Building » Thornton – St William of York

Thornton – St William of York

Edge Lane, Thornton, Liverpool 23

An octagonal design by Weightman & Bullen, of some interest as an early exercise in centralised liturgical planning, with good internal furnishings.

The parish was erected in 1955 and the foundation stone for the present church laid by Archbishop Heenan on 17 October 1959. This was four  months after the archbishop had opened the church of St Catherine of Siena at Lowton which, like St William of York, was built on a polygonal plan from designs by Weightman & Bullen.


The church is brick-built and octagonal in plan, with lower projecting stone-faced porches. It is lit by round-arched high level windows, five on each face, with coloured glass. The roof is surmounted by a central cupola from which rises a cross supported by a metal crown. A statue of the Sacred Heart on the elevation facing towards the road is enclosed within a protective perspex case.

The interior is a light and attractive space, and a notably early example of centralised liturgical planning. A central corona of lighting suggests an original intention for a central altar, although the existing gold mosaic-clad altar is placed slightly behind this. Behind this are high banks of raked gallery seating, with sacristies below. The main congregational seating is arranged on three sides, facing towards the sanctuary dais. At the liturgical west end (geographical south) there is a timber and glass enclosure to the baptistery, which projects into the porch area. Tapering blue and gold mosaic font with marble and terrazzo flooring, and a light over with an engraved design of the Dove of the Holy Spirit.

Entry amended by AHP 13.01.2021

Heritage Details

Architect: Weightman & Bullen

Original Date: 1959

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed