King Street, Wellington, Telford, Shropshire TF1
This large town church is a relatively late manifestation of the Gothic Revival. Designed by a little-known architect and twice reordered, its main interest lies in the external design and massing (including a tower with octagonal upper stage, reminiscent of the Boston stump) and its generous internal volumes.
A church was built on Mill Bank in 1834-35. When this fell down the site of the Wellington Lawn Tennis Club was acquired and Myles Morley of Leeds commissioned to draw up proposals. The builder was W. Skelthorne of Stafford. The foundation stone was laid on 9 June 1905 and the church opened on 10 August 1906 (19 August according to the parish website). The initial designs included a spire (figure 1), not executed. Although the presbytery is built of brick and the church of stone, they share the same date and architect.
The church was consecrated in 1950, at which time a new high altar of cream Derbyshire stone was introduced, from designs by F. X. Velarde. The old oak high altar went to Donnington. There were further reorderings in the 1970s, when the altar was brought forward and the sanctuary walls panelled, and in the early 1990s. In the late 1990s an extension housing a small meeting room, kitchen and WC was built immediately to the north of the sacristy.
St Patrick’s is a handsome late Gothic Revival church in free Decorated style. It consists of nave with western narthex, low aisles, clerestory and wide apsidal sanctuary with flanking chapels. A robust south west tower is crowned by what Newman and Pevsner describe as ‘an elaborate octagonal belvedere’ (p. 654). The church is built of a light Yorkshire stone, with the walling punctuated by details, decoration and dressings of rich red Hollington stone. The roofs are of Westmorland slate.
The entrance leads into a narthex, divided from the body of the church by a wood and glass screen. Above it is a gallery containing the organ, brought here from Dore Abbey in Herefordshire in the early 1990s. The broad nave has arcades with capitals of Hollington stone and shafts of polished granite. The aisles have transverse arches between the bays. The chancel arch is tall and broad, giving an unobstructed view of the sanctuary. The now entirely white walling serves as a neutral background to strong architectural details. The interior has evidently undergone at least two major schemes of alteration. Beneath the windows the walls of the sanctuary were once covered with heavy brocaded enrichment. The existing Gothic panelling here is said to have been installed in the 1970s. The pews may also have been introduced at this time. The Grinshill stone font, which was originally sited in a baptistery in the southern part of the narthex is now located at the west end of the south aisle. The reordering of 1993 saw the moving forwards of Velarde’s stone altar of 1950. An ambo is also of Grinshill stone was installed at the same time.
Outside the church at the east end is sited one of the parish’s two war memorials. This handsome crucifix, commissioned to commemorate those killed in the Great War, was erected in 1920.
Good stained glass includes that in the five cusped lancets of the apse, understood to be by Hardmans of Birmingham. The three centre lights are original or early, while the flanking lights date from the 1930s. At the west end of the south aisle and the west end of the north aisle are stained glass panels of c.1990, by Abbey Stained Glass Studios of Dublin. In 2006 this firm also made the centenary memorial panels in the second most western of the north aisle’s windows.
Architect: Myles Morley
Original Date: 1906
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed