Astley - St Ambrose Barlow

Lark Hill, Astley, Manchester 29

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The church is a modest post-war suburban building, designed using simple materials to create a functional, but attractive internal volume. It has modest architectural merit externally.

The church is dedicated to Edward Barlow who took the name Ambrose when he entered the Benedictine Order at Douai Abbey in 1612. He was ordained a priest in 1617 and returned to Lancashire; he was executed at Lancaster in 1641 for defying the order for Catholic priests to leave the country.   More recent history starts in 1949; Father Thomas Byrne obtained  approval from Tyldesley Council for a temporary building. In 1950, he secured the Diocese’s agreement to pay for the purchase of a field at Lark Hill from the coal board, to build a chapel of ease. In the same year the Council granted a temporary building license for the chapel. The cost of this first chapel was largely provided by the parish at Holy Family, Boothstown, which raised £1,200 towards the cost of just over £1,400. The present building was constructed in 1979-81; the first Mass was said on 30 August 1981.

The church is a square single-storey structure faced in red bricks, under a pyramidal concrete tiled roof, surmounted by a steel fleche. The front entrance is within a flat- roofed lobby, with another entrance to the side adjacent to the parish house, to which the church is connected by a low flat-roofed link. The plain narrow floor-to-ceiling windows  are  obscure-glazed.  Internally,  the  single  volume  church  has  exposed ‘glulam’ roof trusses with pine boarding lining the roof. Internal walls are fair-faced brown brick and the floor is carpeted. The sanctuary is simply fitted with a stone altar and lectern. The interior was re-ordered in 2000 by Derek Hicks and Thew.

Diocese: Liverpool

Architect: Lanner Construction (design and build)

Original Date: 1979

Conservation Area: No

Modifications: 2000

Listed Grade: Not listed