Southport Road, Lydiate, Liverpool 31
A substantial Gothic Revival rural church built for the Jesuits by their favoured architect, J. J. Scoles. The church is set within a mature churchyard, which includes a restored medieval cross. Internal furnishings include an elaborate reredos by Edmund Kirby and an important series of medieval alabaster reliefs and timber carvings from the nearby St Katherine’s chapel.
In 1480 a church dedicated to St Katherine was built at Lydiate, by Lawrence Ireland of Lydiate Hall. This survives as a ruin a few hundred yards south of the present church, on the other side of the Southport Road. Lydiate Hall was nearby and itself only survives vestigially. Mass was said there during penal times, served by the Jesuits.
The present church of Our Lady was built in 1854. It too was served by Jesuits, who employed their favoured architect, J. J. Scoles (who was employed to design the Weld Blundell chapel at nearby Ince Blundell a few years later). Unlike the latter, the style of Our Lady’s is Gothic.
In 1860 the mission was handed over to the diocese by the Jesuits, and since that time it has been served by secular clergy. It was divided in 1958, when the parish of St Gregory the Great was erected.
See list entry, below. Further points: the elaborate reredos of 1878 is from designs by Edmund Kirby (Buildings of England); in the churchyard, there is the upper part of a medieval cross, on a base and lower shaft of the 1870s.
Catholic church. 1854-5. By J.J. Scoles. Reredos erected in 1878. Rock-faced stone with ashlar dressings; slate roof. Nave with aisles under lean-to roofs, north west tower, south porch and vestry, and chancel. 4-bay aisles have 2-light windows with early Perpendicular tracery between weathered buttresses; end diagonal buttresses. South porch is gabled, entrance with continuous mouldings and niche above. West end on moulded plinth. West window of 2 lights with quatrefoil above. Tower has 3 stages, north door; 2nd stage has cusped lancets, top stage recessed, with 2-light louvred bell openings, cornice, embattled parapet and crocketed pinnacles. Chancel has moulded plinth, 3-light reticulated east window between diagonal buttresses; quatrefoil above. To north, 2 windows of 2 lights. To south, vestry with gable-end stacks and canted projection in western angle.
Interior has arcades on octagonal piers. Roof has scissor-brace trusses. Chancel arch with statues to either side. Alabaster chancel rail; pulpit at north end incorporates C15 figure of a bishop. Elaborate reredos with relief scenes and canopied figures, altar moved forward. Flanking cusped ogee-arched recesses. Piscina with double ogee arch. North aisle altar has quatrefoil opening revealing sculptured entombment, and reredos. West gallery and baptistry to south with C15 alabaster reliefs of life of St. Katherine and visitation taken from St. Katherine’s chapel (q.v.).
Architect: J. J. Scoles
Original Date: 1854
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Grade II