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Latitude: 55.6135 / 55°36'48"N
Longitude: -4.4971 / 4°29'49"W
OS Eastings: 242821
OS Northings: 638378
OS Grid: NS428383
Mapcode National: GBR 3G.MBS3
Mapcode Global: WH3Q9.W5PF
Entry Name: Hill Street, St Joseph's Catholic Church and Priest's House
Listing Date: 1 August 2002
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 396191
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48728
Building Class: Cultural
County: East Ayrshire
Electoral Ward: Kilmarnock West and Crosshouse
Traditional County: Ayrshire
1847. 5-bay rectangular-plan Gothic church with oversized facade; 2-storey L-plan priest's house adjoined to church by 2-storey, 3-bay sandstone extension. Pink sandstone ashlar church facade, parapet and lead buttresses. Coursed sandstone rubble to other elevations. Vermiculated base course. Corbelled parapet and pinnacles. Giant buttresses.
S (FORMER PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: giant 3-bay facade: central pointed arched door surround with hoodmould, now in-filled with later glass blocks and red sandstone, giant lancet window above, paired pinnacles on columns surmounting with stone cross on arch between; vermiculated base course leading to flanking stepped chamfered buttresses, moulded gablet pinnacles surmounting. Tall lancet windows to outer bays, corbelled parapet above; to outer angles stepped chamfered buttresses with pyramid capped corbelled pinnacles surmounting.
W ELEVATION: 5-lancet bay with stepped buttresses between and to angles, parapet above and later projecting piended porch with central pointed arched door below shortened 5th bay; later lean-to porch with door in left return clasping 3rd bay and buttress; 3 pointed cast-iron ventilators to apex of roof.
N (REAR) ELEVATION: smaller chancel gable with cast-iron roof ventilator to apex of roof and extension of Priest's house adjoining main gable.
E ELEVATION: 5-lancet bay with stepped buttresses between and to angles, parapet above and later small window below shortened 1st bay, later lean-to porch with door in right return clasping 3rd bay and buttress; Priest's house adjoining angle buttress to right.
Glass bocks where within main door surround; opaque glass to outer of side windows, coloured glass of diamond quarry internally and to side windows. Piended grey slate roof on cast iron girders, lead ridging, flashing and valleys. Painted cast-iron rainwater goods.
INTERIOR: refurbished as part of 150th anniversary of the church. Principal doorway now blocked with glassblocks and S end used as a community room. Plain timber pews. Later statue of Jesus above N altar.
PRIEST'S HOUSE: 2-storey, L-plan house with extensions to W & N. Coursed Ballochmyle stone with dressed sills, lintels, long and short quoins. S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: advanced gable to right: tripartite window to ground floor, single window to 1st floor, blind arrowslit to gable head, stone cross on apex. Recessed single bay to 1st floor left, later timber and glazing porch concealing door in re-entrant angle. 2-storey, 3-bay lower extension to far left adjoining church at front angle. E ELEVATION: single bay to each storey on left gable, regular 2-storey, 5-bay block to rear. N ELEVATION: not seen, 2001. W ELEVATION: adjoining the lower chancel of church.
The street was built on Sheilin Hill, but the name was dropped to provide plain Hill Street. Originally rural road leading towards Knockinlaw but became increasingly urbanised during the 19th century. The dominating feature had been Hawket Park (located approximately where Nazareth House is) but smaller houses set within their own grounds were built. The church was constructed to satisfy the spiritual needs of the Roman Catholic community within Kilmarnock, most of which had come from Ireland during the famine. By 1840, there were around 2000 Catholics. Father Wallace purchased the land behind a villa named Mount Pleasant. Francis Groome commented in his Gazetteer of Scotland that "the Roman Catholic Church (St Joseph's) to the north end of Portland Street, is a Gothic building erected in 1847 at a cost of ?3000, and contains 600 sittings. From it an excellent view is obtained of the town and the surrounding countryside." By the 3rd Statistical Account, the Catholic Church was the 2nd largest religious body in Kilmarnock with around 6000 people. There was also a convent for the Poor Sisters of Nazareth, who established a home for orphans and the elderly, established in 1890. The church is still thriving today; it has its own hall and an enlarged priest's house adjacent. The site, although predominantly hilltop, became hidden by the newly built Infirmary at the end of the 19th century. The boundary wall of the ever enlarging Infirmary site was built perilously close to the main door of the church, effectively making the ornate principal entrance only accessible by means of a narrow darkened alleyway. New entrances were provided via the porches in the W wall. Since the infirmary and its associated buildings were demolished at the end of the 20th century, the church now cuts an impressive silhouette once again.
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