The earliest record of a priest serving Prestwich dates from around 1200 and the name Prestwich (derived from the Saxon words for ‘priest’s dwelling’) suggests an even earlier church existed here. It seems likely that Christian worship has been offered on this site for more than 800 years.
Historians believe the oldest part of the present church is the tower at the west end of the building and the original parts of the main body of the church – we think that construction was from the late 1400’s until about 1550.
Significant changes, rebuilding and renewals have taken place over the following centuries, including the rebuilding of the Lever Chapel on the south side of the church in 1731. A major extension to add a new chancel and sanctuary at the east end of the church was completed in the late 1800’s. Repairs and improvements have continued more recently, including re-roofing of large parts of the building and improvements to the entrance area at the west end of the church in 2010.
The church is built of red sandstone. St Mary’s is listed Grade 1 (designating a building of “exceptional interest”) in the official National Heritage List for England.