Building record MYO4211 - Roman Catholic Church of the English Martyrs and attached presbytery


Roman Catholic church with attached presbytery designed in Early Christian style in 1931-2 by Williams and Jopling of Hull. The later rear extensions to the presbytery and the rear boundary wall are excluded from the listing.


Grid reference Centred SE 5928 5115 (42m by 33m)
Map sheet SE55SE
Unitary Authority City of York, North Yorkshire


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Roman Catholic church, 1931-32 by Williams and Jopling of Hull in Early Christian style.
MATERIALS: thin red brick, mainly in English Garden Wall bond, with brick, tile and stone dressings. Barrel tile roofs.

PLAN: the church is orientated with its entrance (west) front aligned with the road to the south west, with its ritual east end to the north east. The church has a nave with side aisles. The chancel is a simple apse, the aisles also having apses for side altars. The ground floor of the west end of the nave is partitioned off to form a narthex, above which, open to the nave, is the organ gallery. Confessionals are housed in a projection from the north aisle. Attached to the south aisle is a campanile that also forms a south porch. Adjacent, in the angle between the narthex and the west end of the south aisle, is a baptistery. Extending from the eastern end of the south aisle there is a loggia linking to the presbytery. The presbytery has a central entrance plan, orientated with the church to face the road.

Chancel: this is expressed externally as a simple apse lit by two small slit windows to the sides.

Nave: this is of seven bays with a round-arched clerestory window to each bay. All windows to the church and presbytery are leaded and glazed with colourless glass in a geometric Art Deco style and have slanting brick sills. The rainwater hoppers are inscribed with the date ‘1932’.

Aisles: these are single-storey with four bays to the south and seven to the north, with windows matching those of the clerestory. The confessionals are expressed externally as a flat-roofed brick extension to the north aisle which has six slit windows. The apses to the aisles are blind.

Entrance front: the nave has overhanging eaves with dentilated cornice and three stepped, round-arched recesses, the central of which has two orders. The main entrance is approached up two stone steps at the base of this recess and comprises double wooden rectangular doors within a square stone surround carved with martyrs’ palms. Above this, also in stone, are the arms of Pope Pious XI. The upper part of the arms overlay the lower section of a square brick and tile frame, within which is a colourful mosaic of the Virgin Mary holding crosses and inscribed REGINA MARTYRUM. Above the mosaic panel is a round-headed, three-light stepped window. The infill between the window and the brick orders consists of herringbone brickwork. The smaller side recesses also have herringbone infills these being pierced with rectangular flat-headed windows. There are two further rectangular flat headed windows, with stone shields above, on the ground floor either side of the main entrance. The left return has an engaged stair turret with slit window, giving access to the organ gallery.

Campanile: this is of four stages, the lowest forming a porch to the church which has an elliptically pointed arch formed with graduated voussoirs that is infilled above impost level with vertically set tiles incorporating a Latin cross in relief. The lower three stages are undivided, being defined only by the placement of simple square headed slit windows. The corners of the campanile are rebated and culminate in corbelled platforms at the bottom of the octagonal fourth bell stage. On these platforms sit crosses constructed of stacked tiles encased in strips of copper. The remaining four faces have paired round-headed openings with a central stone shaft with carved capital. Above these openings is a pyramidal pantile roof, surmounted with a stone cross.

Chancel: The apsidal chancel is defined by a round chancel arch of three simple recessed orders without
piers or bases, the apse being white plastered and unadorned except for a simple gold band.

Nave: White plastered and painted nave with round-arched clerestory windows and a timber barrel-vaulted ceiling. The purlins are painted in a decorative polychromatic design and there is a simple moulded sill band below the clerestory windows. Aisles are separated from the nave by arcades of stilted arches of moulded rubbed red brick and plain stone columns with large cushion capitals. Each face of the capitals are bordered with foliate carving; a few capitals also have carving to the central panels, suggesting that at one time the intention was to have each capital fully carved. The wooden roof-trusses and ceiling panels of the lean-to aisles have been left with the timber exposed and are simply decorated with some incising and polychromatic painting.

Aisles: The north aisle has a lady chapel at its east end with a stone altar and statue of Our Lady of
Walsingham; leading off this aisle are two blocks of confessionals in moulded wood surrounds with heavy wood doors also with small square leaded glass panels. The block of confessionals to the west has been converted into a shrine and display area and the doors removed. The south aisle has a Blessed Sacrament chapel at its east end; the west end has a baptistery with a contemporary carved stone font. There is a further single wood and glazed door leading from the south aisle to the loggia.

West end: The west gallery and narthex is defined by a triple round arch similar to the chancel arch, the
gallery being supported above the narthex by engaged pilasters with cushion capitals. The gallery has a
painted front with the text ‘TE MARTYRUM CANDIDATUS LAUDAT EXERCITUS’. The double doors to the
narthex are of dark wood with small square leaded glass panels set in a plain square-framed opening.

FITTINGS: Fixed wooden benches of Austrian oak which are stepped to work around the columns and have moulded tops to the bench ends. Simple stone-slab altar to chancel with crucifix set on the wall of the apse behind. The gallery also functions as an organ loft and houses a small organ.

LOGGIA: the church is connected to the presbytery by a three-bay, two-storey loggia with a round-arched arcade below and three slit windows above. The central two columns are stone rather than brick and their capitals are inscribed with the Chi Rho.

PRESBYTERY: this is of three bays and two-storeys with a hipped roof and tall chimney stack to the south
side. The main façade is symmetrical with Venetian windows to the ground floor of the flanking bays. Above each Venetian window is a three light, flat-headed window, the central light of which is double the width of the outer two. The central bay has a large, square, stone-framed recessed doorway on a stone plinth, decorated with the stylised letters ‘E’ and ‘M’ in the upper corners. Above this is a round arched stair window. The later rear extensions to the presbytery (as delineated on the map) are excluded from the listing.

BOUNDARY WALLS: these are of thin coursed red brick in stretcher bond topped with polygonal capping
bricks. Openings (a smaller opening to the presbytery and a larger to the church) are marked with taller brick gateposts, also topped with polygonal capping bricks and have ironwork gates. The rear boundary wall is excluded from the List entry.

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Record last edited

Nov 19 2015 8:50AM


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