Building » Carlisle – St Bede

Carlisle – St Bede

120 Wigton Road, Carlisle CA2 7ES

A  substantial  post-war  church  in  early  Christian  style  by  the  prolific  Wilfrid Mangan.

The building replaced an earlier Catholic church built on the site in 1866. Stained glass may have been salvaged and reused in the new church (at ground floor level). The presbytery, a detached building near the church, was built as a doctor’s house, and subsequently sold to the church.

St Bede’s is a large, cruciform-planned church with a rectangular nave, two transepts and an apsidal sanctuary. The style is a modern reinterpretation of early Christian/basilican architecture. Externally, it is built entirely of brick, with tiled, pitched roofs. The rectangular nave has a double tier of round-headed windows along each side: at ground level there are six bays, each with three windows (one with two); above there are five bays, each with two slightly larger windows. As the ground floor walls are set out from those above, a tiled, pitched roof bisects the nave horizontally.

To the southern end of the nave, but off-centre, is a three-storey square tower topped by a polygonal belfry. The tower may have been added later. In the centre of the southern end of the nave, at first-floor level, is a round window flanked by two small, round-headed windows. Below this is the pitched, tiled roof of the narthex, spanning the width of the building and marked by open brick arches.

Inside, the sanctuary is circular, borrowing space from the nave. The roof is almost semi-cylindrical in form, with a flat centre. The nave is a large central space lit by the clerestory windows, with an aisle either side lit by the ground-storey windows. The space between the aisles and the main body of the nave is marked by round-headed arches. The walls of the church are painted and plain (apart from statues in niches to the southern end of the nave) and new, vividly-painted and gilded wall decorations in the sanctuary (these were being completed when the author visited). The sanctuary floor is of marble, and the altar is modern. There is some stained glass in the ground floor windows; the clerestory windows are of plain glass, with a thin border of green and yellow glass.

Heritage Details

Architect: Wilfrid C. Mangan of Preston

Original Date: 1959

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed