Lincoln - St Hugh of Lincoln

Monks Road, Lincoln

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A  mainstream  Late  Victorian  urban  church  of  some  size,  its  steeple prominent in the Lincoln skyline.

William Byrd, the famous Elizabethan composer, was organist at Lincoln Cathedral but is said to have attended Catholic Mass near by. In the late 16th century the Jesuits were at Twigmore, a house near Kirton in Lindsey in the north of the county. A Mass House is recorded in Lincoln in 1685, so the Roman Catholic faith was kept alive during the Penal years. In 1799 a Roman Catholic chapel for Lincoln was erected at the junction of Broadgate and Silver Street. This was enlarged in 1854.

In 1870 Thomas Young of Kingerby offered to provide a new church and commissioned Hadfield & Son of Sheffield to draw up plans. Nothing however came of  this  and  in  1886  Francis  Clarke,  a  wealthy  Catholic  and  four-times  mayor  of Lincoln, offered £7,000 to build a new church on the same site.  The old church was demolished, the congregation worshipped in a temporary chapel in Park Street and plans were drawn up by the Lincoln-born architect, Albert Vicars (1840-1896) for the new church on the site. Clarke died in 1888 and the promised £7,000 was not in his will. However, the church did get £3,500 from the trustees of his estate and finally, in 1892, sufficient funds were raised to purchase the site of the present church on the corner of Monks Road and Broadgate.

The foundation stone (to the right of the side entrance) was laid by Bishop Edward Bagshawe on 17 November 1892 and the church opened on 19 December 1893 by Cardinal Herbert Vaughan. The cost was £7,300. Albert Vicars was engaged and he modified his earlier design for a church in Silver Street to fit the new site. A new porch was built in 1909. The interior of the church was refurbished in 2008-10 by John Halton Designs Ltd of Brandon, near Lincoln.

The altar of the church faces south but for the purposes of this description (as with the statutory list description, see below) all references to compass points will assume an eastward facing altar. The statutory list entry is a detailed one and adequately describes both the exterior and interior of the church. Above the west porch is a statue of St Hugh. In the tympana below are relief carvings of the consecration of St Hugh (left) and St Hugh installed in the cathedral church (right). At the time of the writer’s visit the interior refurbishment was nearing completion. This has comprised general cleaning, repair and redecorating, a new oak floor and new glazed doors into the porch at the west end.

The sanctuary has an elaborately carved reredos with  figures of St Hugh and  St Catherine of Siena, and either side of the tabernacle relief panels of St Hugh washing the feet of a poor man in a local hospital (left) and the death of St Hugh (right). Pinnacles above. A 1920s photograph shows that the originally there was a much taller and more elaborate central pinnacle rising almost to the top of the window. Painted murals to either side of St Hugh having admonished King Richard receiving the royal kiss of peace (left) and St Hugh honouring a pauper with full burial rites (right). On corbels beneath the sanctuary arch are statues of St Anthony of Padua and St Michael the Archangel. In front of the reredos a new stone altar has been installed as part of the 2010 refurbishment. The ceiling has been repainted with stars and rope patterns. Gothic stone pulpit and octagonal font.

Side chapels with stone altars and reredos, one to Our Lady with a statue of the Virgin and child flanked by relief panels of the Annunciation and the Pieta, and the other to St Joseph, with a statue of St Joseph flanked by relief panels Joseph leading Mary and Jesus in their flight into Egypt and the death of Joseph with Mary and Jesus at his side. There is stained glass throughout the church, much of it installed around 1909 and designed by Alexander Gascoyne of Nottingham. The west window was installed in 1921. The Stations of the Cross are marble relief panels in integral frames, carved in Carrara and inaugurated in November 1897.

Diocese: Nottingham

Architect: Albert Vicars

Original Date: 1892

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II