Building » Reading – St William of York

Reading – St William of York

Upper Redlands Road, Reading, Berkshire

A Gothic design by A. J. C. Scoles, built to serve the needs of Catholics in the southern and eastern suburbs of Reading. It was built economically and was never completed to the original plans. 

Provision for Catholic worship began here in 1904 when Fr Le Grave, a recently-retired army chaplain, expressed a desire to start a new mission within the Diocese of Portsmouth and was asked to build up the East Reading mission. He opened a mission at his private residence at 140 Hamilton Road and started moves to build a permanent church. He gave £750 towards the cost of the building and Mr & Mrs Lonergan gave £500 for the present site. The foundation stone was laid on 15 July 1905 and the church was opened on 14 February the following year. The architect was Canon A. J. C. Scoles. Only the nave was built to the original plans, the transepts, aisles and sanctuary being omitted.

In 1969 additional accommodation was provided in the form of a wing on the (liturgical) south side, for which the architects were Charles Smith & Sons of Reading.


The church is oriented north, so directions given here are liturgical.

The original part of the church is a five-bay, unbuttressed, rectangular structure which was intended to form the nave. It is built of red brick and roofed with Scoles’ favoured tiles of zigzag section. The entrance is in the northwest bay and has shafted jambs and a plain tympanum. The west elevation has three graded, grouped lancets set above three small single lights. The side windows have two-light Geometrical tracery. The east wall is blind. There is no clerestory. The 1969 extension is a plain, functional structure and was added obliquely to the two southeast bays. The face to the road is almost wholly glazed. On the north there are meeting rooms and a kitchen.

The original entrance leads to a narthex under an organ gallery in the west bay: it has two openings and a window to the nave. The floor is composed of wooden blocks laid herringbone-wise. The extension opens out under a lintel occupying the two eastern bays of the south side and can be divided off by means of a folding screen.

Heritage Details

Architect: A. J. C. Scoles

Original Date: 1905

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed