The following four links show excerpts from the Guidebook of St Mary’s Shrine, which is available in the narthex for a donation:
- Introducing the Guidebook and the 13 Benedictine Rectors of St Mary’s
- ‘Team Pugin’: Father & Son designed the shrine
- Floor plan of the church with index identifying various parts
- Notes on the Great East Rose window, the magnificent High Altar Reredos and the Richard Jackson Memorial window
Background and general description of the church
A Mission in Warrington was established in 1772 by Benedictine monks from Ampleforth. St Mary’s is a daughter church of St Alban’s and was built in 1877. The information given below is from ‘Taking Stock‘.
The church was designed by E.W. Pugin shortly before his death and completed by Peter Paul Pugin, who also designed the later tower (instead of the spire originally intended).
The building is faced in pale yellow Pierpoint stone with dressings of Red Runcorn stone and with roof coverings of Welsh slate. The plan comprises nave and sanctuary under a long continuous and steeply-pitched roof, with a southwest tower, aisles with lean-to roofs, transepts and side chapels to the sanctuary.
The fenestration is idiosyncratic, especially on the north side where the window tracery is completely without moulding and flush with the walls.
The fittings are all by Peter Paul Pugin, the carving executed by Boulton, his usual collaborator. They include the High Altar of 1877 with elaborate canopies and figure sculpture of 1885; the altar and reredos in the chapel of Our Lady (1889) and in the chapel of the Sacred Heart (1890). Marble pulpit and communion rail of 1883-4, stone parclose screens of 1890, oak choir stalls of the same date, organ case of 1887. High quality stained glass by Hardman in the south aisle and east end, also some of 1931 by Harry Clarke in the south chapel and south aisle.
Grade II listed building description
1877 by Pugin and Pugin – (“one of their best works”-Pevsner); the top part of the tower is by Peter Paul Pugin 1906. Stone church in Decorated style. 6-bay nave of round columns with foliage capitals, and pointed arches with angels and busts in roundels at springing level. Segmental headed clerestory windows, and 3- light pointed arched aisle windows with early Perpendicular style tracery. Short chancel, with elaborate Gothic reredos occupying most of east wall and rose window above. Panelled ceiling punctuated by round arches. Pews with iron traceried supports. Inset stations of the cross in north and south walls, and inset confessional boxes in north wall. Short transepts. Marble altar rails and pulpit. Very tall and slender south-west tower.