Last update 22nd January 2021.
Christ Church Chatburn
The story of a historic, yet vibrant village church.
Chatburn Village Beginnings
Chatburn, known as Chatteburn in the 14th century, dates back to Anglo-saxon times.
After the Norman Conquest it formed part of The Honour of Clitheroe and was under the judicial court of Chatburn, Worston and Pendleton.
The ducking-stool and stocks were among the punishments inflicted by that court. Reminders of those early days are left in Cuckstool Meadow by the Ribble, and Stocks Cottage in Downham Road.
Sawley Abbey and Whalley Abbey owned land in Chatburn and at the dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 there were two tenants of Whalley Abbey in the village.
A survey of the manor of Chatburn made in the reign of Elizabeth 1 shows that it consisted of 365 acres of copy hold land - that is, land held in accordance with the records of the manor.
St Martin’s Chapel
There was a 16th century Chantry in the village - a chapel endowed with the money for a priest to offer masses for the benefactor’s Soul.
St Martin’s, down Ribble Lane, is known to have stood for a century after the dissolution of the monasteries, for during the Long Parliament of 1640-53 the villagers of Chatburn petitioned the House of Commons, complaining that the steward of the manor had defaced the chapel and sold the land on which it stood. Their action was pointless and the only surviving trace of St Martin’s is the name Chapel Laith, a converted barn on its original site between Heys Brook and the River Ribble.
There was no school in Chatburn before 1816, although there were several dame schools - a primary school kept by an elderly woman. Joanna Barker, or Old Joanie to her pupils, was the best known of these. She was held in great respect, and when she died early in the 19th century she had taught almost the entire adult population of the village.
The original School House located at the top of Downham Road just before the bridge over the by pass, and which are cottages today. This first village school was built in 1816 and the picture shows the school room and masters house.
A National School was opened in 1817 and in 1850 a larger school for infants and juniors was opened on the site of the present school.
This view shows the Old School House originally built 1850, on the right and was located opposite the Toll booth (now Hudson's Ice Cream Parlour). The tree by the cottages (first cottage is currently the hair salon), still exists (as at 2020).
There have only been seven head teachers (or school masters) in the school’s 168 year history. William Waite, the third school master, held office from 1875 to 1920, being succeeded by Edmund Aldersly then Donald Taylor who in 1957, passed the baton to Edward (Ted) Boden who was head teacher for 31 years, retiring in 1988. Mr Boden is greatly respected as a former councillor and Ribble Valley Mayor, as well as being a prominent member of Christ Church, where he was PCC secretary for over 45 years. During Ted Boden’s time as head teacher, the present school was opened in 1967, replacing the 1850 building which was demolished to allow for the widening of the A59 trunk road at Toll Bar corner - by Hudsons ice cream shop.
This provides a better view of the school and shows a car parked outside the old Toll Booth now Hudson's Ice cream shop. The current school was built next to this in the 1960's to make way for the new road between the Brown Cow and the Church. This opened in 1967.
The head teacher, Robert Maude, succeeded Mr Boden and retired in July 2015. Today the church school is much sought after and, for some years, has had well over 100 pupils on the roll. Mrs E J Gardiner (DSL) is the current headteacher at the date of this revision (2020).
The railway came to Clitheroe and Chatburn in 1850, and the 1850 timetable shows trains running to Clitheroe at 8.15am, 10.30am, 1.45pm, 4.45pm and 7.05pm. Work on the extension to Hellifield began in 1874, with the railway opened to Gisburn on Whit Monday 1879.
The Beeching axe fell on the Clitheroe line in 1962 and Chatburn station, whose buildings still stand, never re-opened.
A regular train service from Blackburn to Clitheroe began again in 1994, with Carlisle-bound excursion trains passing through Chatburn on Sundays in the summer season.
Shops and Banks
Chatburn once boasted of four banks. Unbelieveable given the rate of closure now.
- Martin's Bank, Bridge Road 1920 - 1939 (which became Barclays)
- The District (later Nat West) was London Joint City & Midland Bank, Crow Trees Brow.
- The Yorkshire Penny (which used the old Village Hall for one or two sessions a week) Downham Road
- County Bank at the corner of Old Road and the main road (1 Ribble Lane) 1935 - 1939.
There were some 26 shops in the village at one time including :-
- in Downham Road
- a Co-op with its wooden floor, long counter and "divi"
- Arthur Farnell's grocery which was opposite Price's Funeral Palour
- and at the end of Robinson Street, Arthur Chatburn's men's tailors.
- there was another tailor, Mr Mercer near the vicarage.
- along Bridge Street
- there was a toy shop run by Mrs Woods, which became Hooks the bakers
- Colin and Agnes Wiseman's sweet and grocery shop
- an underwear store
- and the Post Office
- in the Brown Cow's car park there used to be a chip shop which becme Monks, the plumbers,
- below which Levi Dickinson kept his blacksmith's shop
- next to the Brown Cow was a garage and bike shop run by Jimmy White.
- Ribble Lane provided :-
- a sweet shop
- a butcher's shop - Websters
- whilst what is now Roy Porter's butchers used to be a chemist's shop
- On the manor House side of Bridge Street :-
- clogs could be bought and shoes repaired at Charles Isherwood's premises, which bordered the stream. Leathers for the clogs could be seen dangling in the water.
- There was also Mr Hibble, the barber, who sold shoes
- and a jeweller's
Some photographs of the mills that once dominated Chatburn.
Swipe or slide for more photographs
Currently being web formatted and re-edited. WIP started 22/07/2020
"In the days of my youth" by Roy Porter
The New Road between Chatburn and Clitheroe was made in 1826. This country at that time as now, was suffering from the effects of a great war, which ended in the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. Work was scarce and labour was cheap, for most of the workhouses of roadmaking received only sixpence a day.
My memory takes me back to the late thirties of last century.
- The first house on the road from Clitheroe, where the offices of the Bold Venture Lime Company now stand. It was an old building occupied by Benjamin Robinson, shoemaker. A part of the house was also used as a office for a weighing maching. The late Thomas Welcalfe was employed to look after the machine, and it was in this office that he lost the sight of an eye by a spark from striking a gas cap on a stove.
- The next building was Crow Trees Farm, little different in appearance from what it is now. In front of the farm house and stretching to the brook was an open space. The tennants of Crow Trees Farm were two old bachelors, William and Henry Mercer. They removed to Garstang, and were followed by Henry and William Battesby, and then by Henry Hargreaves, father of the Mrs Croasdale, wife of William Croasdale, owner and occupier of the Brown Cow Inn there was no Rookery then. In its place was a barn. These were two houses in the garden where Hollinwood, the residence of Mr Robinson, is built. These two houses belonged to the Wignall family, and were occupied by people of that name. There was another old house and barn on what is now the carriage drive to the Rookery. Some fields by the roadside on the way towards the Ribble belonged to the Wignalls and the hay from these fields was sold to drovers on their way to and from Skipton and Gisburn markets.
- Opposite to Crow Trees Farm stood Appleton Laithe and Appleton Hall.
- The old rhyme was;
The Rising Sun
And Hole ith Wall.
- Appleton Laithe was a thatched cottage and the house of Tommy Hartley. Tommy assisted as a labourer in making the new road from Clitheroe to Chatburn and received as a wage, sixpence a day. He afterwards became a pedlar. In the adjoining cottage, also thatched, Appleton Hall, lived a man called Halstead. He had a big family.
- Returning to the bridge near the Black Bull we will now note the changes on the right.
- Next to the bridge was a barn and a shippon, now converted into two houses behind the watchmaker's shop, and
- between here and the house occupied by W. Norgrove were two houses, since pulled down. In these houses lived William Walmsley, labourer, and Thomas Wildman, pedlar, where W. Briggs has his fruit shop. Thomas Whitehead, butcher dwelt, and used the house below as a slaughter house. The confectioner's shop was occupied by Thomas Briggs, farmer and grandfather of the present tenant.
- The Rev. Robert Ingram, first vicar of Chatburn, lived at the Manor House. He was the brother of Mrs D Robinson, Clitheroe Castle. Mr Ingam was a model parish priest, and is still spoken of in endearing terms by the older people of Chatburn. The entrance to the back door of the Manor House was formerly by the way leading past the front of Manor House Farm, and then by a narrow way some distance in front.
- Manor House Farm was then occupied by Henry Eglin, farmer and grocer. He sustained heavy loses to his stock from rinderpest (cattle plague).
- The Post Office and two houses below it were thatched, and consisted of four dwellings, so low, that the roofs could be touched by an ordinary person. In these lived Mark Wildman, father of Ellen Wildman; Will Birch; John Birch, William Briggs, brother of the late Richard Briggs, and owner of Bank Field Quarries.
- Between these houses and the Black Bull lived William Driver, pedlar, father of the late Fred Driver, Rydal Place, and Edward Driver, and cousins Nancy Driver of Downham, famous as a toffee worker.
- The Black Bull Inn was then very different to what it is now. The entrance was a steep descent commencing about the middle of the road (main). On reaching the doorway there were steps down to the lobby. On the right was the parlour, on the other side of the house past, and at the end of the lobby the kitchen and steps to the cellar. There was a brook so that water could be obtained for drinking and brewing purposes.
- The bridge has since been widened by having a piece put to each side, thus making it three times its original width.
- The only houses up the Old Road, were the Rising Sun, now called Shaw Cottage and two others still standing. This property belonged to William Shaw, a retired gentleman. He lived at the Rising Sun, and had an only daughter called Jane. She died about forty years since. Jane was a rather eccentric character and never dressed in the prevailing fashions.
- The Ribble Lane, now a narrow road was much narrower then. There were only two houses then on the right side;
- one was occupied by John Greenwood.
- Next to these were gardens, and then an old cloggers shop, on the site of the shop now occupied by W(?) Nixon; below this there was a barn and shippons, lately pulled down for mill extensions.
- There was no mill then. The field near the barn and shippons was called Clough, and the archway lately discovered under the road was simply a connection between the two fields. There are several similar archways under the New Road, between Clitheroe and Chatburn.
- The next field to Clough was Reggalds, and here was the "Spout", the chief source of supply of drinking water for this portion of the village. Opposite the mill are three houses, which have only recently been cleared away. The late Alderman Parkinson, Clitheroe, was born in one of these houses.
- Farther from the road were two other houses, neat together. One of these has been rebuilt and is now the modern Quarry Farm House.
- Before the quarry at Bold Venture was opened, the chief source of supply of lime and stone was from the now disused quarry in Ribble Lane. Gals (old name for young ladies (for the wokes)) came regularly from Colne, Sabden, Padiham and Burnley, taking their burdons away, and returning with coal and coke and occasionally with wefs (process of turning yarn into fabric) for the handloom weavers. The Great Kiln was in front and the Civic kiln was behind Quarry Farm.
- During excavations at Park Avenue, part of an old kiln was exposed, and may still be seen in the front garden of one of the houses.
2. THE Village
On the opposite side of the road to the Black Bull, there was formerly and Old Hole ith Wall. It stood a short distance from the road, and got its name no doubt from the square hole made in the wall in front of the house for drain age purposes.
Where the wooden building now used as a fish and chip shop stands, there were two houses and a smithy. The Blacksmith's name was John Briggs, familiarly Jacky, father of the late Fred Briggs, and Ellen Briggs. At that time there was a considerable amount of ploughing in the district, but the smith's chief work was now cow shoeing. This was very important at the time as cows became footsore, through being driven long distances especially from Yorkshire to the Manchester Market. The chief Manchester dealer was William Green. This trade was carried on for some time after the railway was made, owing to the poor accommodation provided by the company for this class of traffic. Behind the smithy was a croft, used as a resting place for Irish Cattle landed at Fleetwood, on their way to Gisburn and Skipton Markets. As people were allowed to help themselves, the chief supply of milk was from the cows detained in this croft. Jacky was the inventor of a strawing machine largely used at this time. The principle was the same as our modern clothes wringler and mangle. The wheels were made of wood supplied with cogs, which worked the spiked roller for running the hay. Jacky often travelled to Gisburn and Skipton with his retriever dog harnessed to his home made tricycle. The Brown Cow is little different from what it was eighty years ago. The public road led round by the Brown Cow to Sawley. There were six houses in what is now called Beech Grove, William Ellel(?), a prosperous tailor, lived in the next to the top house. One house next to the school yard has been pulled down. There was also a barn near to the site of the office in the school yard.
The road joined the Sawley Road near to where the Church Institute is built. In fact this building stands on part of the disused road, parts of which were exposed when excavations were made for the foundations. This finished the houses on the way to Sawley except, of course, the Church Lane side and Smythies Bridge. Where William White now lives was occuppied by George Whittaker, farmer and butcher, and the part at present used as a cycle repair shop, was a slaughter house for sheep. In the room above greyhounds were kept by William Croasdale, landlord of the Brown Cow Inn. There were three houses since disappeared, between here and the School House. Behind the house, now used as a butcher's shop, kept by Clifford Hudson was an old house occupied by William Hall, farmer and coal dealer. The coals were bought from from Cock(?) Bridge and Hapton, and stored in a large yard. Coal was carted from here to Grindleton, Sawley, Gisburn, Slaidburn, so Chatburn at that time was an important coal depot. Where Church House now stands was also used for storage purposes. Where Mt Titterington(?) lived there were formerly two houses. One of these was was used as a grocer's shop and was kept by Mary Embley. The next building was an old barn, and then a croft called Kit Garth, now built upon and named Oddie's Terrace, after the late Richard Oddie, farmer, the owner of the property. William Hall, coal dealer, before mentioned, left his place and took house next to the railway bridge and continued his work as a farmer and coal dealer. The railway passes under the road just above Bridge House, and a house with barn attached has disappeared, there resided William Veevers, father of the late William Veevers, shoemaker, School Terrace, Clitheroe.
Next to this was a garden and then three houses. In the first lived John Bailey, tailor, the second, John Green, son of John Green schoolmaster, in the third Edward Calverley. The house of John Green had a spacious room at the back for hand-loom weaving. Above these houses croft and then a house occupied by Thomas Lonyd, father of Wilson late Stationmaster at Rimington.
There was a shippon next to this house and then two houses which have been converted into one, and now occupied by William H. Jackson, and next to this lived John Newby.
The next house stands by itself and a short distance above was a thatched dwelling, also used as a grocer's shop kept by Thomas Dickinson.
Next came the present Townhead Cottages, three in number, and belonging to John Dixon.
The old School House, built in 1816 will be dealt in a future article.
Above this and standing some distance from the road were three houses. Big Mark Wilkinson lived in one, and James Chadwick, butcher, father of Mrs Richard Hudson lived in another. Next came the property of William Veevers, joiner, which has since been rebuilt. Above here, where James Hudson and Mrs Cockeshutt live, was waste grounds. An old man called Jack Shiers lived in the house now occupied by Joseph Frankland. Jack was a noted breeder of canaries, and often invited people to his house to hear them sing. There was no Police Station. The village constable was appointed annually at the parish meeting, and the lads cared little for him. Next came Town Head Farm. For some years James Hargreaves, commonly called Jim o'Hitts, and his wife Susannah lived here. Susannah was sister to Robert Veevers, joiner. Jim and Susannah were fond of tobacco, and we often saw them, seated in an armchair, one at each side of the fireplace smoking their churchwardens. Mr John Williams, owned and lived at Fir Tree House. He was an extensive landowner at that time. The property at his death was left to his relatives, but they soon disposed of it. Will Whittam, nephew of John Whittam lived at the house now occupied by Tom Buller. Robert Veevers, brother to Ambrose Veevers, joiner and builder of Clitheroe, married Will Whittam's daughter, and this property still belongs to Joseph Carmichael. In those days in many different cottages and farm houses, women spent all the time they had to spare, in spinning; and the men when their work was done, sat down to weave.
People were then very poor; they lived chiefly on oatmeal porridge, oat cake, milk, butter, and cheese and to make a better living they worked hard spinning and weaving. Carmichael lived on his own property, and found employment for many handloom weavers, not only in Chatburn, but in the surrounding district. He bought and distributed weft, took the finished material and disposed of it at Colne and other markets. He had a large room near his house for storing cloth.
We next came to Muck Street, which consisted of three houses facing Downham, and opposite the Old School. In the first lived John Bold, pedlar, in the next Jane Banks, and in the third John Highton. These houses had one room downstairs and a like number upstairs. There was only one entrance to each house. Above these houses was a piece of land belonging to Thomas Briggs, father of Miss Briggs confectioner. Above this piece of land were two houses named Ring Spiddick(?). John Cottam(?) now living in West Bradford, was born in one of these houses. The present water meter marks the site of Ring Spiddick.
3. THE VILLAGE
There was an old house where the road now begins for Clough Bank, and behind this house was a croft. John Dale, occupier and owner of this house, and the three houses above was a small farmer.
Commencing from the bridge near the Watchmakers shop, crossing the brook, shortly afterwards, and then through a small gate, a footpath led by the brook to Brookshod Eaves. Many will have noticed the unfinished railway bridge was Clough Bank. This bridge was for the footpath just mentioned. Whilst the railway bridge was being built in 1875, a new bridge was also being erected across the Ribble, between Chatburn and Grindleton. By the consent of the Chatburn Ratepayers the building of the railway bridge was discontinued, on condition that the railway company give a substantial subscriptions towards the cost of erecting Grindleton bridge.
Where Thomas Wignall lives ( 9, Downham Road.) was an old house facing the main road. Marjory Wilson lived here, and behind, her brother, lived in a house nearer the brook. Old Marjory baked, and sold oat cake, and kept one of the old fashioned mangles well weighted with heavy stones. Here nearly the whole of the village brought their clothes to be smoothed. The charge for a basket of clothes was a halfpenny if you turned the mangle, and a penny if some other person had to do the work. Above here was a house where Tommy Whittam lived and another where Mrs Baldwin now lives. Behind this property there were formerly tar pits. Some houses had to be pulled down where the railway passes through. The main road here has been made considerably higher. Next to the road was a piece of fenced ground, and behind this two cottages where lived John Barton, Pedlar, father of Mrs Harry Walker, and in the other John Taylor, father of John Taylor, Tailor, and grandfather of the late John Taylor, watchmaker. Next to these were two other houses occupied by Ellen Lund and Richard Chatburn.
The village stocks were situated on raised ground near here, and we still have the names Stock's Hill and Stock's Cottage. On the road leading to Pendle Avenue was the workshop of Francis Barton. Some of the Churches he made are still in use. He also made and repaired casks, and tubs for farmers. Next is the house of Miss E. Barton called Stock's Cottage, and aqjoining this was a building used as a weaving shed, and afterwards as the Wesleyan Chapel. Above this weaving shed and leading to Pendle View were two houses now tenanted by Elizabeth Watson and William Jeffs. There was no Pendle View then. The allotments system seems to have been adopted long since in Chatburn for the land where the houses are built on was left for garden plots. A barn and shippons stood where the Reading Room is now built.
Original services in Chatburn
The present church dates back to 1837, when the population of Chatburn was about 600, and chiefly consisted of hand loom weavers and small farms. To attend worship they had to travel two miles to Clitheroe, although that had possibly been made slightly easier by the opening of the steep Old road. For some years the vicar of Clitheroe had conducted an evening service in the old schoolroom in the village, but although this was well attended it had to be discontinued because of his increasing commitments to Clitheroe.
Plans to build Christ Church
Under the leadership of two local laymen, William and Dixon Robinson, a decision was made to open a subscription fund to build a small church in Chatburn, in which the services of the Church of England should be regularly administered by a resident clergyman.
In just over three months there was enough money for a start to be made. The present site, overlooking the Ribble Valley, was donated by the Robinsons, and on Tuesday June 22nd 1837 the foundation stone was laid in the presence, it is said of over a thousand people.
Christ Church - Queen Victoria’s first church
Since Queen Victoria had only been on the throne for three days, Christ Church Chatburn has the distinction of being the first church to be built in her reign, in the whole of the United Kingdom.
The church was built in the Romanesque style at a total cost of £1,622 and it was completed in just over a year. The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd John Bird Sumner, consecrated the church on September 18th 1838 and on the same day the Revd Robert Ingram was nominated as the first incumbent.
On Wednesday May 3rd 1854, the spire and Tower were severely damaged by lightning and were left in a dangerous condition. Most of the steeple had to be pulled down and repairs were finished in the autumn. The “Illustrated London News” carried an interesting sketch of the damaged church.
In the spring of 1881 it was decided to enlarge the church. This project came at the suggestion of Mrs Dixon Robinson who offered a generous donation in the memory of her husband, who had died in 1878, and of the Revd Robert Ingram, her brother, who died the following year. The walls of the nave up to the west doors were taken down, and the church was widened by the addition of north and south aisles, which were divided from the nave by three arches on each side. The chancel was doubled in size and the north and south transepts added. The chancel was designed especially as a memorial to the Revd Robert Ingram who had served for 41 years as the first vicar of Chatburn. It has three stained glass windows, paid for by parishioners. The middle window represents the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ; the right (south side) window depicts St martin, recalling the 16th century chantry chapel down Ribble Lane; the left (north side) window represents Paulinus, about whom there Is considerable interest today. He brought the gospel to these parts in the 7th century. He had links with Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, with York Minster and possibly Whalley Abbey, and may have travelled through the Todmorden gap.
The Lectern, a fine brass (effect) eagle, was presented by Mr Ralph Assheton when the church was enlarged, as a further memorial to the Revd Robert Ingram. It is an exact copy of the lectern in Southwell Minster, which came originally from Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire, founded in 1170 by Henry 11. It was discovered in a lake at Newstead in the 18th century, having probably been thrown there at the time of the dissolution two centuries earlier. Interestingly, another copy of this lectern stands in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s private chapel at Lambeth Palace. Archbishop Edward Benson (1883-96) so admired its excellent design and proportions that he presented a copy as a memorial to his daughter.
The font was presented in November 1902 by Mrs Watney and Mrs Mussor in memory of Margaret Elizabeth Robinson, who lived at the Manor House and worshipped regularly at the church. A few months later Mrs Watney sent an oak cover for the font, a fine piece of carving done by herself, a remarkable achievement for a lady in her seventies.
The first organ was installed in April 1848, bought for £95. It was designed for a drawing room and had a rosewood case and silk front which in 1851 was exchanged for a case of a more ecclesiastical style. The organ was sold for £8 in 1890 and installed in the Wesleyan chapel at Low Moor, Clitheroe.
The pipe organ now sadly at the end of its life, was purchased in 1890 for £399. The pipes still remain in situ for all to admire. It was opened on Monday May 5th in the presence of the Bishop of Manchester, into which diocese Lancashire had been transferred in 1848, when the new Manchester diocese was created out of part of Chester diocese. A very large congregation, it is recorded, witnessed the organ’s inauguration.
The new Allen “Protégé two manual organ was installed in 2012.
The churchyard commands a fine view of the Ribble Valley, looking over towards West Bradford and Grindleton. Among the many graves of the Victorian era are those of the Revd Robert Ingram and his mother Matilda Ingram; and also of Paul Lancaster who died aged 12 days in April 1858. Graves of children who more recently have died include Andrew Marsden, who died from an accident in April 2002 aged 8 years, and Lola Kay, who died in April 2008 at the age of 8 days.
Over the last 190 years Christ Church has been blessed by many people who have given the church and their Lord long and faithful service. Of its vicars, Robert Ingram, already mentioned, served for 41 years, Robert Gray and Hugh Pinchin for 21 years, and Alfred Swallow for 16 years. Laurence Robinson was churchwarden for 50 years until his death in 1902 aged 77, and William Wheeler for 41 years until his death at the age of 87 in 1903. Arthur Farnell and Colin Wiseman are more recent examples of long and faithful service.
Mrs Chorlton was choir mistress from 1878 until at least the end of 1930. Norman Hudson was organist for 27 years and Norman Lawson for 29 years. Dorothy Brewer was organist for over 21 years but returned more recently to fulfil that role. Geoffrey Hitchen returned to the church where he served his first organist’s appointment, when still a teenager, from 1945 to 1948.
