History of Bolton Parish Church

The present town centre Church of St Peter, Bolton-le-Moors occupies the same commanding position as its predecessors. Fragments of stone from the previous Saxon and Norman buildings are that remain of the earliest buildings and they can be seen, along with other artefacts, in the Museum Corner of the Church.

This building is on of the finest examples of Victorian Gothic style and was built as a replacement for its 15th Century predecessor, which had fallen into disrepair. It was consecrated and reopened by Bishop James Fraser (Bishop of Manchester, 1870-1885) on St Peter’s Day, 29 June 1871. The cost (£45000) was met by Peter Ormrod (1795-1875), a wealthy cotton manufacturer and banker, and was designed by the Lancaster architect, E J Paley of Paley & Austin.

Built of Longridge stone and of beautiful proportions, the Church is 156ft from East to West, 67ft from North to South and 82ft high. The spaciousness of the interior has been enhanced by the removal of superfluous pews. 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 were installed in 1974. The tower is also home to the original 1699 tenor bell, which is hung "dead" and rung electrically when the ringers are unavailable. Once a year the tower is open to visitors to admire the surrounding countryside and the ancient art of bell ringing which is still carried out each Sunday morning as it has been for the past 300 years.

There is much to see inside the Church, including a renovated ‘Hill’ organ case, a Saxon cross and coffin, some fine stained glass windows, painted chancel roof and reredos and carved pews from the old Church.

The Church fulfils an important Civic as well as congregational function and acts as host to large Services, Concerts and Exhibitions.

There are several leaflets available to guide the visitor around the Church.

Visitors are welcomed on the following days and times:

Tuesday to Saturday 10.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.

Sunday 8.00 a.m., 10.30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m.