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Updated: 11 October, 2002


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Neighbouring Areas


Churches / Places of Worship


St. Saviour




28th October 1845

Connected Churches

St. Hilda's | All Saints

Technically, St Saviour’s is still linked to St Hilda’s Cross Green and All Saints York Road, but that link is in process of being dissolved and the church is now being looked after by Father Timothy Lipscomb, Vicar of Armley. C.H.L. Tyne (Oct 2002)



Architect & Building

The architect of St Saviour’s was John Macduff DERICK, an Irishman living in Oxford. His design is based loosely on St. Mary’s University Church Oxford. The original plans, shown in a series of prints by the Leeds engraver Samuel MORRISH were never finished. The church was the anonymous gift of the Tractarian leader, E.B.PUSEY who laid out in excess of £16,000 on the plant. Still, this was not enough to complete the Gothic details of the building, and underground mine workings from the Long Close Pit [closed in 1853] made the erection of the tower and spire impossible. Until 1935, the tower was covered over by a simple wooden construction, however, this was blown off in a gale, and the present tower, based on Derick’s original idea, is the work of Leslie Moore. It was paid for by Samuel Smith, of Rington’s Tea, Newcastle on Tyne, an old boy of St Saviour’s School. The tower was dedicated in November 1937.

Pusey intended that St Saviour’s should have a prominent site in one of the poorest areas of Leeds. The project came about when Dr Hook, Vicar of Leeds, asked the Tractarian leaders to build a church in Leeds “where we desperately need them” – and which would put Tractarian principles into practice. It was intended that the church should originally be called Church of the Holy Cross, but the Bishop of Ripon, C.T.LONGLEY would not allow it. The site was originally that of St Peter’s Bank Cemetery, opened in 1841. The cemetery was closed by Order in Council of 1855. There are 323 interments, many of them victims of the cholera epidemic of 1849. One or two gravestones remain.

St Saviour’s was a pioneer from the start. The area was, as Pusey requested, the poorest in Leeds. The services introduced reflected this fact, and drew fully upon Prayer Book injunctions with regard to forms of services and ceremonial.

A full sacramental system was introduced including Daily Mattins and Evensong, Holy Communion each Sunday and Holy Day, and gradually, Prayer for the Dead and Sacramental confession. Some of this upset Hook and the Bishop who felt that the St Saviour’s clergy were disloyal to the Church of England. They were not, but were working in a missionary situation which meant that means had to be adapted to ends. That missionary endeavour has always been to the fore at St Saviour’s and it was here that the first parish mission was held in the Church of England, on Whitsun Day 1854, by Robert Aitken, Vicar of Pendeen in Cornwall, and Richard Twigg, Vicar of St James Wednesbury, an Ordinand from St Saviour’s and former manager of the Sunday School.

The church building reflects the theology it set out to teach. It is cruciform and the cross is depicted prominently. It was built by Pusey on one condition only: that it contained an inscription “YE WHO ENTER THIS HOLY PLACE PRAY FOR THE SINNER THAT BUILT IT” Of course, no one knew [although some guessed] that Pusey was the Founder, and the Bishop at first refused to consecrate until the inscription was taken down. At length, he agreed, and it is certain that Pusey did inform him that he himself was the founder. There were other battles over the stained glass and the cross over the chancel screen and the first six years to 1851, were difficult for priests and people, some of whom who left the Church of England as a result.

The exterior of the church building remains unfinished. The corbels on the north side, and on the east and west were carved in 1866 by G.E.STREET, with it is believed, some assistance by the young G.F.BODLEY. These include Dr Hook and Archdeacon Musgrave of Craven [north transept door]: Bishop Forbes of Brechin, Vicar 1847-48, and Canon R.G.Ward, Vicar 1845-47 [porch door]: Queen Victoria and Bishop C.T.Longley [west door]. Inside, only a few of the corbel heads are portraits. They include Dr Pusey and Charles Marriott, Vicar of St Mary Oxford [west door] Those at the north transept door, of Canon Wylde, Vicar 1877-1929, and J.W.Cudworth, one of the founders of Pusey House, Oxford, were the work of Leslie Moore [1924]. A corbel head close to the organ is believed to be W.Lyndon Smith, Organist of the Church to 1865.

The stained glass is of importance. The West Window, and North and South Transept windows are to designs by A.W.N.PUGIN. The designs of the first two caused difficulties with the Bishop of Ripon. He was especially annoyed with the Crucifixion scene in the West window, showing angels catching the blood of the crucified Christ in chalices and this had to be altered prior to the consecration. The angels are now shown holding scrolls containing biblical texts. This window has recently been restored by Martin Johnson of York. Many of the aisle windows and those in the chancel are the work of Michael O’Connor and were made in Bristol. The east window itself is said to be the gift of the Irish Bishop of Clogher. Two windows in the south aisle, two windows in the north aisle, and the baptistery window are the work of Pre-Raphaelite artists, Morris, Ford Madox Brown and Burne-Jones. These are all memorial windows erected 1868-1872 The Forbes Memorial window in the south aisle [1877] is by Baguley of Newcastle.

There seems to have been originally, a reredos by Hardman of Birmingham. However, this was taken down in 1902 and the present reredos – presently the subject of some academic dispute – was put up then. The figures were added during the following ten years and are personal memorials. It is likely that the reredos is the work of Bodley, but some architectural historians have suggested Temple Moore.

The church was entirely reordered 1888-1890 under the supervision of Bodley when the St Edward, or Pusey Memorial Chapel was erected on the south side of the chancel. From this time, the rood screen, containing a memorial to the children of “a Southport lady”, the rood beam, a memorial to Mother Agnes Stewart, and the organ gallery were also built. The church was rededicated by Bishop Edward King on 27th October 1890.

The organ dates from 1913 and is by J.W.Walker of Ruislip. The origins of the original organ are obscure. It was the work of Francis Booth of Wakefield but the date it was erected is uncertain. 1859 seems possible.

The font is the work of Street [1871] and the font cover by J.T.Micklethwaite [1885] – it is a memorial to Father Edmund Deane who died from Scarlet Fever whilst ministering in the parish. The original chancel screen by Vincent is now in the baptistery. The cross, which caused trouble, still surmounts it. Three times, the bishop told the clergy to take the cross down, and three times they put it back again!!

The communion plate of the church, the gift of the friends of Dr Pusey’s daughter Lucy, made of gold and studied with precious stones, is presently in the Treasury of York Minister. It is still used for important occasions such as the visits of the Diocesan Bishop. The plate is the work of Butterfield, and was made by Wimperis of London.


Baptismal and Marriage records date from 1845 and are held in the Ripon & Leeds Diocesan Record Office, Sheepscar Leeds 7. There is a burials register too covering the years 1841-1863


  • St Saviour’s was the first church to reintroduce the Daily Communion service after the Reformation. This was during the cholera epidemic of 1849. One of the very first churches to be free and unappropriated to all-comers, and certainly the first in Leeds to be so.


  1. Narrative of Five Years at St Saviour’s Leeds – J.H.Pollen [Oxford, 1851]
  2. History of St Saviour’s Leeds – G.P.Grantham [London, Leeds, 1872]
  3. Life of E.B.Pusey – H.P.Liddon [London, 1894]
  4. Life of W.F.Hook – W.F.W.Stephens [London, 1878]
  5. The Labours of Years – S.Savage & C.H.Tyne [Oxford, 1976]
  6. St Saviour’s Leeds, The Pusey Church – C.H.L.Tyne [Leeds, 1999]

All the information, relating to St. Saviour's Church, was written and supplied by Christopher H. L. Tyne - Liverpool Diocesan Registry. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for sparing his time in preparing the piece.


St. Saviours Church