Ince Blundell - The Holy Family

Back o’ the Town Lane, Ince Blundell, Liverpool 38

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Estate church in Quattrocento Italianate style by J.J. Scoles for the Blundell family, linked to the service wing of Ince Blundell Hall. The church has a magnificent painted interior by the Craces, with an altarpiece and panel paintings by Gebhard Flatz.

The Blundell family became established in the Liverpool area in the 14th  century. A new house was built in about 1720 by Robert Blundell on the site of a previous house, and was completed after 1761 by Henry Blundell. Henry also enclosed the park, built two entrance gateways, built the Garden temple and the Pantheon, the latter to house his important collection of antique classical sculpture. With the end of the male line Thomas Weld inherited the estate in 1837. He extended the house, employing Messrs Crace on the internal redecoration. He also employed J.J. Scoles to build a new chapel in 1858-60.

The Blundells remained loyal Catholics throughout Penal times. The first chapel was on the first floor of the house at the end of the service range, roughly in the same location as the gallery of the present building. Amongst the priests serving in the old chapel was Blessed Dominic Barberi, who received John Henry Newman into the Catholic Church. The Italianate style of  the present  building  displays the client’s classical sympathies; for Scoles it was a reversion to his classical beginnings (seen for example in the chapel at Prior Park, Bath, 1844) from the Gothic he had embraced in the 1850s (as seen at St Francis Xavier, Everton and Our Lady, Lydiate).

From its opening the chapel served both as a private chapel and a public place worship. Towards the end of the Weld-Blundell era it was loaned to the Archdiocese at a peppercorn rent. At the end of the 1950s the estate was put up for sale, and the contents sold (Henry Blundell’s sculpture collection going to the Liverpool Corporation). At that point the chapel was given to the Archdiocese. The house was purchased by the Canonesses of St Augustine, previously based at Park House, Waterloo, who established the nursing home that continues to this day.

Diocese: Liverpool

Architect: J. J. Scoles

Original Date: 1858

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II*