The Parish & The Churches Of Kirkham
The Domesday Book records that there were three churches in Amounderness one of which was attached to Kirkham. The parish of Kirkham covered a large area including much of the Fylde south and east of Lytham and, although not geographically adjacent, an area around Goosnargh to the north east of Preston. From the fourteenth century the practical parish business and management of church property were overseen by a committee known as the Thirty Sworn Men.
The parish church in Kirkham town is St Michael’s at the end of Church Street. The Victoria County History of Lancashire written in 1901 tells us that ‘The building is entirely modern, the nave dating only from 1822, the tower and spire from 1844, and the chancel from 1853’. This Victorian church that stands today is built on the foundations of the former church which was ‘practically a rebuilding’ of one from the early 16th century. There is also evidence of church building on the site dating back to the seventh century.
Baines’s 1825 History, Directory and Gazetteer of Lancashire notes that ‘there are three places of public worship in this town used by Dissenters’, referring those outside the Established Church. At the time the Catholic Church was a chapel erected in 1809 which came to be replaced by St John the Evangelist (The Willows) Catholic Church on Ribby Road. This was built between 1842-45 and designed by A W N Pugin, the architect responsible for the Houses of Parliament and the clock tower of Big Ben. Baines’s Directory also notes that there was a Methodist meeting house and an Independent Zion chapel. A Methodist chapel was subsequently built in 1844 and in the later nineteenth century this was followed by a Wesleyan Methodist Church. The current church on Nelson Street was built in 1959. The Zion chapel, first built in 1793, was replaced by a Congregational Church on Poulton Street in 1897. This is now the United Reformed Church on the junction of Poulton Street and Mill Street.