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School History

Barrow United Reformed Church was named Jollies Chapel after its founding father, Rev. Thomas Jolley. Thomas Jolley was a minister in the nearby village of Altham. After the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, a new Common Prayer book was issued in 1662 to be used by all churches. Thomas Jolley was a dissenter and he refused. He was therefore not allowed to preach, so he took up preaching from the steps of the farmhouse at Wymmond houses on the slopes of Pendle Hill. The farmhouse is still there today on the road between Pendleton and Wiswell and there is still a plaque at the rear of the farmhouse commemorating this.

Later, enough money was raised by the people of the church to build a congregational chapel (Congregational Churches joined with Presbyterian Church of England to form United Reformed Church in 1972) in the tiny hamlet of Wiswell. Then in 1876 when more room was needed, Jollies Memorial Chapel and Barrow school were built on Old Row, Barrow. This was when the school was founded and the trust deed was made. At this time Barrow and Wiswell shared the same parish council and it was for the children of both villages.

There is a copy of the original trust deeds dated 1876 kept safety by the United Reformed Church and Blackburn Diocese. As a school with a Church Trust Deed, we have to work hard to fulfil that role and be respectful of what was originally started in 1876.

In 2021, recognising the evolving needs of the expanding village and its surroundings, our school underwent an expansion to accommodate a maximum of 210 children. The newly added brickwork at the school's entrance includes the original stone work from the chapel and throughout school we show case our journey in memory of its rich history. As a URC primary school, we understand and hold close to our hearts our uniqueness and Christian distinctiveness.