Rivington Church is an active Anglican parish church in RivingtonRivington is a village in the Borough of Chorley, to the northwest of Bolton on the fringe of the West Pennine Moors., Lancashire. The church has no patron saint and is not named after a saint or martyr. It is in the Deane deanery, the Bolton archdeanery and Diocese of Manchester. The church was designated a Grade II listed building in 1967.
A small plain church in a circular churchyard, it has an early origin. An unusual detatched bellhouse was built in the churchyard in the 1540s. When Rivington was created a parish in 1856, the parishioners were able to elect their own minister.
Three acres (1.2 ha) of “terra ecclesiastical” in Rivington were mentioned in a deed dated 1280. A Saxon font found in the vicarage garden is housed in the church’s Millennium Room. The graveyard is circular, which is typical of churches of early foundation. That, and the Saxon font, may be evidence of pre-Conquest foundation. Arched windows on the church’s south side are cut from solid stone, another Saxon feature.
A chapel of ease[a] in the ancient parishAncient or ancient ecclesiastical parishes encompassed groups of villages and hamlets and their adjacent lands over which a clergyman had jurisdiction. of Bolton le Moors was built in the late 15th century and rebuilt or restored by the lord of the manor, Richard Pilkington around 1540. At the consecration by the Bishop of Chester in October 1541, the residents stated on oath they had worshipped at the site for generations. In 1566 Queen Elizabeth I granted letters patent for a licence to provide a curate or minister and allow baptisms, marriages and burials at the church for the inhabitants of Rivington, Anglezarke, Hemshaws and Foulds. Before this time the inhabitants had to travel to the surrounding parish churches. A major rebuild took place in 1666 In 1832 the church was damaged by an arsonist.
Rivington was created a parish out of the ancient ecclesiastical parish of Bolton le Moors. In 1856, and at their own cost, and by a privilege that few churches in the country possessed, the parishioners were able to elect their own minister.
The church is a small, plain building that remains primarily as rebuilt in 1666 with alterations and restoration in the late-19th century. It is built of irregularly coursed sandstone with large quoins, some measuring five feet, at the corners and the roof is covered with green slates and finished with overhanging eaves. The naveCentral part of a church, used by the laiety. is 55 feet 6 inches (16.9 m) long and 27 feet 6 inches (8.4 m) wide, and the chancel measures 13 feet 6 inches (4.1 m) by 15 feet 6 inches (4.7 m). The three-bay nave has square-headed windows of three square lights on the north side, and round heads on the south side. The chancel has three round-headed lights in each side and a five-light east window.
The west gable wall has an elliptical-headed doorway and an octagonal bell turret with a square base and conical roof with a weather vane. The 19th-century gabled porch is between the centre and western windows on the south side and a modern vestry is on north side. There are doorways between the second and third windows from the east on each side and a door at the west end. In 2014 an extension was added to the west end, providing a reception and display area, toilet and kitchen.
The roof has four collar trusses with bracing to tie-beams and collars. The church is furnished with a late medieval oak screen and a late 16th-century octagonal, oak pulpit on a stem with two linen-fold panels in each side. The screen and pulpit are considered to predate the church building. The church retains an 18th-century brass chandelier with fluted body and two tiers of arms. On the north wall is a copy of a 16th-century painting of the Pilkington family.
The church was restored in 1861 at a cost of £500. An “inward-jutting porch” was built at the west entrance, Minton tiles were laid in centre aisle, the altar was raised and railings installed in front, the rood screen was restored, the walls were panelled to a height of 5 feet (1.5 m) The pipe organ by Lewis & Co from 1884 was overhauled in 1927 by Jardine and Co. In 1923 electric lighting was installed in the church.
Churchyard and bellhouse
The bellhouse, a Grade II Listed building in the churchyard is a small, square, single-storey structure built in sandstone with a stone slate roof. It has a basement and outside steps and held a large bell bought from All Saints’ Church, Wigan in 1542. The bell was sold by church commissioners around 1551. It is the only such structure in Lancashire and has been used as a charnel house but is now used by the sexton and grave digger.
In the circular churchyard, the earliest gravestone is marked 1617. A lych gate was erected in 1923. The churchyard contains three Commonwealth war graves, one from World War I and two from World War II. Several headstones were moved to the east end and laid flat in 2008. Near the entrance, the Anderton Stone which depicts shack bolts from the Anderton coat of arms and a crucified figure with the letters INRI, is believed to originate from Anderton Hall Chapel. Above it is a carved Sator Square reading “SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS” which possibly predates the Christian era.
- A chapel of ease or daughter church is an additional Anglican church other than the parish church within a parish.