Before 1745 the faithful of Poulton-le-Sands had to travel the eight mile round trip on foot or horse to Lancaster to attend to church services at the Priory Church of St Mary. The village blacksmith Francis Bowes died in 1732 and his lands in Poulton were passed to Trustees for the purpose of building a Chapel of Ease to the Mother Church of Lancaster and a School.
The first church was situated very close to the present church (above) in what is now part of the old churchyard. The interior of the old chapel was very primitive, the roof consisted of oak rafters carrying stone slabs and there was an earth floor covered with straw and rushes in the wintertime for warmth. The seats were boards fastened with supports driven into the ground, over the door was a tablet recording the gift, this is now in the vestry of the present church.
By 1839 Poulton was no longer an obscure fishing community, it was fast becoming a ‘watering place’ and the old church gave way to a new building, designed by Edmund Sharpe, which was consecrated in 1841. The cost was one thousand two hundred and eighty eight pounds partly offset by a personal contribution from Queen Victoria hence the Royal Coat of Arms adorns the gallery of the church
With the tremendous increase in population as Morecambe grew there was a need for another church to cover the area west of Queen Street and the foundation stone of St Laurence’s (above) was laid in 1877. This church served the people until 1981 when it was closed and once again the two parish’s merged to become the parish of Holy Trinity with St Laurence.
In 1995 church and school celebrated two hundred and fifty years of God’s work in the community of Poulton, and an appeal ‘Morecambe 250’ was launched to bring the church up to date. All who participated in this re-ordering process, whether in financial terms or by giving their labour or talent are recorded in a Book of Commemoration. In this way Holy Trinity with St Laurence kept faith with Francis Bowes by preserving our heritage.
The first Parsonage House was built in Northumberland Street and used until 1842 when it as taken over by the Railway Company, then Poulton Hall, the ancient Manor House of Poulton-le-Sands was the clergy home until 1878.The present Rectory very close to the church and school was built in 1876, all Rectors have occupied it since that date and it was recently modified and improved.
In 1745 the first school opened its doors in a house with an area of land and the Curate was also Schoolmaster and lived there. By 1854 the school moved to the present site and was run by a married couple that were to be communicants of the Church of England. This building served until 1955 when an extension was added but by 1965 the structure had become unstable and in January 1967 a new school was opened. An extension was added in 1998 and a programme of improvement is an ongoing process.
Extracts taken from
A Blacksmith’s Legacy by Jean Pollard © October 1998 Abridged by Rodney Wagget