ONE of the borough's most historic chapels has been bought by a mystery buyer for an undisclosed fee.

Tyldesley Top Chapel failed to sell at an auction on October 17 with the grade II listed building's owner Cadence Festivals Limited looking for offers in excess of £127,500.

Pugh Auctions was tasked with selling the chapel on Upper George Street and has confirmed that the 228-year-old building has now been sold.

A post-auction bid was accepted by Cadence Festivals Limited on Wednesday and the identity of the buyer and their plans for the chapel is being kept under wraps.

Historian Peter Tyldesley, chairman of the Tyldesley Building Preservation Trust set up to buy the chapel so that it could be used as a multi-purpose community hub, said: “A member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) independently valued the chapel at £75,000 and we were not willing to pay more than that, so we didn’t attend the auction.

“It is obviously disappointing that it has not been possible for the trust to secure the chapel for community use.

“We hope the purchaser is prepared to take on the necessary remedial work to this historic grade II listed building, with the initial costs likely to be close to £300,000.

“The valuation we had done showed that Tyldesley Top Chapel has a long backlog of outstanding repairs and some significant faults with structural movement in the west, east and south walls, dry rot and displaced roof timbers.”

The land on which the chapel was built is a former burial site.

Peter, a lecturer at the University of Exeter, says extensive research he has undertaken leads him to believe that ‘around 1,700 bodies’ are still buried in the chapel’s yard.

He said: “It is obviously vital these remains are protected and treated with respect.”

The chapel, which was built in 1789, was bought by Cadence Cafe CIC for £50,000 in September 2015 after being awarded £188,200 by Wigan Council’s Deal for Communities Investment Fund to enable it to be used as a multi-purpose community facility.

The building’s ownership was controversially transferred to Cadence Festivals Limited just eight months later, enabling it to be sold as a commercial property.

Cadence Festivals Limited has since considered plans to convert the chapel into a restaurant and flats.

The Tyldesley Building Preservation Trust was set up by Peter and Tyldesley councillors Joanne Marshall, Stephen Hellier and Nazia Rehman.

The Journal has not been able to contact Cadence Festivals Limited.