SD4861 ST PETER'S ROAD
1685-1/5/292 (East side)
10/11/94 Cathedral Church of St Peter
Roman Catholic cathedral, originally a parish church. 1857-59
and 1895-96. By Edward Paley, with a later baptistry by Paley
and Austin. Gothic Revival style. Sandstone ashlar and slate
roofs, except for the baptistry roof which is of copper. A
tall aisled 5-bay nave with transepts, an aisled 2-bay chancel
with a semi-octagonal apse and side chapels, a tower and spire
in the north-west corner and an octagonal baptistry attached
to the north transept.
The west facade has a 5-light window with Geometric tracery,
and below it is a deeply recessed doorway with 2 shafts with
foliated capitals and orders of crockets and fleurons in the
arch. The side elevations have 3-light aisle windows with
Decorated tracery and paired clerestory windows flanked by
blind arches. The north transept has a 4-light window with
Geometric tracery, while the south transept has a round window
composed of a 10-light wheel window surrounded by 10 circles.
The clerestory windows of the chancel are spherical triangles,
while the tall 3-light windows in the apse have Decorated
The baptistry is slightly more decorated, with 2-light windows
with panelled tracery and deep buttresses.
The tower has 4 stages, separated by string courses, and a
stair turret in the north-west corner. The lowest stage has,
on the west side, a 3-light window with intersecting tracery
and, on the north side, a recessed porch under a shallow
gable, over which is a canopied niche containing a statue of
St Peter. The second stage has on each face a row of 6 gabled
and shafted arches, of which only the central 2 have windows.
The third stage contains a single small window, while the
belfry stage has paired openings, each containing 2
sub-arches. The graceful spire rises to a height of 73m, with
3 tiers of lucarnes on the cardinal faces.
INTERIOR: 5-bay nave with 2-centred arches of 2 orders of
quarter-round mouldings carried on slender round columns with
foliated capitals and high octagonal plinths. Directly above
each arch is a pair of clerestory windows, whose cusped
rear-arches are supported by a central colonnette. Between
these windows other colonnettes on foliated corbels carry the
principal trusses of the arch-braced roof. The aisles have
simple, steeply-pitched rafter roofs.
On the south are 2 chantry chapels, each approached through a
pair of arches. The arches north and south of the crossing are
slightly higher than those of the nave and have clustered
shafts. The chancel arch, also with clustered shafts, is much
higher and rises to the ridge of the wooden vault of the
chancel. This is painted with arabesques and angels and has
tierceron ribs and foliated bosses, except for the one over
the original position of the high altar, now moved to the west
bay of the chancel, which shows Christ in Majesty.
On the south and north sides pairs of arches lead respectively
to the Convent Chapel and to the Lady Chapel, whose wooden
panelled ceiling is painted with fleurs-de-lys and crowns.
Above them, but beneath the clerestory windows, is a deep band
of painting representing on the south Our Lady enthroned and
surrounded by female saints and on the north St Peter and male
saints. Around the base of the apse are 2 rows of 5 gabled
canopies containing paintings of other saints, with angel
musicians above. The carved oak choir stalls have crocketed
The baptistry, approached through fine wrought-iron gates
flanked by niches under nodding ogee heads containing statues,
has an octagonal stone vault. The floor and font are of
polychrome marble, the font bowl being supported on 4 short
columns. The oak font cover is a spirelet suspended from a
In the south transept is a triptych, by Giles Gilbert Scott,
in which the carved and painted panels represent scenes from
the Passion. (In 1909 this was the reredos of the high altar.)
At the west end of the north aisle is a large seated bronze
figure of St Peter. The west gallery contains an organ. The
glass in the apse windows and in the west window is original
and by Hardman, showing the Ascension and St Peter and St Paul
in the east and Christ in Glory at the west.
The church is the finest and dominant feature of an important
group, also containing a graveyard, school, convent and
presbytery (qv), which was built between 1847 and 1859.
Listing NGR: SD4810461511