Warwick Bridge - Our Lady and St Wilfrid

Warwick Bridge, Carlisle CA4 8RL

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A small but highly significant sandstone church by A.W.N.Pugin, leading architect and propagandist of the Gothic Revival. Built under aristocratic patronage, the building is notable above all for the richness and completeness of the internal furnishing and decoration. 

The church is also a landmark in the development of the Gothic Revival; in the words of Pevsner’s Buildings of England volume ‘it is here and more or less precisely in 1841 that archaeological accuracy begins in English church design’.

The first Catholic church at Warwick Bridge since the Reformation was established before the Second Catholic Relief Act of 1791, under the patronage of the Howard Family. This early chapel was on the same site as its later replacement, Our Lady and St Wilfred (called St Mary and St Wilfrid in the list description), built in 1841.

According to the brief church history, the side stained glass windows are by John Hardman, who mostly worked to Pugin's designs, though the windows were made after Pugin's death.

The high altar ensemble was erected in 1921 at a cost of £300. It was paid for by the trustees of Everard Lamb of Hayton, who was killed in the Great War.

In July 1935 electric light was installed (both in the church and in the presbytery) at a cost of £50. In May 1989 a confessional was removed from the back of the church, and the priest’s sacristy adapted for this purpose (the confessional now blocks the entrance to the pulpit, which is through the sacristy).

In 1991 a new forward altar was made and installed by Treske. Six pendant light fittings were added to the nave of the church in 1998. In 2000, several damaged windows above the main entrance were restored, and stainless steel window guards erected.

The presbytery was also designed by Pugin, and survives relatively unaltered.

The parish is run by the Benedictines, with priests usually supplied from nearby Ampleforth. This is A.W.N. Pugin’s only church in the county.

LIST DESCRIPTION: 

Roman Catholic Church. 1841 by A.W. Pugin for Henry Howard of Corby Castle. Red sandstone snecked ashlar walls, slate roof with coped gables. Nave of 4 bays, single bay chancel, gabled south porch, added sacristy to south wall of chancel. Nave has buttressed walls and angles, with alternating large and small lancets, larger windows of Y-shaped tracery and cusped heads. West entrance and porch have pointed entrance arches with moulded surrounds and hood moulds ending in mitred heads. West gable has 3 lancets with trefoil heads and hood moulds, surmounted by hexagonal bellcote. Interior has open timber roof, all painted and decorated with gold. Stone font beside south entrance, cut-stone pulpit on south wall of nave, beside chancel arch, has entrance from sacristy and decorated with figurative painted panels. Corresponding niche on north wall has figure of the Virgin. Text painted around dado panels, with decorative motifs painted on splays of the smaller lancets. Stained glass of 1860, 65 and 67, by Harrington of London, presented by Philip Howard. Chancel has screen of carved and painted wood with central crucifix, flanked by Virgin Mary and St Wilfred. Decorative painted ribbed plank ceiling and painted walls. Stepped altar, heavily gilded with metal work to Pugin's designs, flanked by 2 small coronas by Pugin. Sedilia and piscina in south wall; Easter-Sepulchre-like recess to north wall with tomb of Henry Howard (q.v.), died 1842. Retains all of original decorations much to Pugin's designs. 

Diocese: Lancaster

Architect: A.W.N. Pugin for Henry Howard of Corby Castle.

Original Date: 1841

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II*