Building » Boston – St Mary

Boston – St Mary

Horncastle Road, Boston, Lincolnshire PE21

A  typical  example  of  the  simple  Pre-Emancipation  Regency  type  of chapel that predominated before the surge of building and the Gothic revival of the 1840s onwards. The external appearance of the church has been marred by a porch addition of the 1970s. There is a contemporary attached presbytery.

An influx of Irish construction workers following the passing of the 1809 and 1818.

Fen Drainage Acts brought a large Irish Catholic population to Boston and almost certainly brought the need for a Catholic church there.   Fr Addis, a Jesuit priest, arrived in 1825 and built the presbytery and then the present church, which opened in 1827, two years before the 1829 Catholic Emancipation Act. The porch was built in 1974 by Reynolds & Scott.

The altar faces west but for the purposes of this report all references to compass points will assume an eastward facing altar. A simple, though quite large, brick box, typical of the retiring design of early 19th century Catholic churches. The brickwork is fair-faced to north and east, painted to south and painted and rendered to west. The original  west  front  has  pilasters  and  the  gable  end  is  treated  as  a  quasi  open pediment. The roof is probably pantile but is not visible. Placed across the west front is a single storey red brick porch or narthex with a hipped slate roof. It is completely out of character with the Georgian building. Of the same time a bell turret was fixed to the wall above the porch. The main part of the church has large rectangular windows under concrete lintels, three to the south and two to the north owing to the interruption  of  the  attached  presbytery  which  was  built  first.  The  windows  are divided by two mullions and a transom, with square leaded glazing.

The interior has plain plastered walls, a continuous moulded cornice and a shallow segmental ceiling with six panels of decorative coffering. The curve of the ceiling is echoed in the curve and arch of the sanctuary recess. The east end is much plainer following alterations in the late 1960s following Vatican II. At the west end a full width gallery of classical design with fluted Ionic columns and a panelled front which breaks  forward  in  the  centre.  Staircase  with  ramped  handrail  and  heavy  turned newels. It is said to have come from the Anglican parish  church  when that  was restored in 1851 and to have then been 120 years old, i.e. dating from around 1730, though it looks more late 18th century in date. A section of the altar rails of 1888 are now in the chapel within the 1974 porch. The original side altar recess on the north side now houses the organ. Several wooden statues, of no special artistic merit, probably those introduced in the 1950s. The pews date from 1888 and are not special.

Heritage Details


Original Date: 1825

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed