Building » St Helens (Lowe House) – St Mary

St Helens (Lowe House) – St Mary

Lowe House, Crab Street, St Helens WA10

A large and idiosyncratic 1920s church in a free mixture of Gothic and Romanesque styles. This striking building is a landmark in St Helens.

In 1793 a Mrs Eccleston (whose maiden name was Lowe), the widow of John Eccleston of Eccleston Hall, gave a piece of land for a Catholic chapel. This building, which had been much enlarged over the years, was replaced by the present church, which opened in 1929. The architect was Charles B. Powell of Dublin.


See also list description, below.

The interior walls are faced with Bath stone. The rib vaults of the nave and aisle roofs are constructed of hollow bricks to save weight. The east end has been reordered, with a modern altar under the dome. The high altar was designed by Powell and executed by Boulton. The openwork metal screen across the sanctuary apse was installed circa  1979. There is some good stained glass by Hardman & Co. in the southwest memorial chapel, with much grisaille work; elsewhere the glass is pictorial. In the north transept is a memorial tablet to Winifred Eccleston, the donor of the original chapel, which was brought from the original building. One of the most unusual fittings is the carillon, one of the largest in the British Isles with 47 bells, which was installed in 1930 and is still played regularly.

List description


Catholic church. 1924-30. C.B. Powell. Rock-faced stone with ashlar dressings, slate roof. Nave with aisles; west tower with flanking porches; crossing dome with round transept and chancel apses; south war memorial chapel and north rounded chapel apse. The style is a combination of Gothic and Byzantine elements. Tower has setback buttresses, gabled west entrance has round arch of 3 orders with mosaic tympanum; doors have decorative iron strapwork. Window of stepped triple round-headed lancets under relieving arch. 3 lancet bell openings between buttresses which rise above parapet; corner turrets are embattled. Aisles have paired lancets and flying buttresses supporting clerestory with embattled pinnacles. Apses have paired lancets and copper roofs. Copper dome on embattled octagonal drum has lancets under Lombard frieze. South chapel has gabled porch and round apse. Vestry to south. Interior: 4-bay nave has round-arched arcades on polished granite round columns with Byzantine capitals, brick vault with stone ribs on corbelled wall shafts. Round timber gallery in front of round tower arch. Crossing has round drum on pendentives with paired openings under diapered tympana. Chancel has iron screen and openings to ambulatory. Transepts have small east chapels. C20 crossing altar on dais and font. The church is an important local landmark and is a richly decorated exercise in the Byzantine style combined with Gothic exterior details.

Heritage Details

Architect: C. B. Powell

Original Date: 1924

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II