Building » St Anne’s-on-the-Sea – Our Lady Star of the Sea

St Anne’s-on-the-Sea – Our Lady Star of the Sea

2 St Anne’s Road East, St Anne’s-on-the-Sea FY8 1UL.

Stone built gothic church by Peter Paul Pugin, built under the patronage of Canon James Taylor with support from the Duke of Norfolk. Incomplete original design sympathetically completed 1927. Church and contemporary presbytery lie at the heart of the St Anne’s Road East conservation area.

Development of St Anne’s followed the arrival of the railway in 1863. Col J.T.Clifton of  Lytham  Hall  spearheaded  the  development  of  the  new  town.  By  1887  the population had grown to 2000 and Canon James Taylor of St Peter’s Lytham persuaded the Clifton estate to build on the present site, then described as a ‘central and commanding’ plot.   The Duke of Norfolk, who was known to Canon Taylor, agreed to pay for the building, provided that the (by then late) Colonel J.T.Clifton and Flora, Duchess of Norfolk, were commemorated therein. Taylor’s favoured architects, Pugin and Pugin of London, were instructed to prepare plans. The foundation stone was laid on October 21 1888, and Dr O’Reilly, Bishop of Liverpool opened the church on June 15 1890.  The completed church could seat 280. Canon Taylor was a prolific church builder, but he described Our Lady as his ‘pride and joy’. The dedication was to Our Lady, Star of the Sea; Flora’s steam yacht had sailed under the protection of Mary, Star of the Sea, and a gilded version of this was appeared as a weathervane on the gable (see photo) .  The original design was for a nave of eight bays with a tower on the sixth bay, but at first only four bays were built and a ‘dull grey temporary wall’ built at the west end.

Early twentieth century growth of the Catholic population of St Anne’s led to a decision to complete the church, although not to the original designs. The foundation stone was laid by Dr Pearson, first Bishop of Lancaster, on 16 October 1925, and Dr Pearson opened the completed extension on June 3 1927. The cost of this phase was £9,500.  The idea of building a tower was abandoned, but the weathervane was reused above a new belfry.

Stone built, gothic design with contemporary presbytery. There are large chantry chapels on either side of the sanctuary, each with its own chancel arch and sitting about 40 people.  The Lady Chapel on the right side is the Norfolk chantry and the chapel of St Joseph on the left hand side is the Clifton chantry.  The original high altar (now removed) was made of Carrara marble to P.P.Pugin’s designs.

The Stations of the Cross date from 1891, and the three stained glass windows over the High Altar from 1909.

The completion of the church in 1925-7, while not to the original design, was done in a seamless, contextual way, with matching stone. The nave was widened by three feet on either side, with gables rather than a lean-to aisle roof.

In 1974 the original marble altar and communion rails were removed and a plain stone altar placed on a raised platform projecting forward from the chancel arch. To compensate for the loss of seating, two memorial chapels were stripped of their altars and inward-facing seating provided. A free-standing stone tabernacle was placed at the back of the sanctuary.

Heritage Details

Architect: Pugin and Pugin

Original Date: 1890

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed