Building » Hedon – St Mary and St Joseph

Hedon – St Mary and St Joseph

Hedon, East Yorkshire

An important survival of a relatively unspoilt Georgian Catholic church. It is architecturally modest and discreetly tucked away, and has the appearance of a Nonconformist chapel. Delightfully simple interior, though of Georgian elegance in its apsed ends. 

Hedon was one of the six new missions established after the 1778 Relief Act. The church was built in 1803 but was a successor to an older chapel at Nuthill, Burstwick, a neighbouring village, where the surviving registers date from 1774. The church at Hedon was paid for by Francis Constable of Burton Constable. The church was altered internally in the nineteenth century but much of this work was undone as part of a restoration in the 1980s, returning the interior more to its Georgian appearance.


See list description, below. The church faces south but references here are to liturgical compass points.

The basic rectangular structure of the church has very much the character of Nonconformist chapels of the period with just three large round-headed windows to the side walls with wooden Y-tracery. Red brick with a hipped pantile roof. At the west end a gabled projection with a small timber bellcote on the gable and three blind arches to the west. The east end has the sacristy and the upper part is part of the adjoining presbytery, and from the east all is of domestic character, with two  Georgian sash windows in the south wall and a chimney stack on the corner.

The interior is a rectangular space with flat ceiling and a basket-arch to an apse at either end with fluted pilasters and moulded architrave. At the west end the square apse has a barrel vaulted plaster ceiling over a gallery with panelled front cantilevered over the nave and with curved ends. This sits on top of the internal porch with three doors into the nave. The apse at the east end contains the sanctuary and has a mural of marble effect, a frieze of saints and a painted scene in the half dome. Panelled doors to either side of the apse of domestic character. Simple open-backed painted pews. Octagonal Victorian marble font at the west end. Altar, ambo and tabernacle stand in simple Classical style, probably dating from the 1980s restoration. One Victorian stained glass window (1892) in the centre light on the south side in Pre-Raphaelite style. Other bits of Victorian stained glass in the tracery lights. Stations of the Cross, painted and gilded scenes in wooden frames. The porch has red and black chequer tiles and a Georgian staircase with stick balusters.

List description


1803. Built during ministry of Father Joseph Swinburne (1774-1845), who had moved the Catholic Chapel from Nuthill where it had been established by the Robinson family. Brown brick. Pantiled roof. Three lunette-headed windows per side, whose original glazing was replaced in 1892 with pre-Raphaelite type stained glass. Interior. Altar set in frescoed apse with contemporary architraves and pilaster. Similar apse at opposite end contains gallery with carved and panelled front.

Heritage Details

Architect: Not known

Original Date: 1803

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II*