St Mary’s named UK’s best modern Catholic church

St Mary's RC Church, Leyland
St Mary's RC Church, Leyland

Leyland has the best modern Catholic church in the UK, a national competition has judged.

St Mary’s RC Church in Broadfield Drive has come second in an architecture competition to find the the UK’s ‘Best Modern Churches’.

The first prize went to the Anglican church, St Paul’s, in Bow Common, London, meaning that St Mary’s is considered the best modern Catholic church in Britain.

St Mary’s is a Grade II Listed church designed by Weightman and Bullen in 1959.

Since then, significant refurbishment and regeneration work has been undertaken by leading ecclesiastical and heritage architects, Cassidy and Ashton.

Michael Hartley, chairman at the Preston-based firm, said: “Cassidy and Ashton has worked with St Mary’s for a number of years.

“In that time we’ve completed some very important projects, such as creating the narthex and relocating the font, re-ordering and redesigning the furniture on the sanctuary, designing a new Ambo and reducing the size of the altar.

“We’ve also delivered essential repairs to prolong the life of the building, including the new heating system currently being installed.

“This work has been necessary in order to resolve practical problems following 40 years of use.

“It has also allowed the church to continue meeting the needs of its parishioners and the wider community.

“It’s a huge honour that St Mary’s has ranked second in this national competition as it was up against some very tough competition.”

More than 200 of the UK’s Best Modern Churches were announced at an awards ceremony held at Lambeth Palace after being nominated by the public, parishes and architects.

It was organised by the National Churches Trust in association with the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association and the 20th Century Society.