The Church of St Thomas and the Holy Rood stands on the remaining rock. There is a 1676 date stone in the churchyard wall. But there was a chapel on this site even before that! However, in the 19th century (1830), the Vicar had a new church, vicarage and school built.
The “Bootle Arms” pub is the best place to start when visiting the village of Melling Rock. Although part of the pub is so old that the wall is bulging, it isn’t a listed building. The quickest way to walk to the Bootle Arms from the towpath is over bridge 10 (Holmes Farm Swing Bridge). Walk along the bridle way uphill to New House Farm, a working farm and farrier. Walk straight on uphill through the farmyard until you reach a wooden gate. Go over the stile or through the gate, closing it behind you, and keep walking until you emerge onto a bend in the road, next some houses.
The road to your left is Rock Lane, and that to your right is Tithebarne Lane. The Bootle Arms is a few metres along Rock Lane on the left hand side, with “The Delph” just beyond.
The settlement at the junction of Tithebarn Lane and Rock Lane is marked on the earliest OS map as “Melling Rocks”. There are several significant historic sites in Melling Rock:
The church yard wall is also a listed structure, incorporating a date stone of 1676. The Parsonage on Rock Lane is a 17th century listed building. It’s about 250 metres from the Bootle Arms. It is marked as “The Old Parsonage” on the original OS map. The Old Parsonage is built of sandstone, probably local. A new vicarage was built around the same time as the new church.
The 1660 Tithebarn is about 300 metres along Tithebarn Lane on the left hand side. It’s set back and is a lovely historic building that hosts musical concerts and summer fayres. Worth a visit. As you’re walking down to the Tithebarn if you keep your eyes peeled and look at the old black wall on your left you'll see small white painted crosses which are there to show you the way to the church from the Tithebarn.
The 1830vicarage is next to the tithe barn and the 1720 school (pebble dashed house) on Tithebarne Lane (right). This was replaced at around the same time as the church and parsonage.
There are 11 (eleven) listed buildings in the parish of Melling. One of them, Wood Hall Farm, is quite close to bridge 11 (Melling Stone bridge), and most of the others are at Melling Rock (often just called Melling).
The village was known as Melling Rocks throughout the 19th century, because the keuper sandstone that underlies the Lancashire plain breaks through the clay into a double rocky outcrop here. Rock Lane used to run through the middle of the double outcrop but one of the rocks was quarried out and is now a flat field called “The Delph”. A sign on the edge of the field explains that it was also a rifle range at one time, and that the quarry was finally reclaimed, and turned into a flower meadow.