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Roman Catholic Church of St Paul and Presbytery, Tameside

Description: Roman Catholic Church of St Paul and Presbytery

Grade: II
Date Listed: 21 August 2013
Building ID: 1413253

OS Grid Reference: SJ9543295491
OS Grid Coordinates: 395436, 395496
Latitude/Longitude: 53.4562, -2.0702

Locality: Tameside
County: Tameside
Postcode: SK14 2JU

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Listing Text


Roman Catholic church and presbytery. 1853-4 by Weightman, Hadfield & Goldie, chancel and Lady Chapel 1899 by Edmund Kirby. Decorated Gothic style. Sandstone with Welsh slate roofs.

Reason for Listing

The Roman Catholic Church of St Paul and presbytery, of 1853-4 by Weightman, Hadfield and Goldie, and chancel and Lady Chapel of 1899 by Edmund Kirby, are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architects: the original church is by the well-regarded ecclesiastical architects' practice of Weightman, Hadfield and Goldie, and is complimented by a chancel and Lady Chapel of 1899 by Edmund Kirby, another notable ecclesiastical architect. All, except J G Weightman, were Catholics and both practices were extensively involved with designing Roman Catholic churches during this period;
* Architectural interest: designed in a Decorated Gothic style, this is a modest though well-executed and carefully detailed design, which is a good representative example of a mid-C19 urban Catholic church, and is complimented by the sensitive addition of a late-C19 chancel and Lady Chapel whose detailing echoes that of the original building;
* Fixtures and fittings: the church contains many fine fixtures and fittings including the main altar and reredos of 1925-6 by the younger Edmund Kirby, a distinguished Lady Chapel altar of c1954 by Adrian Gilbert Scott, the timber west gallery, pipe organ, stone font, panelling incorporating a war memorial and timber Stations of the Cross, which, although having a range of dates, are all of good quality and combine to embellish the church advantageously;
* Interior: a pleasing and proportionate Gothic space is achieved with a pointed chancel arch, pointed arch arcades, steep arch-braced collar truss roof to the nave, and trefoil windows used in the clerestorey, at the west end, and the large east window in the later chancel, which contains good-quality glass by Hardman;
* Group value: Weightman, Hadfield and Goldie designed both the church and the contemporary attached presbytery, the grouping of the two carefully considered to form a courtyard containing the main, south porch of the church and the presbytery porch.


The cotton town of Hyde originally formed part of the extensive Dukinfield mission. However, in 1848 a separate mission was established over a blacksmith's shop, served by Father John Quealy from Ashton under Lyne. Subsequently the Catholic congregation was given land on which to build a church by Robert Ashton of Hyde Print Works, a Unitarian. The church was designed by the ecclesiastical practice Weightman, Hadfield & Goldie. The foundation stone was laid on 20 May 1853 and the church opened on 21 June 1854. The builders were Messrs F Robinson & Son and the building cost £1,560.

In 1899 a distinct chancel and Lady Chapel were built by Father Hennelly to designs by Edmund Kirby, at a cost of just over £100. Kirby also designed the high altar and reredos added in 1925 and 1926 by Canon Marrs. The church was consecrated in 1954 at its Centenary. Around the same time a Lady altar designed by Adrian Gilbert Scott was installed. The sanctuary was re-ordered in 1979 by Canon Turnbull.

The presbytery was built in 1854 and extended in the 1930s. The adjoining schools were built in 1854 and demolished in 1992.


Roman Catholic church and presbytery. 1853-4 by Weightman, Hadfield & Goldie, chancel and Lady Chapel 1899 by Edmund Kirby. Lady Chapel altar c1954 by Adrian Gilbert Scott. Decorated Gothic style. Sandstone with Welsh slate roofs.

PLAN: four and a half–bay nave with west gallery, lean-to south aisle, gabled south porch, pitched-roof north aisle, chancel and gabled north Lady Chapel, sacristy at east end of the south aisle links the church to the presbytery, forming an L-shaped group.

