BURY PARISH

1853

Towards the middle of the eighteenth century, the parish church, dedicated to Saint Mary, had fallen into a state of dilapidation, and in 1773 the whole of the building, except the steeple, was taken down, and re-erected at a cost of about 3500, of which sum equal shares were paid by the manor of Bury, the manor of Tottington, and the rector of the parish. The living is a rectory, of which Roger de Poictou, soon after the Norman Conquest, was patron. Since the reformation the patronage of the rectory of Bury has been in the Derby family. In the year 1654, an Act of Parliament was passed, empowering the rector for the time being, to grant building leases for ninety-nine years, renewable at any period in the interim, which has been the cause of materially improving this living. In the re-erection of the church, amongst the old materials found, were a piece of timber, technically called a pan, upon which was inscribed the Roman numerals DCLXXV, which would carry the date of the church to the first introduction of Christianity into this country. It is said, however, that this date was a mere fabrication produced by the cupidity of the workmen employed in taking down the old building that they imposed upon the credulity of a neighbouring gentleman who had promised a reward to the person who might discover some proof of the date of its original erection by inscribing on a piece of the old timber, the letters in question, to which they contrived to give an appearance of antiquity.

The new structure is handsome and spacious, and the interior is well finished, and free from gloom. The nave is divided from the side aisles by plain columns. In the churchyard there are only two monuments of any peculiar interest, though it is literally paved with grave stones. One of the monuments is in memory of the Bamford family, of Bamford Hall, who, while employed in the expedition with Captain Franklin, in his attempt to explore the Polar regions, fell by the hand of an Indian. The other is in memory of Lieutenants George and Robert Hood, sons of one of the officiating ministers of this church. The following are the names of the rectors of Bury, from 1507 to the present time, with the dates of institution :- John Nabbes, Richard Smyth, October 21, 1596; Richard Johnes, February 4, 1557; Walter King, August 18, 1568; Thomas Dearden, Peter Shaw, 1599; Hugh Watmough, July 6, 1608; George Murray August 23, 1623; Peter Travers, March 16, 1633; William Rothwell, 1634; John Lightfoot, 1660; John Greenhalgh, Thomas Gipps, February 26, 1674; James Ranckes, March 5, 1712; John Stanley, July 19, 1753; Sir William Clarke, Bar.., February 6, 1778; Geoffrey Hornby, September 24, 1818; the present rector is the Rev. Edward James Hornby.

(1) Whellan & Co.'s Directory 1853