History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

War Memorial Lady Chapel in the Roman Catholic Church of St Peter and St Paul

A Grade II Listed Building in Great Lever, Bolton

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street View
Contributor Photos »

Street View is the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the building. In some locations, Street View may not give a view of the actual building, or may not be available at all. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 53.5715 / 53°34'17"N

Longitude: -2.4341 / 2°26'2"W

OS Eastings: 371352

OS Northings: 408404

OS Grid: SD713084

Mapcode National: GBR CWF4.TG

Mapcode Global: WH97V.LH4D

Entry Name: War Memorial Lady Chapel in the Roman Catholic Church of St Peter and St Paul

Listing Date: 15 April 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1420725

Location: Bolton, BL3

County: Bolton

Electoral Ward/Division: Great Lever

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Bolton

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Church of England Parish: West Bolton

Church of England Diocese: Manchester

Find accommodation in


First World War memorial Lady Chapel. Built 1897 by Sinnott, Sinnott & Powell and remodelled in later 1920s as a war memorial and consecrated in 1932. Mosaic scheme in chapel by Eric Newton of Ludwig Oppenheimer Ltd, Manchester. Hard red brick, slate roof.


First World War memorial Lady Chapel. Built 1897 by Sinnott, Sinnott & Powell and remodelled in later 1920s as a War Memorial and consecrated in 1932. Mosaic scheme in chapel by Eric Newton of Ludwig Oppenheimer Ltd, Manchester. Hard red brick, slate roof.

PLAN: top-lit Lady Chapel opens off the east side of the shallow north transept of the church (liturgical compass points used in Details).

EXTERIOR: the small, rectangular Lady Chapel continues in line on the east side of the north gable wall of the north transept of the church. It is built of hard, glazed red brick in English garden wall bond (3:1) with blind walls and a double-pitched slate roof with a central, raised, rectangular roof lantern to the ridge. (East elevation not accessible, but built with projecting, top-lit niche for internal statue of the Virgin Mary).

INTERIOR: the chapel opens off the east side of the north transept. The pointed archway is closed by alabaster altar rails with a central, decorative brass gate incorporating a cross. The small, rectangular chapel has terrazzo flooring with a Greek key border and incorporating a motif with the motto 1914 / PAX / 1918. At the east end is a tier of three steps reducing in size on which a carved, marble altar and low, rectangular reredos stand. The walls are faced in mosaic and the roof is timber panelled and boarded with curved sides and a flat central section. To the centre is a rectangular, raised and glazed lantern with quatrefoil carving to the vertical, side panels. The mosaic-covered walls have a geometric pattern of squares at dado level which echoes the tiled dado of the main church. Above this the north and south walls have a central panel in a Tudor arch containing scenes of the Annunciation and the Crucifixion respectively. The drapery of the clothes is pre-Raphaelite in form and the figures are set against gold backgrounds. In the Annunciation panel the Virgin Mary kneels in front of a lectern wearing a blue robe over a white gown, with a vase containing a lily on the floor. On the right the Angel Gabriel hovers with multi-coloured wings, holding a sceptre and wearing pink robes. Overhead is the Dove and above Mary's head the words 'ECCE / ANCILLA / DOMINI (Behold the handmaiden of the Lord). The Crucifixion panel shows Christ on the Cross flanked by the Virgin Mary and St John the Evangelist with the words ECCE / MATER TUA (Behold Thy Mother) written vertically. To each side of the central panel is a lower, Gothic-tracery screen with blue panels and gold motifs of flowers, grape vines and crosses. Above the screens are wide, foliate borders of gold and blue. The east wall is arched, echoing the archway off the north transept. Above the dado level a narrow foliate border encloses a blue, star-spangled panel with grass, lilies and other flowers growing at the bottom. Over the altar is a pointed-arch niche faced in blue, geometric-pattern mosaic with a concealed top-light to light a statue of the Virgin Mary. The niche is flanked by two hovering angels in white with coloured wings.

EXCLUSIONS: the red brick church and attached presbytery are conservative for their date and standard in their fixtures and fittings. These buildings are excluded from the listing.

This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 30 January 2017.


Bolton's first Catholic church was built in 1798-1800 in a rural location, which during the C19 became built-up with cotton mills, factories and terraces of workers' housing. In 1855 a school was built and in the 1870s a fund was established for a new church and hall. The old church was subsequently demolished and in 1896 the hall opened. In 1897 the Lady Chapel and present church and presbytery were built to designs by the architects' practice of Sinnott, Sinnott & Powell.
During the 1920s the Lady Chapel was remodelled as a War Memorial by the parish priest, Reverend Father William Leighton. He had been a chaplain during the First World War and had been awarded the Military Cross. The chapel was consecrated in 1932. The overall mosaic decorative scheme in the chapel was designed by Eric Newton (born Eric Oppenheimer, but later changing his surname by deed poll to Newton, his mother's maiden name) of Ludwig Oppenheimer Ltd, Blackburn Street, Old Trafford, Manchester. The firm was well known for its decorative mosaic schemes notably for churches. It had been established in 1865 by Newton's grandfather, Ludwig Oppenheimer, a German Jew who was sent to Manchester to improve his English and then married a Scottish girl and converted to Christianity. He spent a year in Venice studying the mosaic process as an apprentice before returning to England and setting up a mosaic workshop. Upon Leighton's death in 1933 alabaster altar rails and a brass gate to the chapel were installed in his memory. The aisle altars date from the same time as the refurbishment of the Lady Chapel.

The church closed in 2010. It has not been used since.

Reasons for Listing

The war memorial Lady Chapel in the Roman Catholic Church of St Peter and St Paul, Bolton, of 1897 by Sinnott, Sinnott & Powell with a complete decorative scheme of the later 1920s with mosaics by Eric Newton of Ludwig Oppenheimer Ltd, Manchester, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Decorative interest: containing an all-encompassing decorative mosaic scheme demonstrating a high quality of design, craftsmanship, and quality of tessarae used to create an intimate, contemplative space commemorating those who died in the First World War;
* Designer: Eric Newton of the family firm of Ludwig Oppenheimer Ltd was a highly gifted proponent of mosaic design, particularly ecclesiastical schemes for Catholic churches, and the Lady Chapel is a good example of this skill;
* Historic interest: as a poignant reminder of the tragic impact of world events upon a local community;
* Selectivity: the church of SS Peter and Paul and the attached presbytery are not of special architectural or historic interest in the national context and are excluded from the statutory listing.

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.