Chorley Parish Church of St Laurence

Chorley Parish Church of St Laurence
category: 
Churches
subject: 
St Laurence's Church
Image Description: 

Chorley Parish Church of St Laurence is probably the oldest building in Chorley and for 800 years has been central to the life and heritage of Chorley.

The church of St Laurence certainly existed in the Saxon period although originally it was a daughter Church of Croston Parish Church and was styled in documents as a Chapel. The first wooden structure sited where the present Lady Chapel is sited and has long since disappeared, as has a much earlier building which was destroyed by the Scots. . The present structure founded by the Normans has had additions made to it both in the Victorian period as well as the twentieth century.

The first mention of a priest in Chorley was in 1362. This was during one of the plague years which the citizens of Chorley had to endure.

The Church reliquary contains bones which a letter written in 1442, now in the British Museum, claims to be those of the 4th Century martyr St Laurence. The original bones are no longer in the reliquary. The bones are said to have been hidden from the troops and placed the Standish vault beneath chancel by parishioners when Cromwell’s soldiers were destroying traces of Catholicism from the Parish Churches of England.

Throughout the centuries St Laurence Church has been witness to violent upheavals in Chorley as well as to periods of peace. At the Reformation the Latin Roman Catholic rites were changed to those of the vernacular English. During the Commonwealth troops of Cromwell broke most of the medieval stained glass and destroyed the ancient statues.

The building had even been used as a court room for trials of felons.

St Laurence Church is important also within the history of the USA. Myles Standish, one of the founding fathers of that nation, has always been regarded locally as having links to the Standish family whose ancient pew still exists in the Church. Myles Standish named his estates in New England Duxbury. Citizens from America still visit the Church to sit in the Elizabethan Standish pew
.
Around the walls of the Church are monuments and inscriptions which depict many of the important people who have contributed to the heritage of Chorley over the centuries. Although most of the medieval windows were destroyed in the Commonwealth period some fine windows remain including a window donated by the first Mayor of Chorley installed in recognition of the town receiving its Royal Charter.

St Laurence continues to have a vital worshipping congregation with a range of weekday activities which contribute to the life and heritage of Chorley today just as it has done through the centuries.
Further details will be found at www.stlaurencechorley.co.uk

 
Since becoming Chorley Parish Church it has become the Mother Church to the other Churches of Chorley. Although an earlier building was destroyed by the Scots it was replaced in stone by the Normans.
 
Additions in the Victorian period and in the twentieth century have contributed to the present building which provide modern facilities within an ancient building. The first mention of a priest in Chorley was in 1362 which was during one of the plague years which the citizens of Chorley endured. The Church reliquary contains bones which a letter written in 1442, now in the British Museum, claims to be those of the 4th Century martyr St Laurence. The original bones are said to have been placed in the Standish vault beneath chancel when Cromwell’s troops came to destroy traces of Roman Catholicism in the Commonwealth period.
 
Throughout the centuries St Laurence has seen violent upheavals as well as periods of peace. At the Reformation the latin Roman Catholic rites were changed to those of the vernacular Church of England.
 
During the Commonwealth troops of Cromwell broke most of the medieval stained glass and destroyed the ancient statues. The building has even been used as a court room for criminal trials.
 
The Church is important within the history of the USA because Myles Standish, one of the founding fathers of that nation, has always been regarded locally as linked to the Standish family whose ancient pew still exists in the Church. Around the Church walls are monuments and inscriptions which depict many of the important people who have contributed to the heritage of Chorley over the centuries.
 
St Laurence continues to have a vital worshipping congregation with a range of weekday activities contributing to the life and heritage of Chorley today as it has through the centuries. Further details will be found at www.stlaurencechorley.co.uk
 
 

provenance: 
None
gift_loan_date: 
Wed, 2011-10-26 (All day)