Building » Salford (Kersal) – Our Lady of Dolours

Salford (Kersal) – Our Lady of Dolours

Bury New Road, Kersal, Salford M7

A building in a stripped Basilican Romanesque style, of unassuming external appearance but with a handsome interior. The church was built for the Order of Friar Servants of Mary (Servites), and is a very conservative design for its date, but well-detailed.

The parish was opened by the Order of Friar Servants of Mary (Servites) in 1923. In 1924 they acquired the large nineteenth-century red brick house (the present Priory) and a temporary church was built alongside. This was a prefabricated structure not dissimilar to others built about the same time at Whalley and elsewhere.

In 1964 a large new church seating 450 and designed in a simplified Basilican Romanesque style was built next to the Priory, at a cost of £47,000. The 1924 church was adapted to serve as a parish hall.  The architects were Arthur Farebrother & Partners (information from Lawrence Gregory, Diocesan Archives). The choice of basilican style, open loggia/porch, use of buff brick, and coffered nave ceiling are conservative for their date and bear comparisons with Farebrother’s St Anthony, Slough, 1964 (Diocese of Northampton) or early designs by Desmond Williams (cf St Catherine of Siena, Didsbury (qv), designed when he was in Farebrother’s office.

The sanctuary was reordered in 1988-90, retaining some features, but extending the dais and bringing forward the altar. New furnishings were by Alberti, Lupton & Co., some of them fashioned from the grey marble of the former reredos.  The church was consecrated by Bishop Kelly in September 1990.

For a number of years the Priory at Kersal was the residence of the Prior Provincial of the Servites.


The church is in a simplified Basilican Romanesque style. The plan comprises a nave with an open west porch and low north and south aisles and a sanctuary with a shallow canted apse.  The walls are faced with buff brick, and the continuous pitched roof over nave and sanctuary is covered with brown Roman tiles. The gabled west wall of the nave has a triple-arched porch with a lean-to roof and is flanked by flat-roofed projections with a single tall window.  The upper part of the nave wall is blind and has a relief statue of Our Lady. The aisles have five small round-headed windows on the south side facing the public road with a more irregular arrangement on the north side which has the confessionals and side chapels.  The clerestory fenestration on both sides has a rhythm of alternating paired and stepped triplet windows. Plain brick buttresses define the sanctuary which has tall triple window on the south side.  The east wall has a blind canted apse.

The interior space is confidently handled.  The walls are of bare-faced brick.  The nave has five-bay arcades of wide segmental brick arches on green stone columns with cushion capitals.  Behind the arcades are passage aisles. The nave windows are all clear glazed. At either end of the nave are wide round brick arches.  That at the west end opens to the gallery space, which has a vestibule beneath; that at the east end opens into the sanctuary. Over the nave is a pitched panelled ceiling; over the sanctuary is a flat panelled ceiling.  The sanctuary has a round-headed recess in the east wall and the tall south window is filled with tinted glass. The original sanctuary arrangements, with a marble gradine across the eastern recess and marble pulpit and ambo on either side, were re-arranged in 1988-90, but the reredos painting survives, as do the original nave benches.

Heritage Details

Architect: Arthur Farebrother & Partners

Original Date: 1964

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed