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St Mary and All Saints Parish Church, Whalley, Lancashire

St Mary's exterior by Barbara Ballard Whalley had a church as far back as Saxon times. Another church was built around 1080, and bits of this church still remain as seen in the south porch door of the present church. The church we see today was begun sometime after the beginning of the 13th century. The tower, dating from 1440, measures 20 feet square and is 66 feet high and is strengthen with corner buttresses. There is a ring of eight bells although four only existed in the early 1700s.

A priestís door dating from the 13th century is located on the south side of the chancel. The iron work and bronze head knocker are original. The clerestory windows have undergone several changes, having been enlarged due to a blocked west window when the tower was built. Two dormer windows were added to let in more light. The east window is mid 15th century and is mostly original. It has heraldic shields dating from 1816.

Wood carvings by Barbara Ballard The slate in the church roof was replaced in 1836, while the church clock is from 1819 and replaced an earlier one. In the church interior the 15th century chancel screen and a medieval pew survive. In the nave is a large pew that is enclosed by screens. The chancel dates from 1200-1220; the arch is late Norman in style. The wood of its roof is original. There are a number of monuments in the chancel. In the south wall are a piscina, credence and sedilia. The twenty light candelabrum is 18th century.

Interior aisle by Barbara Ballard The nave has four bays with north and south aisles added in the second half of the 1200s. Two different types of pillars are hereóround on the north and octagonal on the south. The late 15th century nave roof is oak with carved bosses.

Church interior by Barbara Ballard Of particular note and not to be missed in the church are the choir stalls with their misericords that were carved c1430 for Whalley abbey. They were moved to the church when the abbey was dissolved. The pulpit is modern while the font is 15th century. A large oak chest dates from 1684 and once held church documents. The organ dates from 1727 but first resided at Lancaster priory before arriving at Whalley in 1813.

Celtic cross in church yard by Barbara Ballard The north and south aisles have two chapels. In the north aisle a screen dates from the 15th century. Brasses, memorials and tombstones are located in the chapels. In the north aisle is an oak case with chained books. The south aisle screen is 14th century while the piscina is 13th. There are grave slabs on the floor.

Celtic cross in church yard by Barbara Ballard In the churchyard are carved Celtic crosses with the oldest dating from the 10th century. There are two stone coffins near the tower and a number of interesting gravestones.

Visitor Information

Whalley is located on the A59 south of Clitheroe, Lancashire.

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