Newchurch In Pendle
OS Grid ref:- SD8239
The Lancashire village of Newchurch in Pendle lies in the shadow of Pendle Hill and is famous for its associations with the notorious Pendle Witches case. In the early seventeenth century the village was caught up in the largest witch hunt in English legal history. It was a sinister episode that saw the arrest and execution of ten alleged witches.
The Demdikes, one of the accused families, led by Elizabeth Southerns alias Old Demdike, lived at Newchurch in Pendle in the seventeenth century. The story of the Pendle witches revolves around two large, destitute families, the Chattoxes and the Demdikes, who traded on a local reputation for black magic.
The village used to be known as 'Goldshaw Booth', the word 'booth' is thought to derive from the Norse word 'but' meaning dwelling place. It was later changed to 'Newchurch in Pendle Forest', however this was shortened to 'Newchurch in Pendle'.
The gift shop 'Witches Galore' with its coven figures outside, complete with pointed witches hats and chins with warts, stocks all kinds of devilish merchandise, from gruesome gift ideas like model Pendle witches, posters and pottery to terrifying treats like T-shirts, gargoyles and CDs.
St Mary's church stands at the of the village at the centre of the village. The tower, the oldest part of the building, dates to 1544. The curious 'eye of God', an elliptic shape on the tower watches over the village, it was installed some years after the witches’ execution to ward off evil spirits. The main body of the church was built in the seventeenth century.
The grave of a member of the Nutter family lies to the east of the porch, up against the south wall. The stone is carved with a skull & crossbones, local legend relates that it is the last resting place of Alice Nutter, a gentlewoman who lived at nearby Roughlee Hall, who was hanged at Lancaster as one of the Pendle Witches in 1612. However, executed witches were not normally given a Christian burial in consecrated ground, and the skull and crossbones is a common memento mori device used to remind onlookers of their own mortality.
Jonas Moore, co-founder of the Greenwich Observatory, is amongst the village's more famous sons, he was born at Newchurch in Pendle in 1618.
Each year since 1949 the ancient ceremony of rushbearing is celebrated in August. There is a procession around the village, following which the new Rushbearing Queen is crowned.
Nearby Pendle Hill rises to 557 metres (1,827 feet), the from its summit are spectacular, encompassing the North West coast, Blackpool Tower and Lancaster and on a clear day the mountains of the Lake District. The hill continues to be associated with witchcraft, large numbers of visitors climb it every Halloween. The Pendle Way footpath starts at the Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowford and circles the district but is split into eight manageable sections.
Nearby Places of Interest
Pendle Heritage Centre set in a range of tastefully restored Grade II Listed farm buildings and .consists of a museum, art gallery, gift shop, tea-room, an eighteenth century walled garden, cruck barn with farmyard animals and tourist information.
Whalley Abbey- founded by Henry de Lacy, third Earl of Lincoln on the 4th April 1296.
Lancaster Castle founded in the tenth century
Ashton Memorial in Williamson Park, Lancaster was commissioned by James Williamson, Baron Ashton as a tribute to his second wife, Jenny and was built between 1907 and 1909.
Butterfly House, Lancaster
Clitheroe Castle-Norman castle keep and museum, said to be one of the oldest buildings in Lancashire, and one of the smallest keeps in England,