St John the Baptist's Church, Pilling

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St John the Baptist's Church, Pilling
Pilling, St John the Baptist Church.jpg
St John the Baptist's Church, Pilling, from the northeast
St John the Baptist's Church, Pilling is located in the Borough of Wyre
St John the Baptist's Church, Pilling
St John the Baptist's Church, Pilling
Location in the Borough of Wyre
Coordinates: 53°55′49″N 2°54′39″W / 53.9303°N 2.9107°W / 53.9303; -2.9107
OS grid reference SD 402,486
Location Pilling, Lancashire
Country England
Denomination Anglican
Website St John the Baptist, Pilling
Status Parish church
Dedication John the Baptist
Functional status Active
Heritage designation Grade II*
Designated 17 April 1967
Architect(s) Paley and Austin
Architectural type Church
Style Gothic Revival
Groundbreaking 1886
Completed 1887
Construction cost £7,000
Materials Sandstone, slate roofs
Parish Stalmine, St James
Deanery Garstang
Archdeaconry Lancaster
Diocese Blackburn
Province York

St John the Baptist's Church is in the village of Pilling, Lancashire, England. It is an active Anglican parish church in the deanery of Garstang, the archdeaconry of Lancaster and the diocese of Blackburn.[1] The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building.[2] Its benefice is combined with those of St James, Stalmine, and St Mark, Eagland Hill.[1] It is described as "a fine example of the late Gothic Revival church with much originality in detail".[2]


The church was built in 1886–87 to replace the older Church of St John the Baptist on a site some 100 metres (109 yd) to the north of the old church.[3] It was designed by the Lancaster firm of Paley and Austin at a cost of £7,000 (equivalent to £710,000 in 2016),[4] and provided seating for 410 people.[5] Commenting on the church, the architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner wrote "The fertility of Paley & Austin remains astonishing".[3] In 1919–20 Henry Paley, of the same architectural practice, designed a 26 feet (8 m)-high war memorial for the churchyard.[6]



St John's is constructed in snecked sandstone rubble with slate roofs. Its plan consists of a five-bay nave with clerestory and north and south aisles, a south porch, a two-bay chancel with a north vestry forming a transept, a south organ chamber, and a west tower with a recessed spire. The tower has angle buttresses and a battlemented parapet.[2] The parapet is decorated in flushwork, using mauve and beige sandstone, rather than the usual flushwork materials of flint and stone; this decoration is continued along the clerestory.[3] In the top stage of the tower are two-light bell openings with pointed heads containing tracery. The west window has eight lights, and also has a pointed head containing tracery. The south porch is in two storeys and has angle buttresses; it is also decorated in flushwork. The aisle windows have three lights, and the east window has five lights with Perpendicular tracery.[2]


Internally, the sandstone masonry is exposed and there is an open timber roof. The arcades are carried on octagonal piers. In the chancel is a double sedilia and a piscina. The stained glass in the east and west windows dates from the late 19th century.[2] In the northwest aisle is a window depicting Saint Margaret made by Shrigley and Hunt in 1911, and in the south aisle is a window by A. L. Moore depicting Boaz, Ruth and Naomi.[3] The two-manual organ was built in 1903, but its builder is uncertain. It was cleaned and restored in 1998 by David Wells of Liverpool.[7] There is a ring of six bells, all cast by John Taylor & Co at various dates between 1934 and 1983.[8]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b St John the Baptist, Pilling, Church of England, retrieved 8 September 2010
  2. ^ a b c d e Historic England, "Church of St John the Baptist, Pilling (1073081)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 21 August 2012
  3. ^ a b c d Hartwell & Pevsner (2009), p. 502
  4. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  5. ^ Brandwood et al. (2012), p. 235
  6. ^ Brandwood et al. (2012), pp. 137, 250
  7. ^ Lancashire, Pilling, St. John the Baptist, British Institute of Organ Studies, retrieved 8 September 2010
  8. ^ Pilling, S John Bapt, Dove's Guide for Church Bell Ringers, retrieved 8 September 2010