Church History

St Mary's, Newchurch-in-Pendle sits on the south-eastern slopes of Pendle Hill above the town of Nelson. A chapel of ease is recorded on the site in 1250. In 1544 a later chapel was dedicated here by the Bishop of Chester - the Chester diocese covered much of the north-west at that time. The mother church of the chapel was probably St Michael's at Clitheroe Castle.

The tower is the only remaining part dating back to 1544. It is actually marked with two dates: 1653 and 1712, when restoration took place. The rest of the present structure dates back over 250 years to about 1740. On the west face of the tower is a curious oval 'window' known locally as the all seeing "eye of God". Its true origin is not known. The sundial on the nave roof is dated 1718. The tower church bell was purchased in 1830 with the clock installed in 1946.

To the right of the church entrance is the gravestone of Ellin Nutter and Family dated 1651. She may be a relative of Alice Nutter, who was convicted of witch craft.

Click this link for a brochure about St. Mary's and the Witch Trials.



A memorial plaque to Rev. J.S. Barnes Wallis can be seen in the graveyard. He was nephew to Dr Barnes Wallis, inventor of the 'bouncing bomb'. Other tombstones include James Aitken of Dundee, who marched with the young Pretender, Prince Charles Edward from Scotland in 1745. 



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