Rivington, Lancashire Genealogy

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Rivington Parish Church

Chapelry History

Rivington was created a chapel of ease by the year 1530 from, and lying within the boundaries of Bolton le Moors St Peter, Lancashire  Ancient Parish.

Rivington Church is an active Church of England parish church in Rivington, Lancashire, England. The Church has been designated as a Grade II Listed building. The Church has no patron saint and is not named after a saint or martyr. It has been variously called St. Lawrence, St. George, Holy Trinity, and St. Catherine, but its correct title is Rivington Church.

The earliest reference to a church on this site is in a deed of 1280 mentioning three acres of "terra ecclesiastical" in Rivington. A Saxon font, found in the locality, is housed in the Millennium Room at the church. When repairs were carried out to the flooring, the foundations of an earlier building were discovered, possibly Saxon in origin.

The present church was founded by royal patent of Queen Elizabeth I in 1566 at the petition of James Pilkington, the first protestant Bishop of Durham, who was born in the village. The patent was granted for the church and a school at Rivington. Richard Pilkington, father of the bishop, appealed to Doctor Bird, the Bishop of Chester, to dedicate the chapel and chapelyard and it was consecrated by him in October 1541. At the consecration, the inhabitants of the village stated on oath they had used this site for generations. The church is primarily as built in 1666 with alterations and restoration in the late 19th century. The present north wall is the original wall of the building.

There are early graves under the wooden floor of the church, including that of Richard Pilkyngton. The earliest gravestone is marked 1616. The earliest memorial in the church is dated 1627.

Rivington was created a parish out of the ancient ecclesiastical parish of Bolton le Moors in 1856, and at their own cost, and by a privilege which only eleven churches in the country possessed, the parishioners were able to select their own minister.

The Diocese of Blackburn is a Church of England diocese, covering much of Lancashire, created in 1926 from part of the Diocese of Manchester. The Diocese includes the towns of Blackburn, Blackpool, Burnley, and the cities of Lancaster, and Preston, as well as a large part of the Ribble Valley.

"RIVINGTON, or Rovington, a chapelry, in the parish of Bolton, union of Chorley, hundred of Salford, S. division of the county of Lancaster, 8 miles (N. W.) from Bolton; containing 1972 inhabitants, of whom 471 are in the township of Rivington. This was doubtless a member of the barony of Manchester, though in the ancient survey of the barony the name of the lord of Rivington does not occur. A branch of the Pilkington family early became the principal proprietors, and few families in the county are more closely interwoven with its history than the members of this knightly house. The battle of Bosworth-Field proved almost as fatal to the fortunes of the parent stock of the Pilkingtons, as to the power of the royal tyrant Richard: and in the grant made by Henry VII. under the great seal, to Thomas, Earl of Derby, of divers manors and lands in Lancashire, forfeited by Sir Thomas Pilkington, was this manor. The chapelry comprises the townships of Rivington, Anglezarke, and part of Sharples; and is about eight miles in length, and four in breadth. It consists chiefly of moors; and the range of hills called Rivington Pike and Anglezarke moors, form a conspicuous object to those travelling along the high road, being 1545 feet above the level of the sea, and from six to seven hundred feet above the general plain of the surrounding country, commanding a prospect which for extent and variety is unequalled in this part of the kingdom. Within the circle of vision, towns, villages, and hamlets, parks and mansions, with manufacturing establishments and towering chimneys, multiply around, and fill up an amphitheatre in the centre of Lancashire, having a clear radius from the hill of about thirty miles. In the time of the civil wars the Pike served as a watchtower, and it still forms a good sea-mark. Anglezarke and the Pike are a favourite resort for the Manchester folk at Whitsuntide, and also in summer for pic-nic parties. Coal exists in the chapelry, in small quantities, and good stone is obtained: hand-loom weaving is carried on to some extent by the cottagers and small farmers. The Leeds and Liverpool canal and the Bolton and Preston railway pass about two miles from the church; and the chapelry is crossed at its southwestern extremity by the Bolton and Preston road. The township of Rivington comprises 2538 acres, of which 1692 are inclosed, and 846 are moorland; its population has diminished 48 persons during the present century, having been in 1801, according to the then census, 519. Rivington Hall is the seat of Robert Andrews, Esq., who is lord of the manor, and owner of the greater part of the township. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £90; patrons, the Inhabitants: the incumbent has a house. The chapel is a plain structure, supposed, from a monumental inscription, to have been erected about the year 1530, or a little later, by Richard Pilkington; but the pulpit, the screen separating the nave from the chancel, and the font, from their elaborate construction and total dissimilarity of character, are thought to be of much higher antiquity. The Unitarians have a place of worship, with a house for the minister, and a small endowment. The Free Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth was founded in 1566, pursuant to letters-patent granted on petition of James Pilkington, Bishop of Durham, a native of Rivington Hall: the original endowment amounted only to £30 per annum; the present income is about £320, of which the three masters receive £200. John Shaw, of Anglezarke, in the year 1627 gave to the poor £6. 13. 4. per annum; George Shaw, of the same township, prior to 1650 gave £290, stock; and George Shaw, of Blackburn, about the same period gave £220, also in stock. These sums were laid out in land at Swinton (near Manchester), at Lower Darwen, and other places, and now yield a rental of £327 per annum, which is distributed on Good-Friday to the poor of Rivington, Anglezarke, Heath-Charnock, and Anderton. There are several chalybeate springs; and in the Dean-Wood is a waterfall with a descent of thirty-two feet, forming an object of curiosity."

From: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis (1848), pp. 676-679. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=51240 Date accessed: 20 July 2010.


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 http://www.lan-opc.org.uk/

Church records

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Census records

Index for the Census may be searched at FamilySearch Historical Records

http://www.1881pubs.com/ for details of public houses in the 1881 census

Poor Law Unions

Chorley 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

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Web sites

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