Hoyles Lane, Cottam, Preston PR4 ONB.
An early post-Relief Act church with important local historical associations and with a good interior.
The local families of Haydock and Cottam are illustrious in Lancashire Catholic history, and Blessed George Haydock, who shares the joint dedication of the church, was an Elizabethan martyr (died at Tyburn 1584).
‘Atticus’ (A. Hewitson, 1872) writes that ‘Cottam chapel…has perhaps had more trouble in its time than any other religious edifice’. An old private chapel was burnt down in 1715 after the Battle of Preston, at the time of the Jacobite uprising. Its replacement was burnt down by a mob from Preston in 1740, and its successor was destroyed in the election riots of 1768. The present church was built immediately after the Relief Act and completed in 1793 at a cost of £334.5s.4d and three farthings (half the cost of the very plain chapel at nearby Lea Town, building at about the same time). The presbytery was added in 1827. Between 1853-65 the sanctuary was rebuilt and the present cemetery laid out. In 1893 at the time of the centenary of the mission the church was embellished and redecorated under Rev. John Francis Gillow, who built the recess for the Lady altar and erected the present marble altar in the sanctuary. The church was finally consecrated in 1894.
‘Atticus’ describes the exterior as ‘homely…with walls of plain masonry’. Unfortunately these walls have been covered with white painted cement render, thus depriving the external aspect of much of its original character. There is a modern west porch giving access to an interior which is still, as described by Atticus, ‘very neat and graceful’. The decoration and the furnishing of the east end belongs to the 1893 alterations, but the basic form of nave and narrow aisles, with slender cast iron colonnettes separating the two and shallow segmental (compartmented) plaster vaults would appear to be part of the 1790s building. Three arched windows on either side, with Lombard tracery. Large wheel window on west wall; similar smaller windows to west wall of aisles. Gallery accessible from staircase at west end. Marble sanctuary furnishings; the whole richly coloured and adorned with stencil decorations and inscriptions. The Stations date from 1894.
The 1827 presbytery lies to the east, linked to the church by a modern parish hall which abuts the church in lean-to fashion. Three bays, two storeys, brick under a slate hipped roof, Tuscan doorcase.
Architect: Not Known
Original Date: 1793
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed