The beginnings of St Ambrose church are a little confusing. There is circumstantial evidence that there was a small chapel in the village before the reformation.
The reasoning behind this was the complete destruction of the Abbey at Sawley rather than any part of it becoming the parish church. However the ‘monastery of Sawley’ appears as the parish designation in Gisburn church records for weddings into the early 19th Century. Whether this was an ‘official’ parish is unclear.
It would seem however that in the 17th Century burials in the village took place at Waddington although it is not entirely certain whether the parish was in fact under the auspices of Mitton. The Rector of Mitton is the church’s current patron.
The most famous Curate of Grindleton being the Revd Roger Brierley who founded the ‘Grindletonians’ a fore runner of the Society of Friends.
The current church was begun in 1803 at the cost of the parishoners. It replaced an 18th Century chapel which had fallen into disrepair. It was consecrated on St Ambrose Day 1805. As the village grew in population with the arrival of the mill, the 1821 census recorded a population of 1, 215. This is almost double what it is today.
The original layout of the church included a three-decker pulpit and a musician’s gallery.
In 1897 a complete restoration was carried out by architects Austin and Paley. A new chancel was added and the current woodwork installed including a pulpit, lectern, pews and rood screen.