Building » Coalville – St Wilfrid of York

Coalville – St Wilfrid of York

London Road, Coalville, Leicestershire LE67

A 1950s church of conventional plan form, with modern construction techniques. It has a concrete frame, buff brick cladding and simple window openings and a broad and simply furnished interior. The building has some architectural interest and preserves much of its original character.

The Coalville mission was started in 1887 by Fr O’Reilly as an offshoot from Whitwick (qv). Mass was said in a private house in Ashby Road. In 1900 a temporary church, St Saviour’s, was erected at the expense of Edwin de Lisle. In 1939 a new site was purchased and plans were drawn up for a church, but the Second World War intervened and nothing was built. The present, more central, site was purchased in 1955. The church was built from designs by Desmond Williams, then working for the Manchester firm of Arthur Farebrother & Partners, and opened in 1961 (builders Messrs Orton of Coalville). The building was consecrated in 1967.


St Wilfrid’s is a concrete portal framed building typical of its date. The body of the building is broad with a pitched roof covered in grey concrete tiles with a copper covered fleche. Above a buff brick screen wall with three entrance doors the facade of the west end is clad in green Swithland slate with a carved stone statue of St Wilfrid in the gable by Michael Clark. The flat-roofed side aisles are also faced in buff brick, with raised brick ornament. Beyond the straight returns of the front vestibule, the side walls are treated as a series of shallow curved bays with two tiers of small segment-headed windows, an unusual and effective device.

Internally the nine-bay portal frame is exposed and the side walls are plastered with bare brick responds between the curves of the aisle walls. The nave has a woodblock floor and the underside of the roof is clad in timber. At the west end of the nave is a timber fronted gallery with the glazed front of a vestibule area beneath. The gallery contains an organ in a handsome Victorian case. The two eastern bays are the sanctuary and have a raised stone floor and bare brick walls with a canopy over the altar which is set against the flat blind east end wall. Opening off the north side of the east bay of the nave is a shallow chapel space with a side altar. With the exception of the organ, which was presumably brought from elsewhere, all the fittings appear to be contemporary with the church; the wooden benches are of traditional form but the altars and the marble drum font (no longer in the original western baptistery) are modernistic.

Heritage Details

Architect: Arthur Farebrother & Partners

Original Date: 1960

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed