St. Stephen’s Church was originally constructed in 1867 at Crowtrees, just over a mile from the present site of the building. However, during the start of the 20th century, the population of the surrounding valley slowly decreased. This was due in large part to the Bury and District Water Board, as they began purchasing farms, houses, and mills in preparation for the Grane reservoirs. This effectively depopulated the area. Soon, attendance at the church began to decline until the entire congregation was no more. The building then fell into a massive state of disrepair.
Meanwhile, the population of nearby Haslingden ballooned in response to a boom in the textile industry. When a local company donated land in Haslingden for the establishment of a church, the Bishop of Manchester suggested that the derelict St. Stephen’s Church be relocated. The church was thus reconsecrated in 1927. This included the dedication of a stained glass window commemorating local men whose lives were lost to the battlefields of World War I. This window is now listed on the United Kingdom’s War Memorials Register.
However, this relocation would prove unsuccessful, as attendance during the late 20th century once again dwindled. The church eventually closed for the second time in 1986.
In 1991, the church was sold and transformed into an antique shop complete with tea rooms. The new owners installed a mezzanine floor and maintained most of the historic stained glass. Within the shop, visitors are treated to numerous cases filled with antiques and collectibles. There is also a specialty area dedicated to militaria known as “The Eagles Nest.”
The mezzanine floor allows for a closer look at the hammer-beam roof. The tea rooms were constructed into a light, airy extension of the shop. It’s the most relaxing of settings after a day spent perusing the shop’s offerings.