Charity Reg Number 1135804.
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Prescot Parish Church
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According to old tradition Prescot originally was called “Prestecote,” i.e., a residence of Priests. This is corroborated by the name “Churchley,” which is given to the place in many early documents (“ley, lay, lee, lea, meaning a meadow, grassland or pasturage, in this case Churchley being fields owned by the church). In the Assize Rolls of Richard II (1377-99) it is described as “Churchley, now called Prestcote.”
THE PRESENT CHURCH was built in 1610 and is the fourth to be built on the same site since the 11 th century. Little is known of the preceding church which in 1555 had been reported as having “so great ruins and deformities and dilapidations in the roofs, ornaments, walls and windows that, unless speedy remedy be taken the said church is in a short time likely to fall down to the ground.” Such was the state of the building which had rapidly deteriorated through lack of maintenance after the Reformation in 1534. The date of the foundation of the first church at Prescot is unknown but it occupies a site of extreme antiquity upon the southern brow of an eminence commanding an extensive prospect and in former times thickly wooded. Anciently the church was dedicated to All Saints which suggests a very early Celtic origin. It was re-dedicated when rebuilt in 1610 to St. Mary-the-Blessed-Virgin.
THE TOWER AND SPIRE is in the Renaissance style and is the work of Henry Sephton a leading Liverpool Architect. The tower built in 1729 stands 75 ft. high as does the spire which was rebuilt in 1789, making a landmark for miles around at a height of 150 ft. The top 12 ft. of the spire was replaced in 1992. The present peal of bells was cast in 1845 by Messrs. Mears of London . THE NAVE belongs to the late perpendicular Gothic period and is flanked on each side by sandstone octagonal pillars of the chamfered order, which support five bays with pointed arches. Above the arches are clerestory windows. The black and white roof, one of the finest in Lancashire is of black oak dating from 1610. It is supported by 11 roof trusses of alternatively hammer and tie beams. The brackets of the hammer beams and the braces under the tie beams are finely carved. On one bracket is inscribed in gilt “Thomas Bold, Knight 1610, and on the reverse side: “Ladibrigit Bold, his Wyffe”. NORTH & SOUTH AISLES were rebuilt and widened in 1818 when the north and south walls, lancet windows and doors were then made. THE CHANCEL and chancel arch was largely rebuilt in 1818 and the east window renewed in 1985. A very fine rood screen was removed about 1845. A new oak screen was erected in 1921 as a War Memorial after WWI which is now painted black with gilded work. The black oak wall panelling dates to 1636 as does the alms box by the vestry door. An effigy of John Ogle Esq., of Whiston, in early 17 th century civilian dress stands by the door. He was buried at Prescot in 1612. THE CHOIR – The bench ends, with richly carved ‘poppy heads' in black oak bear a date of 1636. There are eleven stalls with ‘misericords' (tip up seats) of the same date. The original carved tip up seats were probably destroyed during the civil wars of the 1642, and later replaced with plain wood. One stall bears the name of ‘J.Pemberton, M.P.' who was Steward of the Manor of Prescot in the 17 th century. Choir benches in front of the 17 th century ones are Victorian. THE ALTAR RAILS were removed during the civil wars and replaced by the present black oak ones after the Restoration in 1664. Behind the altar is a magnificent Reredos in black and gilt woodwork which shows the crucifixion and 4 prophets, dating from 1891. The CLERGY VESTRY on the North side is the oldest part of the present church building. Originally, it was one of three chantry chapels all of which were attached to the previous church during the 15 th century. Of these, the oldest was founded by Sir John Bold of Bold, about 1410 and it is to this period that the vestry belongs. The CHOIR VESTRY on the south side was built in 1899 and dedicated on Easter Sunday 1900. THE FONT dating back to Norman times was removed before the Civil War began in 1642 but was among the first of the church furnishings to be returned at the restoration in 1660. It was given to Roby church in 1850. Twenty years later, it was put out into the churchyard there. Much to his delight, it was discovered by Canon Mitchell of Prescot at the beginning of the 20th. century. The font was restored and returned back to Prescot in his memory in 1935. Canon Mitchell was Vicar at Prescot from 1887 to 1919. An Italian Marble Vase font stands at the east end of the north aisle. It is of tazza shape with a fluted bowl, under the lip of which runs the inscription, “The Gift of Daniel Willis, of Halsnead Hall, Esqre, 1755”. STONE ESCUTCHEONS-- these are a notable feature of the church, being 8 in all let into the interior walls. The church seats seem to have been freeholds for the gentry of the Parish and the holders had the right of placing their coats of arms above their pews. THE LIST OF RECTORS AND VICARS, are complete from the year 1179, and can be seen on the south wall. The Rector of Prescot in mediaeval times had his seat at the old Prescot Hall. He was Lord of the Manor of Prescot. The patronage of the living belonged successively to various families. It was acquired in 1391 by John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and passed by inheritance to the crown through his son, Henry 4 th and succeeding Lancastrian kings. Many of the Rectors were important officers of state. In 1445, Henry 6 th conferred the patronage on his new “College of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Nicholas” in Cambridge, known as “King's College.” In 1447 the Rectory was appropriated to the College and a permanent Vicarage was established on the same site as the present Vicarage. In this way the College became Lord of the Manor of Prescot. In 1448 the first Vicar, Ralph Duckworth was ordained. The last Rector was William Boothe in 1441. CHURCHWARDENS' ACCOUNTS are complete and well preserved from the year 1635. Much earlier fragments were discovered in 1937 and found to be Churchwardens' Accounts from 1523-1607. Prescot had four Wardens in place of the usual two. Two represented Prescot itself and the other two represented various chapelries and townships in the parish.THE PARISH REGISTERS commence in 1580 and are lodged at the Lancashire Record Office, Bow Lane , Preston. THE ANCIENT PARISH of Prescot covered 58 sq. miles and formed part of the Hundred of West Derby in Lancashire. Within it lay 15 townships: Bold, Cronton, Cuerdley, Ditton, Penketh, Gt. Sankey, Widnes with Appleton, Eccleston, Parr, Prescot, Rainford, Rainhill, Sutton, Whiston and Windle-with-Hardshaw. In a Parliamentary Survey of 1650 there were 5 chapels within the vast Parish: “ St. Ellen's Chapel, Farnworth Chapel, Rainford Chapel, Sankey Chapel and a ruinated building called Windleshaw Chapel.” By the mid 19 th century all the towns had become parishes in their own right leaving the ‘mother church of Prescot' to serve her own town.
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|Clock||Crests||Driffield Memorial Window||Effigy of John Ogle|
|Evans Memorial Window||John Ogle's Chair||Layland Memorial Window||Nave|
|Organ||Panelling||Parish Chest||Prescot Church WWI War Memorial|
|Prescot Civic WWI & WWII War Memorial||Rectors/Vicars||Rood Screen||Sanctuary|