Sadness at demolition of borough religious landmark

Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Leigh is no longer after bulldozers moved in

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 7:00 am
Bulldozers move in to the Our Lady of the Rosary RC Church on Plank Lane, Leigh

A religious landmark in the borough is no longer much to the sadness ofparishioners.

In November, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool submitted an application to Wigan Council to have the redundant Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Leigh demolished.

The application said that, if left unoccupied, the building would have been at risk from potential vandalism and arson.

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Exterior of Our Lady of the Rosary RC Church on Plank Lane, Leigh

In August 2019, the church closed its doors for good, along with the Twelve Apostles Church, in what the Archdiocese described as a “difficult decision” to make.

It followed an extensive consultation with the churches, which lay within the parish of St Edmund Arrowsmith.

And Our Lady and the presbytery was being demolished last week with pictures showing bulldozers moving in and the structure starting to be razed.

Expressing his sadness at the news and posting a picture of the church after it had been partly demolished on Facebook, resident Jonathan Coombes said: “A sad sight, it’ll be gone by the end of the week.”

The demolition comes after a period of more than 15 years where the Archdiocese had been discussing how to best to meet the pastoral needs of Catholics in the different parts of Leigh.

This led to the creation of two new parishes: St Edmund Arrowsmith and St Margaret Clitherow in 2011.

A decision was then made to have three priests to serve these two parishes, with two of the seven churches having to close because of this.

Twelve Apostles was built in 1929 and the building, which is red brick with a slate roof, has a rose window and a wood-framed and covered corridor linking the church and parish house, thought to date back to the early 1900s.

Other churches have been struggling to keep their doors open in recent years, with dwindling congregations and a shortage of clergy.

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