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Windy Arbor Road
Church of St Nicholas
Anglican church. Early English style. 1864-68. By G E Street. Coursed rubble sandstone with red sandstone dressings. Slate roofs. South West tower not completed (almost detached), South East Lady Chapel, North East organ chamber, West vestry. Clerestoried nave with lean-to four-bay North & South aisles. Early 1980s extension to South side abutting tower's East wall and nave.
EXTERIOR: four-bay nave with two-light clerestory windows each with a roundel in the head, cross finials to roof, West end with pair of tall arched cusped two-light lancets, rose window above. North and South side aisles: Four cusped triple lancet windows under arches to each side; that to West bay of South aisle adjacent to tower converted into door leading into 1980s extension, double lancets to West wall of North aisle, double lancets with roundel above to West wall of South aisle, trefoil-headed doorway to East bay of North aisle.
Chancel: Lower roof than nave, short angle buttresses, three-light traceried East window, triple lancet North window.
South East Lady Chapel: Set back from East wall of chancel, separate East/West roof, pair of lancets with roundel in East gable, three lancet windows to South side.
North East organ chamber: Lean-to roof, short double lancet window with roundel above to East wall.
West vestry: Flat roof, gabled buttresses, parapet that rises in the centre with shield motif, five-light square-headed West window, arched South doorway with hoodmould. Three-stage South West tower, set-back buttresses, semi-circular stair turret to East wall with conical roof, plain parapet, capped lead roof, large two-light paired arched belfry windows, arched two-light West window with roundel at first stage, tall slender round-headed East window at first stage, small pentfoil window to South side at first stage, small cusped windows to North, South and West sides at second stage, triple-chamfered arched porch South doorway (originally open doorway, now with door). Multi-chamfered arched doorway with dogtooth decoration in porch behind (original entrance). Early 1980s extension abutting East wall of tower not of interest.
INTERIOR: Unplastered rock-faced masonry interior walls. Encaustic tiled floor (some under carpet). Four-bay nave arcades with cylindrical piers with moulded capitals. Moulded chancel arch on short shafts. East window depicting the Crucifixion by Clayton and Bell. Painted reredos installed c.1876-7 with coved, crested timber frame. East 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. Two-bay arcade with traceried arches divides South East 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 North East organ chamber), East window depicting angelic musicians by William Morris, South 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. West rose window by Burne-Jones, lancets below by Morris and Co. Shallow arched doorway at West end of nave into vestry. Original fitted cupboards in vestry.
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.
'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.