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


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Statutory Address:

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

Manchester (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Anglican church, 1874-1926, by Paley & Austin; red sandstone, ashlar dressings, red tiled roof, C14 Decorated style, war memorial lych gate of 1919.

Reasons for Designation

St Margaret's Church and lych gate, constructed between 1874 and 1926 to the designs of Paley & Austin of Lancaster, are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural quality: it is a finely detailed and well-executed church in C14 Decorated style that employs the extensive use of carved stonework and geometrical and curvilinear tracery * Architects: the church was designed by the nationally renowned architects' firm of Paley & Austin which specialised in Gothic Revival churches, and it is a good example of the practice's great skill and ability in creating distinguished churches even on a limited budget * Interior survival and quality: despite some internal alteration, the well-proportioned interior retains much of its original historic character and numerous original features, including octagonal nave piers with carved capitals and bases, a carved timber reredos of 1885 with painted and gilded panels, panelled organ screens and stained glass windows, including some by the Manchester artist, Walter J Pearce * War memorial: as well as possessing a detailed carved timber and sandstone design of architectural interest, the lych gate commemorates the fallen of the parish during WWI and acts as a poignant reminder of the effect of tragic world events on small communities such as Burnage


In 1873 a committee and subscription list were established to raise funds for the construction of a church in Burnage. St Margaret's Church, Burnage Lane, was constructed in phases between 1874 and 1926 as funds allowed, and was designed by the renowned architects firm of Paley & Austin of Lancaster at an initial cost of approximately £3999. The land for the church was given by Lord Egerton of Tatton and the foundation stone was laid on 10th April 1874 by Mr Hugh Birley MP. The church was consecrated on 15th March 1875 by the Bishop of Manchester, Dr Fraser.

The construction of a west tower and the extension of the nave to five bays were proposed by Paley & Austin in 1911, but the plans were never carried out. In 1919 a lych gate was erected as a war memorial to the parishioners killed during WWI, which was presented to the community by Alderman Lieut-Col T Turnbull.

The church roof was re-tiled in the late 1960s and in 1985 the east end of the nave was re-ordered through the creation of a platform in front of the chancel. In 1998 the original choir pews, font and pulpit were removed and movable furnishings were introduced, and in c2003/4 a new parish centre was built to the west of the church on the site of earlier parish halls.


PLAN: Nave with side aisles set underneath separate roofs, single-storey baptistery projection to west end, two south porches, organ chamber to north side appears as transept, vestry to north-east corner.

EXTERIOR: Most windows have Decorated tracery (both geometrical and curvilinear) and stringcourses above and below. Leaded glazing (some with stained glass), ashlar surrounds (some quoined) and hoodmoulds to all windows. The three-bay nave, chancel and south aisle were constructed in 1874-5, with the north aisle added in 1901. The single-bay west end, including a baptistery and main south porch, were added in 1925-6. Buttressed side aisles lit by large traceried windows with tall two-light windows to the west end returns. Single-storey, flat-roofed, semi-octagonal apsidal baptistery to the west end elevation with a parapet, paired and single light trefoil-arched windows, and inscribed foundation stone. The baptistery is framed by heavy stud walls, possibly added in anticipation of a west tower proposed in 1911 but never carried out. Large four-light West window above and behind the baptistery with a bell cote (1881) surmounting the west gable end. Large main porch to the western end of the south aisle with arched doorway to the east side containing studded double doors with decorative strap hinges. There is a shallow raised gable to the south side of porch surmounted by cross finial; two small, leaded lancets with cusped heads flank a tall statue niche containing a figure of St Margaret of Antioch holding a large cross and surmounting a winged dragon lying defeated on its back. A carved sunken bas-relief inscription from Psalm 100:4 in stylised lettering beneath the niche reads 'Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise'. A smaller porch (Finney Porch) to the eastern end of the south aisle has a doorway to the east side with a shouldered head and door with applied fillets. Both porches incorporate gableted buttresses. Chancel with three-light window and two-light window to the south side. The gabled east elevation is surmounted by a floriated octafoil with a large four-light East window flanked by full-height buttresses. Very small glazed quatrefoil set to gable apex above, and a large ashlar stone set to the lower part of gable end wall has a sunken bas-relief carved cross motif. Single-storey vestry to the north-east corner of the chancel with a raised doorway with a shouldered head and large ashlar lintel incorporating relief lettering reading 'Anno Domini mdccclxxv', and a door with strap hinges. Transept (organ chamber) to the north side of the chancel with a large four-light window set to the upper half of the wall. The enclosed walkway (c2003/4) attached to the west side of the main south porch and the connected modern parish hall of the same date are not of special interest and are excluded from the listing.

INTERIOR: Plastered walls, original floor hidden by a later carpet. The nave has a single-framed roof, arcades supported by octagonal piers with carved capitals and bases, and a chancel arch. A segmental-arched opening to the west end of church has carved spandrels and leads into the baptistery. The baptistery has exposed stone walls, a raised floor, and a two-light stained glass window (1950) depicting a Scout, Guide, Cub and Brownie in 1950s uniforms commemorating 40 years of Scouting and Guiding. WWI and WWII war memorials (probably by Walter J Pearce) to the north and south side aisles respectively have colourful decorative tiles, tiled lettering and strips of gold mosaic. There are two stained glass windows to the eastern end of the south side aisle; a three-light window (1894) to the eastern end of the south wall depicts Faith, Hope and Charity, and a two-light window (c1950) to the east end of the south aisle by T F Wilford of Marple depicts images of Jesus Christ. There is a modern, slightly raised platform in front of the chancel arch. The chancel is accessed via three steps: the lower part of walls are of exposed stone. The chancel contains a carved timber reredos of 1885 incorporating painted and gilded panels depicting saints and the Last Supper. The East window depicts the theme 'Hope of the Resurrection', flanked by two tall panels painted on to the wall with gilded lettering recording the Ten Commandments. A large painted banner above East window reads 'This do in remembrance of ME'. Two stained glass windows (c1920) to the south side of chancel by the Manchester artist, Walter J Pearce; a two-light window depicts the theme 'Reward for those who have fought the good fight and kept the faith', and a three-light window depicts the theme 'Heroes of the faith, Joshua, David and St George'. All the chancel windows were installed as WWI war memorials. North wall with credence shelf to the east end with a traceried, pointed head and hoodmould; an off-centre doorway and stone steps lead down into vestry with a parquet floor and built-in cupboards. The organ chamber set behind the large arch to the north side of the chancel contains a panelled screen (1885) and organ (1973). Similarly styled but smaller arch and screen to the west return faces into north aisle; the screen is believed to have been erected in 1914 in recognition of the ministry of the church's second minister, Rev T A Schonberg.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURE: A lych gate set to the east of the church is directly in line with East window. Timber-framed with low red sandstone side walls surmounted by Gothic arched openings and timber gates to the east end. Tiled roof with decorative carved bargeboards and crown-post trusses to the east and west ends. A memorial inscription in stylised lettering to the east face of the tie beam of the eastern truss reads '1914 TO THE MEMORY OF THE BRAVE 1918'. Two original small, carved timber figures of a soldier and sailor flanking the lych gate entrance are now removed. Inscribed memorial stone of yellow sandstone ashlar incorporated into the north side wall commemorates 36 men of the parish who died during WWI. The lych gate is flanked by low, curved walls of red sandstone surmounted by very low cast-iron railings (some to the north side are missing).

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 15/10/2012

This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 30 January 2017.


Books and journals
Hartwell, C, Hyde, M, Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Lancashire: Manchester and the South-East, (2004, reprinted 2010 with corrections), 409 & 410
Price, J, Sharpe, Paley and Austin - A Lancaster Architectural Practice 1836-1942, (1998)
War Memorials Online, accessed 30 January 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 30 January 2017 from
St Margaret's Burnage: Celebration 125, (2000)


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

End of official listing

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