Building » Burnley – St Teresa of the Infant Jesus

Burnley – St Teresa of the Infant Jesus

Barracks Road, Burnley BB11

A modern chapel-of-ease which, like St Mary Magdalene, Burnley (qv), was built when the old St Mary Magdalene’s church had to be demolished for the M65. Both new churches are by the same architects and use the same basic design. The church has two segments of the altar rails from the old church, as well as a font from an Anglican church also demolished for the motorway.

St Teresa’s church was founded as a chapel-of-ease to St Mary Magdalene’s parish after the old St Mary Magdalene church had to be demolished for the construction of the M65. With the compensation money from the Highways Authority (now Highways Agency), two new churches were built: a new St Mary Magdalene’s church (qv) to the north of the motorway, and St Teresa’s, just to the south of the new motorway. The architects for both were Desmond Williams & Associates. Both opened in 1980, and both employ a similar design vocabulary and plan forms, with St Teresa’s being slightly smaller. This was meant to reflect the common origin of the two new churches in the old parish of St Mary Magdalene

St Teresa’s church was opened and dedicated on 2 September 1980 by Archbishop Bruno Heim, the Apostolic Delegate. The cost of the building was £300,000. Most of the furnishings from the demolished church went to the new St Mary Magdalene’s, but the brass altar rails were given to St Teresa’s. The font came from St John’s Anglican church, also demolished for the motorway.


The walls of the church are faced in bricks, whose beige grey colour was chosen to harmonise with the local building stone. The plan is square, with an attached square narthex at the southwest and a square sacristy at the northeast. The church, sacristy and narthex have separate pyramidal roofs of slate – that of the church being the highest. Like the similar church of St Mary Magdalene, Burnley, the elevations are slightly varied by the shapes of the windows (square or vertical slits with brick mullions), which here are kept small due to the noise of the adjacent roads and railway.

The steel trusses of the roof are hidden internally by a timber ceiling, which is open in front of the sanctuary to allow natural light in through roof lights. There are confessionals on the north side. The sanctuary furnishings are modern and of marble. The Lady Chapel at the northeast has two segments of brass altar rails from the old church of St Mary, as well as the octagonal stone font from the Anglican church of St John at Gannow, Burnley (demolished). There are statues of Our Lady and St Teresa.

St Teresa’s has never been a parish in its own right but between 1980 and 1987 a resident priest lived in the adjacent presbytery. From 1987 to 2005, it was served from St Mary Magdalene’s church, and since 2005 it has been served from Christ the King, Burnley. The presbytery is now rented out.

Heritage Details

Architect: Desmond Williams & Associates

Original Date: 1980

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed