The church stands on the crest of a hill in the centre of Wigan.
There has been a church on this site since at least 1199 although it is likely that there was a church here much earlier. Finds dating back to the Roman period have also been found here so perhaps a Roman building also once occupied this prominent site.
Roman buildings have also been located during excavations in the town centre and this may be the Roman town known as Coccium which was mentioned
in the 2nd Century as being 17 miles from the fort at Manchester and 20 miles
from the fort at Ribchester. This is unproven however and the Roman buildings in Wigan could belong to totally different settlement on the Roman Road whose name has been lost in the mist of time.
On the 1st April 1643 during the English Civil War 86 royalist sharpshooters occupied this tower against the Parliamentarian forces inflicting more casualties than were killed in the storming of the town. They surrendered only when the enemy prepared to blow up the tower.
Most of the present structure was erected between 1845 and 1850 when the majority of the church (excluding the tower and North chapel) were almost completely rebuilt. The rebuilding copied the layout of the old church which dated to the late medieval period although some elements were probably