PADIHAM: Vandals target tiny chapel

Chapel in St Leonard's graveyard (s)
Chapel in St Leonard's graveyard (s)

THE future of a tiny chapel belonging to a Padiham church is uncertain after it was repeatedly targeted by vandals.

The building, in St Leonard’s Graveyard in Blackburn Road, which is thought could date back to the 1830s, has had the windows smashed and stone flags stolen in a series of incidents.

Church bosses say they are at a loss as to how to solve the problem and have considered demolishing it.

But members of conservation group Project Padiham said the chapel, which they believe could have been used in the past by poorer families to remember their dead children, should be preserved.

Mrs Carol Stinton from Project Padiham said the group was contacted by bosses from the North-West Heritage Trust, based at Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowford, who are also keen to save the building.

She said: “The heritage trust thinks it’s worth saving. It’s of significant use.

“Our group fully supports the heritage trust. We feel that demolishing the chapel would be detrimental and would not improve the aspect of the graveyard. It would be detrimental to the appearance of the graveyard.

“It’s a beautiful chapel and worth preserving. I think a small amount of money could make it right and if it were demolished I think people would miss it.

“It’s a lovely little chapel and we don’t want it demolishing.”

St Leonard’s vicar the Rev. Mark Jones said demolition was only one avenue being explored by the church and added he would welcome any suggestions from community groups as to how the building, which is currently empty, could be used.

He also said the demolition would probably not go ahead.

“It’s just getting wrecked by the local yobs. People have been picking bits off it.

“We had thought we might be better off removing it but I don’t think that will happen.

“It’s not used for anything at the moment.

“There is no electricity, no water, no gas. It’s hard to know what to do with it. It’s a bit of a headache.”

Mr Jones said he would be happy for members of Project Padiham to contact him to discuss the future of the chapel.