St John’s Church, Crawshawbooth, Lancashire

Catastrophic damage caused by lead theft

The church of St John on Burnley Road in Crawshawbooth, Lancashire has been included on the The Victorian Society’s list after suffering the ruinous consequences of lead theft – one of the major threats to historic buildings at present.

St John’s, built in 1890-92, is an important set-piece church by the great Lancashire firm of Paley, Austin & Paley featuring internal red sandstone and a complete set of high quality fittings.The final straw for the small congregation was the theft of its lead flashings, resulting in catastrophic water damage.Mould and mildew cover its fine pews, screen and pulpit.The church has been closed for worship since 2012 and the Church Commissioners are looking for a new occupant.

Given the hefty cost of repairs and the quality of the fittings, saving St John’s in Crawshawbooth will be a real challenge but this is far too good a church to be lost.We hope that current negotiations on reuse are successful.

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