Building » Astley – St Ambrose Barlow

Astley – St Ambrose Barlow

Lark Hill, Astley, Manchester 29

A modest post-Vatican II suburban building, designed using simple materials to create a functional, but attractive internal space. 

The church is dedicated to Edward Barlow, who took the name Ambrose when he entered the Benedictine order at Douai in 1612. He was ordained 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; Fr 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 parish of Holy Family, Boothstown 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.


A design and build structure by Messrs Lanner of Wakefield. 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 reordered in 2000 by Derek Hicks & Thew.

Entry amended by AHP 8.1.2021

Heritage Details

Architect: Lanner Construction

Original Date: 1979

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed