Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Church of St. Abandoned

St. John's Church is a redundant Anglican church, opened in October 1892. Designed in the Gothic Revival style, it seated 616 people and was often referred to as "The cathedral of Rossendale".  However, due to a diminishing congregation and lead theft from the roof, the church was declared redundant and closed in February 2012. Apparently around 20 Church of England churches are closed each year.The church was almost sold to a renewable energy company but a planning application was rejected in January 2015 as the plans involved removing 80 % of the trees on the site (most of which have Tree Preservation Orders on them) It is no longer on the church's list of buildings for sale so its future is uncertain.

I visited on two consecutive days - the first day being terrible in terms of lighting due to heavy rain.

On entering through a moss - covered wooden door, the first room is a vestry, containing table, chairs and various bits and bobs left behind. It is immediately apparent that there is considerable rain damage and mould/ mildew.
 This book was covered in a thick film of orangey brown dust and was open at a page entitled " emergency Baptisms".

Into the main body of the church with its sturdy dark wooden pews.
On the altar stood a Nativity scene and candles.
 The nave, facing away from the altar.
Each pew had elaborate carving on the ends.

                                                  These carvings were in the side chapel.

On my first visit, I heard someone trying to get in through this door - very unnerving! Luckily it turned out to be two female urbexers who were very friendly.

  The carvings above the organ - this part looked great - sadly, it was very mouldy and water damaged towards the floor.

The donation box, to raise money for church funds - probably placed there ironically by a fellow urbexer.

This was one of the females who arrived while we were there. She happened to be quite acrobatic!

                                                                More pew carvings.

                                            The pulpit was showing real signs of decay.


It was at this point on my second visit (when the light was so much better than the previous day, and I'd just got into my stride) that a caretaker appeared, wanting to know what we were up to! I quickly gathered my camera and tripod, apologised and assured him that all I was doing was taking photographs as "I like recording historic buildings such as this" and "it's such a shame to see the building like this" to which he grimly replied that the building had "a troubled history" and started complaining about the squatters who were supposedly frequenting the cellar and causing him no end of trouble. He did not seem a particularly happy chap! And so my visit was abruptly ended, sadly before I had all the shots I would've liked.

Really sad to see such a beautiful old place of worship slowly rotting away in the abundance of Lancashire rain and bad weather.

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