Church of St Mary the Virgin, Bury
|Church of St Mary the Virgin, Bury|
Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Bury
|OS grid reference|
|Location||The Rock, Bury,
|Website||Bury Parish Church|
|Heritage designation||Grade I|
|Designated||13 July 2006|
|Architect(s)||J. S. Crowther
|Rector||Revd. Dr John Findon|
|Assistant priest||Revd. Rhiannon Jones|
|Director of music||Marc Murray|
The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin is located at the highest point in the town centre of Bury, Greater Manchester, England. The church is located on the edge of the town centre, and is just a few minutes walk from the towns bus and tram station, as well as the Millgate Shopping Centre and the newly built The Rock. The main body of the church was completed on the 2nd February 1876, the steeple predates it to 1842. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building.
Church records suggest that the first church was built on the site in 971 A.D. when parishes were first formed by King Edgar of England, although this is likely to have been a wood and thatch structure. Churches of this type of construction are thought to have been used until a church in the gothic style was completed in 1585. Between 1773 and 1780 the main body of this church was demolished and rebuilt leaving only the spire from the original church. The spire was replaced in 1842 but by 1870 the wood in the rest of the church had rotted and a new building was needed. The new church designed by the architect J. S. Crowther, leaving the 1842 spire in place, was officially opened on Candlemas on 2 February 1876.
The tradition of the choir at Bury Parish Church remains as integral as it was when it first began. The choir consists of a strong adult section accompanied by an ever expanding junior choir which is trained in weekly music theory as well as for the various national choral awards. The choir has travelled the country with recent tours to Windsor Castle, Worcester Cathedral, Edinburgh Cathedral and Bristol Cathedral. A visit to Canterbury Cathedral took place in 2013. The choristers perform bi-annually in "Come and Sing" performances of Handel's Messiah and Mozart's Requiem, with soloists chosen from the choir members. Recently the choir was heralded as 'best looking choristers in the country,' with special mention made of the meticulousness of the soprano and alto sections.
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