Building » Warwick Bridge – Our Lady and St Wilfrid

Warwick Bridge – Our Lady and St Wilfrid

Warwick Bridge, Carlisle CA4 8RL

  • Image copyright Alex Ramsay

  • Image copyright Alex Ramsay

  • Image copyright Alex Ramsay

A small but highly significant sandstone church by A. W. N. Pugin, leading architect and apologist for the Gothic Revival. Built under aristocratic patronage, the building is notable above all for the richness and completeness of the internal furnishing and decoration. The church is also a landmark in the development of the Gothic Revival; in the words of Pevsner’s Buildings of England volume ‘it is here and more or less precisely in 1841 that archaeological accuracy begins in English church design’.

The first Catholic church at Warwick Bridge since the Reformation was established before the Second Catholic Relief Act of 1791, under the patronage of the Howard Family. This early chapel was on the same site as its later replacement, Our Lady and St Wilfrid, built in 1841.

The parish is run by the Benedictines, with priests usually supplied from nearby Ampleforth. This is A.W.N. Pugin’s only church in the county.


See also list descriptions, below.

According to the brief church history, the side stained glass windows are by John Hardman, who mostly worked to Pugin’s designs, though the windows were made after Pugin’s death.

The high altar ensemble was erected in 1921 at a cost of £300. It was paid for by the trustees of Everard Lamb of Hayton, who was killed in the Great War.

In July 1935 electric light was installed (both in the church and in the presbytery) at a cost of £50. In May 1989 a confessional was removed from the back of the church, and the priest’s sacristy adapted for this purpose (the confessional now blocks the entrance to the pulpit, which is through the sacristy).

In 1991 a new forward altar was made and installed by Treske. Six pendant light fittings were added to the nave of the church in 1998. In 2000, several damaged windows above the main entrance were restored, and stainless steel window guards erected.

The presbytery was also designed by Pugin, and survives relatively unaltered.

List descriptions



Roman Catholic Church. 1841 by A.W. Pugin for Henry Howard of Corby Castle. Red sandstone snecked ashlar walls, slate roof with coped gables. Nave of 4 bays, single bay chancel, gabled south porch, added sacristy to south wall of chancel. Nave has buttressed walls and angles, with alternating large and small lancets, larger windows of Y-shaped tracery and cusped heads. West entrance and porch have pointed entrance arches with moulded surrounds and hood moulds ending in mitred heads. West gable has 3 lancets with trefoil heads and hood moulds, surmounted by hexagonal bellcote. Interior has open timber roof, all painted and decorated with gold. Stone font beside south entrance, cut-stone pulpit on south wall of nave, beside chancel arch, has entrance from sacristy and decorated with figurative painted panels. Corresponding niche on north wall has figure of the Virgin. Text painted around dado panels, with decorative motifs painted on splays of the smaller lancets. Stained glass of 1860, 65 and 67, by Harrington of London, presented by Philip Howard. Chancel has screen of carved and painted wood with central crucifix, flanked by Virgin Mary and St Wilfred. Decorative painted ribbed plank ceiling and painted walls. Stepped altar, heavily gilded with metal work to Pugin’s designs, flanked by 2 small coronas by Pugin. Sedilia and piscina in south wall; Easter-Sepulchre-like recess to north wall with tomb of Henry Howard (q.v.), died 1842. Retains all of original decorations much to Pugin’s designs.

Priest’s house


Presbytery and attached stable court. 1840-41 with late C20 alterations to the service range. By Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. Of coursed squared red sandstone, with ashlar sandstone dressings, rebuilt brick chimneys and a hipped roof with slate covering. Essentially square on plan, but rendered more complex by projecting elements, and stable court to east. Austere Victorian gothic style. West elevation; 2 storeys, 2 bays with steeply-pitched roof to advanced single storey porch to left side, with coped gable and chamfered pointed doorway arch. Planked and studded door, and lancet lights to side walls. Above, a 2-light chamfer-mullioned window with arch-headed lights and a quoined surround. Stacked 3-light windows to right side. South elevation to garden of 3 bays with 3-light window to ground floor to left side and straight-sided 4-light bay to right. Two, 2-light windows above bay. North elevation of 3 parts. To the right, hipped gable to west front, to the left, lower 2 storeyed service wing with gable to east, and to the centre, 2 bays each with a 2-light ground floor window. To each side of these bays is a shallow single storey projecting service room. All windows formerly with undivided sash frames, some now with C20 casements. East elevation with service wing enclosing small yard, and further east, attached stable court now converted to form parish room and garages. Interior retains original plan and fittings including panelled doors, stick baluster stair, and 2 ground floor hearths with surrounds incorporating attached columns with foliated capitals supporting mantle cornice. The plans and elevations of this early Pugin presbytery form part of the Myers’ collection.

Listing NGR: NY4753856800

Heritage Details

Architect: A.W.N. Pugin

Original Date: 1841

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II*