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Roman Catholic Church of St Peter and St Paul

A Grade II* Listed Building in Leyburn, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3119 / 54°18'42"N

Longitude: -1.829 / 1°49'44"W

OS Eastings: 411223

OS Northings: 490717

OS Grid: SE112907

Mapcode National: GBR HLNL.T1

Mapcode Global: WHC6Q.WW78

Entry Name: Roman Catholic Church of St Peter and St Paul

Listing Date: 24 January 1986

Last Amended: 2 March 2016

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1130906

English Heritage Legacy ID: 321798

Location: Leyburn, Richmondshire, North Yorkshire, DL8

County: North Yorkshire

District: Richmondshire

Civil Parish: Leyburn

Built-Up Area: Leyburn

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

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Church of 1835, built to a Georgian preaching box design. The interior is very unusual for a Roman Catholic church as it is furnished with box pews.


Roman Catholic church, 1835, built by the local firm of Chapleo and Sons.

MATERIALS: principal, southern elevations of squared limestone rubble laid to courses with sandstone dressings; rubble stone without dressings to the rear, northern elevations; stone slate roof.

PLAN: Georgian preaching box of three bays, orientated with the altar at the south east gable end. The sacristy is accommodated in the adjoining presbytery which is separately listed.

EXTERIOR: is very simply detailed with a plain ashlar plinth, rusticated quoins and an eaves string course to the south east gable which is raised and coped with moulded stone, topped by a plain Latin cross. The opposite gable end has a small bellcote with ball finial. The entrance doorway and windows to the principal elevations have chamfered surrounds and simple hoodmoulds with stops shaped as shields. The east window is tall, with a two-centred arch with simple Y tracery. The side windows are similarly arched but have timber sash windows divided into small panes with glazing bars, those to the arched portion imitating intersecting tracery. The entrance is at the far northern end of the south west side wall. Scaring to the centre of the north west gable, which is otherwise blind, suggests the site of a previous entrance. The north eastern side wall is abutted by the presbytery (Grade II) and, to the rear, by a modern boiler room* and chimney* which is not of special interest. This elevation has a single window, which lights the gallery, which has a plain rubble stone surround, but retains a timber sash window similar to those of the southern side, with glazing bars imitating intersecting tracery.

INTERIOR: the northern half of the northern-most bay is partitioned off to form an entrance stair hall, the rest of the building forming a single undivided space, the sanctuary being merely defined by steps. The church retains a full complement of panelled box pews to both the ground floor and the small western gallery, excepting the centre of the gallery which is occupied by the organ. The panelling to the pews and the gallery front have beading imitating trefoil headed lancet windows. The walls are plastered, the east end being highlighted with a giant surround to the east window formed by triple shafts with acanthus-leaf capitals. This is flanked by giant, blind openings with ogee arches framing smaller arched niches with hoodmoulds. Openings to the side walls, those to the west mainly being blind, also have hoodmoulds. The ceiling is square panelled with gilt bosses in the form of Bottonée crosses.

STAINED GLASS: the windows are plain glazed except for the east window which has a polychrome, mainly geometric design, but incorporating figurative depictions of the Angel Gabriel and various saints.

FITTINGS: the stone high altar, including a tabernacle and low reredos, remains in situ. The free-standing altar incorporating a painting of the Last Supper* is modern, as are the other fittings* to the sanctuary and the confessional* sited under the western gallery, these modern items are not of special interest. The carved stone font, also set beneath the gallery, dates to 1875.

* Pursuant to s.1(5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that these aforementioned feature are not of special architectural or historic interest.

The related Presbytery, School Room, Outbuildings, Boundary Walls and Railings are listed separately at Grade II.


The church of St Peter and St Paul, with its presbytery and school room, was built in 1835-6 by the firm of Chapleo and Sons for about £2000. It was under the patronage of the Scrope family of Danby Hall, although it was probably mainly paid for by public subscription as Simon Thomas Scrope (1758-1838) had been made bankrupt in 1832. One of the major benefactors is believed to have been Frederick Riddell of Thornbrough Hall who owned the land. The church opened on 14th October 1835 and the school the following year. Church attendance recorded for Sunday March 30 1851 was 125 for the morning service and 50 in the afternoon; by 1868 the congregation had grown to over 200.

The stained glass east window was designed by Louisa Cecilia Bolton, niece of the parish priest, when she was only 16 or 17 years old. It was restored in 2010 and extended to include the lower part of the window previously concealed by the reredos the upper part of which had been removed as part of the re-ordering of the sanctuary in the late C20. This re-ordering, which saw the removal of two side altars shown in an early photograph, also uncovered two original arched niches now used for statues.

Reasons for Listing

The Roman Catholic church of St Peter and St Paul is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Box pews: as a nationally rare example of a Roman Catholic church with well-surviving box pews, a style of seating more typical of C17 and C18 Anglican churches;
* Architectural interest: as an elegant Georgian preaching box style of church, here employed for Catholic worship;
* Historic interest: as one of the first wave of Roman Catholic churches built after the 1829 Catholic Emancipation Act and that the choice of architectural design was conservative and old fashioned for the 1830s;
* Group value: with the attached presbytery and the school room forming the upper floor of the stables to the rear.

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