The church of St John the Evangelist, together with its churchyard, opened in 1848 following a gift of land and funding for the building by two sisters Mrs Maw and Miss Walton of the Walton family from nearby Marsden Hall.
The area at the time was essentially a rural one, with the church serving the sparsely populated community of Great Marsden. The local population would have made a living from a mixture of farming, quarrying, coal mining and hand loom weaving.
Life in the area was a real struggle with much poverty, high infant mortality rates, epidemics, poor diets and low life expectancy.
The arrival of the railway in 1849 was key to the rapid growth of cotton mills, extensive house building and an increasingly urban population. Nelson was born. The Industrial Revolution had arrived!