Building » Middleton – Our Lady of the Assumption

Middleton – Our Lady of the Assumption

Wood Street, Langley, Middleton, Manchester M24

A well-detailed and little-altered modern Romanesque design of the late 1950s, its tall campanile a local landmark.

In the mid-1950s the district of Langley on the north western outskirts of Middleton was designated for Manchester overspill housing.  A Catholic curate was appointed in 1953 and in 1954 a Romney hut (a variant of a Nissen hut) was acquired and erected here to serve as a temporary church.  The architects W. & J. B. Ellis of St Helens were already involved at this time, and designed the presbytery (completed in 1955) and the original buildings of the nearby school. A new parish hall was built in 1958. The present church was built on the site of the Romney hut in 1959-60, being opened by Bishop Beck in August 1960. It was designed by J. B. Ellis to seat 800, and cost £24,000. The building is in the modern Romanesque style; its tall campanile is a local landmark, and houses a bell cast by Taylor’s of Loughborough. The church was consecrated in November 1961.


The church is a handsome design in modern Romanesque style, with external facings of grey brick laid in stretcher bond, stone dressings and roof coverings of pantiles.  On plan the building comprises a tall nave with low flat-roofed side aisle, a tall southwest campanile and a transeptal southeast Lady Chapel. The gabled west front has a tall central arch with the entrance doorway in a stone surround and a triple window above. A corbel table follows the gable. On either side at low level are paired round-headed windows. There is a two-storey link to the campanile, which is of four stages, with an open-arched top stage and a pyramidal roof. The side elevations have triple round-headed windows in the nave clerestory below a corbel table and triple straight-headed windows in the aisles. The Lady Chapel has a gabled south end with a stepped window of five lights. The east wall is blind.

The interior is more modern in treatment. The slim columns of the concrete frame are exposed on both sides, dividing the tall nave from the low aisles. Stations of the Cross are fixed to the frieze or entablature below the clerestory. The aisle walls are of bare brick, the upper nave walls are plastered, and there is a canted coffered ceiling.  At the west end is an organ gallery with a glazed vestibule/narthex beneath (originally also housing the baptistery). Both clerestory and aisle windows are clear glazed but the west window has richly-coloured original stained glass depicting the Assumption of the Virgin.  The sanctuary occupies the eastern bay of the nave.  The east wall is covered to full height with mosaic decoration, with a canopy over the altar. The Lady Chapel on the south side has rich stained glass, like that in the west window.

Heritage Details

Architect: W. & J. B. Ellis

Original Date: 1960

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed