Building » Withnell – St Joseph (The Moorland Sanctuary)

Withnell – St Joseph (The Moorland Sanctuary)

Bury Lane, Withnell, Chorley PR6

A stone-built late nineteenth-century dual-purpose church and school with presbytery, forming a group of some historic interest and rarity. 

The church was set up to serve a relatively remote rural community. Canon Worthy, who had been instrumental in the planning of St Mary Euxton (qv) where he also designed altars and furnishings, was in correspondence with the local priest and was responsible for the design. The integration of church and school was not uncommon at this time, although this was usually intended as a short-term measure pending erection of a permanent and separate church, and for this reason relatively few examples have survived.


Church, upper level, and school below, of stone, simple rectangular plan. Each level has a range of windows with segmental heads. Gable ends have a small bellcote, west end, and a small cross, east end. The interior has a narthex formed or replaced in the late twentieth century by placing a glazed screen beneath the west gallery. Arch braced roof trusses rise from stone corbels, the tops concealed by a flat ceiling.  The sanctuary has been reordered. with simple furnishings on a low dais. A timber font with clustered columns is probably of late nineteenth century date, as is the bench seating.

The school has extensions of late twentieth century date. Plain presbytery of two storeys with a hipped roof and large windows with replacement glazing.

Entry amended by AHP 8.1.2021

Heritage Details

Architect: Canon John Worthy

Original Date: 1884

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed