Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

English architect, b. at Doncaster, Yorkshire, in 1839; d. in London, February, 1902. From early days he exhibited a strong inclination towards the profession in which he was to make so great a mark. His parents were not in sympathy with him, so, at the age of sixteen, he placed himself voluntarily with the Clerk of the Works at Loversall Church. In 1855 he began his probation with Sharpe, Stewart & Co., of Manchester, going to London, in 1858, where he was associated with Holland & Hannan and then with Henry Clutton. He started for himself in 1868. He was a firm believer in the architectural principles and methods of the Middle Ages, giving to every detail in his work, from foundation to furniture, his personal attention. He was an apt modeller and had tried his hand with success at stone carving. As a draughtsman, and especially as a colourist, he was very successful, his designs for marble and metal work, jewellery, stained glass, and heraldic decorations being of great beauty.

His first important commission was from Cardinal Manning, for the seminary at Hammersmith, and amongst his buildings should be mentioned the Church of the Holy Rood, at Watford; the convent chapel, at Braintree; the chapel of Beaumont College, Old Windsor ; St. Anne's Cathedral, Leeds ; and St. Mary's, Cadogan Place, Chelsea. He was also responsible for the baptistery, font, and monstrance at St. Francis, Notting Hill; the reredos and altar at St. Charles, Ogle Street, Marylebone, sedilia and Sacred Heart chapel in the church of the Jesuit Fathers at Farm Street; and the decoration at Carlton Towers. In 1894, he received his commission to build the cathedral at Westminster, and at once started for Italy to make a careful study of the various great basilicas, and the mosaic work at Ravenna. He devoted himself with great concentration to this, his life memorial, producing the most remarkable ecclesiastical building erected in England since the Reformation, and receiving high praise all over Europe on his extraordinary success.

He was a person of brusque, reserved manner, but kind and friendly to those who really knew him. He had the strongest dislike to the preparation of show drawings and to the system of architectural competition and, being a man wholly lacking in self-assertion, and reticent in conversation, was never as well known in general circles as he deserved to be. His great characteristics as an architect were his careful attention to detail, his solicitude that all the fittings should be in perfect harmony with the building, and the sparing use he made of iron. He was awarded the gold medal of the Institute of Architects in February, 1902, but never received it, as on the 1st of March he was seized with paralysis and died the following morning. He was present at the trial of acoustic qualities made in his cathedral, but was not spared to see its formal opening. He was buried at Mortlake.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 11:4-12
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lamps in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 20:27-40
27 Some Sadducees -- those who argue that there is no ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Cecilia
November 22: In the fourth century appeared a Greek religious romance on the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter