Building » Stone – Immaculate Conception and St Dominic

Stone – Immaculate Conception and St Dominic

Station Road, Stone, Staffordshire ST15

A large and complex church of strong architectural character and interest. It forms the heart of a group of listed and unlisted buildings which form a historically interesting and important ensemble. Of these, the chapel of St Anne is an important early work of A. W. Pugin, associated with the mission of Blessed Dominic Barberi. The building of the present church and convent was conceived by Mother Margaret Hallahan, founder of the Dominican Congregation of St Catherine of Siena. The church is a fine Gothic Revival design by Charles Hansom and Gilbert Blount, two major Catholic architects of the nineteenth century, and is the burial place of Bishop William Bernard Ullathorne, a significant figure in nineteenth century Midlands Catholicism. 

The Catholic mission in Stone began in earnest with the arrival of Blessed Dominic Barberi, who resided at Aston hall, Aston-by-Stone, and travelled to Stone to celebrate Mass in a room in the Crown Inn. Subsequently the tiny school chapel of St Anne was designed by A. W. Pugin and built for Barberi, in 1843-4. This survives in use in the grounds of the convent and is associated with a small burial ground. It cost £600 and has an east window by William Wailes.

The church of the Immaculate Conception and St Dominic was commissioned by Mother Margaret Hallahan, when St Dominic’s Convent was established. Mother Margaret (1803-68) was the founder of, and drew up the rule for, the Dominican Congregation of St Catherine of Siena (Third Order), and the convent became the mother house. The convent and school were built from designs by Charles Hansom (with later additions by Gilbert Blount) on the site of a medieval Augustinian Priory. Mother Margaret conceived the church, which was also designed by Hansom with additions by Blount, as a ‘book of the poor’, depicting the principal truths of faith and history of the Dominican order. Like Hansom, she was a close associate of Bishop Ullathorne, who laid the foundation stone on 4 August 1853 and opened the church on 3 May 1854. The east end was added by Gilbert Blount in 1861-3. Bishop Ullathorne is buried in the sanctuary, with a tomb and effigy of 1889 by J. S. Hansom in the chapel at the east end of the south aisle.

Archive photographs show screens at the east end, now removed. The west gallery, narthex and piety stall were inserted in 2002, the last of these in the former baptistery.


The building is described in the list entry, below, which covers the main characteristics of the architecture of the church and associated buildings. Additional points include the fact that the complexity of space at the east end is due to the presence of the nuns’ chapel, arranged with furnishings college-wise, facing each other as is traditional, with  upper galleries for the use of sick or indisposed members of the community. It is on the liturgical north side of the chancel, aligned with the rounded apse and altar on the liturgical south side, which has an ambulatory. The chapel and ambulatory connect with the convent.  Stained glass is generally of high quality, particularly a window of c. 1881 showing the archangels. Much of the other glass is probably by Hardman, and the firm was probably responsible for various brass memorials in the church.

List descriptions



Catholic church. 1852-4, by Charles Hansom; east part 1861-3, by G. Blount. Ashlar; tile roof. Chancel with north nuns’ chapel and south apse, crossing with transepts, 6-bay nave with lean-to aisles and part of planned west tower. Late C13 Decorated style. Chancel has 5-light east window with flanking gabled angle buttresses; south side has 2 windows of 2 lights above wide apse with parapet and 5 blind cusped lights with shafts, small projection to east has cornice with gargoyle and bosses and parapet; north chapel has central gabled projection to east side, with rose window and 2-light window above, flanking 2-light segmental-pointed windows and narrow gabled dormers; single-storey brick projection has ashlar dressings and coped parapet. Transepts have lateral buttresses and 4-light windows. Nave has spherical-triangle clerestory windows, hoods with enriched stops, west spherical-triangle window over small gabled projection to north of base of tower, with 3-light window over pointed entrance, pointed entrance to south has Tudor flower to moulded arch and flat crocketed gable with tracery over paired plank doors; south aisle has 2-light windows between offset buttresses; wall with chamfered plinth and coping connects buttresses and continues round corner to chancel, with crucifix war memorial to rounded angle. INTERIOR: arch-braced boarded roofs on shafts with angel corbels. Chancel has 3-bay north arcade on quatrefoil piers with rich capitals, similar arches to crossing and between crossing and transepts; ashlar High Altar and reredos with tabernacle and marble shafts to pinnacled canopies to throne and end statues flanking 2 relief panels; south apse has ambulatory and rib vault on angel corbels, Nuns’ Altar has tabernacle with pinnacled canopy; Minton tiles. Nuns’ chapel has ceiling on corbelled beams and apse for organ. South transept has rich altar and reredos with relief panel. Nave has simply moulded crossing arch with flanking niches with figures, originally with screen; arcades on quatrefoil piers with rich capitals; aisle east altars and reredoses with relief panels; west gallery, rebuilt late C20, has entrance to upper level from convent to north. Fittings: plain stalls to nuns’ chapel; rich octagonal font with marble shafts and relief panels. Memorials: wall brass to Sister M. P. Berkley OSD, d1860; tomb of Bishop Ullathorne, d 1889, by J.S. Hansom, chest tomb with enriched quatrefoil panels with shields, lettering to cornice and effigy of bishop in robes, hand raised in Benediction, flanked by kneeling angels. Stained glass probably by J. Hardman. The church is associated with Mother Margaret Mary Hallahan, 1803-68, founder of the convent, and Bishop William Bernard Ullathorne, 1806-89, her supporter, both of whom were influential in the development of the Roman Catholic Church in the C19. (Buildings of England: Pevsner N: Staffordshire: London: 1974-: 267; Norman E: The English Catholic Church in the Nineteenth Century: Oxford: 1984-: 161FF 222-3).

Listing NGR: SJ8998634109



Dominican Convent and school (part). 1852-3 by J.A. & C. Hansom, extended to west 1856-8, by C. Hansom, and to north 1861-3, by G. Blount; for Mother Margaret Mary Hallahan. Brick with blue brick diapering and ashlar dressings; tile roof. Front range attached to church (q.v.) at left end, with cloister range to rear. Gothic Revival style. 2 storeys with attic; 4-window range with projecting ground floor, projecting range, with later 7-window continuation ending in gabled wing to right. Coped gables. 4-window range under mansard roof has 4 mansard gables to ground floor; ground floor has 2-light mullioned windows; 1st floor has transomed windows of 2 pointed lights; 2 gabled dormers flank lateral stack. Projecting range has similar windows, including stair window with tracery panels, top cornice and dormers; 7-window range similar: entrance in long gabled porch has entrance in moulded arch with plank door with grille, statue in niche above; 5 gabled dormers and lateral stack; offset buttress to wing. Rear has similar details to left end gabled wing; cloister range to right; lean-to outshut to left return of cloister range, continues to gabled wing. Most bays gabled; return of cloister has 2 square attached blocks, one with hipped roof, the other with pyramidal roof with louvre. Cloister garth has angle tower with saddleback roof and clock to north, projecting chapels to north east and south west sides, the latter in base of tower with embattled parapet; 2-light segmental-pointed windows parapets ending in panelled piers, Doric columns to porch and paired panelled doors. Windows have 4-pane horned sashes; canted bay window and tripartite window to ground floor; smaller windows to 2nd floor. Return lateral stacks; left return has brick stair to 1st floor; segmental-headed windows to rear. INTERIOR has some exposed coursed squared stone to outer walls and square-framed internal walls with C18 brick infill; C19 open-well stair with column-on-vase balusters, and remains of earlier stair, moulded handrails and square newels, to 1st floor; former right return has exposed C18 Flemish bond brick and ashlar wedge lintels with keys to former windows. Cellar has 2 bays and 2 half-bays of medieval rib-vaulted undercroft: single-chamfered ribs on corbels, octagonal pier now set in later masonry and signs of blocked openings; cellar to rear has chamfered beams and joists and large fireplace with cambered lintel; cellar beneath C19 addition reveals stone plinth and base of wall. House built on the site of the Augustinian Priory of SS Mary and Wulfad, founded c1125.

(Buildings of England: Pevsner N: Staffordshire: London: 1974-: 268; Norman Edward: The English Catholic Church in the Nineteenth Century: Oxford: 1984-: 161FF 222-3).

Listing NGR: SJ8997734137 

Chapel of St Anne


Catholic chapel. 1844. By Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, for James Beech. Brick with ashlar dressings; tile roof with cresting. 5-bay nave and short chancel. Early English style. Coped gables with crosses. Chancel has 3-light east window and single cusped light to south; blocked entrance to north. Nave has windows of 2 cusped lights; pointed west entrance has parapeted steps, flanking cusped lights and niche with statue above; gable has 3 trefoils; triangular-headed east entrance to north of chancel. INTERIOR: chancel roof has ashlaring to collar trusses; simple double-chamfered segmental-pointed chancel arch; nave roof trusses have straight braces to purlins and cambered collars. Small ashlar altar; plain open benches with traceried fronts; timber confessional has glazed traceried upper panels. Brass to floor with cross in frame, and 2 wall brasses to chancel; stained glass east window probably by Hardman.The chapel was used by Blessed Dominic Barberi CP of Aston Hall, a Passionist priest, who was influential in the C19 Catholic church. The chapel was built for him by a local man, J. Beech.

(Edward Norman: The English Catholic Church in the Nineteenth Century: Oxford: 1984-: 229-30).

Listing NGR: SJ8991634078

Heritage Details

Architect: Charles Hansom; Gilbert Blount

Original Date: 1854

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II