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Tarleton Old Church
St Mary's Church
Thank you to the Village Design Team for the photo of St Mary’s.

St Mary’s Old Church, Tarleton

St Mary’s (often called Tarleton Old Church) is situated on Windgate (the A59 main road) at the junction with Coe Lane.

The Churches Conservation Trust – who maintain the building – describes it like this:

Tarleton Old Church is a picturesque building, standing in its large churchyard beside the main road. Built in brick in 1717, the small tower was heightened in stone, with a pretty domed bell-cote above, In 1824 and the porch and vestry were then added at the west end. A fine example of an early Georgian chapel, it remains many original fittings in its simple interior: box pews at the east end, open benches at the west, stone flagged floors, a reading desk and a west gallery that extends along the south wall. All lit by clear glass in large round headed-windows.

Since the above was written, the missing font has been restored to the building and placed in front of the simple apsical sanctuary. There is neither electricity nor heating – the splendid cast-iron stove has had its chimney removed.

For services, music is provided by the American organ (a member of the harmonium family) which has to be pedalled persistently by the organist for any sound to emerge. The building still has beautiful oil-lamps suspended over the central aisle, but these have not been used recently.

Churchyard. The churchyard mentioned is still the working graveyard for the village and the premises are provided with a ‘hearse lay-by’ which must be entered downhill from the Southport direction, and which has its own button to trigger the traffic lights at the Coe Lane junction to allow vehicles to leave.

The churchyard is maintained by a band of volunteers from the parish church of Holy Trinity, Tarleton, and when they are working the ‘church open’ board is displayed and anyone is welcome to visit.

Old Church Sunday. The building is open and used for worship on Old Church Sunday (always the fourth Sunday in August) when, as in every year since the new church building of Holy Trinity was opened in 1888, all worship is transferred back to St Mary’s for that Sunday. Services are normally an 8 am said Communion, 10.30 am Sung Parish Eucharist, and 6.30 pm Sung Evensong with sermon.

Heritage Open Days. For the last few years, St Mary’s has also been opened on Saturday and Sunday on what used to be called Hidden Heritage Weekend, now named Heritage Open Days, roughly the second weekend in September. Check the Holy Trinity webzine and the events listing for dates, times, and details of displays.

Other events at St Mary’s. At their 2005 visit, the Trustees of the Churches Conservation Trust encouraged the members of Holy Trinity parish to make as much use of St Mary’s as a working church as seemed appropriate to them with their local knowledge. Initially, during summer months occasional services will be held there, especially on the Feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary. See the Holy Trinity parish magazine or webzine for current details.

Group visits at other times. Please contact the Parish Administrator on 01772 812532

The ground floor is flat and accessible to people with walking limitations or in wheel-chairs. The pews are up one step, and the gallery is only accessible by the original stairs. There are no toilet provisions.

The only safe and legal access to the parking lane outside the churchyard is, as noted above, downhill from the traffic lights at the A59/ A565 /Church Road cross-roads. Please park to allow others to pull round you.
Alternatively, if coming over Bank Bridge from the Preston direction, turn right into Coe Lane at the traffic lights, then turn left at the mini-roundabout and park in the first part of Meadoway where there are no houses. It is a short walk back to the junction with the A59 to use the pedestrian phase to cross at the traffic lights.
Coming along Coe Lane from the village, turn right at the mini-roundabout and park in Meadoway as above. On no account attempt to drive straight across from Coe Lane to the old church: that takes you past a no-entry sign and blocks the exit of others who have parked carefully and legally.


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