Description of St Mary’s, Brownedge in Barrett’s Street Directory of Preston and the Surrounding District 1948

Brownedge is 3 miles S.S.E. from Preston and here is a beautiful Catholic Church, dedicated to St Mary.

The mission was first established about the year 1780, by the Rev. Oswald Eaves O.S.B. and the chapel then erected was superseded by another, which was built in 1826.

In 1891-92, this structure was almost entirely re-built, the exception being the tower and spire.

The wall at the east end was taken down and the church carried 100 feet back, the total length, including the porch and chancel, being now 192 feet.

The mean breadth is 71 feet, and across the transepts about 100 feet. The noble sanctuary is supported by a colonnade of ten granite pillars, the high altar was designed by Pugin. A handsome open Gothic roof replaces the old one, and the outer walls are supported by buttresses.

On the west side are two new sacristies, Lady Chapel transept, confessionals and baptistry. In August 1900, a new altar in the Lady Chapel was erected at a cost of £800. It is composed of white marble and alabaster, and was designed by Mr Bernard Smith, of London, and built by Messrs. Boulton, of Cheltenham. The walls of the nave were raised, and six rose windows, with ornamental gables, inserted.

Longridge and Whittle stone has been used for the exterior walls, the church was re-floored and fitted with new heating apparatus; a draughtproof door was also added.

The church will accommodate 1,000 persons. The alterations were carried out from designs by Messrs. Pugin and Pugin of Westminster, and the contractor was Mr Chas. Walker, of Brownedge and Preston.

The spire is 120 feet high, and contains a peal of eight fine-toned bells, the principal one being given by the Rev. F. Cooper, a native of Brownedge.

In 1929, electric lights were installed by Mr. A. E. Chester of New Brighton. The church is under the pastoral care of the Rev. Ambrose William Byrne O.S.B., M.A.

The schools were enlarged in 1882, by the addition of a boys school; the girls school is taught by the Sisters of Charity of St Paul. A new parochial hall was opened in 1912.

In addition nearby St Mary Magdalene’s in Penwortham had their altar donated by Alston Hall from its chapel.

(Extract courtesy of Mr Tony Billington of ‘The Lostock Hall Magazine’).

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Saint Mary's Catholic Church Brownedge