St John the Evangelist, Crawshawbooth - Centenary Booklet 1892 - 1992

Marshall Brooks died in 1944 at the age of 89; Cicely K. Brooks, William's daughter, continued the family link with the church until she resigned as vicar's warden in 1972, a post she had held for 50 years. When she died at Crawshall Hall in 1975, aged 87, it was the end of an era.


Crawshawbooth began to lose its identity when it became part of the Borough of Rawtenstall in 1891. When St. John's became a Parish in its own right in 1900, it went some way to redress the balance, and the village pride was retrieved. The need for a new Parish was soon justified. In 1900, 1912 and 1915 over 100 candidates were put forward from St. John's for Confirmation, with high figures between these dates and after. Ages of candidates ranged from 14 to 70, an indication that the interest had been caught of many villagers who had previously seen Goodshaw as too crowded or too remote. It could also have been that they saw St. John's very specially their church, created by people they knew, something they could see growing up around them. Older families still looked to Goodshaw for some time for christenings, and the graveyard there continued to be the only alternative to Rawtenstall Cemetery. The only burial at St. John's has been Miss Cicely K. Brooks in the family vault, although in recent years ashes have been interred by the south aisle. The setting of St. John's soon made it a favourite for weddings; to the beginning of 1992 there have been 815, christenings numbering 1,852.

Before the first World War, the accommodation for 604 worshippers was also justified. An elderly resident remembered the monthly Men's Services, held at 5 minutes to 3 on Sunday afternoons, when the congregation filled the road 'like a black stream'. In those days, fairs and cattle markets were still held in the streets, Friday being market day, and mischievous choirboys would tip up the trestle stalls on their way home from practice. They received Id. for each practice and ^d. for each service they attended on Sunday. St. John's managed to keep its traditional all-male choir well into the 1950s, at one time having 46 members, some remaining loyal for many years. Amongst its highly regarded choirmasters was Mr. Fred Tomlinson, better known for his work with Rossendale Male Voice Choir.

Fetes, bazaars and tea parties continued, keeping up both social life and income. During the 1914-18 War, many men served abroad, particularly in the East Lanes. Regiment, and the names of 24 who gave their lives are recorded on the memorial cross in the grounds, unveiled by William Brooks in 1921.

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Reproduced by kind permission of St John's P.C.C. 1992