Building » Great Eccleston – St Mary

Great Eccleston – St Mary

Hall Lane, Great Eccleston, Preston PR3 OXN

A late and internally little altered example of a post-Relief Act chapel-style church, built in 1835 and replacing an earlier chapel of 1760. The exterior has been much altered.

In 1760 a chapel dedicated to St Lawrence was built in Barrons Lane, to the west of the church. This simple structure, with Gothick detail, survives as part of the primary school. The present church and presbytery were built in 1835.


A late example of the galleried nonconformist plan. Quite large, originally seating 356. An oblong box under a hipped slate roof, with an attached contemporary presbytery to the east. The exterior of the church has been much altered. In 1968-9 the walls were clad in an extra skin of brickwork laid in stretcher bond, with new concrete frames to the windows. A new entrance was formed on the south side, with a porch, involving the adaptation of the large window here to a circular opening. The original entrance on the west side of the church was adapted to form a projecting  baptistery, with new stained  glass. A  new cupola/belfry was built over the east end, with simplified detail.

The interior retains much of it original early character. Belonging to the original build are the Ionic half-columns and entablature framing the east (sanctuary) wall, the round- arched doorways on either side (one leading to the presbytery and the other to a confessional), the west gallery (retaining some of its original seating), the large plaster ceiling rose and the perimeter dado panelling (renewed), and possibly the font. Also the plaster of the walls, lined out to resemble ashlar blocks. The somewhat incongruous Gothic stone altar and reredos (now painted) were added in c1869, the gift of Miss Phipps, and the painting around them is presumably contemporary with these.

At the west end under the gallery is a timber altar (c1750?) with inward splayed sides, from Thistleton Lodge, formerly a junior seminary and before that a recusant house (information from Fr Groody). There are two stained glass windows of 1896 and two of 1948. The Stations are c1890 by Luigi Morgaris (sp). The pews date from 1943: their design is copied from those in the former convent in Winckley Square, Preston (Fr Groody). The pulpit is also twentieth century. The Lourdes grotto at the west end dates from 1958.

The presbytery has also been much altered, with external render and replacement windows.

Entry amended by AHP 18.12.2020

Heritage Details

Architect: Not established

Original Date: 1835

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed