Present Church

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).

Icon of our lady and christ

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.

Carmel Cauchi substantially redesigned Our Lady, Queen of Apostles Welwyn Garden City, and installed a large number of windows, some of which can be seen here.

Resurrection Window

Designed/made in 1972–3 by James Atkinson Crombie (1913–2000) (Obiturary here but paid access only, other windows here, here and here).

Resurrection Window by James Atkinson Crombie

Font and Altar

The altar, font and tabernacle were installed in 1972 and are linked by the use of green Swedish marble.

St Williams Tabernacle

Christ Ascending

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.

John Petts (more here, here and here) is notable for installing a window depicting a black Jesus in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama following a racially motivated bombing there.

Christ Ascending by John Petts

The All Saints Window

The stained glass panel was painted by the master glasspainter Paul Quail (1927/8-2010, obituary, examples of work here and here) and was installed in the chancel’s south window in 1987 above the benches for musicians and choir.

all saints window by Paul Quail

The Holy Spirit Window

This window was designed and made by Sally Pollitzer in 2007.

Spirit Window by Sally Pollitzer

More details on these objects can be found in the leaflet. If you know even more do contact us.