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Ribble Valley Borough Council

Historic Churches in Ribble Valley

St Mary Magdelene Church Clitheroe


The Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene

Clitheroe is a town of two hills - on one, perched on a rocky outcrop, is the Norman keep of Clitheroe Castle, and on the other the parish church of St Mary Magdalene.

There has been a church on this site since at least 1122, when the building was granted to the Priory of St John in Pontefract. In 1283 the church passed into the possession of Stanlaw Abbey and became one of the chapels of Whalley Church.

The chancel arch of this Norman building was taken down as recently as 1828, but nothing now remains of it. The oldest of what we see today dates from the early C15 rebuilding. In 1828-9 and later there was further and substantial rebuilding that has given the church its present character. The east window, containing the arms of many local families includes old glass and the roughly made churchwarden's bench has a curious poor box made out of oak.

One of the most rare possessions of the Church is a brass, engraved with the horoscope of Dr. John Webster, famous in the local witch-hunt days.


Sunday 8 a.m. Holy Communion, 9.45 a.m. Parish Communion, 6.30 p.m. Evening Prayer (on third Sunday Choral Evensong) Friday 10.30 a.m. Holy Communion.

Enquiries 01200 423317 

Other Churches in Clitheroe

There are several churches to note within the town.

St James's Church 

Just off Whalley Road was built in 1839 by the friends and admirers of the Rev. W P Powell, the then headmaster of Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, in order that his oratorial gifts as a preacher could be heard by all.


Sunday 9 a.m. Holy Communion, 10.30 a.m. Morning Worship (Communion Service 1st Sunday in month), 6 p.m. Evening Worship, Wednesday 10.30 a.m. Holy Communion.

Enquiries 01200 429327

Parish Church of St Paul 

Was built in 1870 to cater for the growing village, which was springing up around Low Moor Mill, which first opened in 1782.


Sunday 9.30 a.m. Parish Communion or Family Service. Wednesday 10 a.m. Holy Communion.

Enquiries 01200 458019

St Michael & St John 

This Roman Catholic church was opened in Lowergate in 1847. Records show that as early as 1799, services were conducted in the town by the Jesuits from Stonyhurst College.


Sunday Evening Vigil Mass - 6.30 p.m., 10 a.m. Morning Mass (1st Sunday in month Youth Mass 2nd and 4th Little Church 3rd Family Mass) Weekday Mass Monday to Friday 9.00 a.m. (or as announced) Saturday Eucharistic Service at noon.

Enquiries 01200 423307 

Trinity Methodist Church 

Stands at the bottom of Parson Lane, at the entrance to the castle, was formerly the Wesley Chapel but in 1962 the Wesleyan congregation merged with the old Moor Lane Methodist Chapel, which then closed.


Sunday 10. 30 a.m. Morning Service, 6 p.m. Evening Service 1st, 2nd and 3rd Sunday in the Church Hall.

Enquiries 01200 423229