St Chad's Poulton Le Fylde

John Hare

Thornton-Cleveleys, United Kingdom

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St Chad’s Church is an Anglican church in Poulton-le-Fylde, a town on The Fylde coastal plain in Lancashire, England. It is an active parish church in the Diocese of Blackburn and the archdeaconry of Lancaster. It has been designated a Grade II* listed building by English Heritage. Most of the current church dates from the 18th century. A previous church on the site was built no later than the 11th century.

There is evidence of human habitation in Poulton-le-Fylde and its surrounding area from c. 10,000 BC. There has probably been a church on the site of the present St Chad’s since before the Norman conquest of England in 1066, and there is written evidence of one from 1094. The Domesday Book of 1086 mentioned three churches in the hundred of Amounderness, although they were not named. Later documentary evidence suggests that they were probably the churches at Poulton, Kirkham and St Michael’s on Wyre. The dedication of Poulton’s church to 7th century Anglo-Saxon saint Chad of Mercia lends weight to its pre-conquest foundation, although it is possible that it was built between 1086 and 1094.
The first documentary evidence of St Chad’s dates from 1094. After the conquest Amounderness was among the lands given to an Anglo-Norman knight named Roger the Poitevin. In 1094, Roger founded the Benedictine priory of St. Mary at Lancaster, as a cell of the Norman Abbey of St. Martin in Sées. He endowed the priory with the church and land at Poulton.
At the time of the English Reformation St Chad’s became the Anglican parish church. The Fleetwood family were made patrons of the church in 1538. A door in the south wall leads to the Fleetwood Hesketh vault. Around thirty members of the family are buried there, the first, Richard Fleetwood, in 1699.
In 1751 much of the old church was demolished.The nave was rebuilt in 1753 with money from Richard Hesketh of Meols and his wife Margaret (the daughter of Richard Fleetwood). The new building reused the outer walls of the previous structure. These walls, of red sandstone were faced with grey ashlar.
A round Norman-style apse was added in 1868.

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