its purport, however, was as follows: On the site of the second farmhouse on the right going from Ormskirk to Preston by the high road stood, about 70 years ago, a long thatched cottage, part clay daub and part brick, close to which one Thomas Scarisbrick was killed by a flash of lightning in 1779 whilst building his turf stack, which was placed between two large sycamore trees close to the high road. His son, James Scarisbrick, then 30 years old, completed the stack, and ever after during his life reverently kept it in repair as a memorial of his father. He died in 1824, and left to each of his grandchildren a set of glass decanters and goblets, on which was engraved a representation of the turf stack between the two sycamore trees, with his monogram. .... (the sonnet) was first published in "The Casket", 1829 with this note prefixed :-"The traveller who has had frequent occasion to pass the high road between Ormskirk and Preston, Lancashire, may have noticed for many years a pile of turf, for fuel, of unvarying dimensions, during the winter and summer season. The following lines record its history." I am, however, inclined to believe, from a study of Wordsworth's movements, that he heard the story on one of his journeys to Liverpool in 1824.....The facts of this story are a family tradition, as my wife's mother was one of the granddaughters of James Scarisbrick, and the recipient from him of a set of glasses, a sample of which I now exhibit, and also one of the same family as Thomas Holcroft, whilst Archbishop Scarisbrick, who was well known in Southport, was of the same family as James Scarisbrick."
A xerox copy of Wordsworth's sonnet 'Filial Piety' On the Wayside between Preston and Liverpool is included with this and the following two lots