St Oswald’s Church, Winwick

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. Ian Topham says:

    Re: St Oswald’s Church, Winwick
    The parish church of Winwick stands near that miracleworking spot where St Oswald, King of the Northumbrians, was killed. The founder had destined a different site for it, but his intention was overruled. Winwick had not then even received its name, the church being one of the earliest erections in the parish. The foundation of the church was laid where the founder had directed; and the close of the first day’s labour showed that the workmen had not been idle by the progress made in the building. But the approach of night brought to pass an event which uttedy destroyed the repose of the few inhabitants around the spot. A pig was seen running hastily to the site of the new church; and as he ran he was heard to cry or scream aloud, " We-ee-wick, we-ee-wick, we-ee-wick." Then, taking up a stone in his mouth, he carried it up to the spot sanctified by the death of St Oswald, and thus employing himself through the whole night, succeeded in removing all the stones which had been laid by the builders. The founder, feeling himself justly reproved for not having chosen that sacred spot for the site of his church, unhesitatingly yielded to the wise counsel of the pig. Thus the pig not only decided the site of the church, but gave a name to the parish. In support of this tradition, there is the figure of a pig sculptured on the tower of the church, just above the western entrance; and also the following Latin doggrel: —
    "Hie locus Oswalde, quondam placint tibi valde ;
    Northanhumbrorum fueras Rex, nunc que Polonim
    Regaa tenes, loco papus Marcelde vocato."
    "This place, Oswald, formerly pleased thee greatly ;
    Thou wert King of the Northumbrians, and now of the Poles (?);
    Thou boldest the kingdom in the place called Marcelde " [Macer or Mackerfield].
    There are other churches in Lancashire besides Winwick whose sites have been changed by the devil, and he has also built some bridges ; that at Kirkby Lonsdale owes much of its beauty to the string of his apron giving way when he was carrying stones in it The stones may be seen yet in the picturesque groups of rock below the bridge. According to some a priest, according to others the devil, stamped his foot into the church wall at Brindle, to prove the truth of Popery ; and George Marsh the martyr did the same at Smithell’s Hall, to prove the truth of Protestantism. The footmarks still remain on the wall and the flag. There is great sameness in these traditions, one story doing for several places, except that at Winwick it was as a pig, at Leyland as a cat, and somewhere else as a fish, that Satan played his pranks. — N, ana Q., vi. 71.

    [‘Lancashire Legends’ (1873) by John Harland & T T Wilkinson]