Marriages carried out at the church between 1893 and 1911 can be found
The full index for the marriages can be found
In 1389 the parish church of Great Harwood was built
and dedicated to Saint Bartholomew. It was rebuilt in 1507. The first
protestant curate was “Sir” Richard Dean – the title being commonly given
by courtesy to the clergy at that time.
In the 18th and early part of the 19th
century, Rishton being an outlying part of the parish of Great Harwood, it
was to the church of St. Bartholomew that the farmers and cottagers went
on Sabbath days for religious services, and, before the time of cheap
newspapers, to hear public announcements and learn something of the doings
of the outer world. Here also they went for funerals, christenings and
weddings. Carriages were not commonly used in these early times, and
mourners and wedding guests walked in procession with, in the latter case,
a fiddler, who was always a welcome figure on festive occasions, leading
the way. “Harrod Oratory” was a great day. From hill and dale for miles
round streams of people converged on Harwood Old Church and, after the
service, partook of the hospitality of their Harwood friends. It was from
the sale of refreshments in the churchyards to worshippers who came long
distances to service on the day of the Patron Saint of their church that
fairs originated. St. Bartholomew’s Day, the 24th of August,
and Harwood fair fall, if not exactly on, near the same date.
(From 1819 to 1861 the Rev Robert Dobson was vicar of
Great Harwood. His death was preceded by a long illness, during which the
Rev Blamyre had charge of the parish. He was succeeded by the Rev W. M.
Hazlewood, who was remembered by many of the older residents of Great
Harwood and Rishton for some time after, and whose son was Coroner for N.
The Harwood clergy, with local help, kept alive Church
work in Rishton. We hear of Sunday Schools, in which were taught reading
and writing, being held in a room at the Flats – a group of cottages in a
hollow formed by the
Parker Street perhaps in the Card Hole, which was behind
Mill, and in a room over a smithy near the junction of
Harwood Roads. A temporary building was erected at the rear of the
Harwood Road school, both men and women, so we are told, to save
expense, acting as carriers of building materials.
Services were held and addresses given in cottages,
notably in that of Mr Charles Greenwood, and in one at Norden, which was
recently pulled down because of its dangerous condition. Prominent among
the lay helpers were Mssrs. Wm Riley and Thos Edmundson. Mr Hazlewood
frequently took an evening service when the service at Harwood was held in
In 1861 the population reached 1,196, and though the
cotton famine was casting its gloom over Lancashire, it was decided in
1863 to build a school church on the east side of Harwood Road. A
committee was formed consisting of the Rev W M Hazlewood, Messrs C Parker,
Ed Duckworth, John Anderson, Jas Haworth, Richard Grimshaw, John
Duckworth, Thos Edmondson, Wm Riley, Jos Haydock, Lawrence Noble, and Dr
The instrumental part of the music was supplied by Mr
Chris Boardman (cello), whose son and grandson became choirmaster and
organist and Mr John Riding (violin). When a harmonium was installed the
accompanist was Miss Grimshaw, who afterwards married the Rev Robert
Whitehead MA, for many years the vicar of Ince. Mr John Heys, a cotton
mill, took great interest in the choir for many years, and was
untiring in his efforts to maintain its efficiency.
What are now known as the boys rooms were built later
by the voluntary labour of members of the Sunday School and Congregation.
In Connection with this, the Rev George Steele, His Majesties Inspector of
Schools, reports in 1870:-
“I am bound to mention the great zealous
liberality which the inhabitants of the parish continue to show towards
the school. New rooms for girls and infants are nearly completed. There
are no rich people in the Parish, and the contributions in many instances
have been time and labour given by stone masons and other workmen.”
In 1863 Mr Allott succeeded Mr Stocks, and efforts were
soon set on foot for the building of a new church, for which a site had
been secured. Mr Allott raised over £3,000, which included £1,000 given by
F W Grafton of Broadoak Print works, Accrington, and of Heysham Hall, and
at one time MP for the NE Division of Lancashire. The building committee
consisted of Mssrs John Heys, Jas Hanson, Robert Bateson, John Bradley, Ed
Eccles, Rich Grimshaw, John Mercer, and Robert Whitehead.
The foundation stone was laid on the 16th
May, 1864, by Mr W H Taylor of Clayton Le Moors. The school was licensed
for divine service in 1866, and the Rev Wm Stocks was the first curate in
(conflicting information found at this point, see
next paragraph as well).
The Parish church foundation stone was laid on 24th
May 1873 by F. W. Grafton, and was built by William Ramsbottom of
Accrington, and designed by Taylor and Froggett, architects of Blackburn.
The church was consecrated on the 14th June 1877, by Bishop
Fraser, and dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul. Other sources seem to
indicate that the contractors were Christopher Parker and Christopher
Boardman, both of Rishton.
The church was built with 574 seats, costing £8,000,
which were all donated to the church.
In 1866 the Church was licensed for divine worship.
Stone from the local quarries was used to build the church but much of the
labour involved was voluntary.
The Church roof was finished 9ft short of the intended
height, giving the nave a stunted look. After 4 years the building was
consecrated, and dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul on the 14th
The tower at this time was only 45 ft tall. The final
piece of the tower was added in 1904. This has taken it to its existing
height of about 100ft.
Meanwhile Mr Allott had been succeeded by the Rev T. G.
Horwood MA. In 1879 the Rev AS Prior B. D., became vicar, and during his
residence a new infant school and vicarage were erected – the vicarage
till this time being the house adjoining the school in Harwood Road.
Mr Prior resigned, and the Rev Henry West B. A., became
vicar in 1885. Mr West gave to the Church the new communion plate now in
use, and on another occasion a handsome brass eagle lectern.
In 1888 an excellent three manual organ was built by
Foster and Andrews, of Hull, at a cost of £600.00. The large East window
was put in in memory of Thomas Haworth, of Manor House Farm, Tottleworth,
whose brother, James Haworth, left money for this purpose. The church was
also beautified throughout. Services during the alterations were held in
Harwood Road school. Other stained windows have since been put in place in
the church; one in memory of Richard and Alice Grimshaw, was given by
their daughters, the subject of the design being the resurrection. Another
window was given in memory of Henry and Grace Parker, and their daughter
Ann, by their daughter Margaret, the subject being Christ blessing little
During Mr West’s vicariate the tower was completed at a
cost of £1,400, IN 1905 but not in accordance with the original design. A
fine peal of bells was hung and a clock placed in the tower. The clock has
3 faces, which can be lighted, and besides striking the hours, chimes the
quarters with the Westminster chimes. It occupies an excellent position
for public usefulness, and has proved an excellent timekeeper. It was
given by Mr Robert Clayton J. P., C. C., to commemorate the coming of age
of his son, Lieu Jonathon Maurice Clayton.
The bells were given by Miss Anderson, Mr James Hanson,
Mr Thomas Haworth, Mr John Mawdsley (to commemorate the 50th
anniversary of his marriage), the children of Mr Charles Bracewell (in his
memory), Mrs J. E. Haworth (in memory of her brother, Mr Peter Wright
Pickup), and Mr George Riley gave two in memory of his brothers. Mr Riley
also left in his will £530.00 to be invested for the payment of the bell
ringers. The bells and clock were dedicated on the 9th December
1905, by the Right Reverend Samuel Thornton, D. D., Assistant Bishop to
Mr West resigned the living in October 1906?, owing to
the infirmities of age, after 21 years strenuous methodical work. On the
19th April, 1906, the Reverend Henry West retired after 50 years service,
21 of them at Rishton.
He was succeeded by the Rev Charles Harpur M. A., who
was inducted on the 5th January 1907. In 1908 the church was
beautifully redecorated by Mssrs. Cunliffe, of Blackburn. A “Girls
Society” was formed by Mrs. Harpur, and a mothers class was instituted, in
which are many earnest workers for the church, and to which we are
indebted for the beautiful brass communion rail.
