Bewsey Street, Warrington WA2
Historically important as the first Catholic mission and church in Warrington. The later Pugin & Pugin work is also of considerable architectural interest.
The mission was established in 1772 by Benedictine monks from Ampleforth, and is the oldest Catholic mission in Warrington. The Benedictines remained until 1981. The present church and presbytery were built in 1823, from designs by Edward Alcock, on the site of an earlier chapel. An apsidal sanctuary was added in 1893 to the design of Peter Paul Pugin of Pugin & Pugin, and the western porch and baptistery were added by the same architect in 1909.
See list description, below (which is incorrect in several respects, including the building date).
Built of red brick laid in Flemish bond, with some dressings of red sandstone and roof coverings of Welsh slate. The west end was extensively altered in 1909. A single-storey porch was added, with a central round-arched doorway, below a pediment with a stone relief of St Alban. Above the porch in the west wall of the church are three tall two light windows with Venetian tracery, blind traceried sandstone heads and jamb-shafts. To the north of the porch is a small octagonal baptistery with a domed top. The side walls are severely plain, relieved only by the later brick buttresses, presumably added to counter the spreading of the roof, and by three windows a side with plain Venetian tracery, which apparently replaced earlier sashes.
The interior is wide and unobstructed, with a curved painted ceiling and a western gallery apparently of 1909, replacing a larger earlier gallery. The walls are plastered and painted. The east wall was originally treated in a conventional early nineteenth century manner, with marbled Corinthian pilasters supporting a wide depressed central arch which probably opened into a plain apsidal sanctuary. In 1893 this simple classical arrangement was replaced by a striking and dramatic apsidal sanctuary, with top- lighting, elaborate traceried wall surfaces and a Romanesque-style altar, tabernacle and reredos, with paintings round the reredos by Joseph Pippet of Birmingham. A new chancel arch was inserted beneath the original arch, with Gothic shafts and further paintings were added above the arch in 1923 (by Richardson of Warrington). The windows contain some excellent Hardman glass (1909).
Entry amended by AHP 13.01.2021
Built 1808, altered 1893 by Peter Paul Pugin. West end has pediment gable with 5 round-arched windows to gallery, and pedimented porch below with round-arched entrance of 2 orders. Small 5-sided baptistery on South West corner. Shallow apse and Venetian chancel arch set in large elliptical arch.
Architect: Edward Alcock; Pugin & Pugin
Original Date: 1823
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Grade II