Building » Hornby – St Mary

Hornby – St Mary

59 Main Street, Hornby, Lancaster LA2 8JT.

A modest building of 1820, hidden behind a handsome Georgian presbytery, which makes a good contribution to the local conservation area. The site is of particular historical interest for its associations with the Revd Dr John Lingard.

From 1762 Mass was said at Hornby Hall (now demolished, it was on the adjoining site), courtesy of a Catholic widow, Mrs Anne Fenwick. After her death in 1777 her Anglican brother-in-law acquired the present site and building, and, following the instructions left in her will, installed a priest  who would celebrate ‘Mass every Sunday and Holiday throughout the year at Hornby or Claughton or Caton and to be diligent in preaching, catechising and instructing the flock’.

The Revd John Lingard came to the parish in 1811, and stayed at Hornby until his death in 1851. He built the present church in 1820. Born at Winchester in 1771 and educated at Douay College, Lingard was ordained in  1793. In 1795 he became the first vice-president of the refugee Douay College as re-established at Ushaw. At Hornby he wrote his revisionist History of England and The Antiquities of the Anglo-Saxon Church. Although loyal to the Holy See, he belonged to the Cisalpine faction, which wished to limit the powers of the papacy (as against the claims of the Ultramontane party). Unusually for a Catholic priest, he has a monument in the Anglican church at Hornby.


Please refer to the list description, below.

The church is modest in size and architectural pretensions. It is a simple oblong stone box, under a slate roof. The doorway and flanking windows of the porch entrance echo the Venetian windows on the ground floor of the presbytery. The flanking windows contain nineteenth century glass with the Marian monogram and roses. Busts of the Emperor Constantine and King Oswald on either side of the main entrance are copies by Shawn Williamson, the originals having been stolen in 2002.

Inside, the sanctuary area is demarcated by a ‘screen’ of two columns; with corresponding attached columns against the east wall. There is a high relief plaster motif of the Dove of the Holy Spirit over the altar. The church windows are of modern stained hardwood. Furnishings include a brass memorial to Lingard, in the manner of Hardman and Co.

The garden is open to the public. It contains Lingard’s walk along the wall lined by fruit trees he planted. In the middle of the garden is an oak tree, also planted by Lingard.

Entry amended by AHP 18.12.2020

List descriptions



Roman Catholic Church, 1820. Sandstone rubble with hipped slate roof. East wall has gabled porch of shallow projection. This has a Venetian opening, with the door flanked by windows. At each side a corbel supports a stone bust, the left-hand one of the Emperor Constantine, the right-hand one of King Oswald of Northumbria. Inside there is a flat ceiling. Nave and chancel are divided by 2 Tuscan columns and 2 attached columns. Behind the altar are 2 half-columns and 2 quarter-columns. These may have come from the C18th chapel at Claughton, said to be-dismantled to provide stone for the present church. Dr. John Lingard, author of the History of England, was priest at Hornby between 1811 and 1851 and was responsible for building the present church.



Presbytery, 1777. Squared sandstone with slate roof. Double-depth plan. Two storeys with attic, three bays. Facade has quoins with alternate rustication, and a cornice. Windows are sashed with glazing bars and have plain stone surrounds. On the ground floor they are Venetian with keystones and with Gothick glazing to the central sash. On the first floor the outer bays have tripartite windows. Gables have chimneys and copings with kneelers. Each gable wall has an attic window with a round-headed plain stone surround with keystone and imposts and with Gothick glazing.

Listing NGR: SD5845868578

Heritage Details

Architect: Not established

Original Date: 1820

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II