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The Church of St Leonard, Padiham
in the County of
-- Lancashire --

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St Leonard
in the Parish of Padiham

An old drawing of St Leonard, Padiham
An old drawing of St Leonard, Padiham

The first church on this site dates from 1451 when Henry VI granted a licence to Sir John Marshall to purchase land “for the use of a chantry priest at the church or chapel of Padiham”.

Circa1520 in the reign of Henry VIII, before the dissolution of the monastery at Whalley, a second church was built in a form and of proportions similar to the present building.

In 1766 the church was enlarged and widened so that only the tower and part of the chancel remained of the original building. The chapel and subsequent churches at Padiham were attached to Whalley for over 400 years and it was not until 1865 that Padiham became a separate parish.

The present Grade 2 listed building, designed by a parishioner Mr. William Waddington, is of Modern Gothic 15th century style. It was built in 1869 at a cost of about £8,000 to replace the 1766 church which had become unsafe.

The Church of St Leonard
The Church of St Leonard
The Interior of St Leonard
The Interior of St Leonard

Rev. John Adamson

The Rev. John Adamson, who served from 1793 to 1823, proved to be a stickler for detail and was quite critical of what had taken place prior to his arrival, as can be seen from his notes relating to the Registers for 1573-1653.

Also in the early 1800’s he added copious notes to the various registers. These included Weather Reports, Census counts and Overseers Reports (a count of events for each year). These have been transcribed as separate documents as they provide a valuable insight into life and events in these times.

Church Burial Ground

The closed burial ground on the North Side of the Church was extended during 1802.

“During the autumn of 1834 the Chapelry was visited with the malignant cholera and a dreadful mortality ensued. Previous to this visitation of Providence the existing cemetery was by no means commensurate with the population of the district. Since that period, very great inconvenience was experienced in finding space for the burial of the dead.”

These circumstances induced the parishioners to petition Le Gendre Nicholas Starkie Esq. to allow them to purchase the land on Blackburn Road now occupied as a cemetery, which is freehold. This land was generously given to the church by Mr Starkie in 1853. The land was enclosed, a sum of £500 being borrowed for the purpose. Much difficulty was experienced in repaying this loan. Two alternatives were named, the introduction of a cemetery rate or the placing of a Tax on burials in addition to the existing dues. From receipts preserved, interest on borrowings is shown as being paid during 1858.

[Found in St Leonard’s baptism register 1847-1853]

May 15th 1866. All Saints Chapel in the Church of England Cemetery opened with Divine Service & Holy Communion. 40 communicants. Sermon by Revd., H. A. Starkie B. A. Incumbent of Stainforth. The Chapel is erected by Mrs. Starkie & her children as a memorial to the late Le Gendre Nicholas Starkie who died May 15 1865.

A non conformist burial ground was projected during 1856 and an amusing poster [below] worded in dialect appeared in protest. This concludes, “There’s a grand burial ground provided almost free o’ charge an large enuff to bury all t’ folk for this ant’ next generashun so that a new cemetery is a needless expense.

Cemetery Poster
Cemetery Poster
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