Building » Nelson – Holy Saviour

Nelson – Holy Saviour

Priory Street, Nelson BB9

A plain Gothic Revival church, started in 1904-5 and extended to the east about fifty years later, in contrasting materials. The church retains few historic furnishings.

The mission began with the founding of a school in a stable and barn formerly part of Bradley Hall (demolished 1896), which had been bought for £50. The school was opened by Bishop Bilsborrow on 24 October 1896. From 1898, Mass was said in the school. In 1899, the mission was separated from St Joseph, Nelson.

The foundation stone for the present church was laid by Bishop Casartelli on 13 August 1904; he returned to open the church on 19 March 1905. The overall cost was £5,500. The contractors were Messrs Smith Bros of Turf Moor, Burnley, and the joiner was Mr Boothman of Brierfield. The architects were William Telford Gunson & Son of Manchester. The presbytery was built at the same time.

The original appearance was built with a view to future eastward extension, and the east end had a temporary brick wall. In 1911, Miss Halliwell donated a high altar of marble and alabaster on a base of red sandstone (by Earp, Hobbs & Millar of Manchester). In 1930, a new organ was installed.

The diamond jubilee was celebrated with an extension to the church, fulfilling the original plans. However, in order to reduce cost, the extension was built of brick rather than stone. The identity of the architect for this work, if there was one, has not been established. The total cost was £16,000. It was opened by Bishop Beck on 15 June 1957.

In 1966, a forward altar was installed, followed in 1979 by a new altar as part of a reordering scheme. In 1970 the infants’ school next to the church moved to a new site and the building came to be used as a parish hall. In 1995, the church was reordered with new marble sanctuary furnishings, and church and presbytery were redecorated for the 1996 centenary. On 2 June 1996, the church was consecrated by Bishop Kelly, and on 8 June a centenary Mass was held by Cardinal Hume. The church is now served from Colne, as part of the parish of the Good Shepherd.


The five westernmost bays were built in 1904-5, to a design by W.T. Gunson & Son. Five further nave bays, the chancel, sacristies, confessionals and boiler house were added in 1956-7. The older part is faced in rock-faced local stone, while the more recent portion was built of purple brick laid in stretcher bond. The pitched roof is slated. The plan is oblong, with a narrower chancel and flat-roofed ancillary spaces (boiler house, sacristies and confessionals) at the northeast. There is an entrance porch at the southeast.

The west elevation is framed by angle buttresses. It has a central gabled porch flanked by two-light plate tracery windows. Above is a three-light plate tracery window under a gable cross. The westernmost bays are blind. The following four bays each have two-light plate tracery windows between buttresses to north and south. The nave extension has five lancet windows with plain concrete frames. The chancel has a blind east wall, and three lancets to the sides.

Internally, the west part of the nave has an arch-braced roof, panelled above the arch-braces. The later extension has a pitched ceiling. The west bay has a gallery with a narthex below, screened from the nave. The sanctuary has a marble altar and lectern, both of 1995, and a timber tabernacle stand below a crucifix. There are statues of Saints Patrick, Agnes, Joseph and the Sacred Heart. The older windows have floral stained glass patterns and the west window has a panel with the Sacred Heart. The Stations are modern.

Heritage Details

Architect: W. T. Gunson & Son

Original Date: 1905

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed