Leeds - St Anthony of Padua

Old Lane, Beeston, Leeds 11

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Attractive though unremarkable red brick Gothic design of the early 20th century by Charles Fox of Dewsbury, who built widely in the diocese, usually in a simplified Romanesque style. The 1960s bell towers an unusual design and something of a local landmark. The internal volume impresses, and there are some furnishings of note.

In 1903 Fr McAuliffe from St Francis, Holbeck acquired land in Old Lane Beeston for another church to serve the expanding southern suburbs of Leeds. The foundation stone for the present church was laid on 6 November 1904 by Canon Croskell of St Anne’s Cathedral, and the church was opened by Bishop Gordon in 1905. The church is an early design by Charles Fox of Dewsbury in the Gothic style rather than his more typical simplified Romanesque style. St Antony of Padua became a separate parish in 1909. The church was consecrated by Bishop Cowgill in 1934.In 1966 a modern bell tower was added at the southwest corner, from designs by George Adkin. At the same time a narthex was created by the enclosure of the underside of the western gallery.

Tall  red  brick  Decorated  Gothic  church  of  1905  by  Charles  Fox  of  Dewsbury, consisting of nave, aisles and canted sanctuary, with attached presbytery to north. Later bell tower addition of 1966 at the southwest corner. Red brick laid in garden wall bond; stone dressings and Welsh slate roof; tower in brown brick with copper pyramidal roof.

Wide central entrance on west front with Gothic arch and hoodmould surmounted by statue  of  St  Antony  in  an  elaborate  niche.  Above  this,  two  paired  lancets  with cinquefoiled oculi under brick hoodmoulds and in the gable plate tracery with pierced quatrefoil. Stone kneelers, coping and gable cross. West end of aisles set back from the line of the west front, with one three-light window on the north side. The south flank elevation facing Wooler Road is severe in character, with plain walls punctured by flat-topped window openings. Canted east end with three high-level 3-light windows.

The bell tower of 1966 occupies the southwest corner of the site and is a prominent local landmark. Built in contrasting brown brick and of unusual design with recessed red brick panels at the base and six or seven stepped panels of glazing on each face (with opaque glazing), a belfry stage at the top and copper-covered pyramidal roof.

The interior consists of a nave of six bays plus western gallery, with an arcade of octagonal piers with moulded capitals and bases, moulded arches and drip moulds with carved angel corbels. Plastered walls, painted white. Canted and boarded timber nave and chancel roof, apsidal at the east end, with the trusses marking the bay divisions carried down as wall posts to plain corbels. No structural division between the nave and chancel. Lean to aisle roofs with brown painted rafters and purlins, red painted boarding between. Plain glass to the windows within Geometrical tracery lights, with leadwork of Arts and Crafts Character. Stained glass in the sanctuary, (designer/maker not established) with St Anthony at the centre and angels to left and right. Lady Chapel to south of sanctuary, Sacred Heart chapel to north.

The marble altar dates from 1934, the time of the church’s consecration. It has been cut down and the mensa brought forward as part of a reordering in 1984. Polychrome fibreglass panel of the Last Supper applied to the altar frontal. There was a further reordering for the church’s centenary in 2005. Modern timber panelling around the lower walls of the sanctuary. The large original oak pulpit, with good carving of New Testament scenes, has been cut down to form an ambo and font (in the sanctuary), with a further panel located at the west end over the entrance. The polished pine pews are presumably original; there is a wooden parquet floor in the nave, with carpets to the alleys.

Diocese: Leeds

Architect: C. E. Fox, tower by George Adkin

Original Date: 1905

Conservation Area: No

Modifications: 1966

Listed Grade: Not listed