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CHURCH OF ST BARTHOLOMEW

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  ST BARTHOLOMEWS ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, ST BARTHOLOMEWS CHURCH, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH OF ST BARTHOLOMEW
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A Roman Catholic church dedicated to St Bartholomew, built in 1838-40 to the design of Joshua Dawson. It was constructed at the expense of Bartholomew Brereton, the Catholic owner of a coaching company. Rainhill was the company’s first staging post out of Liverpool and on the site of the Ship Inn was stabling for 240 horses. In 1824 Brereton bought the manor of Rainhill and built Rainhill House (now called Loyola Hall).

St Bartholomew’s Church is built of red sandstone with slate roofs, and takes the form of a prostyle temple. It has a hexastyle portico with fluted Ionic columns and a tall central doorway with an eared surround in the ritual west front. The (ritual) south wall and apse have closely-set Doric pilasters but the north wall is blind. Attached to the north-west is an Italianate campanile, added 1849, with twin bell openings on each face and a pyramidal roof. There is also a link to a mid-19th century presbytery to the south-east. Internally the church has a Basilican plan with a nave of six bays of Corinthian columns continued as pilasters around the apse. The apse is a semi-circle painted with four figures, covered by a half-dome containing an image of Christ in Majesty. At the (ritual) west is an organ gallery. The nave has a barrel vault with semi-circular lucarne windows while the side aisles have flat ceilings. Nicholas Pevsner described St Bartholomew’s as ‘The noblest Catholic church in South Lancashire’.

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