Ashton-in-Makerfield - Our Lady Immaculate

Downall Green Road, Bryn, Ashton-in-Makerfield WN4

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A good example of the work of Peter Paul Pugin, a well-known Roman Catholic church architect, which preserves much of its original character, with some elaborate internal fittings.

A mission was established here as early as 1776, but the present church dates from 1903.

The plan of the building comprises a tall nave and aisles under one roof, projecting southwest porch and baptistery with an apsidal end and a northwest projection which may have been intended as the base of a tower, since it adjoins a projecting stair which now serves only the internal western gallery. The nave is five bays long, with shallow transeptal projections in the third and fourth bays from the west. At the east end is a tall sanctuary.  The walls are of red rock-faced sandstone laid in courses, with dressed sandstone for the window detailing and roof coverings of Welsh slate.  The west end is a varied composition, with the tall end wall of the nave flanked by the projecting baptistery and stair projection; the gable of the nave has a large five-light window with elaborate tracery. The side elevations are of five main bays with three- light segment-headed windows to the aisles and five light traceried windows in the double transepts.   The tall shallow sanctuary has an elaborately traceried round window in the east wall.

The interior is dramatic, with a western gallery, arcades of five bays of pointed arches on tall cylindrical columns and a steep and elaborate timber roof.  Above the arches of the arcades are foiled openings into the upper parts of the aisles.  At the east end, in the sanctuary and flanking side chapels, the three original marble altars by Peter Paul Pugin with their canopied reredoses still survive.  The windows of the church are mostly clear-glazed with yellow borders, but there is some good Arts & Crafts style stained glass in the east window.

The interior was recently (circa 1999) thoroughly but sensitively re-ordered and refurbished by Philip Johnston.   A new nave altar was formed from second-hand elements, and displaced pews and choir stalls were recycled to created screens at the west end. The whole interior was carpeted.

Diocese: Liverpool

Architect: Pugin & Pugin

Original Date: 1903

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed