St Peter’s Church Burnley – and Ghostly Pigs


If legend is to be believed, St Peter’s Church should have been built on the spot where the Godly Lane Cross now stands and where religious rites were habitually celebrated. However, night after night the stones set out to build the church were moved from that spot by ghostly pigs, so that the builders were forced to give up and build the church on its present site. On the south side of the church and on the ancient font can be seen carvings of pigs, in memory of this tale. (In truth, the pigs were probably representations of the Paschal Lamb.)

This church was also once the home of a ghostly black dog called Trash. He was said to be huge, with enormous eyes, and although he could be seen, he could never be caught because he would disappear in the blink of an eye. Those who saw Trash were certain to hear of the death of someone close to them, very soon – the damned person’s distance could be guessed from how clearly the boggart dog appeared. His other name, Skriker, comes from an Anglo-Saxon word for crying or screaming and described the noises the beast was said to make.

St Peter’s was also once home to a ghostly organist, according to a letter printed in the Burnley Advertiser, on the 1st September 1855. “Sir – some time has elapsed since our friend visited these upper regions, however, here he is again as lively as ever and most musically inclined. At intervals during the past two days all who live within hearing distance have been entertained to a charming variety of most appropriate (ecclesiastical?) music: we may especially mention as performed ‘con spirits’ O Susanna, Merrily Dance The Quaker’s Wife, and Coal Black Rose. At the moment of my writing this Willikins and His Dinah is pealing forth in tones more dulcet than Mr Robson ever made pretensions to. By inserting this possibly you may be the means of enlarging the Ghost’s audience.”

© 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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5 Responses to St Peter’s Church Burnley – and Ghostly Pigs

  1. simonjkyte says:

    and i can tell you a different story about the pigs


  2. simonjkyte says:

    the church dig have to be moved but prob not because of pigs
    but it dig have an ongoing problem with foraging pigs
    Brierley raised the issue with Chester in 1636
    The exchange between Burnley St. Peter’s and Chester seems to have been completed by Morris (Brierley’s successor in Burnley) in the months immediately his taking of the post, culminating in agreements put in writing at the end of August 1638. For further details see the appendices of W. Farrar – ‘The registers of the parish church of Burnley in the County of Lancaster’ (1899).


  3. Pingback: St Peter’s Church Burnley – and Ghostly Pigs — Lancashire Folk | A CERTAIN MEASURE OF PERFECTION

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