25th June 2013:
After a programme of community excavations extending over a year, archaeologists at OA North and community members have finally completed the task of exposing and consolidating a 19th-century church at Stocks, in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire. The village of Stocks was drowned by the construction of a reservoir in 1932 and although the church was just above the limits reservoir, it was demolished anyway to ensure the quality of the water. Its foundations were buried and the church was lost until the present project was instigated in 2011 by the Forest of Bowland AONB and United Utilities. OA North has been running the work which has exposed and consolidated the remains.
To mark the completion of the project, a church service took place within the foundations of the church, attended by a congregation of 50 people, at which the church was blessed by the Reverend George Darby. Following the service, a presentation was given by Jamie Quartermaine (OA North) about the long history of the village and the results of the excavations. A booklet commemorating the project was given to all the numerous participants in the excavation project as a memento of the excavations.
This marks the close of a project that has been enthusiastically embraced by the local community. With our interpretation panels now in place, the consolidated foundations will be a lasting memorial for visitors and local people alike of the village which, though drowned, will now never be forgotten.