This site is dedicated to Sir Walter Tapper, and the fabulous architecture that he left us.


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Council for Places of Worship. 83, London Wall, London, EC2M 5NA.

Grimsby, St Stephen (Lincoln). Referred under the Pastoral Measure 1968.

Location: Roberts Street, Grimsby.

Architect and Date

The architect was Sir Walter Tapper and the church was built between 1911 and 1914. The west end was not completed as designed, and the west wall blocked up until 1933/4 when a local architect, J.J. Cresswell, added the present baptistry.


Nave, shallow tapering chancel, north west chapel and baptistry at the west with a gallery over.

General Description

The exterior of this tall, austere brick-built church is impressive. The four-bay nave and the single chancel are of the same height. The nave walls are treated externally as tall blocked arcades with two-light Decorated windows high up under the arches. Apparently an aisle was intended on the south side, but was never built. This may have been fortunate, for the north-west chapel which fills two bays of the nave wall undoubtedly detracts from the severity of the elevation. The small chancel has large flat angle buttresses, and the expanse of brickwork is only relieved by the five-light sexfoiled window under a four-centred head.

The most curious elevation is undoubtedly that of the west wall. On the north side of the gable is a small open bell-cote of brick, with a steep pitched roof. Under the gable itself is a wide brick pointed arch and the space under it is filled by brick of a different colour, pierced by a five-light window with net tracery under a straight-sided quasi-four-centred head. Immediately below this window is the two-storey addition, which houses the baptistry and western gallery. The addition is in the 16th century domestic style, with stone-mullioned windows, while the projection pentagonal baptistery has three pairs of trefoiled lights.

The interior of the church is not so dramatic as the exterior. In many ways, the design resembles Tapper's earlier church of St Erkenwald, Southend-on-Sea, which has the same tapering sanctuary, nave piers which are really internal buttresses pierced by small arches and connected high up by longitudinal arches, and a similar organ gallery at the north-east end of the nave. Unlike St Erkenwald's, however, the roof is unornamented and there are no rich bosses or painted decoration. The interior elevation of the baptistery and gallery is not well proportioned, and fussily ornamented.

Structural Condition

As a result of the inspection carried out in 1969 by Sir Charles Nicholson & Rushton, it was found that although the church had been well cared for, there had been serious settlement of the structure, the floor having settled some 12" in places. There were cracks in the brickwork on all four elevations. Further inspections made during 1972 revealed that the floor of the church was sinking at the rate of 0.25" in 6 months, and the inspecting architects gave it as their opinion that the only remedy was to take the whole of the flooring out and replace it with a new properly designed floor. In 1969 it was estimated that this work would cost in the region of £17,000.

Noteworthy Fittings

Pulpit - the pulpit and hanging tester follow the same pattern as those at St Erkenwald, Southend, and were presumably designed by Sir Walter Tapper. The body of the woooden pulpit is hexagonal with carved mouldings round the panels.
Bells - there is one bell in use which is a modern one by Taylors of Loughborough. Inside the church is preserved another bell 13.5" in diameter, inscribed LAVS DEO SEMPER I7I? 1783. This bell is probably French in origin.
Font - a circular stone bowl on tall thin columns.
Benches - plain pine benches which might find a home in another church.


Other Churches in the Area (for comparison only)

St John, New Clee

Half a mile to the north. The church was built in 1879 by J. Fowler. It is of red brick externally, with black brick banding and consists of a western narthex, nave and shallow rectangular chancel. It is not a distinguished building either in itself, or in the contribution it makes to the street, and the furnishings are unremarkable.

St Andrew, East Marsh

A new church completed in 1967 by Caroe & Partners to replace the former church of that name.


The Council is reluctant to see this impressive building destroyed but, in view of the structural emergency, offers no opposition to the proposed declaration of redundancy and subsequent demolition.

Sir Walter Tapper ~ Sir Walter J. Tapper ~ Gothic Revivalist Architect ~ St Erkenwald, Southend-on-Sea ~ Church of the Annunciation, Bryanston Street ~ Church of the Ascension, Malvern Link ~ Guildford Grammar School Chapel