St. Marie’s Bury wins National Lottery support

Friday 5th January 2018

The Parish of St. Marie and St. Joseph in Bury has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for repairs and renewal of the lantern tower and masonry at St. Marie’s Church.

Made possible by National Lottery players, the project aims to remedy defects, which cause serious rainwater damage to the porch and choir area and also the church’s organ. It will also address some structural issues which could pose a risk if left.

In addition to achieving a long term solution to a previous cycle of defects and temporary repairs, the project aims to promote a wider community interest and engagement with the church, whilst protecting its role as town centre place of private and public worship.

Development funding of £35,500 has been awarded to help the parish of St. Marie and St. Joseph progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

Preparatory work, including laser mapping of the church’s structure, and initiatives to promote greater engagement, will start almost immediately, whilst the main structural work is scheduled to start in the early months of 2019.

Designed by Lancashire – born architect, John Harper, (whose work also includes the former church of All Saints, Bury, and Lancaster House in London), St. Marie’s is a Grade II listed building, completed in 1842.The iconic lantern and tower is a prominent feature of the Bury town centre skyline.

The church, designated a ‘Gem church’ due to its location and accessibility by the R.C. Diocese of Salford, is open daily,  and used not only by its parishioners, but also by those who work in, and visit, Bury.

The proposed work to the lantern and tower is extensive, and will entail them being dismantled stone by stone. Each block will be plotted and numbered, cleaned of old mortar, and then stored.

The sloping masonry supporting the tower will be repointed in lime mortar, and covered with sheet lead, dressed into the mortar joints, to prevent water getting in.

An internal stainless steel corset will be installed, and the rebuilt stonework of the tower and lantern will be pointed in lime mortar and tied back into that corset with stainless steel to replace all the old and rusted metal ties. The drainage to the reconstructed tower and lantern will be cleaned and improved, and finally, mist netting fitted to prevent birds gaining access.

Commenting on the award, the parish priest of St. Marie’s and St. Joseph, Father Francis Wadsworth, said:

“We’re delighted and very grateful to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players. St. Marie’s is a much loved church with a long history of service to the Catholic community who live, work in, and visit Bury. This support will help preserve the fabric of the building, and also help us to encourage more visitors to call in and enjoy a few quiet and reflective moments while learning about its history.’


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