St Peter’s Church, Scorton – history
St Peter’s Church, Scorton – history
In 1853 Squire Peter Ormrod, who made his money from the Lancashire cotton mills, bought a large part of the township of Nether Wyresdale from the previous Lord of the Manor, the Duke of Hamilton. He began building Wyresdale Park in 1856, and completed this lovely house in 1865. Peter died in 1875 and was buried in the graveyard of St Helens, Garstang, of which parish Scorton was part. His brother James decided to have a new church built in Scorton in memory of Peter. The Church and Vicarage were completed in 1879 and the Church consecrated on the eve of St Peter’s Day, by the Right Reverend Dr. Fraser, Lord Bishop of Manchester. The home office gave permission in March 1880 for Peter’s body to be re-interred and now Peter, James and their wives are all buried in Scorton churchyard.
The ecclesiastical architects were Paley and Austin of Lancaster, who designed many beautiful local churches; they have 177 churches to their credit and a total of over 560 different commissions. The cost of St Peter’s Church was £13,000. The building material is Sawn Long ridge Sandstone, which was conveyed by horse drawn wagons from Garstang railway station. It was built by Jonathan Collinson, Builder, of Nateby Works, employing 200 men.
Outside the church is a superb Victorian lych-gate, this roofed church yard gate was originally intended to be used to rest the carriage of frame of wood employed for bearing the dead to the grave. The gate was renovated in 1988 and is shown to best advantage when decorated for special occasions e.g. Harvest Festival. The gate has won a conservation award for refurbishment.
The customary entry to the church is at the base of the tower, although a porched doorway which allows disable access is to be found on the south side of the building, this door is also used for funerals. The high ceiling of the tower entrance is beautifully decorated with a pattern of Tudor roses and forming a frieze round the top of the walls are these words from Psalm 122v1: “I was glad they said unto me, we will go into the House of the Lord” “ Our feet shall stand within thy Gates O Jerusalem.
On the wall to the left of the steps is a commemorative brass plaque. The oak pews are each carved with a different pattern. Some depict fish and crossed keys as our Patron Saint is known as “The Fisher of Men”. To the left at the back of the north aisle is the font, built at the same time as the church, carved out of one piece of stone and lead-lined. It is the work of John Hutch of Lancaster and it bears the inscription Respondit ei Jesus si non habeis partem merum: which means “Jesus answered him, if I do not wash you, you will have no part with me.” John 13 v8. The font cover was added twenty years later. The font was originally sited just at the top of the altar. When exactly it was re-sited is unknown, but it was probably moved when the cover was made. The font cover is intricately carved and was given by the parishioners at Easter 1909. It is the work of John Hatch of Lancaster. Behind the font are two stained glass windows, the one found on the west wall is in memory of the first Vicar, Canon Davidson and the second on the north wall is in memory of Reverend E Jackson, also the vicar of this Parish.
Entering the Chancel you will be drawn towards the Sanctuary and the exquisite Reredos depicting the Cross and the four winged Apostles. The East Window above shows St Peter in the centre, and the Transfiguration of Christ. This window was placed in memory of Peter Ormrod. Two windows to the right of the Chancel are memorials to the Ormrod family and the window depicting “Suffer little children to come unto to Me” is a memorial to Canon Davidson’s daughter, who died in infancy. In the Sanctuary is a beautiful Sanctuary Lamp, this was a memorial gift to the church. Most churches have one and it is said to represent the presence of God, its light is extinguished only from Good Friday to Easter Sunday,Â although St Peter’s Lamp is electric and permanently on.
To the left is the organ, which was water driven and later, converted to a hand-pump. Eventually the church was supplied with electricity and an electric motor was fitted to the organ.
Last updated: June 22, 2016 at 10:34 am