Building » Thatto Heath – St Austin

Thatto Heath – St Austin

Heath Street, Thatto Heath, St Helens WA9

A pleasing red sandstone-fronted Gothic design of the turn of the twentieth century, the interior retaining something of its original character.

The church is built on the site of a property known as Grove House (OS map 1891). There is some uncertainty about the chronology of construction. According to The Buildings of England, it was built in 1895 from designs by Sinnott, Sinnott & Powell, with the tower and west front completed by E. Quirke ten years later. However, a contemporary report in The Tablet (26 August 1905) states that the mission at Thatto Heath had been established in 1895, with a school-chapel built near Scholes Lane. In 1905 the Bishop of Liverpool lay the memorial stone, and the report describes the church as ‘partly built’ at that time. It states that the new church, for which funds had been raised by Fr Walmesley, would cost £2,500 and accommodate 450. It would be ‘100ft long by 35 ft wide… built in the early English Gothic style, with red stone front and floriated windows’. The presbytery dates from 1935.


The plan comprises a wide aisleless nave, with a thin northwest tower, a short projecting sanctuary, and a single-storey sacristy link to the presbytery.  The main body of the church is faced with red brick with sandstone dressings to the window openings; the roof is now covered with concrete tiles. The west end and tower, possibly slightly later, are faced in red sandstone. The tower is square and rises to a battlemented parapet. The west gable wall has a projecting porch with a pointed arched doorway, with a four-light traceried window over. The body of the church is of five bays, divided by plain brick buttresses, with paired lancet windows in each bay. The sanctuary has no side windows, but has a three-light traceried window high in the east wall.

The interior has plain plastered and painted walls and a painted boarded ceiling with timber roof trusses. At the west end is a small timber gallery.   At the east end are triple arched openings for side altars (now removed) and the sanctuary.  The east wall is given consequence by grey marble facings, with the arches outlined in brown marble and with brown marble communion rails. The sanctuary itself is decorated with figurative mosaic panels. The windows of the nave and sanctuary have contemporary (i.e. c.1900) stained glass.

Entry amended by AHP 13.01.2021

Heritage Details

Architect: Sinnott, Sinnott & Powell

Original Date: 1895

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed