St. Mary’s Church

The St. Mary’s Church stands at the center of Gisburn village in England. History indicates that it has been around since 1135. It is believed that Norman de Rimington gave a piece of land to the ‘Blessed Church of St Mary the Virgin Gisburn. Documentary evidence also mentions a priest named Renulf from this church during the years 1140 to 1146. The reference of another priest from the church was mentioned in the year 1147 too, during the laying of the foundation stone for Sawley abbey.

The architectural history of the church is both detailed and interesting. It is indicative that the church has been built and rebuilt over the years. A Grade II listed building, its south porch has a wide outer entrance with moulded round arch and imposts. Available evidence suggests that the lower base, porch and south west doorway have been around for the longest, and were perhaps part of the original structure. While the porch is dated to have belonged to the 15th century, the south doorway is noted to be from the 13th century. At the entrance into the church, is the font on the left, which is dated from the year 1875. The Baptistery window behind it, is noted to be in memory of the Whippe family. The Clock dates to 1852 and made by Thomas Whippe of Rochdale. Repaired in 1964, it was reinstated during the same year. The tower, which has a Norman base, has six inscribed bells all dating from the year 1818. However, the structure also has two bells, which were recast in 1964.

Holy Bible

The Church has a central nave and chancel and two aisles on the side. Cylindrical pillars dating to the 12th Century, support the structure and dominate the interiors. The interiors once had box pews, a three decker pulpit, and a gallery for the band. The Holy Bible on the lectern was given by the Young Wives Group, and the Church also has a Family Bible dated to the year 1613. In 2015, a rare King James Version of the Bible, printed in 1611, was also discovered at the Church.

The pulpit dates to 1872, while the Lectern symbolizes an eagle with outstretched wings. Finely carved in wood, it bears the inscription ‘To the Glory of God’. With a 16th century road screen, the wrought iron memorial dating 19th Century tells a story of its own. Restoration work continues to take place at the Church, and altar rail cushions were restored. Parishioners and volunteers also got together to make hand-made kneelers. While the patronage of the Church is difficult to confirm in the early days, early 13th century records suggest it to be shared between the Arch bishop of York and the Prioress of Stainfield Nunnery in Lincolnshire.