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Historic church gets Heritage Lottery Fund support

St Leonard's Parish Church has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund* (HLF) of £249,000. This includes development funding of £37,753, towards urgent repair work and a programme of activities to engage with the local community.

St Leonard’s is a natural and significant centre of the community, For over 900 years people have been worshipping and learning in our historic church and they still are today.

The church dates back to 1100 with its interesting Romanesque carvings There was probably a wooden Saxon church on the site before that. In the early part of the 15th century, Cardinal Thomas Langley came back to his birthplace and rebuilt the church at his own expense. This is predominantly the building that stands proudly today.

We already have some 1,500 visitors annually of which a third come to learn its unique history. Four primary schools and some uniformed groups come each year and these are the sorts of visits we are to encourage. Anyone studying local and national history, art, architecture or religion will benefit from a visit. A warm welcome is assured from knowledgeable guides who tell visitors all about the building.

Completion of the project will allow us to better engage the local community with the heritage of St Leonard’s and the history of the Church and parish, as well as with broader historical issues such as remembrance. In partnership with the local primary school we are looking to offer educational visits for pupils and others that tell the story of St Leonard’s and the history of the parish.

Once the church is repaired and there is a new disabled toilet and improved kitchen facilities it will be possible to expand the range of events and initiatives taking place.

St Leonard's is a natural and significant centre of the community and it is our aim to grow and harness the spirit of community by developing new uses for our building.

(The then) Rector the Revd. Martin Short (speaking in early 2019)

“We are grateful for the support of The Heritage Lottery Fund in ensuring that the church continues to be fit for purpose for years to come.

As a church at the heart of the local community it is essential for our mission that we not only value and preserve the heritage of this fine building, but make it fit for today’s use which now includes many school, community and civic functions”. 

The Venerable Cherry Vann (the then) Archdeacon of Rochdale (speaking in early 2019)

“As a grade 1 listed building, St Leonard’s has a significant place not only in Middleton but in the whole of the north-west and beyond. The congregation is rightly proud of its history and heritage and are actively planning to build on this as a means of engaging with the local community more effectively. “

Cliff Ivers  Middleton Archaeological Society


“As well as being a spiritual centre for the community, we see the church as one of the most important historical sites in Greater Manchester”.

Spring 2019