SOME CHURCHES AND CHAPELS NEAR CLITHEROE,
IN LANCASHIRE AND YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND

Lancashire RoseYorkshire Rose
Contents:
Altham Mitton
Barnoldswick Old Langho
Bolton by Bowland Ribchester, St. Wilfrid's
Bracewell Rodhill Inghamite
Clitheroe Slaidburn
Downham Tosside, Mount Sion, Sandy Syke
Higham Wesleyan Chapel Tosside, Houghton Chapel
Gisburn Waddington
Grindleton Whalley
Holden Chapel Wheatley Lane Inghamite Chapel
Marton in Craven Whitewell

The following is as yet an incomplete list of the historic parishes of this area. My main interest is in the parishes extant prior to 1837. Many new parishes were created and new churches built in the 19th century as the population grew. In the late 20th century parishes have been amalgamated or grouped into united benefices. These groupings vary from time to time such that Tosside was formerly linked with Slaidburn but is now linked with Long Preston. I concentrate below on the ancient parishes and include three Nonconformist Chapels that existed before 1837.

All the dates for parish registers, transcripts, BTs and the IGI records have been taken from the publication Finding Folk: A Handlist of Genealogical Sources in the Lancashire County Record Office, published by the Lancashire County Record Office, Bow Lane, Preston in 1995; a 2nd edition was published in 1998 and a third in 1999. Some details of churches are taken from the pamphlet Discover the Churches from Skipton into Pendle, produced by the Diocese of Bradford and made available free of charge. Note that several of these places were in Yorkshire until the local government reorganisation of 1974 and then their administration came under Lancashire. As a result their parish registers are now preserved at the Lancashire County Record Office in Preston. However, the parishes formerly in Yorkshire come under the Diocese of Bradford in the Archdeaconry of Craven, in the Deaneries of Ewecross, Bowland, Skipton or South Craven. The parishes in this area that have always been in Lancashire, such as Whalley and Clitheroe, come under the Diocese of Blackburn.

The current Bowland Deanery of the Diocese of Bradford comprises the modern parishes of Bolton by Bowland with Grindleton; Gargrave; Giggleswick and Rathmell with Wigglesworth; Gisburn; Hellifield; Hurst Green and Mitton; Kirkby in Malhamdale with Coniston Cold; Langcliffe with Stainforth and Horton-in-Ribblesdale; Long Preston with Tosside; Settle; Slaidburn; Waddington.

The current Skipton Deanery comprises the modern parishes of Barnoldswick with Bracewell; Bolton Abbey; Broughton, Marton and Thornton (in Craven); Burnsall with Rylstone; Carleton and Lothersdale; Earby; Embsay with Eastby; Kelbrook; Kettlewell-with-Conistone, Hubberholme and Arncliffe-with-Halton Gill; Linton, Skipton Christ Church; Skipton, Holy Trinity.

Abbreviations: C, Christening; M, Marriage, B, Burial.

Altham, St. James

The Lancashire County Record Office has the original registers as follows: C, 1596-1851; M, 1596-1946 and B, 1596-1923. LPRS volume 36 covers the period from 1596 to 1695. There is also a privately produced transcript by Jack Broderick, covering 1696 to 1990, which can be seen at Accrington Library and the County Record Office.

Altham spacer Barnoldswick
St. James, Altham St. Mary-le-Gill

Barnoldswick, St. Mary-le-Gill (Formerly Yorkshire now Lancashire)

St. Mary-le-Gill has its own web-site which give details of the church. The registers are now at the Lancashire County Record Office in Preston and cover the following periods: C, 1588-1939; M, 1588-1964; B, 1587-1919. The IGI coverage is incomplete: C, 1588-1776 and 1813-1835; M, 1588-1747 and 1813-1835. This leaves a gap which makes inspection of the original essential. There are copies of a typed transcript at Barnoldswick and Colne Public Libraries.

Bolton-by-Bowland, St. Peter and St. Paul (Formerly Yorkshire now Lancashire)

Bolton by Bowland spacer BxB Font
St. Peter & St. Paul's The Font

Bolton by Bowland was in Yorkshire until 1974 and is now in Lancashire. There was a church as early as 1190 but little is known of it. Parts of the current church date from the 13th century. In the middle of the 15th century Sir Ralph Pudsay , Lord of the Manor of Bolton, began rebuilding the church which was completed about 1466. An unusual feature is the Pudsey tomb, depicting Sir Ralph, who died in 1468, his three wives and 25 children. The tower of the church is said to have been designed by King Henry VI, who was sheltered by Sir Ralph in 1464.

The original registers are at Lancashire County Record Office, C, 1558-1856; M, 1560-1837; B, 1558-1880. The Yorkshire Parish Register Society has transcribed the records C, 1558-1812; M, 1558-1753; B, 1558-1812. The IGI has indexed C, 1558-1841 and M, 1558-1837 under the county of Yorkshire. There are films of the Bishops' Transcripts at the Lancashire County Record Office in Preston.

Bracewell, St. Michael. (Formerly Yorkshire now Lancashire)

Bracewell

Bracewell records are much less voluminous than those for nearby Gisburn. The registers at Preston are as follows: C, 1587-1718, 1753-1793 & 1813-1976; M, 1587-1718 and 1754-1986; B, 1587-1718, 1753-1794 & 1813-1952. The County Record Office has a film of the Bishops' transcripts. Note that the IGI coverage is incomplete as it is: C, 1731-1855; M, 1731-1836.

Clitheroe, St. Mary Magdalene (Lancashire)

The registers of this church are being transcribed by the Lancashire Parish Register Society and one volume was produced recently. The Lancashire County Record Office has the original registers C, 1570-1626 & 1654-1904; M, 1570-1626 & 1654-1906; B, 1570-1626 & 1654-1935. There is a copy of these registers up to 1812 in the document collection at the record office. There is a film of the BTs for the years 1572, 1605-1638, & 1657-1841. From these dates it appears that no information is available for the years from 1639-1653.

NOTE that the IGI has a long period in which the marriages are not covered. The years indexed are: C, 1570-1779 & 1781-1841; and M, 1570-1587 & 1654-1841.

Downham St. Leonard (Lancashire)

Downham spacer Font
St. Leonard's at Downham, April 2003 The font at St. Leonard's

Downham lies at the foot of Pendle Hill. The registers have been transcribed by the Lancashire Parish Register Society for the period 1605-1837; this is LPRS Vol. 118. The original registers that survive date from 1653 but there are BTs from 1606-1637 then from 1658 onwards. However, the LPRs volume correlates all the information. Note that the IGI covers only C, 1606-1766 and M, 1655-1722 so it is essential to consult the LPRS volume. Boyd's marriage index covers the period 1655-1722.

Gisburn, St. Mary (Formerly Yorkshire but now in Lancashire)

Gisburn

Gisburn was in Yorkshire until 1974 and is now in Lancashire. Early documents name Renulf as Priest of Gisburn between 1140 and 1146 and the rector of Gisburn was said to be present at the founding of Sawley Abbey in 1147. The large cylindrical pillars are 12th century in origin. The church was restored in the late 16th century and in 1872. The Ribblesdale Chapel is named after one of the most prominent local families, who lived at Gisburn Park. The family name was Lister but when ennobled they took the title of Lord Ribblesdale.

The Yorkshire Parish Register Society transcribed the records as follows; C, 1561-1812; M. 1558-1812; B. 1558-1812. The IGI has indexed the baptisms and marriages to 1812 under the county of Yorkshire. The Lancashire County Record Office and Clitheroe Public Library have copies of transcripts made by members of the Upper Ribble Valley Branch of the Lancashire Family History and Heraldry Society. These cover the period from 1812 to the end of the 19th century. A list of the Monumental Inscriptions is held at Clitheroe Library. The Bishops' Transcripts are on film at the Lancashire County Record Office; the originals are at the Borthwick Institute in York. Gisburn has its own website with details of history and the church. has its own web site.

