Building » Fleetwood – St Mary

Fleetwood – St Mary

34 Kemp Street, Fleetwood FY7 6JX

A church by E.W. Pugin which is a good example of a smaller church by this architect, with a high degree of architectural interest. Although  it does  not approach the architectural elaboration and presence of Pugin’s masterworks – St Francis, Gorton and All Saints, Barton, both in Greater Manchester, it is far above the average for a church of its date and is of higher quality than some of the same architect’s other smaller churches.

The first chapel in Fleetwood was opened in Walmesley Street in 1841. The present church was built in 1867-8 to the designs of E. W. Pugin and was opened by Bishop Goss of Liverpool. Dr J. Cotton was parish priest from 1919-1934 and during his time there were significant alterations.


The building has many characteristics typical of E. W. Pugin’s work. It is without a tower, with nave and chancel beneath one roof, a polygonal apse, clerestory and with display at the west end where large paired windows flank a niche with a statue of Christ (is this original?). Here the upper bell openings and lower grouped lancets set up a busier rhythm, while the aisles are lit by tall slim lancets. The low aisles with large windows contrast with the staccato effect of the quatrefoil clerestory openings. The details are of around 1300 and are typical of the younger Pugin, drawing on French style.

The interior has a number of striking attributes which add special interest to the design. The arcades have capitals of an unusually free type, tending towards Norman/Transitional but without strictly period detail, except at the chancel arch where they are foliated. Four bays are followed by a change in rhythm as two narrow bays precede the apse, so that there is an intensification of pace and decorative detail towards the east end. This is carried through in the busy grouped lancets of the apse with foliated capitals. Asymmetrical treatment of the east end chapels is another interesting feature. The north Lady Chapel is divided from the apse by a low stone open arcade, not repeated on the other side.

At the west end the narthex is divided from the nave by a broad low arch supported by demi-columns and responds grouped so that small lancet openings are formed. The arch has large headstops which look as if they could be portraits. The west gallery is reached by a stair on the south side. The narthex is divided from the nave by a late twentieth century glazed screen with engraved texts.

Furnishings include a very elaborate reredos and altar with a tall central spire and canopied niches with statuary. This, the mosaic floor and the alabaster altar rails, belong to Dr Cotton’s early twentieth-century reordering. The north and south chapels also date from this time – the Lady altar to 1921 and the Sacred Heart altar to 1924 – and are less elaborate. The alabaster pulpit presumably also from this time. There is a forward altar of later date. Almost all the windows have stained glass, including a number of windows by the Lancaster firm Shrigley & Hunt. Most of the windows appear to date from the interwar period. The paired west windows have glass with one scene over the two lights on the theme Stella Maris with fishermen and the Virgin. The glass appears to be late twentieth century in date and is badly faded. The bench seats appear to be original.

List description


Site acquired 1865. Foundation stone laid 17 May 1866. Opened (by Bishop Goss) 24 November 1867. Architect E W Pugin. Builder T A Drummond of Fleetwood. Cost £4,000. Rock-faced stone. Ashlar dressings. Steep pitched slate roof. Polygonal apse. Aisles with lean-to roofs. Aisle windows have 2 cusped lights and an inscribed cinquefoil executed in bar tracery: hoodmoulds. Clerestory windows are oculi with quatrefoils of bar tracery: hoodmoulds. Apse has 3 grouped lancets with bar tracery and linked hoodmould on each side, at clerestory level. West end has 2 groups of 3 lancets with bar tracery and hood moulds on ground floor. Above it are 2 three-light windows with inscribed cinquefoils in bar tracery: statue
of Virgin under aedicule in between. Gable window of 3 lights separated by colonnettes. Very tall lancets to aisles. Porch with pitched slate roof and coped gable. 3 grouped lancets with bar tracery and hoodmoulds on each side: buttresses: moulded 2-centred arched doorway.

Interior. Nave arcade of 4 bays: chancel of 2: 2-centred arches on cylindrical
piers with simple capitals. Transverse arches to aisles. Steep-pitched wooden roofs, painted above apse: lean-to aisle roofs. Apse arcade taken internally on colonnettes with foliage capitals: hoodmoulds. Organ gallery at west end supported on shallow segmental arch taken on paired columns at each end. Finely carved alabaster pulpit (with cast iron rail to stairs), sanctuary rail, and altar. Elaborate Perpendicular reredos with Purbeck colonnettes: very tall steepled and flying buttressed canopy over the tabernacle. Smaller reredoses to side chapels. Good contemporary furniture. Stained glass.

Listing NGR: SD3373647872

Heritage Details

Architect: E. W. Pugin

Original Date: 1867

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II