Church of St Wilfrid

Church of St Wilfrid - 2008

1862AD - 1864AD

A church dedicated to St Wilfrid stood not far from this site before the Norman Conquest of 1066.  But by 1585 it had fallen into disuse and was demolished.

It wasn’t until 1742 that St Wilfrid’s parish was revived.  In 1760 the first public place of worship for Catholics opened.  This chapel was discreetly hidden from the street, as anti-Catholic feeling was strong at the time.  The chapel could hold 700 people but, as the Catholic community in the city grew, plans were made for a larger church that would act as a Cathedral for the Diocese.

Foundations for the new church were laid in April 1862 and the building completed in 1864.  The new St Wilfrid’s was designed in the Gothic Revival style by the York-born architect, George Goldie.  It was considered to be ‘one of the most perfectly finished Catholic Churches in England, rich in sculpture, stained glass and fittings’.

The imposing bell tower is 147 feet high and ten bells were added in 1995.  The arch over the main door has intricately carved details.  The beautiful interior has paintings that span the end walls and an ornate domed ceiling.

St Wilfrid’s life as a cathedral was short-lived due to changes in the Diocesan boundaries, but the church still stands as the ‘Mother Church of the City of York’.  Lively worship is still offered in this church and all are welcome.


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