Building » Egton Bridge – St Hedda

Egton Bridge – St Hedda

Egton Bridge, North Yorkshire

A good Victorian church by a noted Sheffield firm of architects who designed much for Catholic clients. On a site with a long tradition of Catholic worship (the original church of 1790 survives adjoining). 

The Catholic mission in Egton has its origins in penal times. The martyr Fr Nicholas Postgate, executed in 1679, was born at Kirkdale House in 1597. In 1743 a chapel existed beside Bridge House, occupied by the recusant Smith family, and adjacent to the present church and school. In 1780 there were 415 Catholics in the district. The first church was built here in 1790, immediately after the passing of the Second Relief Act. It was converted to a school in 1867, when the present church was built. An outbuilding to the rear of the school, now part of the nineteenth century presbytery, was the original priest’s house.


This is a substantial church of tall nave with aisles under one steeply pitched roof, the aisles not readily discernable externally. Apsed sanctuary. Faced in dressed sandstone with ashlar dressings under a Welsh slate roof. The aisles have single lancet windows, lancet windows also to the apse, set high up. North entrance with a pointed arch and a trefoiled tympanum with a statue of the Virgin and Child set in a mandorla. The entrance front has a vertiginous gable with projecting buttresses embracing a tall and blind pointed arch. Within this the pointed arched doorway (the main entrance to the church) and a septfoil window above. The buttresses above the arch disappear into the thickness of the wall which rises to a gabled bellcote. Tall projecting gabled bay to the south with a two-light window with plate tracery. Mandorla above enclosing a statue (probably St Hedda). Set into the south side of the church are Stations of the Cross and at the western end is a pieta under a gabled timber canopy, work of 1900.

The interior appears larger than the exterior owing to the great height of the undivided nave and sanctuary and the absence of a clerestory, which also makes the church rather dark. The aisles are narrow and tall and divided from the nave by arcades with single stepped and chamfered arches on alternately octagonal and cylindrical piers. Barrel vaulted roof with timber ribs and stencil decoration. The walls of the nave are unadorned but the sanctuary walls are richly decorated with painted scenes set in groups of four elongated quatrefoils. Single figures of saints between the lancets above, and plain panelling below. Richly painted and gilded altar and reredos, ‘showy’ as described by Pevsner, of circa 1867 and made in Munich. Lady Chapel with painted and gilded ceiling and a wooden altar with carved front. Carved Gothic timber pulpit. Organ gallery over the entrance accessed by way of a distinctive enclosed timber spiral stair. Pretty circular stone font, small and probably of circa 1790 and from the previous church. Unusual Stations of the Cross carved in relief, with painted backgrounds and recessed into the wall with a sense of diminishing perspective. Open-backed pine pews. 19th century stained glass principally in the sanctuary and Lady Chapel.

List description


Roman catholic parish church. 1866-67, with minor C20 alterations. Designed by Hadfield & Sons of Sheffield. Nave, side aisles, chancel and eastern apse under a single roof. Dressed stone with ashlar dressings and Welsh slate roofs and terracotta ridge tiles. Chamfered plinth, sill band and chamfered eaves band. West front has large pointed archway with setoffs, rising to a small gabled bell-cote with cross finial. Central pointed arch doorway with single columns, moulded arch and hood mould. Above a circular window with cusped plate tracery. North front has single doorway with flat head in pointed arch door surround. Beyond to east 5 tall lancet windows. East end curved with 5 lancets set high up, curved roof topped with iron cross finial. South front has small slightly projecting gabled chapel with buttresses and a single 2-light pointed arched window with plate tracery quatrefoil. Beyond 5 single lancets. Lower projecting chapel to east with chamfered end.

INTERIOR has 5 bay nave arcades and narrow passage aisles, these chamfered arches have alternating octagonal and circular piers plus circular responds. West organ gallery. Wooden barrel vaulted roof with stencilled decoration. Original wooden pews, carved octagonal pulpit. Ashlar circular font. Chancel apse has later wooden dado panelling and above painted murals. Elaborate German reredos.

Heritage Details

Architect: M. E. Hadfield & Son

Original Date: 1866

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II