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            The Parish Church of St. Mary,

           Penwortham

The Churchyard


He vast churchyard may b seen by some as the unearned legacy of a rich monastic past. In fact, Penwortham churchyard was very small until the middle of the 19 century. Land was then obtained, by purchase and gift, from inheritors of the estates of which Henry VIII had despoiled the Priory.


Until 1853 the churchyard was an oval patch of ground, extending from just north of the fork in the main path to a little south of the present bank on the north side of the church.


In 1853-4 a small amount of land was bought from the trustees of Lawrence Rawstorne.


The churchyard wall was almost completely rebuilt, the boundaries extended a further ten yards north and south; and the shape of the yard became more nearly a rectangle. Ground on the north side of the church was levelled, extending the plateau and moving the bank further north.  The cost of this was about £190, the grater part of which was spent on levelling the ground and in building a new boundary wall.  The cost of this was absorbed by the Church Rates in a few years. (In 1604, the wall was staked was staked out in various sections and different parts of the Parish took responsibility for one section, but by the 19th century works and repairs were simply paid for from the common rate).


A second extension, southwards to the present boundary, was given by Lawrence Rawstorne and consecrated by the Bishop of Manchester in 1870. And according to the eulogising account in the Parish Magazine (the account runs to over 2,000 words), the event was attended by 1,000 people.


The next extension, brought the northern boundary of the Churchyard to its present position.  It included Castle Hill and was conditionally (see the section dealing with the Vicarage) presented by Lawrence Rawstorne to mark the Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887.


Purchases of land in 1921 and 1927 secured the new Graveyard to the west of the Church, together with part of Crow Wood beyond. This was consecrated on Michaelmas Day 1932 by the Bishop of Whalley (in the presence of 70 people; the enthusiasm for new graveyards had declined a little since 1887).  The large Yorkshire sandstone cross, given anonymously and designed by Mr. G.H. Broadbent, was dedicated in 1935.


Volunteers, led by the wardens, worked to make the Garden of Remembrance in the Summer and Autumn of 1964, and it was first used for the interment of ashes on Whit Sunday of the following year.


A faculty for the removal of all but a few of the kerbstones around individual grave plots in the north and south yards was obtained in 1970, as a a first step in making manageable what was known as a sexton’s nightmare. A sundial pedestal stands beneath the tower (its gnomon has been removed to

The safety of the Vestry). It was dated 1845.


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