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Church of St Nicholas

A Grade II Listed Building in Whiston, Knowsley

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.4069 / 53°24'24"N

Longitude: -2.8029 / 2°48'10"W

OS Eastings: 346719

OS Northings: 390313

OS Grid: SJ467903

Mapcode National: GBR 8YV1.ZF

Mapcode Global: WH879.XMFJ

Plus Code: 9C5VC54W+QR

Entry Name: Church of St Nicholas

Listing Date: 28 January 1971

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1261894

English Heritage Legacy ID: 436418

Location: Whiston, Knowsley, L35

County: Knowsley

Civil Parish: Whiston

Built-Up Area: Prescot

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Merseyside

Church of England Parish: Whiston St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Liverpool

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Description

WHISTON

1303/7/53 WHISTON
28-JAN-1971 Windy Arbour Road
Church of St Nicholas

II

Anglican church. Early English style. 1864-68. By G E Street. Coursed rubble sandstone with red sandstone dressings. Slate roofs. SW tower not completed (almost detached), SE Lady Chapel, NE organ chamber, W vestry. Clerestoried nave with lean-to 4-bay N & S aisles. Early 1980s extension to S side abutting tower's E wall and nave.

EXTERIOR: 4-bay nave with 2-light clerestory windows each with a roundel in the head, cross finials to roof, W end with pair of tall arched cusped 2-light lancets, rose window above. N and S side aisles: Four cusped triple lancet windows under arches to each side; that to W bay of S aisle adjacent to tower converted into door leading into 1980s extension, double lancets to W wall of N aisle, double lancets with roundel above to W wall of S aisle, trefoil-headed doorway to E bay of N aisle. Chancel: Lower roof than nave, short angle buttresses, 3-light traceried E window, triple lancet N window. SE Lady Chapel: Set back from E wall of chancel, separate E/W roof, pair of lancets with roundel in E gable, three lancet windows to S side. NE organ chamber: Lean-to roof, short double lancet window with roundel above to E wall. W vestry: Flat roof, gabled buttresses, parapet that rises in the centre with shield motif, 5-light square-headed W window, arched S doorway with hoodmould. 3-stage SW tower, set-back buttresses, semi-circular stair turret to E wall with conical roof, plain parapet, capped lead roof, large 2-light paired arched belfry windows, arched 2-light W window with roundel at first stage, tall slender round-headed E window at first stage, small pentfoil window to S side at first stage, small cusped windows to N, S and W sides at second stage, triple-chamfered arched porch S doorway (originally open doorway, now with door). Multi-chamfered arched doorway with dogtooth decoration in porch behind (original entrance). Early 1980s extension abutting E wall of tower not of interest.

INTERIOR: Unplastered rock-faced masonry interior walls. Encaustic tiled floor (some under carpet). 4-bay nave arcades with cylindrical piers with moulded capitals. Moulded chancel arch on short shafts. E window depicting the Crucifixion by Clayton and Bell. Painted reredos installed c.1876-7 with coved, crested timber frame. E wall to each side with decorative carved blind arcading and patterned 'Garrett' wall tiles below. Black and white floor tiles with memorial date of 1923 to sanctuary. 2-bay arcade with traceried arches divides SE Lady Chapel from chancel. Choir stalls with fleur-de-lys finials and arcaded frontals. Low coped stone chancel screen with integral stone drum pulpit of pierced stonework. Lady Chapel with organ by Henry Willis & Sons (originally in NE organ chamber), E window depicting angelic musicians by William Morris, S windows by Morris & Co. Font to rear of nave with quatrefoil bowl on polychromatic stone shafts. Nave benches with convex shoulders, pews to rear of church removed. Low timber and glass screen installed early 1980s across middle of nave and side aisles. Similar screen to Lady Chapel entrance. W rose window by Burne-Jones, lancets below by Morris and Co. Shallow arched doorway at W end of nave into vestry. Original fitted cupboards in vestry.

HISTORY:
The site for the Church of St Nicholas was purchased and donated by Rev. Ellis Ashton, vicar of Huyton, and the foundation stone was laid in 1864 by Daniel Willis Esq. member of a prominent local family. Originally called Tarbock Road the road on which the church sits is now known as Windy Arbor Road.

The Church of St Nicholas was consecrated on 30 July 1868 and was constructed to the designs of G E Street, leading mid-C19 architect and Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy. The first vicar was Rev. E.S. Meade (1868-73). Originally the tower was designed to include a crenellated parapet and a spire, as plans by G.F. Bodley (kept in the church) show, but due to concerns over mineshafts in the area and the possible weight of a spire these elements were never built.

The Incorporated Society for Buildings & Churches donated £250 towards the cost of the church in 1863 upon condition that many seats were reserved for the poor of the parish.

SOURCES:
'George Edmund Street'. Available on http://en.wikipedia.org
'Knowsley Local History'. Available on http://history.knowsley.gov.uk
Pevsner N & Pollard R. 'Lancashire: Liverpool and the South-West'. 2006. New Haven & London: Yale University Press.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE:
A well-designed and imposing Anglican church dated 1864-8 in Early English style by one of the pre-eminent ecclesiastical architects of the C19, G.E. Street. The crenellated parapet and spire originally intended were never built, but the building is still an effective high quality composition highlighting Street's skills. Further particular special interest lies in the interior with its elaborate reredos and stained glass by numerous major artists including William Morris and Burne-Jones.

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