Holy Rosary – Fitton Hill

The first mission in the Fitton Hill, a post-war housing estate, was due to the work of Fr Buckley, an assistant priest at St Patrick’s Oldham. He arranged for the purchase of land in the Fitton Hill area in 1940, before the new housing was built. Once the estate had begun to be developed, Fr Buckley said Mass in an upper room in Maple Mill. The foundation stone of Holy Rosary was laid by Bishop Marshall on 2 October 1954 and the church was officially opened by Mgr Cunningham in July 1955.  The presbytery was built in about 1970. The first campanile blew down and had to be rebuilt.  In 2009, the parishes of Holy Family and Holy Rosary were merged.

Taking Stock told me so and will tell you even more.

Architect: W and JB Ellis who were also responsible for Our Lady of The Assumption in Langley.

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I first passed by one sunny day in April 2016 – happily snapping the exterior of this ever so pleasingly prosaic Italianate brick building.

P1030961 copy

P1030962 copy

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Following a cue from pal Tim Rushton, I was alerted to the significant decorative work within.

The mosaic and fresco work of Georg Mayer-Marton – born in Hungary 1897, died in Liverpool 1960 was one of Britain’s very few experts in the art of face or facetted mosaic.


Sadly the fresco is no longer visible – painted over with emulsion when thought to be too tatty – a tiny fragment has been revealed by conservators.


There is currently a campaign to restore and preserve these important works.

The church is now closed, but we were ever so fortunate to have Bernard Madden on hand to open up and show us around, a warm welcoming space once full to overflowing.

Now sadly silent.

We all deserve better.













4 thoughts on “Holy Rosary – Fitton Hill

  1. Hello. I’m very interested in your images of the Holy Rosary Church and the altar by George Mayer-Marton.

    I’m the curator of an exhibition to be staged at the Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate, from April-September 2020. It’s called “Their Safe Haven” and explores the work of ten Hungarian artists who made their homes in Britain before the Second World War. GM-M was one of them.

    I ‘ve published a book by the same name on the artists which mentions the threatened church. For the exhibition I’m hoping to use professional prints of the mosaics/frescoes with an update about the campaign to save the altar.

    In the first instance I’m just writing to make contact and to see whether I can interest you in this project.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes

    Robert Waterhouse


    1. Dear Robert – I’m very interested in your project and 20th Century churches generally, happy to help in any way I can.

      Holy Rosary is under threat as I understand – for sale and unlisted with no clear intention to save the mosaic or restore the frescoes.

      I tried to gain access again last year but there was then no key holder.

      Kind regards,

      Steve Marland


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