History and Architecture:Structure and Changing Layout


Parbold Quarry in 1875

The style of architecture of Christ Church is early English. The exterior of the church was built with stone obtained from quarries in Parbold and Longridge.

Quarrying was carried out in Parbold for centuries.

Parbold quarry, shown in the photograph on the right, only closed in the 1980's. In the photograph we can see the cranes, lifting gear, railroad, railway waggons andthe rock face that the stone was cut from.

The photograph below was taken around the turn of the century and shows the workforce in the quarry.

It is interesting to consider that some of the men in this photograph may actually have hewn out some of the stone from which Christ Church is constructed.

Quarry men in 1875
The original layout of Christ Church in 1875.

Originally Christ Church consisted of a nave and north aisle separated from the nave by four pointed arches, supported by granite shafts with stone caps and bases.

The chancel, organ chamber and vestry were on the north side.

The tower and spire, 106-feet high stood on the south-east side.

The lower portion of the tower was set aside for the children's gallery and the entrance to the belfry. There were, as now, three entrances to the church. The main entrance was through a projecting gabled porch at the south-west end of the nave; the other two were at the side of the tower loading to the children's gallery and chancel, and between the vestry and the organ chamber on the north side.

The accommodation in the nave was for 409 adults, in open pews constructed of pitch-pine. The stalls in the chancel were for 24 choristers.

The roofs were open timbered, boarded, laid diagonally, and were also constructed of pitch-pine. The nave was 57 feet long, 28 feet wide and 42 feet in height. The interior was fined with stone ashlar from quarries in Ormskirk.

The installation of electric lighting in 1935

Electric light subscribed for by the parishioners and friends was installed in 1935, the year which marked the Diamond Jubilee, when the Rev. R. Campbell Douglas was Vicar. On the evening of the Diamond Jubilee, the Bishop of
Blackburn (Dr. P. Herbert) was the preacher at a special service and at the beginning of the service he dedicated two service books, presented by the Mothers' Union for the use of the clergy

The church in 1962

Sylvia Hunter provided us with the old photographs shown below. They enable us to look back in history and view Christ Church in 1962 when Ray Probart was the young vicar. These were the early days of Ray's ministry and were taken in his second year at Christ Church. He eventually served as a minister at Christ Church for twenty eight years.


Wedding ceremony in 1962Baptism in 1962














These photograph show us how the layout of the church has changed since 1962.

In 1962 baptisms took place at the back of church using the larger font donated by the Price family which was situated near the lancet windows.

The photograph of the 1962 wedding shows us the organ chamber and the old pipe organ.

The other photographs taken in church in 1962 show a confirmation service and a birds eye view of the bellringers.


Confirmation service in 1962 Bell ringers in 1962













Alterations to the Church in the 1970's

In 1970 pews were removed at the front of the nave on the south side of the main aisle and the open space was levelled and carpeted in memory of Miss Alice Elliott, late Matron at Wrightington Hospital, by members of her family.

Also, at about the same time, a new organ was given to the church by Mrs. Gleave, in memory of her husband Thomas who had been Vicar of Parbold from 1909 until 1926. The old pipe organ was removed and Mrs. Gleave also
paid for the work of building a new choir vestry in the space formerly occupied by the old organ.

The organ donated by Mrs. Gleave is most interesting as it is an Allen Computer Organ. It has a solid-state computer memory system in which is stored all the information required to build up the original sounds recorded from the best pipe organs. Ordinary amplifiers and speaker systems then reproduce the sound. The organ is played in the normal way at a conventional console. It possesses two special features. At the turn of a knob it is possible instantly to raise or lower the pitch of the organ six semitones; also small computer cards can be bought which, when slid into the appropriate slot, temporarily add further ranks of ' pipes.' Four such ranks may be added at any one time.

The dedication of the new organ and choir vestry was aken by the Right Revd. the Bishop of Lancaster on July 5th, 1973.

Shortly after 1975 a conversion at the west end of the church was carried out which created a large entrance vestibule across the entire width of the nave. The large font donated by the Price family was re-sited near the pulpit and the pews at the back cleared. Also at around the same time the church was re-wired and re-lighted and a speech reinforcement system installed to aid audibility throughout the building.


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