Leeds lass Glenis excited for renovation plans at Leeds church - nearly 60 years since she was married there

Plans were this month revealed to revamp and convert the now-derelict Mount St Mary’s Church in Richmond Hill.

Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 6:16 pm

But one resident has more of an interest than most that the building is brought back to life.

Glenis Buckley married husband Anthony in the church back in 1963, and says she would love to make it to their 60th wedding anniversary with the building still in tact and brought back to life.

The church has stood empty since 1989, when its last service was performed, and the grade II listed building has since been subject to numerous failed renovation attempts.

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Happy Couple Glenis and Anthony at Mount St Mary's Church in 1963.

But ambitious plans to breathe new life into the main buildings, by converting it into 175 flats, will go before Leeds City Council planners for final approval this week.

Glenis, 77, grew up on nearby Easy Place, and had attended services at Mount St Mary’s from a young age, and also attended the school which was attached to the church until she was 15.

She spoke of her fond memories of the building.

“It was an absolutely beautiful church, with beautiful features,” she said. “The presbytery used to keep hens – there were about 20 of them that they used to keep for their eggs. It smelt absolutely awful!

Glenis and her husband Anthony being married in the church by a priest.

“I stopped going to the church because, after I had my two children, we decided we didn’t want anymore. The priest said we couldn’t use birth control because the Pope said we couldn’t.

“I said ‘okay, when the Pope has kids of his own and has to look after them, I will then have some more children.”

Glenis kindly gave us a look at some of the pictures from her wedding in 1963. They appear to show a nave, an altar and dozens of pews.

“It was a gorgeous ceremony,” she said.

An artist's impression of a post-renovation Mount St Mary's church.

“They said the church should have been the Cathedral, but it was decided it was too far out of town for that, so they gave it to St Anne’s in Leeds.”

So what does she make of the current plans to renovate the building?

“I’ve always wished they would bring it back,” she said.

“I was so upset when it was closed – why did the church even sell it in the first place? It was an unbelievable decision.

“It would be lovely if people could live in there – you look at churches elsewhere that have been converted, and they look great.”

Plans for the conversion will go before Leeds City Council’s North and East Plans Panel on Thursday, February 18.