St Anne's Church, Woodplumpton

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St Anne's Church, Woodplumpton

St Anne's is a parish church in the village of Woodplumpton in Lancashire, England. It is an active Anglican church in the Diocese of Blackburn and the archdeaconry of Lancaster. It has been designated a Grade II* listed building by English Heritage. The churchyard at St Anne's is the supposed burial place of a 17th century alleged witch named Meg Shelton.

History

Historically, Woodplumpton was in the ancient parish of St Michael's on Wyre, served by the parish church of St Michael. There is architectural evidence of a chapel at Woodplumpton prior to 1200; documentary evidence of such a structure dates from 1552. The church was largely rebuilt in 1630. The south aisle was added in 1748. In 1899–1900 the Lancaster firm of architects Austin and Paley made additions and carried out a restoration of the church. In 1966 English Heritage designated the church a Grade II* listed building. The Grade II* listing is for "particularly important buildings of more than special interest".

Architecture
Exterior

St Anne's sits on high ground in the south of the village. It is constructed of red and yellow sandstone, and of gritstone with sandstone dressings. The roofs are slate and stone slate. Its plan consists of a nave with north and south aisles, chancel, a west tower and a vestry to the north-east. The nave and aisles are all under separate gabled roofs.

The tower has a window with a round head, a square clock face on the south wall, a moulded cornice and a simple Gibbs surround. It is topped by an octagonal cupola with rounded arches. At the top of the cupola is a small stone dome and a weathervane.

Interior and fittings

There is no structural division between the nave and the chancel; the chancel, which occupies one and a half bays, is enclosed by oak screens. The north arcade has five two-centred, chamfered arches on octagonal piers with moulded caps and bases. The north and south arcades are in the Perpendicular style. The south aisle, 13 feet (4.0 m) wide, is in the Classical style with pilasters, entablature and a moulded cornice. It has a crenellated parapet. The church has two bells, dating from 1596 and 1837.

Churchyard

The churchyard lies mostly to the south and west of the church. There are stocks close to the lychgate. These date from the 18th century or earlier, and have been restored. They have two stone shafts with round heads, the right-hand of which is inscribed with the initials "AB". They have received a Grade II designation from English Heritage. There is a sundial south of the church. The dial, which sits on an octagonal stone shaft, is dated 1657. The plate and gnomon are brass. The sundial has also been given a Grade II listing.

Woodplumpton churchyard is said to be the burial place of an alleged witch, a local 17th century woman named Meg Shelton who was known as the "Singleton witch" or the "Fylde Hag". According to legend, she was buried upside down to prevent her from escaping. The spot is marked by a boulder.