The church of our Lady stands on the south side of the township of Prescot, where the ground falls considerably to the south and west.
It has a chancel with south vestry, north organ tower and vestry, a nave with aisles and a west tower and stone spire.
The chancel is of the same width as the nave, z8 ft, and is 56 ft long, the nave being 96 ft long. Little evidence remains of the early history of the building, but the base of the south wall of the chancel may be ancient, and the north vestry is probably of the fifteenth century.
With these exceptions the whole church was rebuilt in 1610 in a plain Gothic style, and the west tower dates from 1729, apparently replacing an older tower, while in 1818 the aisles were enlarged and altered.
The outer stonework of the church is entirely modern, and the south vestry is an addition of 1900. In spite of the many modern alterations the church is of considerable interest. The chancel has a set of black oak stalls dated 1636, three returned on each side of the entrance to the chancel, three against the south wall, and two against the north. All have misericordes, but the carving beneath the seats has been removed.
The fronts and standards are well carved, and the benches in front of the stalls are supported at intervals by turned balusters. The altar rails are also of the seventeenth century, and are returned westward in the middle of their length, giving kneeling space for communicants on three sides, while against the north and south walls are benches backed with seventeenth-century panelling. A bench-end on the north side seems to belong to an earlier date than any of the rest of the woodwork in the chancel. Against the north wall is an effigy placed upright, with a panel of heraldry over it, and the initials I 0 and the motto Veritas Vincit. It commemorates John Ogle of Whiston. Near the effigy is a good example of a seventeenth century poor box. The roof of the chancel is not old, though following old work in its detail and the chancel arch is modern.
The nave has north and south arcades of five bays with octagonal pillars, plainly moulded capitals, and pointed arches of one chamfered order, which, in spite of their Gothic form, doubtless date from the rebuilding of 1610, and have over them a low clearstory, with ten three light square headed windows on each side, and over the chancel arch a five light window of the same character between two three light windows at a slightly lower level. The nave roof is a fine example, with alternate tie and hammer beams with carved brackets, and wind braces to the purlins. On one of the beams is the inscription, Thomas Bold, knight, 1610.
The aisles of the nave have nothing of interest to show except some stone tablets let into the walls, one in the north aisle with the arms of Bold and T B, 1610 (for Thomas Bold), and three in the south aisle, namely, one with the crowned arms of Derby and de Vere quarterly, with W D for William, sixth earl of Derby and king of Man. Another, dated 161o, with the Bold arms and H B, M B (for Henry and Margaret Bold) and a third, with the Gerard arms, inscribed Sir T G Kt. They are all of good workmanship, and form a distinctly unusual feature, and it is possible that they were here set up to record those who contributed to the rebuilding of 1610.
In the south aisle also are the royal arms of George III. The west tower, though rather coarse in detail, is of good proportion, and has round headed belfry windows of two lights flanked by Doric pilasters, and over them a heavy cornice with a group of three vases at each angle of the tower. Above is a tall stone spire with three tiers of spire lights, of Gothic form. In the second stage of the tower is a circular window on the west face and above it an inscription recording the building of the tower, Conditum ano dom 1709, while in the ground stage is a three light west window with two plain circles in the head, and below it a square headed west doorway, the head of which is level with the tall, moulded plinth of the tower1.
The finings of the church other than those already noted are modern, the reredos in the chancel being a very good piece of work. The eighteenth century font is of marble, tazza shaped, with a fluted bowl, on which is an inscription recording its gift by William Halsnead.
The plate consists of two silver communion cups of 1663, with two flagons of the same date, and two patens of 1723 and 1738 respectively.
There are eight bells by Mean of London, 1845.
The registers begin in 1580.
The dial in the churchyard is mentioned in 16632.
|1||There is a view in Gregson's Fragments, 1733; see also Glynne, Churches (Chet Soc) xxxiii, 247.nbsp;|
An old font said to have belonged to Prescot, is now in Roby churchyard, used as a flowerpot; Ibid, (New Ser), xvii, 72.
|2||Adam Martindale (Chet Soc), 172nbsp;|