History of St. Nicholas Church

St Nicholas' Church is in the village of Wrea Green, Lancashire, England. It is an active Anglican parish church in the deanery of Kirkham, the archdeaconry of Lancaster and the diocese of Blackburn. Its benefice is combined with those of St Matthew, Ballam and St Michael, Weeton.[1] The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.

In 1721 the trustees of Nicolas Sharples' charity bought a plot of ground in the village from a Jane Whiteside and erected on it a small chapel, paid for by funds they had raised amongst themselves. The church was licensed for services in 1722 and was consecrated by the Bishop of Chester on 20 June 1755. In 1846 an order in council added to the township of Ribby with Wrea the township of Westby (without the two Plumptons) and formed them into the new parish of Ribby with Wrea, making it a perpetual curacy. In 1869 it became a titular vicarage. The small chapel was pulled down and on 13 May 1848 the new vicar, G L Parsons, laid the foundation stone for the present structure.[3]

The church was rebuilt in 1848-49 by the Lancaster architects Sharpe and Paley at a cost of about £1,600 (equivalent to £150,000 as of 2016).[4][5] It opened on 23 September 1849 but was not consecrated until 4 May 1855. In 1857 the pulpit, organ chamber, vestry, and stalls were added, but the architect responsible for this is not known. The steeple was added in 1884 by the successors in the same practice, Paley and Austin at a cost of £1,300. In 1931-32 Henry Paley of the same practice, now called Austin and Paley, added a marble floor to the chancel, new steps, and new choir seats. 

Community Centre

From the mid 1990s there was growing frustration that the church did not have a meeting room, toilets or kitchen and so had nowhere to hold its own social events. In 1999 a small sub Building Committee was formed and chaired by Frank Andrews, with John Rawcliffe, Chris Dickson and Revd Jack Wixon. Plans were drawn up to extend the church at the western end and the new building was termed Community Centre for use by both the church and the community. The architect plans were modified by the committee, a faculty sought and objections from the Victorian Society overcome. With all the permissions in place fund raising took just 18 months to raise the £223,000 needed to build and fully equip The Centre which now included a upper and a lower room, disabled toilet and fully fitted kitchen. Wareings were asked to build in matching stone and the Centre was opened on Saturday 21st July 2007.

The Lych Gate

The Lych Gate was erected, as a memorial to the men of the parish who gave up their lives in The Great War. This photograph was taken during its construction in 1922. The two men in the picture were (left) William Cardwell (right) Osborne Ferris, Church Wardens at that time

Status Parish church
Dedication Saint Nicholas 

Functional status Active
Heritage designation Grade II
Designated 11 June 1986
Architect(s) Sharpe and Paley,
Paley and Austin
Architectural type Church
Style Gothic Revival
Groundbreaking (original church 1721)
Completed 1884 


Pew Runners Group


The Wrea Green Church choir runners were the idea of the late Wendy Webster in 1999. With the help of a professional embroiderer designs were suggested, samples made and a team of 15 willing stitchers brought together. Using 10 to the inch canvas and both Appleton and Anchor wools the project was started in May 2000.

Four runners had been designed with a swag of spring flowers encircling various topics in connection with the village. The four runners depict the Church in the Village, The Industry of the Village, Leisure in the village and the Buildings. All with a background to match the carpet. These were worked on long wooden stretchers in members by our team of 15 ladies in members homes and were completed in July 2002.

Having enjoyed the project it was decided to continue and embroider 150 cushions for the congregation and a cushion for the Vicar. They are all different designs brought together by the background wool and the edging which mirrors our stained-glass window edge. This project was completed in July 2009 and had involved 37 ladies and 1 gentleman plus one of our members who constructed all the cushions. Information on these can be found in our brochure at the back of the church.

Not satisfied with the St. Nicholas project we then worked two altar kneelers for Ballam Church themed on the Farming year and provided them with a Vicar's cushion and kneeler.

We also worked cushions for the Readers Chair, The Queens Jubilee Chair and the Bishops Chair and restored the Mother Union Banner.

Last but not least we worked the Altar Kneelers for St. Nicholas.

It took 14 years to complete the whole project and involved 47 people. We all enjoyed both the stitching and the company and are proud to have given the Church something to be proud of.