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Description: Roman Catholic Church of St Mary and St John the Baptist
Date Listed: 24 November 1966
English Heritage Building ID: 184724
OS Grid Reference: SD6428726649
OS Grid Coordinates: 364287, 426649
Latitude/Longitude: 53.7350, -2.5428
SD 62 NW PLEASINGTON PLEASINGTON ROAD
SD 643 266
1/51 Roman Catholic Church of
St. Mary and St. John the Baptist
Church, 1816-19, by John Palmer, with carving and sculpture by Thomas Owen.
Ashlar, with low-pitched slate roof. Tall and prominent building in
mixed Gothic style. Nave with aisles, polygonal apse. West front has
C12-style portal of 3 orders with tablet flower and crocketed hoodmould,
above which are 3 statues on corbels (the under side of the middle corbel is
a bust of George, Prince Regent, lettered on each side "G" "R" and dated in
the corner "MDCCCXIIII"), all these within a giant arch with dogtooth and
small carved figures. Above this arch a small parapet pierced with quatrefoils
separates it from the wall above, which is set back slightly, contains an
elaborate wheel window, and is flanked by octagonal turrets terminating in
3-stage pinnacles linked by a parapet of zig-zag openwork meeting a crocketed
cross on the apex. Left and right of the front are side-offices (containing
staircase and vestry) which have elaborately carved niches lettered
respectively THOMAS OWEN SCULPTOR and JOHANNES PALMER ARCHITECTUS, the latter
having a hoodmould with figured stops portraying the architect's wife and his
son. The gable above the wheel window has 3 lines of incised uncial lettering.
Five-bay nave and aisles: nave has small buttresses, stepped triple lancet
clerestory windows, and openwork lattice parapet; aisles have gableted
buttresses and embattled parapets, 5-light windows with alternating
Geometrical and Perpendicular tracery in shafted and deeply-moulded arches,
hoodmoulds with figured stops; 4th bay on south side has simple priest door
below ½-depth window. Short polygonal apse has buttresses at the angles,
tall 5-light Perpendicular windows with transoms. Interior: high and
luminous, with rib-vaulted roofs to nave and aisles (carved bosses in the
centre), 4-bay arcade of shafted piers and moulded arches with dogtooth
ornament; west end is occupied by a generous internal narthex presenting a
2-bay arcade to the nave (the supporting column rising from the centre of a
pedestalled stoup) and carrying a raked choir gallery with an organ at the top;
east end has traceried wooden communion rail on segmental steps to sanctuary,
which is framed by a very high arch, and has on each side of the altar a
large carved relief, depicting the Beheading of St. John, and the Magdalen; at
south side priest's door is set in centre of elaborate carved stone screen.
History: built as thank offering by John Francis Butler, then owner of
Pleasington township, said to have cost £23,000. Exceptional form of
Catholic chapel for the period before Emancipation; and very elaborate use
of Gothic with sculpture of great originality. (References: Pevsner;
Whitaker Whalley vol. II pp. 352-7).
Listing NGR: SD6428426650
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.