Ansdell, Lytham St Annes - St Joseph

Woodlands Road, Lytham St Annes FY8 4EP.

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A substantial and expensive church with attached presbytery, by the Pugin firm for the Taylor brothers. The church and its tower occupy a commanding position in the townscape, and are notable for the striking contrasting use of yellow sandstone with red sandstone dressings. The interior is a large and impressive space, and the fitting out of high quality.

In 1907 a mission was established by Canon James Taylor and his brother Fr Roger Taylor, priests in the parish of Lytham St Peter from 1873. A temporary chapel was built in 1908.  The permanent church was built at the expense of the Taylor Brothers, who came from a prosperous Fylde farming family, and built prolifically in these parts (see Lytham St Peter, Thornton Sacred Heart, Morecambe St Mary). The Pugin firm remained their favoured architects (Cuthbert Welby Pugin, Peter Paul having died in 1904).  The cost of the church was £12,000 including furnishings.

The foundation stone was laid on 22 August 1909 by Dr Whiteside, Bishop of Liverpool, and opened in 1914 by Dr Whiteside, by then Archbishop of Liverpool. The peal of eight bells in the tower was blessed in 1911.

LIST DESCRIPTION:

Roman Catholic church, with attached presbytery. 1909-14 (dated 1911 on north gable wall); by Pugin, Pugin and Pugin, for James and Roger Taylor. Coursed squared yellow sandstone with red sandstone dressings and graduated Cumbrian slate roof. Decorated style. Nave on approx. north-south axis, with east and west aisles, double transepts incorporating side chapels, sacristy continued from west transept (and linked to presbytery by a short passage or cloister), sanctuary at south end and detached north-east tower linked to east aisle. The tall 3-stage tower, with angle buttresses carried up to octagonal pinnacles, and various weathered bands, has a 2-centred arched north doorway with deeply moulded surround (leading to an internal porch), a lettered band above this, a tall canopied niche containing a statue and flanked by narrow 2-stage cusped lancets, pairs of quatrefoils between stages above this, a belfry stage with pairs of tall louvred windows, and an elaborate machicolated parapet with cusped machicolation, pierced lettering and crow-stepped coping. The gable of the nave, divided by buttresses into 3 bays, has a similar lettered band, segmental-headed 2-light traceried windows below this in the outer bays, a tall canopied niche with a statue in the centre bay, 3 tall narrow 2-light traceried windows (that in the centre stepped up, over the niche) and a low 3-light window in the apex. The 5-bay aisles, with buttresses, moulded cornices and parapets with upstands between bays, have 2- centred arched 3-light traceried windows with linked hoodmoulds; and attached to the 1st bay of the west aisle is a 5-sided baptistery which has a one-light windows in each side and a tall polygonal roof. The clerestory of the nave has segmental-headed 3-light windows, and straight buttresses carried up as rectangular pinnacles which have panels of blind tracery. The transepts have coupled gables projected from pitched roofs at right angles to the axis of the nave, a 3-light traceried window in each gable, and on the south side of each an unusual shallow canted chapel with high-set fenestration and a tall saddleback roof. The sanctuary has blind arcading at mid level and above that a 2-centred arched 5-light traceried window.

INTERIOR: 7-bay arcades with cylindrical columns and 2-centred arches, and lateral arches bridging the aisles; elaborate carved reredoses to altars in the sanctuary and both chapels.

HISTORY: built by the brothers James and Roger Taylor, priests, who were members of a prosperous Fylde farming family, and donated to the diocese of Lancaster.

Diocese: Lancaster

Architect: Pugin, Pugin and Pugin

Original Date: 1909

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II