Building » Driffield – Our Lady and St Edward

Driffield – Our Lady and St Edward

Westgate, Driffield, East Yorkshire

 A fairly unusual church in its combined use of red brick and terracotta and neo-Norman design. Modest but nicely and consistently detailed and with striking internal arches. The architect Edward Simpson designed a number of Catholic churches in the north of England.

In the early 1880s there were about 100 Catholics in Great Driffield. Mass was first said in a private house and subsequently in the Corn Exchange. Bishop Lacy visited the town in 1883, a visit which generated interest in building a church, an ambition realised three years later. The church was paid for by Lady Herries of Everingham Hall.

Norman-style church, built of bright red brick with terracotta dressings (yellow brick dressings to the presbytery), with clay tile roofs. The church comprises a gabled nave with a broadening or transept like projections and a narrower apsed sanctuary towards the road. Tall gabled bellcote on the west gable. Simple round-headed windows throughout. At the west end, two much taller windows, with a smaller one in the gable between. Continuous sill band and impost band linking the windows. The northwest porch projects only enough to give the entrance a stepped surround of three orders. Chevron, nailhead and other Norman-type decoration.


The interior surprises with its two great Norman-style arches of great breadth. The effect is of a crossing but there is no tower and only rather insignificant transept-like projections (deeper on the north side). The arches have three orders of columns with trumpet-like capitals, the arches with chevron, ballflower and billet moulding. Similar decoration around the window heads throughout, all done in yellow terracotta. Continuous billet frieze below the windows. The interior brickwork is painted, cream in the nave and a rather lurid turquoise in the sanctuary. Open altar on Norman-style arcades to three sides. This has been brought forward from the low stone wall behind. Communion rail, again designed as a Norman arcade, set between the arch from the nave to the ‘crossing’. Plain but substantial roof with scissor-bracing to the nave and with stop chamfer detailing to the sanctuary tie beam and diagonal beams. The church is largely carpeted over wooden floors. Plain open-backed pine pews. Large framed painted canvas of the Virgin and Child hanging on the west wall, probably a copy of a 16th
century Italian painting. Stations of the Cross, round-arched wooden framed painted panels.

Heritage Details

Architect: Edward Simpson

Original Date: 1886

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed