Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Wigan (Metropolitan Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SD 68362 02353




Catholic church, 1869, with near -contemporary extension and C20 alterations, by architect Edmund Kirby of Birkenhead. Squared rubble sandstone laid in shallow courses, with ashlar red sandstone dressings and decorative banding, coped gables with cross finials and a slated roof, laid in wide bands of blue and grey fish-scale slates. Early English Style.

PLAN: Linear plan, aligned east-west with tower and spire to north-east corner, advanced entrance porch, narthex, baptistry, aisleless nave, sanctuary and Lady chapel, and added confessional to south side wall. Attached presbytery on south side of west end.

EXTERIOR: East elevation with tall wide gable to nave, rising from a shallow chamfered plinth and incorporating massive circular window within gable apex, with circular lights encircling central quatrefoil. To the right, advanced multi-stage square tower, with stepped chamfered corners forming base to octagonal spire, which incorporates lucarnes to alternating facets. To centre of gable, advanced gabled porch, with wide stepped, pointed arch incorporating twin pointed arch-headed doorways, and above, a cinquefoil window. Further left, baptistry with angled end, and single and 2 -light lancets with trefoil heads. South elevation with 5-bay nave side wall with stepped and gabled buttresses defining the bays, each bay with paired lancet windows on a cill band , the lights with banded heads set amidst an impost band. Plain eaves band below steeply-pitched nave roof. Single-storeyed confessional added to centre of elevation, with hipped end to roof and a pair of shallow-arch-headed windows to south end. Original confessional to west end of nave, within semi-circular projection and banded conical stone roof. Canted end to sanctuary with tall, 3-light windows with cinquefoil heads separated by tall stepped buttresses. North elevation generally detailed as south side, but with lower monopitch roof to Lady chapel extending from side of sanctuary.

INTERIOR: The Sanctuary has three large stained glass windows by Meyer, dating to 1881, with a further small window high on the south side. The roof is arched with exposed rafters and a scalloped central truss. To the right is a small Lady chapel with a single narrow stained glass window above the altar. To the left is a doorway to the vestry and a blocked entrance to the former confessional, now a store. The main altar survives but altar rails are missing. The carved wooden pulpit, formerly to the left, is now to the right of the chancel arch. The aisle has contemporary pews, formerly arranged with an aisle on either side of a central bank, now with a central aisle and extensions to the ends of the pews. Three doorways to the added confessionals on the south side. Tall arch-braced king post roof trusses with collar beams rise from mid-wall corbels and support multi-purlin roof structure with exposed rafters. The narthex at the east end has the main entrance with stairs to the gallery. The gallery extends over the west end of the nave, and houses the organ and reused pews from the nave for the choir.

PRESBYTERY: built in matching stone with fish-scale slates, in a vernacular style. The windows, of varying sizes, are mullioned with ashlar dressings, and the door has red sandstone ashlar dressings matching the church. The house has five bedrooms but is altered and the interior is not of special interest. SETTING: The church and attached presbytery is in an urban setting, a former coal mining area, surrounded by brick terraced housing. The site of the former school is a vacant plot to the south of the church and presbytery. Landscaped grounds lie to the east and south of the buildings.

HISTORY: The parish was established in the nineteenth century in response to a growing local community of Irish immigrant families. The church was built on land donated by Lord Lilford, with materials donated by John Holland, a local colliery manager. It was consecrated in 1869 and a foundation stone laid in 1875. The presbytery was built either at the same time or soon after, and was originally separate from the church building, with a linking section in matching materials added by 1894. The school opened in 1888 and was demolished in c.2000. The church closed for worship in 2004.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION The Sacred Heart Catholic Church is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * The design of the church is well-balanced and imposing * The architectural detail is well executed, both externally and internally * The stained glass by the internationally known firm of Mayer is of good quality * Despite the fact that it is no longer in use, it retains a number of original features internally and is little altered since its construction.

Listing NGR: SD6836102353


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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

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