Home                        Our Church

The foundation-stone of the church was laid in a ceremony on 28th August 1864 and the new church building was opened on 29th October 1865 and the original construction is described in some detail in the two linked contemporary newspaper articles.

Edward Welby Pugin was the architect of the Church, although it is clear that Rev John Worthy (the then Pastor of the Mission) made modifications to Pugin's design and had a strong input to the church's internal ordering and fittings. Since the time of its building, the church has undergone refurbishment and re-ordering, but it would still be recognisable to the first worshippers from 1865. An overview of the changes undertaken over the years is provided in the Parish History section.

This page gives you a guided tour of the current church in words and pictures.

Entrance Porch

The main entrance porch has a doorway on each side with a pair of folding doors then leading into the nave. Inside the porch the stained glass window depicts "The Dowry of England" showing Our Lady and the Child Jesus enthroned on England.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nave

Looking from the back of the Church towards the altar you cannot fail to notice the distinctly Medieval appearance of St Mary's - this is what Pugin wanted you to feel! The nave is separated from the side aisles by a series of Gothic arches supported alternately by round and octagonal columns, the round columns being in the Norman/Gothic style and the octagonal in a vaguely Classical style. The nave ceiling represents an upturned boat: a favoured design of Pugin, the fleur-de-lis motif being painted on the ceiling in 1991. The pews and the Stations of the Cross were installed in the 1960s. Looking around you will notice the beautiful stained glass - the nave contains a plaque stating that all the stained glass in the church was installed in 1925-26 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of St Mary's. The westernmost window of the South aisle contains a stained glass depiction of Blessed Robert Anderton. At the east end of the south wall is the "Good Shepherd" window, depicting Christ, the Good Shepherd, with the Red Rose of Lancashire and a building resembling Rivington Pike above him. The six lancet windows at the back of the nave contain the coats-of-arms of four Popes and two Bishops of Liverpool, including Bishop Alexander Goss, the 2nd Bishop of Liverpool and the priest who consecrated St Mary's.

 

 

Sanctuary

       

The focal point of the Sanctuary is the altar, installed in 1888. The altar is composed of several varieties of marble and was sculpted by Mr T Rawcliffe of Chorley. The altar reredos depicts the Wedding Feast at Canaan and the Feeding of the Five Thousand.

The Tabernacle is of the purest white marble, with columns of onyx supporting a carved cornice. 

The crucifixion rood and sanctuary lamp were installed in 1991, being moved from a parish church in Liverpool that was undergoing closure at the time. The modern lectern was installed at the time of the major reordering of the church, replacing the previous pulpit of c1945. The nine stained glass windows in the Sanctuary show various saints and commemorate the nine parishioners who died in the conflict of the First World War. The two other windows commemorate William Anderton and were donated by his Memorial Committee. 

 

 

 

 

The central reredos (including the tabernacle doors) was re-modelled at the time of the major re-ordering of the church and the pictorial depictions of the side sections were extended to the centre.

 

 

 

The Sanctuary mural "The Murder of St Thomas a' Becket" was painted in 1942 (according to the date on the artist's sketches!)                                                                             

 

  

 

 

Anderton Chapel

The south transept of the church was originally designated as the Anderton Chapel, for the use of the Anderton family. At one time the Anderton Chapel was separated from the nave by an ornamental gothic screen, but this was removed in the 1960s, some time after the death and interment of "the last of the Andertons" in 1950.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baptistry

The Baptistry is sited in the north transept of the church and contains the original font - a fine font with a carved font cover - the tiles are possibly Minton. The Baptistry stained glass windows depict St John the Baptist and St Thomas the Apostle and also commemorate Canon John Worthy and Father Thomas Keeley respectively. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gallery

The Gallery, at the east end of the building, is supported by three arches. The gallery is used by the choir, and houses the original 1865 organ which remains in fine working order thanks to a number of cleanings and restorations. The two windows depict Christ and Our Lady with people of different races.