Baxendale Street, Astley Bridge, Bolton BL1
An attractive small church in a late Victorian Gothic style. The interior with its hammerbeam roof is unexpectedly grand, and is complemented by original carved timber furnishings and 1960s semi-abstract stained glass in vibrant colours.
A mission was created from St Mary’s, Bolton in 1877, when the first church was built. This was a two-storey church/school, with the church on the upper floor, reached by an external staircase, and lit only by a glazed lantern running the length of the roof. The present church dates from 1902 and was designed by ‘Mr Bromley’, the contractor being Jones and Son. It was designed to seat 600. The old church, which stood on the site of the present car park, was incorporated into the school and the basement became a men’s club. A porch incorporating a baptistery was added in 1969 from designs by Greenhalgh & Williams. A replacement school was built in the 1970s.
The church was built in 1902 of red brick with stone dressings and a slate roof, and is said to have been designed by a ‘Mr Bromley’. It is small and compact, with a five-bay nave and a narrow sanctuary flanked by sacristies which project out to each side with pairs of gables. The roof is supported on hammerbeams and arched brace trusses, with purlins and rafters, all exposed and boarded above. The windows are lancets, arranged in groups of three and separated by buttresses. There is a choir loft at the west end with a timber gallery front. A flat-roofed porch and baptistery designed by Greenhalgh & Williams was added in 1969.
The original oak sanctuary furnishings include the altar and reredos with carvings of the Supper at Emmaus and the Sacrifice of Isaac from the Tyrol, the lectern and oak pews. The War Memorial pieta dates from 1925, and there are plaster statues of the Sacred Heart and Our Lady and Child from Ormesby of Scarisbrick. A number of windows, including the striking east window have semi-abstract stained glass designed and made by Philip Brown of Gounil and Philip Brown of St Leonards-on-Sea in 1964. Other more conventional windows including the figures of St Thomas More, St Peter, St Edward Ambrose, St Margaret, the Holy Infant and Our Lady are all by Charles Lightfoot & Sons of Manchester, and date from 1969 when the church was reordered by Greenhalgh & Williams. The organ came from a church at Haslingden and was installed by Jardines in 1955.
Architect: Mr Bromley
Original Date: 1902
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed