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

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

A stone-built Gothic church by Peter Paul Pugin, built under the patronage of Canon James Taylor with support from the Duke of Norfolk. The uncompleted original design was sympathetically completed in 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 2,000 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 fifteenth 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 & Pugin of London, were instructed to prepare plans. The foundation stone was laid on 21 October 1888, and Dr O’Reilly, Bishop of Liverpool opened the church on 15 June 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 appeared as a weathervane on the gable.

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 3 June 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.

The church is a stone built, Gothic design with attached contemporary presbytery. There are large chantry chapels on either side of the sanctuary, each with its own chancel arch and sitting about forty 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 freestanding stone tabernacle was placed at the back of the sanctuary.

Heritage Details

Architect: Pugin & Pugin

Original Date: 1890

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed