A NEW marble altar has replaced a timber one at a Ribble Valley college.

The complex project has seen a permanent shrine fitted in the impressive Grade I listed St Peter’s Church at Stonyhurst.


The marble altar was donated by John and Bridget Weld Blundell, from nearby Leagram Hall in the Forest of Bowland, although it needed sprucing up.

The restoration of the ornate marble altar, undertaken by masonry experts Alberti Lupton’s of Manchester, involved specialist cleaning and polishing.

A horizontal marble plinth had to be added and the church’s sanctuary floor had to be strengthened to house the major installation.

The former alter at St Peter’s has now been installed at St Vincent De Paul in Liverpool following the work commissioned by Stonyhurst College, the Society of Jesus and the Parish.

Architectural and planning consultancy Cassidy and Ashton, which is based in Preston, was behind the work.

Michael Hartley, a specialist conservation architect and director at the firm, commented: “It was a privilege to again work on this important and beautiful church and to provide the finishing touches to the restoration work we recently undertook.

“We have been the appointed architect for numerous projects at Stonyhurst College for almost 18 years now and this particular job has added to our extensive portfolio of ecclesiastical works that we have completed for various diocese and denominations.”

The Church of St Peter at the college was one of three buildings given listed status by Historic England last week.

The judges noted it was built for the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) as a church open to all rather than being a college chapel, underscoring the role of Stonyhurst and other Roman Catholic schools in the early 19the Century.

The preservation body comments on the change: “The most earlier Roman Catholic church building was deliberately modest, partly as a result of legislation and partly to avoid unwanted attention.

“However, JJ Scoles’ building reflects the greater confidence of the Roman Catholic community by the 1830s; its size, prominence and elaboration is a break with earlier buildings and its borrowing of the form of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, is a subtle claim to Stonyhurst’s status as an educational establishment.”