Two local churches ‘at risk’ according to Historic England

11 Feb 2020 10:51
Published by: Daniel Almond

TWO local historic churches are at risk, according to Historic England, which keeps watch over the country’s most historic sites with the Heritage at Risk Programme.

Church of St James, Daisy Hill

THE church was designed 141 years ago, drawn up by Paley and Austin . The Lancaster-based architects envisioned the red brick and slate building in 1879 and it was built over the following two years.

The church itself includes features and furniture created by a family of carpenters who worked in Westhoughton for 108 years. Green’s Furnishers first opened its doors in Market Street in 1911 and since then, three generations of the Green family have made hand-carved pieces for the church, adorned with the craftsman snail symbol — now used as part of primary school treasure hunts.

But the building fell into disrepair and Historic England assessed the Grade II listed building to be in poor condition, saying that the building was at immediate risk of rapid deterioration.

A tree was growing in between joints in the roof, causing the slates to slip and even creating danger of falling tiles. The area around the base of the turret was cordoned off.

The community banded together to save the structure, raising money to fix the roof and save the building.

Jill Aldred, chair of Daisy Hill in Bloom, spoke about what the church means to the tight-knit village: “The church roof has just been repaired and the tree that was growing out of it has been removed.

“The church put on a lot of musical concerts and coffee mornings every month, it would sell second hand books, all to raise money for repairs.”

The church has become vital for community groups to connect.

Ms Aldred said: “It’s become a community centre for us in Daisy Hill because we lost ours. It’s become a focal point for the community now we don’t have a community centre, you can see it from wherever you are in Daisy Hill, it really is the centre of the village.

“There’s heritage days at the church once a year and people love to come along and look around the church.

“We try and keep the area around the church clean with litter picks and we always use the church as a meeting point. It’s very much a central part of Daisy Hill and everyone there.”

Church of St Catherine, Horwich

St Catherine’s Church was built in 1902, after the creation of Horwich Loco Works saw the surrounding population boom.

The congregation first met in a smaller building, used as a church and school. When it outgrew the building, St Catherine’s as it is now known was constructed by Frank Freeman.

But the church is now suffering from precarious, loose stone and is seeing a slow decay, says Historic England. A plan is in place, however, and refurbishment has been carried out. Unlike some of the other churches in this list, money is being channelled into the building for the future.

Local councillor Marie Brady said: “The church is very valued by the community. It has a big congregation, it has very strong links with the primary school. The church does an awful lot of family friendly activities, people queue for the Christmas Fair.

“There has been some considerable renovation to give it disabled access. The church itself is multi-functional, you can use it for whatever. Everybody has a strong connection with it — it’s a lovely place and very welcoming.”

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