About this church
The Benedictine monks came to Leyland in 1845 and after using temporary chapels for several years, the first Church of St Mary’s was built on Worden Lane in 1854.
In the mid 19th century the Catholics of Leyland numbered perhaps a few score, and at the turn of the century, this number had grown to around 500. The total income of the parish at that time was £55 a week from all sources; offertory collections, door money, outdoor collections; sales of tomatoes, grapes etc.
Because of Government policies and the development of Leyland Motors and other heavy industrial concerns Leyland was to undergo change, from a lovely quiet village into a busy industrial town. The number of Catholics was growing and despite an enlargement of the original church in 1919, this was not enough to accommodate the Catholic population in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the number then having developed to well over 5,000. Something had to be done.
Fr Edmund FitzSimons, parish priest from 1952, after a great deal of careful thought and consideration, came up with the then revolutionary design for a circular church with a central altar, and having obtained approval from Cardinal Heenan, the plan entrusting the work of design to Jerzy Faczynski, went ahead. The Cardinal blessed the foundation stone in 1962 and the new church was completed ready for its consecration and dedication by Liverpool’s Archbishop Beck in April 1964.
Every object in the church seems to have been made especially for it: the candlesticks are spiky and lumpy arts and crafts objects; there is a crucifix by Adam Kossowski, a tapestry reredos in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel designed by the architect (made by the Edinburgh Tapestry Company), and a tabernacle by Robin McGhie; even a holy water dispenser with taps and biblical message.