The church of St William of York was originally built in 1904 and consecrated in 1905. The Architects were C and CM Hadfield and the building they delivered was a simple stone faced church in the Gothic style with seating for 100. By the late 1960s the congregation had outgrown this church and the Architects John Rochford and Partners were appointed to redesign the building. The result was a radical remodelling of the church in a modernist style with a copper roof supported by columns outside the existing walls. The new design with its continuous south facing clerestory windows and timber boarded ceiling and restrained interior decoration provides a light and airy space with a calm and prayerful atmosphere.
The church is graced with a number of high quality pieces of church art that are carefully integrated with the architectural form of the church and which ‘tell the story’ of salvation in a logical and carefully thought out sequence. The slideshow below tours the church clockwise. When 'read' in this way, the pieces cohere spatially and spiritually to recall the Christian year and the Christian life. We also have a leaflet for self guided tours.
Objects in the church
Icon of Our Lady and the Child Jesus
We believe the Icon was obtained in Greece when the Church was reordered. The inscription reads "Η ΠΑΝΤΩΝΕΛΠΙΣ" ("he pantonelpis") which translates as "The Hope of All" (panton = of all, of everything; elpis = hope, expectation).
The Way of the Cross
Carmel Cauchi (b. 1927) was commissioned to design and make these. Each tablet was made of ceramic and the muted colours were painted on with liquid glass which was then fired in a kiln at 900°. They were installed in 1981. They form a continuous frieze and the figure of Jesus becomes more and more bowed down as the frieze progresses. The final frame, the resurrection, is detached from the main frieze.
Font and Altar
The altar, font and tabernacle were installed in 1972 and are linked by the use of green Swedish marble.
Made from mild steel rods and strips by John Petts (1914-1991) in 1973. This is an unusual piece: it is the only crucifix in the church but it shows Christ triumphant and ascending rather than suffering. He is clothed as a priest, crowned as a king and bears the marks of the cross. The use of steel reflects the heritage of the city of Sheffield.