The elaborately carved and handsome pulpit was made by Messrs. Shaw of Oldham and was awarded the prize for English carving at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in the Crystal Palace, London. Here it was seen and purchased by Dr Ralph Holden who had it transported to Haslingden and installed in St James. Ralph Holden also gave the Eagle Lectern and its pedestal at about the same time. He also presented the Stone Reredos, (the elaborate stone framework below the east window), to the church in 1856. This was carved by William Barnes from stone quarried at Hutchbank Quarry.
The Holden family roots in Haslingden can be traced back to the 12th century. For many years they occupied Holden Hall which was eventually sold and pulled down to make way for Grane cemetery. Ralph, who became a doctor and a JP was born at Reedley Hall in 1827 and married his wife, Maria, in 1847. Whilst living at Holden Hall they had three children. Ralph joined the army and was given a Campaign Medal for his services in the frontier wars of 1850 to 1853 in South Africa. He later returned to South Africa and died of Black Water Fever in 1861 at Anderson Fort, Odampoland, in the interior of South-West Africa, aged thirty four years.
An interesting memorial plaque to Ralph Holden bearing the Holden Coat of Arms can be seen on the south wall.
On its left, is a marble plaque to Elizabeth Holden (his mother), dedicated by her children. Elizabeth had assumed the name Holden (as the heiress to the Holden estate) and her husband John Greenwood also took this name. (See details of The Hatchments below).
More recently, the Footstool used when reading from the Lectern was donated by Graham Woodcock MBE, in memory of his ancestor Dr Ralph Holden MD. JP. This includes the Holden Coat of Arms.