St Andrew’s Church, Leyland – and its monstrous cat.

St Andrew's Church Leyland

Long ago, the people of Whittle-le-Woods set about building a church. All the townspeople helped, so that by the end of the first day the foundations were already laid. The next morning, the priest was visited by a farmer from Leyland, complaining about the church which was being built upon his land without permission. Confused, the priest followed him and found that, indeed, the foundations laid down the day before in Whittle-le-Woods were now firmly set in a field in Leyland!

The townspeople were gathered and spent the day moving the stones back to their proper place and, that night, two of them kept watch so that such a thing could not happen again. However, they were so tired by their exertions that they fell asleep and woke to find that the stones had indeed been moved again, to Leyland.

Once again the stones were moved back to Whittle-le-Woods and that night even more men stayed to keep watch, determined to catch the culprit. This time they managed to keep each other awake and at the stroke of midnight, they were frightened out of their wits by the sight of a terrifying beast like a huge cat, which carried off the stones one by one in his huge claws. Unsurprisingly, they were too scared to approach the beast and the Leyland farmer, hearing their tale, was too scared to argue. So the church stayed where it was, in Leyland.

If you doubt this story, look closely at the stones of this church, for on one of them there is a carving of the great cat itself.

Image © Copyright Alexander P Kapp and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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Lancashire folklore, legends, ghosts, local history - author of 'Lancashire Folk' published by Schiffer Publishing 2016 - 9780764349836 £19.50. Please visit to see upcoming books. The Enchanted Valley and Manchester Folk will be published in 2020. Cumbria Folk almost ready!
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3 Responses to St Andrew’s Church, Leyland – and its monstrous cat.

  1. martinz69 says:

    good stuff… did I imagine this I think I read that cats were sometimes built into walls (alive) as a protection against witches. The association of cats with witches and Satan… Any road up I’ll make a point of having a lookout.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Geoff Cunliffe - former tower captain at Leyland St Andrew's says:

    Inside the West Door of St Andrew’s, there was a very old (Saxon?) Font. [This is now at St John’s church Earnshaw Bridge] Whilst still at St Andrew’s church, a former Organist, Mrs Ashcroft, took a photograph of the font. When it was developed and printed, there was a clear image of a cat’s face on the font! Unfortunately I did not get a copy of this and I don’t know if Mrs Ashcroft’s family kept a copy or any was given to friends etc


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