Grindleton, St. Ambrose (Parish of Mitton, now in Lancashire)

The tower is dated 1805 but the rest of the church was rebuilt about 1897. The registers of Grindleton at the Lancashire County Record Office are C, 1744-1875; M, 1844-1947 (this may be a misprint for 1744-1947, see IGI coverage); and B, 1805-1812. There are films of the BTs. The IGI has indexed C, 1744-1847 and M, 1744-1812.

Higham Wesleyan Chapel

This chapel has now been demolished. The original registers are at the County Record Office. A copy was made by John Laycock in 1917. I have produced a transcript for Burnley Library with baptisms from 1813 to 1839 and burials from 1820 to 1864.

Holden Chapel (Independent)

 

Holden Chapel
Holden Chapel, April 2015

Holden Chapel was founded in 1766 for Protestant Dissenters of the Presbyterian or Independent persuasion. Its story is told in 'History of the Dales Congregational Churches', by Thomas Whitehead, published in Keighley in 1930. The registers are held by the Chapel Trustees and have never been filmed or indexed. I have transcribing and edited them by permission of the Chapel Trustees. There are no marriages but there are baptisms and burials between 1771 and 1897. In the first register there are 509 baptisms and 70 burials. The second register contains 428 baptisms and 248 burials. For further details see the Transcriptions Page.

Copies of my printed transcript have been sent to: Libraries in the Burnley Division of Lancashire, Skipton Library, Lancashire County Record Office; North Yorkshire Record Office at Northallerton; Yorkshire Archaeological Society headquarters at Claremont, Leeds; Lancashire Family History and Heraldry Society; Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society; Society of Genealogists, The Family Records Centre in London.

Marton in Craven, St. Peter's

Marton in Craven

The records of this church are now at the Lancashire County Record Office. It was formerly in Yorkshire.

Mitton, All Hallows (Formerly in Yorkshire now in Lancashire)

Mitton spacer Cross at Mittoon
All Hallows, Mitton Top of the Cross

The following account is condensed from information in the pamphlet available in the church, which was compiled by John A. Entwistle. The parish of Mitton goes back to Saxon times when in encompassed Aighton and Bailey to the west, Withgill, Chaigley and Bashall to the north, West Bradford, Waddington and Grindleton to the east. The name comes from the Saxon Mythe which means a farmstead a the junction of two rivers - the Ribble and the Hodder. The parish is mentioned in the Domesday Book but the first record of the church is for 1103 when Ralph the Red was minister. He had been granted the parishes of Mitton, Bailey and Aighton the previous year. Ralph became Lord of the Manor and known as Ralph de Mitton. It was the custom of the Lord of the Manor to appoint himself rector at that time but when the clergy were forbidden to marry in 1215, the church came under the control of the abbot of Cockersand Priory, who appointed the clergy.

The present church was commenced about 1270, when the nave was built and the chancel was added in 1295. Among the most interesting feature of the church are the Jacobean pews, dating to about 1600, the Shireburn Chapel, and the chancel screen, which is believed to have come from Sawley Abbey at the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The English artist, JMW Turner visited the church in 1799 and made a drawing of the interior. The church tower was first mentioned in records in 1438.

The Shireburn Chapel was built about 1440 and rebuilt in 1594 by the Stonyhurst family of that name. They were descendants of Ralph the Red. The chapel contains monuments to Sir Richard Shireburn, who died in 1594, and to the next four Richard Shireburns of succeeding generations. The latter were erected in 1699.

The church records at Lancashire County Record Office are C, 1610-1917; M, 1610-1838; B, 1610-1907. Note that the IGI has indexed Mitton under Yorkshire and the periods covered are C, 1720-1841 and M, 1720-1841. The Lancashire County Record Office has copies of the BTs on microfilm. Phil Marsden and I have transcribed the records and they have been published privately.

Ribchester, St. Wilfrid's

 

St. Wilfrid's
St. Wilfrid's, Ribchester, July 2012

There is a good description of the ancient parish of Ribchester in the Victoria County History. The parish included Dilworth, Dutton and Alston with Hothersall. Ribchester, Dilworth and Dutton were in the Blackburn Hundred but Alston with Hothersall was in Amounderness.

