Building » Bridlington – Our Lady and St Peter

Bridlington – Our Lady and St Peter

Victoria Road, Bridlington, East Yorkshire

A good example of a late Victorian Gothic Revival Catholic church. Smith, Brodrick & Lowther were a busy firm of architects in Hull with a varied practice. 

A mission was established in Bridlington around 1855 with the priest coming over from Beverley to say Mass in private houses. Bridlington’s first priest, Rev Henry Green, arrived in 1867, renting a room in the Victoria Rooms on Garrison Street for use as a chapel which was dedicated to St William. In 1868 it was reported that there were thirty-five Catholics in the town. Rev John Murphy took over the mission in 1884 and built a cruciform iron church on Wellington Road (then called Prospect Row) in 1886. Fr Murphy’s successor, Rev James Clancy purchased the present site in Victoria Road and commissioned Smith, Brodrick & Lowther of Hull to design the church at a cost of £1,870 (The Tablet, 26 August 1893). The foundation stone was laid on 19 August 1893 and almost exactly a year later, on 1 September 1894, the church was opened. Unusually all costs were paid for before the opening, largely through the generosity of Mrs Mousley, of the Boynton family. The Dominican Sisters ran a school in the parish from 1895.


The church is in Early English Gothic style, faced in red brick with Hoptonwood stone dressings (largely confined to the west front). Steep Welsh slate roof. Continuous nave and sanctuary, lean-to aisles. Externally, all the show is confined to the west front, which has angle buttresses with stone gablets and pinnacles. Tripartite arrangement between the buttresses. Pointed arched doorway in the centre with a trefoiled arch within, flanked by two two-light windows with Geometrical tracery. Hoodmoulds with label stops and an unusual rectilinear arrangement of applied stone pinnacles and mouldings above. Between the three stepped windows above are stone niches with statues. Trefoil-headed single outer lights and a centre two-light window with a cusped circle in the tracery. The aisles to either side are of unequal height, as there is an upper room to the north aisle, and have a single lancet each. To the left a link building to the presbytery has an entrance serving both church and presbytery. The sides of the church are remarkably plain, with single and paired lancet windows. The east end has a canted apse with two-light windows with cusped Y-tracery set high up.

The interior is plastered and painted apart from the arcade piers, giving an effect of lightness. Four bay nave arcades with octagonal piers, moulded capitals and arches with hoodmoulds and two orders of hollow mouldings. Lower arches at the west end as the organ/choir gallery fills the westernmost bay. Paired lancet windows to the clerestory. Canted boarded and painted roofs, the trusses carried down to the walls on corbels. The sanctuary arch rests on polished Hoptonwood shafts and foliate capitals. Stone main altar with a trefoiled arcade with inset panels of white Sicilian marbles. Gabled and pinnacled tabernacle and canted reredos. The tabernacle and reredos were brought from the earlier church; the altar dates from 1907. 2005 table altar standing in front of the old altar. Stone ambo of the same time. The font stands at the west end of the north aisle, small, the octagonal bowl with sunken panels, supported on a cluster of polished granite shafts. Chapel at the east end of the north aisle with a stone altar slab supported on polished stone columns, the reredos with a statue of Christ flanked by blind tracery with carved foliage. The window above has heavy tracery of reticulated character. Similar window at the east end of the south aisle. Original open-backed pews, running through both nave and aisle, with poppyheads and quatrefoil panels in the ends. Encaustic tiled floors mostly replaced with a Granolithic-type composite flooring. The sanctuary was carpeted when it was refurbished in 2005 (DKS Architects). Coloured glass in geometric patters to most windows, stained glass in a few, especially the sanctuary windows (figures of saints). Stations of the Cross, plaster reliefs set in quatrefoils.

Entry amended by AHP 4.1.2021

List description (the church and presbytery were listed in 2015, following Taking Stock)


Summary: Late Victorian gothic style Roman Catholic church and attached presbytery by the architectural practice of Smith, Brown and Lowther of Hull, 1893-4.The later church hall attached to the west of the church is not included in the listing.

Reasons for Designation: The Roman Catholic church of Our Lady and St Peter, with attached presbytery, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: as a good example of a late Victorian Roman Catholic church built in gothic style; * Composition: the street elevation of the church and attached presbytery is of particular note.

History: The Roman Catholic church of Our Lady and St Peter with its adjoining presbytery was designed by the Hull firm of Smith, Brown and Lowther and opened on 1st September 1894. It was commissioned by the town’s third post-reformation Catholic priest, Fr. James Clancy, the £1,870 cost being largely paid for by Mrs Mousley (nee Boynton).

Details: Roman Catholic church, by Smith, Brown and Lowther of Hull, 1893-4. Victorian gothic, broadly Early English in style. MATERIALS: red brick with Hoptonwood stone dressings, Welsh slate roofs with terracotta cresting. PLAN: the church is orientated with its chancel (the ritual east end) to the south, and its entrance front to the north. The presbytery is adjoined to the east, connected by a shared, enclosed porch. The church has a nave with side aisles, the chancel also being flanked by side chapels. The later church hall attached to the west of the church is not of special interest.

EXTERIOR: architectural elaboration is focused on the road frontage to the north, the ecclesiastical west end. On this elevation, the nave is supported by angle buttresses which rise above the eaves as stone pinnacles, the gable being raised and stone coped, topped by a stone cross finial. Between the buttresses there is the main entrance with its moulded brick, two-centred arch with a stone trefoil arch within and enclosed by a stone hoodmould with label stops. This is flanked by ground floor, two-light windows with geometric tracery and similar stone hoodmoulds. Above there is a tall, two-light window which is headed by a cusped circle in the tracery, this is flanked by trefoil headed lancets, these three windows each being flanked by engaged columns with leaf capitals. Flanking the central window are statues of Our Lady and St Peter, both protected by stone, gable-roofed canopies. The side aisles have trefoil headed lancets with hoodmoulds, the aisle to the left (east) being heightened to accommodate the organ chamber. Beyond to the east and linking with the presbytery there is a porch which a room above. This porch has a double, part-glazed door set beneath a stone Carnarvon arch with a shallow, two-centred brick relieving arch above which frames a stone relief carving of a head framed by foliage. Remaining elevations of the church are simply detailed, windows to both clerestory and aisles being plain lancets with stone cills but no other dressings. The chancel, the roof of which is continuous with that of the nave, has a canted end lit by three two-light windows set at clerestory level. The church hall attached to the west side of the church dates from the 1960s and is not included in the listing.

INTERIOR: the nave is of five bays, the northernmost occupied by a choir and organ gallery. The arcades have octagonal piers, moulded capitals and pointed arches with two orders of hollow mouldings set below hoodmoulds. The windows have hoodmoulds with label stops and are glazed with square and diamond quarries of clear and pink glass. The roof is canted and boarded, the arch trusses being carried down the clerestory walls to be supported by corbels. The chancel is separated from the nave by a high chancel arch supported by triple columnettes rising from foliate corbels. The main chancel windows have memorial stained glass depicting saints. The marble high altar incorporating a tabernacle and canted reredos originally came from the Roman Catholic church of St Patrick, Middlesbrough. The windows of the side aisles are treated the same as those of the clerestory except five have been reglazed with figurative stained glass as memorials. The aisle walls carry reliefs set in quatrefoils forming the Stations of the Cross. The west side aisle has an inserted set of folding doors* giving access through to the attached church hall*, these doors and the hall are not of special interest. The side chapels are vaulted and lit by further stained glass windows. The eastern chapel has a stone and marble altar and reredos incorporating a statue of Christ the Sacred Heart.

PRESBYTERY: the exterior appears as a typical two storey two bay late Victorian house with large rectangular projecting double height bay window. The feature that sets the house apart and identifies it as the church’s presbytery is the entrance which features a highly ornate gothic surround imitating an embattled, gabled porch. The house has modern replacement windows* and extension to the rear*, these alterations not being of special interest, but retains its original chimneys and the terracotta cresting and finials to the hipped roof. The interior retains an encaustic tiled hall, and much original joinery included a closed string staircase. Fireplaces* are later replacements which are not of special interest.

* Pursuant to s.1(5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that these aforementioned features are not of special architectural or historic interest.


Other: “Churches in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough: An Architectural and Historical Review” Architectural History and Practice Ltd. March 2008

Heritage Details

Architect: Smith, Brodrick & Lowther

Original Date: 1894

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II