07 April 2014
Church of St Walburge, Preston
There is some really excellent news from the Diocese of Lancaster. Bishop Campbell has handed over the church of St Walburge in Preston, Lancashire to the care of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Like its counterpart in New Brighton, it will be a shrine church dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament. Although it will be staffed by the Institute, and will provide daily Masses in the extraordinary form, it will operate within a parish served by a priest of the diocese. St Walburge's church is best known for its high spire, in fact it is the highest of any parish church in England, only surpassed by Salisbury Cathedral. It is a very large church built in the Gothic style in the middle of the 19th century and can be seen for up to 10 miles away. It is unusual for a Gothic church of that size, in that it has no side aisles, and consequently the sanctuary is clearly visible from every seat. The church was one of the architectural masterpieces of Joseph Aloysius Hansom, whose other works include the church of the Holy Name in Manchester and the cathedral in Arundel. Joseph Aloysius Hansom was a native of York, but first became famous for his design of the City Hall in Birmingham, which was in the classical style. His name is preserved in another achievement of his, the Hansom cab. He designed many churches, mostly Catholic and of more modest proportions, including St George's in York, Sacred Heart in Howden and St John the Evangelist in Easingwold. The Institute of Christ the king will be taking over at St Walberge's towards the end of the year.