The registers of St. Wilfrid's start in 1598 and there are copies of the Bishops' transcripts in the County Record Office from 1676 to 1837. LPRS volume 26 covers the registers from 1598 to 1695. LPRS microfiche 11, 13, and 25 cover the period from 1694 to 1837. The IGI coverage goes back only to 1694. Note that there are some records from the chapel of Alston.

Rodhill Inghamite Chapel near Grindleton

This chapel no longer exists. An account of its history has been published in two parts by Paul Oates of Ribchester in Lancashire History Quarterly, Vol. 3 Issues No. 3 and 4, 1999, published by Hudson History of Settle. I have transcribed the registers, which are held at Claremont, the headquarters of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society in Leeds. There are about 100 baptisms and 125 burials from 1754 to the 1830's. Copies of the printed transcript have been deposited at libraries and record offices as for Holden Chapel. See Transcriptions Page.

Old Langho, St. Leonard the Less
Old Langho spacer Window at St. Leonards
St. Leonard's at Old Langho Window in South Wall

St. Leonard's at Old Langho is no longer in use for worship. It is of interest as it was a one of the few churches built as a Catholic Church after the Reformation, being constructed during the reign of Queen Mary. The windows are believed to have come from Whalley Abbey. The church is not easy to photograph as it is shaded by trees from the south. The picture shown was taken in late afternoon in September. The registers have been published by the Lancashire Parish Register Society as Volume 130 covering C, 1725-1837; M, 1837 and B, 1765-1837. There were no marriages prior to 1837.

Slaidburn, St. Andrew (Formerly in Yorkshire now in Lancashire)

Slaidburn

Slaidburn was in Yorkshire until 1974 and is now in Lancashire. The church has undisturbed Georgian pews and an 18th century 3-decker pulpit. The original registers are at Lancashire County Record Office and comprise, C, 1662-1885; M, 1654-1660, 1712-1968; B, 1653-1852. The registers have been transcribed in two volumes as 'The Registers of the Parish Church of St. Andrew's Slaidburn 1600 to 1770,' by C. J. Spencer and R. H. Postlethwaite, published privately, April 1994, and 'The Registers of the Parish Church of St. Andrew's Slaidburn 1771 to 1837/52', by C. J. Spencer and R. H. Postlethwaite, published privately, February 1998. If you would like to obtain a copy, please send me an E-mail and I will give you the address. IGI coverage for baptisms is from 1631-1843 and for marriages from 1631-1837, under the county of Yorkshire.

Tosside, Mount Sion Chapel at Sandy Syke.

The Mount Sion Chapel was founded in 1812. The chapel registers are kept by the trustees and have been indexed for the period 1812 to 1837 by the IGI under the name Gisburn Sandy Syke Independent, under Yorkshire. With the permission of the Secretary of the Chapel Trustees I have transcribed and indexed the registers from 1812 to the present time. There are baptisms from about 1812 and burials from 1838. Records of an additional 20 burials prior to 1838 have been located at the Public Record Office and they have being included in the transcription, copies of which have been deposited as for Holden Chapel.

Tosside, St. Bartholomew (formerly Yorkshire now Lancashire.)

Tosside

This chapel was formerly known as Houghton Chapel or Tosside Chapel. It was a chapel of ease for St. Mary's Gisburn. The original registers are at the Lancashire County Record Office and cover C, 1769-1817; M, 1861-1987; B, 1769-1813. There are also BTs for the registers from 1769 until BTs ceased. I have transcribed the records from 1769 to 1851 and cross-checked them with the bishop's transcripts. Details of the burials after 1813 were obtained from the churchwarden. In addition some records from 1749 are included in the registers and BTs of Gisburn St. Mary. These have been included in the transcript, copies of which have been deposited as for those of Holden Chapel. The baptism records have been indexed by the IGI under the name of Houghton by Settle for the period 1769-1776. I have transcribed the records and published them.

Waddington, St. Helen (Formerly a chapelry in the Parish of Mitton; now in Lancashire)

Waddington

The church has a tower dating to 1501, bearing the arms of the Tempest family. A window of medieval glass depicts Sir Richard Tempest. Much of the church was rebuilt between 1899 and 1901. The Yorkshire Parish Register Society has published the registers of Waddington from 1599 to 1812. The Lancashire County Record Office has a film of the BTs, including entries after 1812. Note that the IGI has a gap in the indexing; it covers baptisms from 1599-1600 & 1616-1854 and marriages from 1599-1600 & 1616-1836. Since 1997, there has been a photocopy of the registers from 1813-1841 at Clitheroe Library and members of the Upper Ribble Valley Branch of the Lancashire Family History & Heraldry Society are indexing them. The original registers are at the church and you should contact the vicar, The Rev Alan Bailey, if you wish to consult them.

Whalley, St Mary and All Saints, Lancashire
Whalley Church Three fishes Cross at Whalley
St. Mary's, July 2012 Arms of Whalley Saxon Cross at Whalley

The following notes are taken from a pamphlet obtained some years ago at the church. It was edited by the Rev. H. C. Snape, M.A. former vicar of Whalley, 6th edition, 1978. There was a church in Whalley in Saxon times, which is mentioned in the Domesday Book as " the church of Saint Mary in Wallei ". There are Celtic crosses believed to date to the 10th century. About 1080 a Norman church was built but only a few fragments of this remain. The building of the present church is believed to have begun about 1200. The registers are said to be complete from the reign of Henry VIII and are now at Lancashire County Record Office together with the Churchwardens' accounts, Poor Stock Accounts, Sacrament Money Accounts and other items from the Parish Chest. The Record Office book, Finding Folk indicates that it has C. 1538-1888; M. 1538-1958; B. 1538-1981.

The Lancashire Parish Register Society had published C. M. and B. only as far as 1653 by the end of the 1930s. The IGI indexed the following: C. 1538-1875 and M. 1539-1601, then 1606-1837, all under the county of Lancashire. Dr. J. A. Laycock made a hand-written transcript of the Whalley registers in 1902 and this is now in the possession of Burnley library. With the support of the Rev. Councillor Chris Sterry, I have transcribed the registers from 1653 to 1837, initially from the Laycock work and then checked it against the original registers and BTs at Preston.. The registers from 1653 to 1753 wer published in July 2006 as Volume 162 in the Lancashire Parish Register Society Series. The registers from 1754 to 1812 formed Volume 164 and the registers from 1813 to 1837 were included in Volume 171.

The church has its own web-site. There are several photographs of Whalley Abbey on my site "Celebrating England".

Wheatley Lane Inghamite Chapel

Wheatley Lane

Wheatley Lane Inghamite Chapel is one of the oldest Nonconformists Chapels in the area. It was founded in 1750 by Benjamin Ingham. I have transcribed the registers for baptisms from 1750 to 1866 and the burial records from 1750 to 1838 for Burnley Library. The work was completed in 2006. The burial register is unusual in that at the back there are additional notes giving details details of the location of the grave and often of other member of the family already buried there. This is of great value to family historians. When it was founded, people attended the chapel from a wide area from Newchurch in Pendle to Foulridge in the north, around through Barrowford and Colne in the East to Burnley, Worsthorne and Hapton in the South. A short history of the Chapel is given on a separate page.

Whitewell, St. Michael (Whalley, Lancashire)

whitewell
Whitewell in June 2012
whitewell nave
The interior showing the Jacobean pulpit

Whitewell was an extra-parochial part of the parish of Whalley. There are original registers at the Lancashire County Record Office for C, 1713-1994; M, 1719-1991; B, 1719-1993. In addition there are film versions of the BTs for C, 1756-1777 & 1810-1854; M, 1756-1777 & 1810-1848; B, 1756-1777 & 1810-1854. The IGI coverage is approximately that of the BTs and therefore has important omissions in the period 1778-1809.

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