Newchurch in Pendle

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Goldshaw Booth
Newchurch in Pendle - - 570987.jpg
Newchurch in Pendle
Goldshaw Booth is located in Lancashire
Goldshaw Booth
Goldshaw Booth
 Goldshaw Booth shown within Lancashire
Population 265 (2001)
OS grid reference SD8239
Civil parish Goldshaw Booth
District Pendle
Shire county Lancashire
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BURNLEY
Postcode district BB12
Dialling code 01282
Police Lancashire
Fire Lancashire
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Pendle
List of places

Coordinates: 53°51′02″N 2°16′19″W / 53.85053°N 2.27206°W / 53.85053; -2.27206

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.

St Mary's Church at the centre of the village is steeped in history. It's not that easy to see from the road as it's on the downward side of a steep hill with a row of houses at the top and the local primary school (St Mary's Church of England School) to the side. There was a chapel of ease on this site in 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, 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 onlookers of their own mortality. So it can be fairly confidently asserted that the legend is in fact a myth. Each year since 1949 the ancient ceremony of rushbearing is commemorated in August. There is a procession around the village and the new Rushbearing Queen is crowned followed by a service of thanksgiving in the church.

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