In 1911, Mr Robert Clayton gave a hydraulic engine, to
make the organ independent of band blowing.
In 1913 the hand of death removed from among its many
prominent members of our congregation –
- Mr. H. Halstead (choirmaster),
- Mrs. Harpur,
- Mr. Wm. Haworth,
- Mr. W. H. Parker (choirmaster),
- Mr. W. T. Croft,
- and others.
On the 21st December a beautiful stained
window, in memory of Mrs Harpur, and subscribed for by the congregation,
was unveiled by Mrs. T. Clayton. It is a representation of Dorcas, the
woman who was full of good deeds and almsgiving.
On the same occasion a brass tablet, the gift of the
clergy, Church officials, and past and present members of the choir, in
memory of Mr. Halstead, who had been choirmaster for 18 years, was
unveiled by the vicar.
A Surpliced choir which has added to the reverence and
impressiveness of the service, was introduced on the 17th
August 1913, and has made necessary the building of a choir vestry, which
may also be used for the smaller meetings in connection with parish work,
and towards which a considerable sum has already been promised, so that
the work of erection will commence early this year (1914).
After the first World War, the South Transept was
transformed into a memorial Chapel to commemorate the loss of those who
gave their lives for the freedom of mankind.
The Council resolved that a letter should be addressed
to the Parochial Church Council requesting the trimming of the trees
around the Church tower which at present obscure the clock, on the 12th
On the 17th November 1944, Rev W. I. Brown died age 60. He was the
vicar at Rishton till 1943.
The proportion of the account rendered to the Parish
Church Council, amounting to £7 7s. 0d., be written off, on the 22nd
February 1945, as this sum refers to the felling of the tree which had
obscured the Church clock and concerning which representations had been
made by this Council in September 1943. Councillor Bridge was to inspect
the timber which was removed in connection with the above work, in view of
the apparently high cost.
After the Second World War, a second memorial Tablet was dedicated in
Clerk was instructed to write to the Parochial Church Council intimating
that a tender had been received from Mr. J. A. Dobson for the electrical installation at the Parish Church Clock,
which had been accepted by the Council on the 9th October 1947, for the sum of £21 10s. 0d., and requesting permission to proceed with the installation.
It was decided to consider the
installation of additional lights behind the clock face
on the 10th December 1953, by the Urban District Council, when the Estimates for 1954/5 are being prepared.
A tender of £7 7s. 0d. from
the North Western Electricity Board for the installation of
additional lighting was accepted on the 11th March 1954, the work to be proceeded with
in the ensuing financial year.
On the 6th June 1972, Canon Ernest Southcott was
appointed vicar of the church. Canon Southcott was the pioneer of the
house/church system of worship. Those who remember Canon Southcott will
remember his loud booming voice! A voice that once heard, is not easily
forgotten, and he was very capable of being able to get any message
across. He was a familiar figure on the streets on Rishton, always
prepared to stop and talk to anyone from any demoniation.
In 1980 the vestry was extended to create a parish hall
on the East Side of the church.
THE sound of bells rang out from the church for the
first time in a decade on Sunday 4th October 1998.
The bell tower at St Peter and St Paul's Church on
Blackburn Road, which was condemned as unsafe in 1988, was restored
following a £18,000 fund-raising appeal.
Now the church, commonly known as Rishton Parish
Church, started searching for people to form a regular band of bell
The bells were silenced in 1988 after an inspection
revealed the framework which supported them was unsafe and a new roof was
needed on the bell tower.
The church was keen to repair the tower - but was
forced to delay the work after dry rot was found in another part of the
An appeal for the bell work was launched in February
1997 and over 12 months the £18,000 was raised through donations and
sponsored events, including a walk from Blackpool Tower to the church
The vicar, Rev Paul Smith, said: "We got a firm in to
do the professional work but quite a lot of people have done the donkey
work which reduced the cost considerably." He added that without the
efforts of parishioners the project would not have been possible.
