Church of St Mary the Virgin, Bury

The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin is located at the highest point in the town centre of Bury, Greater Manchester, England. The church is located on the edge of the town centre, and is just a few minutes walk from the town's bus and tram station, as well as the Millgate Shopping Centre and the newly built the Rock. The main body of the church was completed on the 2 February 1876, the steeple predates it to 1842. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building.[1]

Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Bury
Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Bury
Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Bury
Location in Greater Manchester
OS grid referenceSD 80433 10863
LocationThe Rock, Bury,
Greater Manchester
WebsiteBury Parish Church
StatusParish church
Founded971 CE
DedicationVirgin Mary
ConsecratedCandlemas 1976
Functional statusActive
Heritage designationGrade I
Designated13 July 2006
Architect(s)J. S. Crowther
(1870 rebuild)
Architectural typeChurch
Length141 feet (43.0 m)
Nave width30 feet (9.1 m)
Height76 feet (23.2 m)
MaterialsDressed stone exterior partially lined in brick
Slate roof
RectorRevd. Julian Heaton
Assistant priest(s)Revd. Rhiannon Jones
Curate(s)Sheila Beattie
Director of musicMarc Murray
Organist(s)Elin Rees

The church is a regimental church of the Lancashire Fusiliers, a former garrison church, and services are held for the garrison on Remembrance Sunday, Gallipoli Sunday and on other occasions.


Church records suggest that the first church was built on the site in 971 A.D. when parishes were first formed by King Edgar of England, although this is likely to have been a wood and thatch structure. Churches of this type of construction are thought to have been used until a church in the gothic style was completed in 1585. Between 1773 and 1780 the main body of this church was demolished and rebuilt leaving only the spire from the original church. The spire was replaced in 1842 but by 1870 the wood in the rest of the church had rotted and a new building was needed. The new church designed by the architect J. S. Crowther, leaving the 1842 spire in place, was officially opened on Candlemas Day 1876.[2]

In July 2013, the church was the scene of a military funeral for murdered British soldier Lee Rigby. The service was attended by thousands of mourners, including Prime Minister David Cameron.[3]


The building is of dressed stone with slate roofs, with a buttressed 3-stage tower with a spire. The interior features a hammerbeam and tie-beam roof and mosaic flooring. There is stained glass by Hardman and Clayton and Bell.[1]

The clock in the tower was the gift of Henry Whitehead, formerly High Sheriff of Lancashire.

See also


  1. Historic England. "Parish Church of St Mary, Bury (1067236)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  2. "The History of Bury Parish Church". Bury Parish Church. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  3. "Lee Rigby: Military funeral for killed soldier". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
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