This Google image shows the various buildings and listed monuments associated with St. Mary’s Church.
- Mary’s Church (Grade II* Listed)
- The Old School House – now a private house
- The Old Vicarage – now a private house
- The Old Glebe Barn – now a private house
- Mary’s C.E. School
- The mounting block (Listed)
- The Nutter and Parker Family Graves (Listed)
This is the earliest image of the church that we have found to date. It is an engraving made before 1893, but we are not sure how long before. It is interesting to note what has changed and what has not changed in over 100 years.
Here is an image of the inside of church, taken in about 1903. The chandelier still has candles and the lamps are oil lamps.
This second image of the same view was taken in 2016 and shows some changes although basically the church itself is much the same.
St. Mary’s Building Dates
1st October 1544 John Bird Bishop of Chester consecrated a chapel erected by the inhabitants of the 5 booths to the glory of God and in honour of the Virgin Mary.
The tower is the oldest part of the present building.
The tower was restored in 1653 and 1712
The Sundial is dated1718
The chapel was rebuilt and enlarged with a single pitched roof in 1735 by local inhabitants at a cost £1268.
In 1749 a decision was made to rebuild the porch, as the first one was unsafe.
In 1815 it was decided to enlarge the church again. This time the roof was raised with a pitch over the nave and a pitch over the north aisle. A gallery was then built over the north aisle and the west end of the church
1830 The Bell was installed in tower.
1890 The Wordsworth organ was installed on the gallery at the west end of the church
1902 Major internal renovation, including a new altar. pulpit, font.
1930 New tower roof
1946 The Clock was installed.
2000 The organ was restored.
2016 Restoration of the tower and the organ with a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant.
The Parker grave of 1691, initially dedicated to Henry Parker, is what is known as a table gravestone. That is a flat stone mounted on 4 or 6 stone “legs”.
The entry in the burial register reads “ Henricus Parker de Wheatley Lane sepultus (buried).
The Nutter family grave is normally partly obscured by another table grave and so only the top half is visible, however here is an image of the whole of the grave stone. This stone has survived remarkable well to say it is nearly 400 years old. Even more remarkable is the fact that the decedents of the people buried here still live, work and farm in the local area.
Alice Nutter, who was found guilty of witchcraft at Lancaster in 1612, is not named on this gravestone nor does her name appear in the burial register. People found guilty of witchcraft and other crimes like murder or suicide were not allowed to be buried in churchyards (consecrated ground).
Please do respect the churchyard and the memory of those who are buried here. Photography with a phone or camera is permitted but filming of any kind requires the prior permission of the Vicar.
The Old School house is now privately owned. In its time it has been both a school and a schoolteacher’s house. The first mention of the schoolhouse is 1746. The room on the ground floor in this image is known as the “bone house” as it was used as a charnel house. When the churchyard was full of graves, as it would have been, then the bones from previous burials would have been moved to the bone house to make way for more people to be buried.
The schoolhouse used to stand within the boundary of the churchyard, to which the only entrance was, until 1823, through the schoolyard in front of the school building. In the course of the next year this “corpse road” or entry to the churchyard through the schoolyard was closed. The gate from the schoolyard into the churchyard can still be seen hallway up the path from the church to the gate. The “Eye of God” on the church tower has line of sight right up the “corpse road”.
The Vicarage is now a private residence. The vicarage shows evidence of being a much smaller house, which may have been the farm house for the glebe farm. It has been enlarged at various times during its history. Part of the back of the house, which faces the road, appears to be sixteenth or seventeenth century. The windows at the back have some similarity with the church windows. The west wing was added when Rev J Horrox was Vicar some time between 1870 and 1905. The front of the house is in the Georgian style. Just outside the main gate of the Vicarage is a Mounting Block (listed) that the Curate or Vicar would have used to mount their horse.
The Old Glebe Barn is a private residence.
In the Roman Catholic and Anglican church traditions, a glebe is land belonging to a benefice and so by default to its incumbent (priest, curate or vicar). In other words, "glebe is land (in addition to or including the parsonage house/rectory and grounds) which was assigned to support the priest".
The word 'glebe' itself is from middle English which is originally from Latin, gleba, glaeba 'clod, land, soil'.
The amount of such land varied from parish to parish, occasionally forming a complete Glebe Farm. A holder of a benefice could retain the glebe for his own use, or rent it out and use the income.
The Old Glebe Barn is an indication that St. Mary’s had a glebe farm used to support the curate, probably in the 1700s.
Schools – St. Marys & Roughlee
Our present village school, St. Mary’s School, Newchurch in Pendle was opened in 1874 and the above image is an early photograph. In 1876 36 boys and 22 girls attended each paying 2d (2 old pennies) per session. In 1890 the headteacher wrote in the log book “Closed school today, my little boy is ill” The next entry reads “The place is still closed; my little boy is dead!”
Reuben Burton was a half time pupil at St. Mary’s in 1884. As an adult he returned to manage Spenbrook Mill. It was his custom to present books to the pupils each Christmas. He left a bequest to buy books for children from St. Mary’s and Roughlee Schools when they began higher education. The Reuben Burton Trust still awards grants annually. Mrs Edith Procter became the headteacher of St Mary’s in 1963 and wrote a “History of St. Mary’s Church of England School, Newchurch in Pendle”
Over the main entrance of Roughlee School is a stone inscribed “Erected by James Roberts, William Roberts and Ambrose Walton 1852. Some time after the opening of St. Mary’s School in 1874 Roughlee School was closed for about twenty years. It is now a thriving village school.