Leeds Cathedral

Leeds Cathedral
Cathedral Church of St Anne
Leeds Cathedral
Shown within West Yorkshire
53°48′03″N 1°32′48″W / 53.8007°N 1.5468°W / 53.8007; -1.5468Coordinates: 53°48′03″N 1°32′48″W / 53.8007°N 1.5468°W / 53.8007; -1.5468
Location Leeds, West Yorkshire
Country United Kingdom
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Website dioceseofleeds.org.uk/cathedral
Consecrated 1904
Architect(s) John Henry Eastwood
Style Neo-gothic
Years built 1901-1904
Number of towers 1
Parish Mother of Unfailing Help
Deanery Leeds North
Diocese Leeds (since 1878)
Province Liverpool
Bishop(s) Marcus Stock
Dean Mgr Philip Moger
Director of music Benjamin Saunders

Leeds Cathedral, formally the Cathedral Church of St Anne, commonly known as Saint Anne's Cathedral, is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Leeds, and is the seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Leeds. It is in the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom. The city of Leeds does not have a Church of England cathedral, because though it is in the Anglican Diocese of Leeds, that diocese's cathedrals are in Ripon, Wakefield and Bradford.

The original cathedral was located in St Anne's Church in 1878, but that building was demolished around 1900. The current cathedral building on Cookridge Street was completed in 1904, and was restored in 2006. The reredos of the old cathedral's high altar was designed by Pugin in 1842 and moved to the lady chapel of the new cathedral.[1][2] The cathedral is a Grade II* listed building.[3]


Previous Cathedral

In 1786, Lady Lane Chapel was built, the first post-reformation Catholic place of worship in the city. In 1838, it was replaced by St Anne's Church. At the time, there were only two places of Catholic worship in Leeds, St Patrick's Church (which was built in 1831) and St Anne's. The next church to be built in Leeds was Mount St Mary's Church in Richmond Hill.[4]

The earlier St Anne’s Roman Catholic Church, built in 1838 on the corner of the Headrow and Cookridge Street was granted cathedral status in 1878 upon the creation of the Diocese of Leeds.[3] The cathedral's life was short-lived as in 1899, Leeds Corporation pushed ahead with plans to widen The Headrow and develop it into a Boulevard style street. This meant that the cathedral was acquired by the enactment of a compulsory purchase order. Demolition started shortly after and the Leeds Permanent Building Society purchased the plot to build its head-office, the site is now The Light entertainment complex. Church officials considered several sites on which to build the second cathedral but after exhausting other options, the church accepted land offered to it by the corporation, directly adjacent to the previous church.[5] Some architectural features of the original building were salvaged and reused in the new building and some can now be seen at the Castle-by-the-Sea Hotel in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, the former residence of the artist Atkinson Grimshaw who was the father of the first cathedral choir master, Arthur E. Grimshaw.[6]

Current building

The current cathedral was designed in the Arts and Crafts Gothic Revival style by John Henry Eastwood (1843–1913), a Leeds-born and London-based architect with previous experience in designing church buildings, much work was also carried out by his assistant, Sydney Kyffin Greenslade (1866–1955).[3] The layout of the cathedral incorporated no wings, in order to accommodate it on the small site. Building work began in the autumn of 1901 and the cathedral opened in 1904.[5]

After renovation in the cathedral (2005–2006) relics of English Catholic martyrs, Blessed Fr.Peter Snow and Ralph Grimston, were placed in the altar.


Interior (looking towards the altar)

The cathedral is small in size due to its restricted site.[1] The cathedral has an aisled nave and chancel under a continuous roof with narrow trancepts and chapels. There is a chapter house and presbytery. It is built of Weldon stone with Ketton stone details. The west front has a tall gable between large buttresses that end in Gothic turrets.[7] The western face has a large ornate crucifix sculpture. The northern face has mock Georgian elements to it, including leaded bay windows. The church has a small tower to the north west corner, from which the flag of the Vatican City is flown. The interior has a conventional layout, with rows of pews facing towards the altar, there are two rows of stone pillars set along each side. Unlike earlier cathedrals which had steep pitched roofs, the ceiling has a barrelled shape so it, with only a faint apex.


Flag of the Vatican City flying atop the Cathedral.





The 1904 organ by Norman and Beard was restored in 2010 by Klais Orgelbau. It has 7 divisions and 55 ranks.[8]


  1. 1 2 Floorplan, Leeds Diocese, retrieved 2010-05-23
  2. "Restoring a masterpiece", BBC Leeds, retrieved 2009-01-31
  3. 1 2 3 St Anne's RC Cathedral, Images of England, retrieved 2010-05-23
  4. Fraser, Derek, A History of Modern Leeds (Manchester: Manchester University press, 1980), 256.
  5. 1 2 History, Leeds Diocese, retrieved 2010-05-23
  6. Castle by the Sea, retrieved 2008-12-21
  7. Leach & Pevsner 2009, p. 406
  8. "The Klais Organ", Diocese of Leeds Music Department, retrieved 2010-11-27


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