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            The Parish Church of St. Mary,


St. Leonard’s, Penwortham

Designated a Conventional District in 1959, the area became a separate parish in 1972.

Until the iron church was built at the beginning of the 20th century services were held in the “Chapel Room” of the school. A new church, designed by Lilley and Kirkham, was dedicated in 1970. It was damaged by fire in 1973 but quickly repaired.

Province, Diocese and Deanery

Until  the 10th century all of Lancashire was in the province and Diocese of York. From that century until just before the Reformation, the part of the County south of the Ribble (including Penwortham) was in the Province of Canterbury and Diocese of Lichfield.

In 1541, Penwortham was incorporated in the newly formed Diocese of Chester.  This diocese spent a year in Canterbury Province, but in 1542 was transferred to the Province of York.  From then on, Penwortham has remained in the province of York, but at the beginning of 1848 was included in the new Diocese of Manchester, and early in 1927 was included in the new Diocese of Blackburn.

From the earliest references to it, Penwortham has been included in the Deanery of Leyland.

The Clergy of Penwortham

Until the Dissolution, Penwortham Church was supplied with a Chaplain from the nearby Priory.  After the Dissolution the first clergyman whose name we know lived at Penwortham in about 1580.  Until the middle of the 17th century the clergyman was always known as “Curate”. From then on until the early 19th century, he was called “Minister”, although Henry Rycroft in 1675 felt it appropriate to style himself “Rector”.  From 1832, Penwortham has had an “Incumbent”, and from 1868 it had a “Vicar”.

On the next page  is a list of Penwortham’s clergymen, together with the approximate probable date when they took up office.

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