History of St Peter’s Church

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,  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