All the Churches that are in Rishton, or have ever been in Rishton, and also any other related Church information. Click on the links below, The text on religion in the town is at the bottom of the page.
Prior to 1600, with few inhabitants in the township, prayer was shared in houses and privately at home. The Dunkenhalgh and Holt Hall had built private Chapels within their grounds, these being of Roman Catholic origin, but with the civil war and the changing of royalty, these were difficult to maintain.
By 1650 many inhabitants from Tottleworth and the East end of the town had started attending Great Harwood Chapel for religious services, and for important announcements. By the end of the Century, Thomas Whalley, formally of Eachill, and now of Sparth in Clayton Le Moors, was taking an important part in the affairs of the church.
A report of the chapel was forwarded to the Commissioners in 1650 -
"Harwood, a parachial chappel, distant from the parish chapel (Blackburn) four myles, hath att present noe minister nor mayntence, save only four pounds per annum paid out of Duchy lands. They consist of about 200 families, with the inhabitants of Tottleworth and Rishton towne, who desire to bee annexed to the saide church, and to bee made a parishe, and competent mayntenance allowed for a minister."
During the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries the greater number of the inhabitants of Rishton used the chapel at Harwood as their parish Church. Carriages were seldom used for the journey, people preferring to walk along the pack horse track through Tottleworth to "Harrod Oratory", and with music then having played a more important part in church services than today, they would take their fiddler with them.
If the occasion was a festive one, the procession would be headed by this musician, who earned his food for the day by making these shady lanes ring with his tunes.
1Rishton Parish Church Jubilee 1927 by Carlton Noble.