Newchurch in Pendle, Lancashire Genealogy

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St Mary's Church, Newchurch in Pendle.jpg

Village History

Newchurch in Pendle is a village in Lancashire adjacent to Barley, at the foot of Pendle Hill. Famous for the Demdike family of Pendle witches who lived there in the 17th century. Newchurch used to be called Goldshaw Booth and later Newchurch in Pendle Forest, however this was shortened to "Newchurch in Pendle". The civil parish is still named Goldshaw Booth.

Chapelry History

Newchurch in Pendle St Mary was created a chapel of ease by 1544 from, and lying within the boundaries of Whalley, Lancashire Ancient Parish.

Other places in the parish include: Old Laund Booth, Roughlee Booth, and Barley with Wheatley Booth.

There was a chapel of ease on this site as early as 1250 and a later chapel was dedicated in 1544. The tower, although restored, is the only remaining part of that building. The current church was probably built in the 17th century, however it was only completed in 1740. The "eye of God" is built into the west side of the tower. To the east of the porch, up against the south wall, is the grave of a member of the Nutter family (carved with a skull & crossbones). Local legend has it that it's the last resting place of Alice Nutter, one of the famous Pendle witches. However, executed witches were not normally buried in consecrated ground, and the skull and crossbones is a common 'memento mori' device used to remind the onlooker of their own mortality. So it can be fairly confidently asserted that the legend is in fact a myth.

The Eye of God St Mary contributor Alexander P. Kapp.jpg

"NEWCHURCH-in-Pendle-Forest, a parochial chapelry, in the parish of Whalley 6 miles north by northwest of Burnley. It comprises the four townships of Barley with Whitley, Goldshaw, Old Laund Booth, and Roughlee. The chapel, dedicated to St. Mary, was erected by 1544. At Fence, in Old Laund Booth, is a church erected in 1837, called St Anne forming a separate incumbency.

There were places of worship for Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists, Baptists, Inghamites, and Roman Catholics.[1]


Civil Registration

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is FreeBMD.

Online index of Lancashire Births, Marriages and Deaths Lancashire BMD

Lancashire Online Parish Clerks

An extremely useful resource for research in Lancashire Parishes

Church records

Include here information for parish registers, Bishop’s Transcripts and other types of church records, such as parish chest records. Add the contact information for the office holding the original records. Add links to the Family History Library Catalog showing the film numbers in their collection

Census records for details of public houses in the 1881 census

Poor Law Unions

Burnley Poor Law Union,Lancashire

Probate records

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Lancashire Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.

Web sites

Add any relevant sites that aren’t mentioned above. Wikipedia link about Pendle With Trials including some pedigrees of those executed.


  1. A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis (1848), pp. 389-393. URL: Date accessed: 20 July 2010.