Building » Sicklinghall – Immaculate Conception

Sicklinghall – Immaculate Conception

Main Street, Sicklinghall, North Yorkshire

A Gothic Revival church built for the recusant Middleton family from designs by Charles Hansom, with later additions attributed to E. W. Pugin. With the adjacent presbytery and monastery, the church forms a prominent central feature of the Sicklinghall Conservation Area.

Sicklinghall is the estate hamlet of Stockeld Park, a large estate once owned by the Middleton family. The Middletons were substantial landowners around Wetherby and were also lords of the manor of Ilkley, where their family house was Myddleton Lodge. By the time of the Reformation the family owned over 20,000 acres in Yorkshire and Cumberland. For a recusant family, they were relatively successful at retaining their estates and intermarried with other notable Catholic families such as Vavasour, Stourton, Ingilby and Haggerston.  Stockeld Park was remodelled by James Paine between 1758 and 1763 for William Middleton. Paine’s scheme included a two-storey chapel within the body of the house, with the lower stage in the basement and a gallery at ground floor level. For a time this chapel served the wider Catholic community of the estate.

Between 1849 and 1854 the present church of St Mary Immaculate was built, served by Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Designed by Charles Francis Hansom, and funded by Peter Middleton (1786-1866), this scheme comprised the new church with attached presbytery and also an adjacent monastery, the latter now the Convent of the Holy Family. The north porch and transept were added around 1865 and have been attributed to Edward Welby Pugin.

The church is now a chapel-of-ease to St Joseph’s at Wetherby.


See also list description, below. This is a small church in Decorated Gothic style, with a four-bay nave and two-bay chancel, irregular coursed sandstone, slate roof.  On the north, main street elevation, there is a slightly later addition of a Lady Chapel, forming a transept, and a porch; both are in a richer geometric style and are constructed in matching sandstone. At the west end, the gable is surmounted by a stone bellcote. Stone two-light lancet windows to nave. Gable end wall of north transept addition contains rose window and carved stone coat of arms of Peter Middleton and Juliana Stourton. Fine carved linenfold oak porch door of 1967.

The church is surprisingly lofty inside with the nave open to the roof exposing the dark stained scissor-brace trusses. There is a simple unadorned chancel arch, the only ornamentation reserved for the simple foliate capitals supporting the arch through to the Lady Chapel. The west end is dominated by a white painted gallery of early-nineteenth century design, supported by two slim cast-iron columns. The gallery cuts through the western gable window and is a later import. The nave has oak carved pews of 1960 and similar oak carved Stations of the Cross of 1969. The sanctuary was reordered by Vincente Stienlet in 1999. It retains a fine collection of 1960s oak fittings (including carved reredos and altar) by Thompson of Kilburn. The east end window is by William Wailes. The Lady Chapel contains an eighteenth century altar with a statue of Our Lady and a mural monument to Juliana and Peter Middleton. The chapel also contains an Arts and Crafts stained glass window by W. F. Clokey & Co of Belfast.

List description


Roman Catholic Church with presbytery and former monastery attached. 1849-1854 by Charles Francis Hansom, architect, by the Middleton family of Stockend Park for the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Church sandstone with slate roof. 4 bay nave, 2 bay chancel, liturgical west bell cote. North porch and north transept additions c.1865 attributable to Edward Welby Pugin, architect. Middle pointed style in manner of Augustus Welby Pugin, richer geometric style by Edward Welby Pugin. 2-light nave and chancel, 3-light case window.

Interior has open trussed nave and chancel roofs. West gallery with cast iron columns brought from elsewhere. Contemporary 3-light east window in style of William Wailes. Contemporary confessional built out below west gable. C20 gothic altar, reredos and panelling attributable to Thompson of Kilburn, Woodworker. Attached to church is a quadrangle originally for the oblate priests. Coursed sandstone slate roofs.2 storeys with attics,2-light casements, gothic trefoil headed dormers.

Heritage Details

Architect: C. F. Hansom; E. W. Pugin

Original Date: 1854

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II