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The present town centre Church of St Peter, Bolton-le-Moors occupies the same commanding position as its predecessors. Until the 1840's, the ancient ecclesiastical parish of Bolton-le-Moors covered a large area and was divided into townships - the modern parish covers the town centre and its immediate surroundings. Fragments of stone from the previous Saxon and Norman buildings are all that remain of the earliest buildings.
This Grade II* listed building is one of the finest examples of the Victorian Gothic Revival style and replaced the previous 15th century church which had fallen into disrepair. Designed by the Lancaster architect, E J Paley of Paley & Austin, it is built of Longridge stone and of beautiful proportions (156ft from East to West, 67ft from North to South and 82ft high). The church was consecrated and reopened by Bishop James Fraser (Bishop of Manchester) on St Peter’s Day, 29 June 1871. The cost (£45,000) was met by Peter Ormrod (1795-1875), a wealthy cotton manufacturer and banker (the side chapel at the east end of the church is dedicated to his memory).
The tower - said to be the highest Parish Church tower in Lancashire - is 180ft high and commands extensive views over the surrounding moor lands, from which the old title of Bolton-le-Moors originates. It contains a peal of 13 bells, installed in 1974, and is also home to the original 1699 tenor bell, which is hung “dead” and rung electrically when the ringers are unavailable. (For more information on the bells, see the separate section under "Parish activities")
There is much to see inside the church, including a renovated ‘Hill’ organ case, a Saxon cross and coffin, some fine stained glass windows (including one from the previous building), the painted chancel roof and reredos and carved pews from the old church. The spaciousness of the interior has been enhanced by the subsequent removal of superfluous pews - and more recently, a new underfloor heating system has been installed.
The church is open for private prayer and for visitors on the following days and times:
Tuesday : 11.45 am to 1.15 pm (Midweek Communion Service at 12.15 pm)
Thursday : 11.45 am to 1.15 pm (Midweek Communion Service at 12.15 pm)
Sunday: Before or after (but not during) our main service at 10.30 a.m.
Group visits and guided tours can also be arranged on request - please contact the Parish Office in the first instance.