EXTERIOR: the church is built of coursed, rock-faced stone, with a plinth, ashlar dressings and a steep slate roof; the Lady Chapel and chancel have red sandstone window tracery. Facing the road, the west end has a bellcote and coped verges. A central buttress has a statue niche, with a late-C20 fibreglass statue of St Paul, and is flanked to each side by a lancet with Decorated tracery. Above is a large trefoil window. To the left is the pitch-roofed north aisle and to the right the lean-to south aisle, both with angle buttresses and an arched window with Decorated tracery. The south aisle has a projecting gable porch at the left-hand end with side buttresses and a central arched doorway with a shallow blind niche above. The doorway has stone steps, a moulded surround, and timber and glazed double doors. To the left of the porch is a single lancet with three pairs of lancets separated by buttresses to the right of the porch. Attached to the right-hand end and projecting at a right angle is the two-storey sacristy and presbytery. The nave clerestorey has trefoil windows. The north aisle has an arched, three-light window at the left-hand end, separated by a buttress from two two-light arched windows, all with Decorated tracery. At the right-hand end is a doorway with a pointed head and a plain plank door. The nave clerestorey has similar trefoil windows. Attached at the left-hand end is the small, gabled Lady Chapel which has a plinth, sill band, and triple-lancet window. To the rear of the Lady Chapel is the chancel, which has a slightly projecting window bay to each side wall. These have paired lancet windows which rise through the eaves, with sloping pyramidal roofs; the south elevation also has a tall stone stack. The east end has a large trefoil window.

Presbytery and sacristy: the front elevation of the presbytery and sacristy are built of coursed, rock-faced stone, with a plinth, ashlar dressings and slate roofs. The presbytery has a slightly projecting two-storey gable at the right-hand end with a central square-headed window on both floors separated by a moulded string band. To the left is a projecting single-storey porch with a flat roof. It has corner buttresses with shaped ashlar coping stones with relief-carved shields of the symbols of St Paul (a sword) and St Peter (crossed keys). The front elevation has a central round-headed lancet with leaded, coloured glass; the porch doorway is in the side elevation with a relief-carved panel above the open doorway, which now has a metal grille gate. The wall above and to the left of the porch has a parapet and is attached at the left-hand end to the church. There is a shallow, canted bay window over the porch with a three-light mullion window. To the left the ground-floor sacristy is lit by a three-light mullion window with shouldered heads, with a three-light mullion window over lighting a first-floor bedroom. All the windows, except for that in the porch, have modern uPVC window frames.

INTERIOR: the nave has pointed arcades with cylindrical piers and an open roof with arch-braced collar trusses. The walls and arcades are plastered and painted white. The marble high altar and Gothic timber reredos are 1925-6 by Edmund Kirby: the sanctuary was re-ordered in 1979 and the altar set in a forward position. The east trefoil window has stained glass by Hardman (1899). The other windows have small panes of leaded glass with coloured borders and simple decorative motifs; the two west lancet windows have the symbols of St Paul and St Peter. The stone Lady Chapel altar is c1954 by Adrian Gilbert Scott and incorporates a central timber statue of the Madonna and Child flanked by high-relief timber-carved scenes of the Annunciation and Assumption. The pine-fronted west gallery and screen are likely to be 1850s; the pipe organ has a pine case and stencilled pipes, probably from the late C19. Beneath the gallery is a row of confessionals. The arched inner door of the south porch has decorative ironwork strap hinges. Adjacent to the doorway, at the west end of the south aisle, is an octagonal stone font. The south-west corner has 1930s oak panelling by Mr D Renwick, a parishioner. It incorporates a copper war memorial plaque recorded the fallen of both World Wars. On a corner plinth is a crucifix with a plaster Christ, Mary his Mother, and Mary Magdalene. The aisle walls have timber relief-carved and coloured Stations of the Cross, similar to those dated 1906 by Mayer & Co at St Mary's RC church, Dukinfield.

Presbytery and sacristy: the oak panelling and vestment wardrobes in the sacristy date from 1935 by D Renwick. The presbytery also has panelling to the walls and doors in the adjoining entrance hall. The two reception rooms have original stone mantelpieces and simple cornices. The staircase at the rear of the entrance hall rises and divides with a short flight to the plainer rear wing, where the housekeeper lived, and a short flight onto a long first-floor corridor in the main house, off which the priests' bedrooms open. The staircase and corridor are panelled to dado-height, though presently partially papered over. The priests' bedrooms are panelled up to picture-rail height with built-in panelled wardrobes.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.