Building » Wavertree – St Hugh of Lincoln

Wavertree – St Hugh of Lincoln

Earle Road, Wavertree, Liverpool 7

An engaging church of 1904 by Pugin & Pugin, St Hugh of Lincoln is characteristic of the work of this prolific practice, but shows touches of originality in its external treatment. The luminous interior includes features of interest, including a good set of Stations of the Cross and a hanging rood by the sculptor Bainbridge Copnall.

Originally established as a chapel-of-ease from St Clare in 1898, the church of St Hugh of Lincoln was opened in 1904. It was built at the expense of Sir William Nelson, a shipowner who lived in Croxteth Drive, and was named in memory of his brother Hugh.


The church, which dates from 1904, was designed by the prolific firm of Pugin & Pugin (presumably Peter Paul Pugin at this time). It is characteristic of their work, being built of coursed rock-faced red sandstone, with a lofty nave, clerestory, aisles, polygonal chancel and flanking chapels. The nave is steeply pitched, but the aisles have flat roofs, set behind a scalloped parapet. The west facade is complex and idiosyncratic. The tall west window of four lights, filled with geometric tracery, has at its centre a canopied carved stone figure of St Hugh of Lincoln with a pelican at his feet. Below this are pairs of windows with cusped heads. The flat end parapets of the aisles are given pointed gables, and on the left side a staircase projects. On the right side is the projecting baptistery, and at the southwest corner is another projection, set diagonally, to contain the porch. This was to have supported a bell tower.

The interior is light and spacious. The tall nave has a timber trussed roof resting on corbels. Slender stone columns support an arcade of five bays. At the west end there is a narthex with an organ gallery above. The pine pews are original. The walls of the sanctuary were faced in white marble in the mid-twentieth century, which has obscured the round windows behind the high altar. A forward altar has been introduced, leaving the high altar and reredos, installed in 1905, in their original location. The font has been moved from the baptistery, which has been converted into a bookshop.

There is a fine set of boxed Stations of the Cross, modelled in plaster and cast in high relief,  purchased in Belgium  in 1907.  The cases  were made by a member of  the congregation. A hanging rood by Bainbridge Copnall (a Sussex sculptor whose principal work is at the RIBA  building in Portland  Place,  London, and who  was patronised by Bernard Miller: cf. St Columba, Anfield and St Christopher, Norris Green), of bulbous figures carved in wood and gilded, is the most striking feature of the interior. Another curiosity is a holy water stoup at the west end in the form of a devil being expelled by an angel.

Heritage Details

Architect: Pugin & Pugin

Original Date: 1904

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed