St Mary’s Old Church, Tarleton
Mary’s (often called Tarleton Old Church) is situated
on Windgate (the A59 main road) at the junction with Coe
Churches Conservation Trust – who maintain the
building – describes it like this:
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
visits at other times. Please contact Fr Nicholas Davies
on 01772 813267.
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
TRINITY TARLETON | CHURCHES