New Road, Kendal LA9 4BW
A fine example of pre-ecclesiological Gothic Revival architecture by a locally-renowned architect, making a notable contribution to the local conservation area.
The present church replaced an earlier Catholic chapel situated in a disguised former house at 27 Stramongate from c1762. A new chapel was built on the site in 1793. This was of the galleried type, and the gallery contained a choir accompanied by a wind and string orchestra, trained by the parish priest Mr Wilkinson. The present church was built at a cost of £4,000, with the foundation stone laid in 1835. George Webster, a renowned local architect, also designed several other public buildings in Kendal. According to the church history, in 1836 an ornate reredos covered the whole wall behind the altar, and the three bays of the original altar were richly carved and gilded. The roof timbers were dark in colour and there were two heavy oak doors beneath the chancel windows. The altar rails, dark with gilded decoration, curved around the chancel wall to meet the oak doors. These led to a passage to the sacristy which tracked around the back of the apse. The original pews (which have been replaced) were gated and subject to a quarterly rent.
The floor of the church was raised in 1908 following floods which damaged the fabric and furniture (the church overlooks the River Kent). Electricity replaced gas lighting in 1927, and in 1931 the church reopened after a remodelling of the sanctuary and the introduction of a new altar of blue Woodkirk stone (architect Wilfrid Mangan of Preston; The Tablet, 5 December 1931). Post-Vatican II works of reordering included the introduction of a forward marble altar, with ambo and presidential chair. In 2000 the font was moved onto the sanctuary and in 2002 a new vestibule and narthex were created at the New Road entrance, and the windows fitted with uplights. A piety stall was also added at this time.
Please refer to list description, below. Additional points:
The three-light window behind the altar depicts the Revd Thomas Wilkinson (founder of the church) kneeling at the foot of Christ in the centre light, St Cuthbert (patron of the Diocese) in the left-hand light and St George in the right-hand light. The window was designed by John Hardman of Birmingham. The two chancel windows depict St Joseph and St Anne, and were made by H. Barnett of Newcastle upon Tyne. On the south wall is a window dedicated to the Revd James Gibson, who succeeded Fr. Wilkinson, and a second window depicting St John, St Simon’s crucifixion and the execution of St Dorothea. Both windows are by Hardman. The middle window on the south wall is an undated design by Mayer of Munich. On the north wall is a window by an unknown designer depicting the Madonna child with St George and St Catherine.
Entry amended by AHP 17.08.2023
Roman Catholic church. 1835 by George Webster; sculpture by Thomas Duckett. Opened for service 1837. Orientated south-east/north-west with altar at latter end; description applies liturgical orientation with altar at east end. Front: Hammer-dressed ashlar on chamfered plinth with chamfered strings; stepped buttress to each corner, and octagonal buttress to either side of projecting central bay, all terminating in pinnacles. Castellated parapet and apex cross. Sides: Hammer-dressed limestone blocks on chamfered plinth. Rear: Slobbered rubble. Graduated slate roofs; corbelled eaves. 6-bay aisleless nave with porch projecting to west and chancel to east. Early English exterior. Front: Stone steps up to studded, plank door with pointed head under hoodmould: 3 stepped lancets above and single lancet in bay to either side. Statue of st George and Dragon in gable niche. 6 lancets under hoodmould on south return; shorter eastern one has door with pointed head below. 3 stepped lancets to chancel with single lancet in bay to either side. Interior: Enclosed porch under western gallery/organ loft, with panelled front, supported on arcade of 4-centred arches carried between slender, clustered columns. High altar in splayed recess with crocketed hoodmould to pointed head; columns to reveals carry soffit ribs with panelling between. Life-size statue in niche on either side set within crocketed gabled surround; left-hand statue Ecce Homo, right-hand St George (after Donatello). 5 roof trusses have wooden brackets, on corbels, supporting tie-beam with pierced trefoil-headed arcade infill above. Cast-iron chancel rail with pierced trefoil-headed panels; octagonal wooden pulpit with carved panels in front of rail to left. Octagonal stone font in pierced wooden enclosure on north side under gallery. Small octagonal marble Holy-water stoup, on wooden plinth to either side of entrance, signed by Sylvester Mooney; one dated 1836 and the other 1837. Good late C19/early C20 stained glass; some re-used C17 (Flemish?) stained glass panels in porch windows.
Architect: George Webster
Original Date: 1835
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Grade II*