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The Church of St Nicholas, Newchurch in Rossendale
in the County of
-- Lancashire --

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St Nicholas, Newchurch
St Nicholas, Newchurch

In 1511, Henry VIII was King and Newchurch was a ‘Chapel of Ease’ to the Castle Chapel of St Michael, Clithero, in the Diocese of Chester served by the monks of Whalley Abbey which was situated within the parish of the parochial church of Clithero. The township of Newchurch stretched from Bacup to Rawtenstall with a population of about 1000 people. St Nicholas is the third church on the site. The first church was thought to be made of wood and erected in 1511, dedicated to the ‘Chapel of Our Saviour in Rossendale’.

In 1550, Edward VI was king when the inhabitants of Newchurch petitioned for the Church to receive the full rights of a Parish Church, which was granted.

It was rebuilt in stone in 1561 in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, and re-dedicated to the Holy Trinity—the octagonal stone columns with splayed caps, within the church, are thought to date from this time. A consecration stone in the porch bears the initials of Elizabeth 1 dated 1561 with the Royal Arms of England including French fleur-de-lys.

The present church dedicated to St Nicholas was started in 1824 and consecrated on the 12th September 1826 by the bishop of Chester—Dr Blomfield. A stone plaque over the West door is lettered and dated: GEO 1V REX 1825.

In 1512 Lettice Jackson left buildings and land to form the ‘Newchurch Chapelry Estate’, and this was able to pay the Rector’s Stipend each year for over 450 years! As late as 1960 it could still pay his stipend, but now all Priests are paid from a central fund managed by the Church Commissioners and the Diocese of Manchester, and supported by the Parish Share—a sum of money which each parish has to find each year towards the stipend of its priest and the running of the Diocese of Manchester. The Diocese of Manchester was established on 10th August 1847 by Order in Council.

There is a list of Rectors and Vicars of St Nicholas Church from 1511 recorded upon an oak tablet on the North Wall of the Church

 1511  James Roberts  1850  J. B. Phillips
 1515  Edward Tattersall  1891  Herbert Bury
 1521  Stephen Smith  1896  John Bennett
 1532  George Gregory  1906  J. S. Addison
 1548  Henry Ramsbottom  1920  G. E. Knapp-Fisher
 1592  James Kershaw  1928  Maxwell Young
 1622  William Horrocks  1942  Stanley Lane
 1646  Robert Dewhurst  1956  G. Hamilton Richards
 1662  Thomas Sanders  1957  Francis Bennett
 1695  Thomas Leigh  1961  Frank Robinson
 1726  John Welsh  1972  John Titterington
 1767  John Shorrock  1973  Parish of St Nicholas and St John Established
 1802  Nicholas Baldwin  1981  Alan Toombs
 1811  David Rathbone  1985  Parish of St Nicholas with St John and St Michael established
 1825  Philip Abbot  1999  Charles Ellis
 1833  Edward Burrow  2005  Susan A Davies

The original Parish Registers from 1853 to the present day are held by the Incumbent at the Church. Earlier records can be accessed at:-

Manchester Archives and Local Studies, Central Library
Baptisms-1654-1778- Archives L75
Baptisms-1778-1853- MFPR 200
Baptisms-1853-1890- MFPR 1756
Baptisms-1890-1952- MFPR 1757
Baptisms Tr.-1653-1723- 929.3272 N5
Baptisms Tr.-1723-1812- LPRS Transcript
Burials-1653-1761- Archives L75
Burials-1775-1848- MFPR 200
Burials-1848-1871- MFPR 1536
Burials-1871-1933- MFPR 1757
Burials Tr.-1653-1723- 929.3272 N5
Burials Tr.-1723-1809- LPRS Transcript
Marriage Idx.-1813-1837- Rossendale Fiche N4
Marriages-1654-1763- Archives L75
Marriages-1763-1845- MFPR 201
Marriages-1845-1864- MFPR 1535
Marriages-1864-1914- MFPR 1758
Marriages Tr.-1654-1723- 929.3272 N5
Marriages Tr.-1723-1774- LPRS Transcript

Rawtenstall Library
Microfiche Copies of Parish Registers 1606 to 1803

This historical compilation and the transcription of the Parish Registers would not have been possible without the help and assistance of the Revd Sue Davies, Area Dean and Team Vicar for St. Nicholas Church with St. John and St. Michael, Newchurch, together with her husband Rob Davies. They have provided invaluable help and assistance in giving me access to Parish Registers and Church archives. More information can be found on the St Nicholas website.

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