LancashireRUFFORDStMaryVirgin(stephengidleyCC-BY-2.0)1 StephenGidley

St Mary the Virgin

A ‘hidden gem’ church, Grade II listed, with links to adjacent Rufford Old Hall (National Trust).

Rufford, Lancashire

Opening times

The church is usually open for prayer and visits during reasonable daytime hours.


Church Road
L40 1TA

St Mary’s is a lovely listed Victorian church in rural west Lancashire.

Its history is closely linked to the Hesketh family, lords of the manor of Rufford from the 15th century. Their seat, Rufford Old Hall, now owned by the National Trust, stands adjacent to the church and is itself well worth a visit.

A church has stood on this site for centuries but the foundation stone of the present building was laid in 1869 and the new church, built in the Gothic style, was re-consecrated in 1873. Various monuments from the previous buildings, including a small brass of a knight, Sir Robert Hesketh (d1541), are incorporated in the present church. The interior of the church contains several other notable historical features including the Hesketh Chapel, a Royal Coat of Arms, a splendid two tier 1763 brass chandelier (a matching one can be found in the Old Hall), and a fine Gray and Davison of London pipe organ. War memorials commemorate those who fell in the conflicts of the past. The capitals of the nave arcade columns are decorated with stiff leaf foliage and are alive with carved flora and fauna, including pheasants and squirrels. The church is rich in stained glass windows, many of which depict parables. The series of vivid jewel like Stations of the Cross around the walls are a late 20th century addition. Some regard these as the most beautiful feature of the church; others are not sure that they really fit in their Victorian context. Come and make up your own mind!

The church is near the towpath of the Rufford Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. St.Mary’s Marina, with its eateries, is just across the road. Regarded by those familiar with it as something of a hidden gem, St. Mary’s church is regularly used for worship, concerts and other events. For walkers, cyclists, bargees, anglers and others who pop in, the church offers a quiet place for prayer and a building of interest and beauty.

  • Captivating architecture

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Magnificent memorials

  • Social heritage stories

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Wildlife haven

  • Bus stop within 100m

  • Café within 500m

  • Level access to the main areas

  • On street parking at church

  • Parking within 250m

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Train station within 250m

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Sunday 8am (2nd/4th Sunday) and Thursday 7pm, Said Eucharist. Sunday 9.15am, Sung Eucharist.

  • Church of England

Contact information

LancashireRUFFORDStMaryVirgin(stephengidleyCC-BY-2.0)1 StephenGidley

Make a donation

Donate to this church

Other nearby churches

St Peter & St Paul

Ormskirk, Lancashire

It is unusual enough to see a church with both a tower and a steeple (there are only three in England) but this church is unique in having them placed at the same end.

St Mary

Leyland, Lancashire

Despite its sudden expansion in the 1950s with the arrival of the car industry, Leyland remains a pleasant Lancashire town of Victorian terraced cottages and suburban greenery.