Mrs Lilian Swallow, wife of Alfred, the vicar, was the choir mistress at that time.
Recent vicars of Chatburn include the Revd Norman Maddock, during whose incumbency the church celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1988 with a flower festival and other events. Most of the information in this leaflet comes from the short history produced for the flower festival.
Canon Cecil Butlin established a vigorous evangelical tradition. During his time in Chatburn, which was ended by his sudden death from a heart attack in 1983, Capernwray Bible School students helped with the evangelism at Christ Church, and under his ministry Carol Walker was converted to a dynamic faith in Jesus Christ. A fine preacher, she was Reader at Chatburn for many years.
The Revd Walter Drain maintained a long and faithful ministry for over 18 years, continuing the pattern of good Bible teaching and being closely involved with Chatburn school. Christian commitment to mission outside the parish was re-emphasised by Walter and Enid Drain, especially in supporting Tear Fund and SAMS (South American Missionary Society).
Christ Church in the present
Following the retirement of Walter Drain in 2002, the Revd Canon Rodney Nicholson, vicar of St Paul’s Low Moor, became Priest-in-charge of Chatburn and Downham, retiring in October 2014. He is succeeded by our current priest in charge the Revd Andy Froud, who is also vicar of St Mary Magdalene, Clitheroe, and is assisted by the Revd Anne Hardacre, a retired assistant priest, who is present most Sundays. In September 2018 the Revd Catherine Hale-Heighway became Associate Minister with responsibility for Christ Church, Chatburn and St.Pauls, Low Moor, Clitheroe. Revd Canon David Mewis, retired Priest is also our current organist.
New Organ and Re-ordering
The redundant Pipe organ was replaced by an electronic instrument in 2012. Much of the £15,000 cost being raised through various fund raising events, such as concerts and direct giving. These quarterly high quality music events have become an important part of the church’s activities. The Re-ordering is now complete. We can now boast a fully functioning kitchen, disabled toilet and baby changing facilities as well as a new vestry and meeting room. A new heating system has also been installed, making the church ready and fit for the 21st century. This has been done at a cost of £110,000.00.
Working with Chatburn Methodist Church
Any history of the Christian Church in Chatburn would be incomplete if it mentioned only one of the village's two churches. Division in the church of Christ is sad and scandalous, so that it is regrettable, in one sense, that in Chatburn, as in other villages, we have two churches rather than just one.
Today the Church of England and the Methodist Church have formed a covenant. We, in Chatburn, are developing a closer relationship through Churches Together in Chatburn- to which Roy Porter, a retired local butcher and prominent Christian, and others have given every support. We have united services, a joint Newsletter and shared children’s work.
Make a Joyful Noise
In 2011 we began a popular evening of hymn singing - hymns old and new - called “Make a Joyful Noise” which currently takes place on alternate Mondays at the Methodist Church, Christ Church and Top Chapel, led by Roy Porter and Geoff Hitchen. The event attracts those from both inside and outside Chatburn, who enjoy singing.
A brief history of Chatburn Methodist Church
The present Chatburn Methodist Church was opened in 2002, replacing the former large chapel which was built in 1883. Problems with the building which was both imposing yet, in places, resembling a rabbit warren meant that it was unsuited to present day needs.
The new building provides warmth and comfort and is particularly suitable for small groups. Methodism in Chatburn began, however, long before 1883.
In the 1860s, Mr Crompton, the stationmaster, was an enthusiastic Methodist and meetings were held in a building which became the Bold Venture Lime Company’s office. A cottage in Downham Road, opposite Townhead Farm, was then rented and fitted up for services, with a small pulpit from the Sunday School at Clitheroe.
There was then talk of building a chapel, which became a reality lower down Downham Road, at the corner, above the railway bridge. Congregations at the old chapel were large in the 1870s, when men building the railway line to Hellifield, swelled the numbers. A minister was first stationed at Chatburn in 1887, and shortly afterwards, there were plans to build the “new” chapel, which would survive until 2002.
The Methodist Church, like Christ Church, has known many examples of devoted service to the Lord.
A mile from Chatburn is the hamlet of Worston. At the end of the 19th century the Worston Mission Room was established for the benefit of the people of Worston, so that they might be able to attend services of the Church of England in their own village, and also be able to pursue other wholesome activities there.
The vicar of Chatburn has traditionally served this unlicensed mission room in his Parish, but the quarterly services were discontinued many years ago, since the small population of the village did not justify its own services. In these days of readily accessible private transport it made more sense to come to Christ Church.
Recently, however, the Worston Mission Room has been tastefully refurbished and is well looked after by the caretakers, Sue and David Tattersall, a Christian couple, who rent the adjoining cottage.
Occasional activities are held there, including carol singing and refreshments at Christmas.
These are exciting days of great opportunity for the Church. At the end of the day, neither Methodism nor Anglicanism is important, but Christianity itself. The same Lord Jesus Christ, who inspired the building of both places of worship, calls men and women to love and serve Him in today’s world. By his living Holy Spirit He is able to give ‘life in all its fullness’, the assurance of forgiveness and the hope of life eternal. We are called to be world-changers, bringing through Christian aid and other means, healing and hope to the broken and oppressed, as we worship Christ, the Lord of glory.
Note all updates / alterations / repairs had to undertaken after obtaining a Church Faculty from the Diocese. Big thanks to all who contributed in obtaining these permissions.
Restoration of Stained Glass Windows- January 2020
The stained glass windows on the north side of the building (the weathered side) have been cleaned and renovated. The rusty mesh has been removed and poly-carbonate sheets now protect the historic windows. What a difference to the internal light this has made.
The south side still need to be done and this is what they look like before restoration.
Clearly shown in the photograph above are the newly restored (March 2019) down spouts. Being a Grade II listed building we had to restore rather than rip out and replace with plastic (quite right too).
They have been replaced with new oak doors. Not a lot of people know this but the old ones were actually softwood painted to look like oak. They had been repaired so may times it was like "Trigs brush" (Fools and Horse's fan know what I mean). Whilst security is an important factor, draft proofing and strength have been restored.
Following the gales in February 2020, the lightning conductor decided to abdicate its role and took a dive through the roof. The hole in the roof has been repaired and we await the rod to be re-installed. No one was injured but daylight was seen from the inside, at the entrance to the back of church.
As of writing this update (March 2020) the clock is temporarily out of action. Two parts of the mechanism were failing and have been taken away for refurbishing. It is hoped that the clock will be back in operation shortly. The clock is an integral part of the community and as such we have had many requests as to when it is going to be operational. In its heyday it was the key point of reference for the local workforce's comings and going's.
The inner entrance doors to church have been restored / re-furbished. This will help to keep the drafts out of church and hopefully we will get rid of the creaking / banging when it is windy.
Cement is still a significant business in Chatburn.
I have included the photographs but I am hoping to get some more and also add some more narative.
Swipe or slide for more photographs
Various photographs of the village of Chatburn. Descriptions to follow. WIP as at 09/10/2020 :)
Swipe or slide for more photographs
Worster Hill, Memorial
Photographs of the memorial stone on Worster Hill, Worston. Descriptions to follow. WIP as at 14/10/2020 :)
As already said, much of the information in this document was written for the Flower Festival booklet (1988).
The piece about the history of Chatburn Methodist Church comes from the Jubilee Souvenir of 1933, kindly given by Roy Porter.
May 2008 - First produced
July 2015 - Reprinted with some corrections and revisions by Andy Froud, priest-in-charge
December 2017 - Reproduced / reformatted with small revisions.
May 2019 - Updated / Reformatted by John Farrimond
March 2020 - extra photographs by John Farrimond
July 2020 - Additional information / photographs provided by Roy Porter
8th October 2020 - Photographs added and new Mill section.
9th October 2020 - Images added to Railway and New section "Village"
14th October 2020 - Images added and New section "Kilns"
19th January 2021 - Added Worston tab.
If you have any revisions or spotted anything that needs an update please E-Mail
If you have found this useful then why not consider a donation to keep the church alive.
Thanking You in anticipation.