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Grave Slab of James Lancashire in Churchyard of Church of St Mary

A Grade II Listed Building in St Mary's, Bury

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Latitude: 53.5293 / 53°31'45"N

Longitude: -2.2863 / 2°17'10"W

OS Eastings: 381121

OS Northings: 403668

OS Grid: SD811036

Mapcode National: GBR DWGM.TK

Mapcode Global: WH983.VKH6

Entry Name: Grave Slab of James Lancashire in Churchyard of Church of St Mary

Listing Date: 21 February 2012

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1406304

Location: Bury, M25

County: Bury

Electoral Ward/Division: St Mary's

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Manchester

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Church of England Parish: Prestwich St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Manchester

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Grave slab commemorating James Lancashire and his family, c1737.


Rectangular sandstone grave slab with deep incised carving including a double border. Incised, crenellated band to top of slab with raised arches to each end and centre; below that to centre is an angel's head with large outstretched wings to each side. Italicised inscription below reads 'Here is Interred the Bodies of/ James Lancashire of Langley/ Gent who Departed this life Nov 11th/ 1737 Aged 71/ Also Alice his Wife Died July 2nd 1747/ Aged 79 Years/ Also Josiah Lancashire of Bowlee/ who Departed this life October 24th/ 1729 Aged 52 Also Mary his Wife'. Further mid-C18, non-italicised names inscribed below.


St Mary's Church, Prestwich, dates to the C14 with later alterations, and the oldest extant grave marker in the churchyard dates to 1641. However, the topography of the churchyard suggests a much older burial ground. The churchyard has been extended many times, including in 1827 when boundary walls were constructed. Prior to these walls being erected the churchyard was enclosed by a ditch and hedge created in 1706, and subsequently by the planting of beech and fir trees in 1763. Further extensions of the churchyard occurred in 1864, 1886, 1924 and 1950.

The western section of the churchyard contains, amongst other graves, the unmarked burials of thousands of inmates of the County Asylum Prestwich dating from the mid-C19 to early-C20, although several communal graves for the asylum's attendants and some inmates are marked by grave slabs. In 1801 a hearse house (altered in the mid-late C20) was constructed to the north of the church.

Reasons for Listing

The James Lancashire grave slab, c1737, in St Mary's churchyard, Prestwich, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Stylistic interest: It incorporates high quality decoration, including an italicised cursive inscription, a crenellated and arched band to the head of the slab, and an unusual carved depiction of an angel's head with outstretched wings
* Historic interest: It is an important survival of an early-mid C18 grave slab with a legible inscription and decorative detail. In a wider context it also illustrates the extensive history of the St Mary's churchyard and the original Prestwich-cum-Oldham parish, once one of the largest and wealthiest parishes in the country
* Group value: It has group value with the Grade I listed St Mary's Church and the other listed monuments and structures in the St Mary's churchyard

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