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St Chad's Church, Saddleworth

Saddleworth church - dedicated to St Chad - has a legend associated with its location. It is said that the original site for the church was on nearby Brown Hill, but every night the stones were mysteriously moved to their present position. Eventually the builders gave up moving the stones back to Brown Hill, and built it where the stones were placed each night. The fairies (who were held responsible for the nocturnal moving of the stones) were said to have been driven out of Saddleworth when the church received its bells. The loud chiming knocked the smaller fairy bells out of tune, and they went off in a "huff" over Stanedge towards Marsden, Sliathwaite and other districts. An near identical sighting legend is associated with St Chad's in nearby Rochdale and it could be that the story has been carried across at some point. 

The church is also reputed to be haunted by a Grey Lady, and has some other interesting features. There is an ancient pair of stocks situated outside the church, and the Church Green is the scene of some old Saddleworth folk festivals including Morris Dancing and the Rush Cart Ceremony.

Inside the graveyard is the memorial stone to a father and son who owned the Moorcock Inn, which was situated on what is known locally as the Isle of Skye Road towards Holmfirth. They were murdered in a horrific way in 1832; hacked and bludgeoned to death with a shovel in what was described as one of the bloodiest murders of the time. The murder was never solved, and the pub became a morbid attraction until it was demolished in 1937.

The church is reached via a steep road signposted from the main street in Uppermill. The nearby pub, The Church Inn is well worth a visit.

Image Copyright: 
Rush Cart by Lee Waterhouse
Daniel Parkinson

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