"A group of people have put a great deal of enthusiasm
and effort into it and it is because of that we have been able to do it. I
would like to congratulate them for all they have done."
On the Sunday 5th October, the Bishop of Blackburn
attended a special service to celebrate the restoration of the bells and
members of the Lancashire Association of Change Ringers rang the bells
The next step was for the church to build a
bell-ringing team of its own.
Mr Smith said: "We really need our own regular band of
ringers. It is an art and it needs practice and they need to be getting
going now if they are to be ready for the millennium celebrations, when
church bells across the country will be rung."
The Clock has also been restored to its former glory,
and the tones can be heard throughout Rishton once more.
Curates in Charge
||Dates in Charge
|Rev. J. G. Harwood, M. A.
(Might be T. G. Horwood)
1877 to 1879
|Rev. A. S. Prior, B. D.
1879 to 1885
Rev. P. E. N. Sowerby|
Rev. W. W. Jones
|Rev. Henry West, B. A.
1885 to 1907
Rev. W. W. Jones, Rev. R. Tebbs
Rev. N. Birkett. (1887 to 1894)
Rev. J. F. French
Rev. O. F. Williams
Rev. F. W. Boumphrey
|Rev. Charles Harpur, M. A.
1907 to 1924
Rev. F. W. Boumphrey|
Rev. W. R. Jones, L. D.
|Rev. W. Ira Brown
1924 to 1943
|Rev. John Hoban
1986 - April 2006
Wardens till 1914
|Mr. Robert. Bateson
Mr. Wm. Pickup
|Mr. Chris. Parker
Mr. John Whittaker
|Mr. W. R. Walmsley
Mr. George Blackburn
|Mr. R. H. Catterall
Mr. Thos. Clayton
|Mr. Rich. Grimshaw
Mr. Wm. Boardman
|Dr. John Barr, J. P.
|Messrs. Wm. Riley,
Wm. Blakey, John Bradley, Ed. Pilkington, Jas.
Bradshaw, John Whittaker (senior), Thos. Cottam, Peter
Boardman, J. R. Fletcher, Jas. Hill, E. M. Harrison,
|Mr. Jas. Hanson
Mr. George Blackburn
|Mr. Wm. Houghton
Mr. Jas. Thomlinson
|Mr. John Whittaker (senior)
Mr. R. T. Kenyon
|Mr. T. Holden
Mr. Hy. Whiteside
|Mr. C. Parker
Mr. John Proctor
|Mr. John Slater
Mr. John Pilkington
|Mr. John Pickup
Mr. A. E. Roberts
|Mr. Wm. Boardman
Mr. George Harper
|Mr. J. T. Boardman
Mr. E. M. Harrison
|Mr. Robert Pilkington
Organists and Choirmasters
|Mr. John Heys
Mr. T. Clayton
|Mr. Ed. Broughton
Mr. George Parker
|Mr. Jas. Ainsworth
Mr. W. H. Parker
|Mr. H. Halstead
Mr. J. W. Boardman
|Mr. J. A. Boardman
Mr. J. A. Boardman
SMITH, Rev Paul Andrew
(RISHTON St Peter and St Paul WHA-13)
, The Vicarage, Somerset Road,
Rishton, Blackburn, BB1 4BP 01254 886 191
Born: 1955 ; 1976 St Chad's Coll Dur BA ; 1978 Chich Th Coll ; 1980 d ;
1981 p ; 1980-83 C St Matthew & Holy Trinity Burnley ; 1983-86 C St Mary
Ribbleton (in c St Anne Moor Nook) ; 1986- April 2005 St Peter & St Paul Rishton .
remembered Kathleen Broderick.
Jubilee Year 1927 - Noble.
Evening Telegraph, Saturday 03 October 1998.
History of Rishton - H. H. Cormack, 1914.
Chronology by Paul Lanham.
of Accrington and Men of Mark, by R. S. Crossley, Published 1924.
Record, the Festival of Britain 1951.
Picture used courtesy of Ron Grenier (Carolina, USA.)