E. W. Pugin

E. W. Pugin

Edward Welby Pugin (1834–1875) was the eldest son of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin and Louisa Barton. His father, A. W. N. Pugin, was a famous architect and designer of Neo-Gothic architecture, and after his death in 1852 Edward took up his successful practice. At the time of his own early death in 1875, Pugin had designed and completed more than one hundred Catholic churches (see [http://www.pugin-society.1to1.org/FamPix/EWPugin.jpg] ).

He designed churches and cathedrals primarily in Great Britain and Ireland. However, commissions for his exemplary work were also received from countries throughout Western Europe, Scandinavia, and as far away as North America.


Edward Pugin inherited his father's architectural practice in 1852 at the age of eighteen years. He claimed to have been in training with his father since the age of seven, and many of his father's patrons were happy to work with him. For example, his first commissions in Ireland were small churches in Wexford which he obtained through his late father's connections.

Pugin had offices in Liverpool, London, and Ramsgate. He developed a large practice over the years designing for both secular and ecclesiastical authorities. He built over seventy churches in England and Scotland as well as a large number of schools, convents, and presbyteries for the Catholic Church. He, like his father, was a devout Roman Catholic.

Most of his work differs from his father's in that his style is more elaborate and attenuated and many of the details he used were derived from continental models. He travelled and worked in France and in Belgium, where he designed the church of Our Lady of Dadizeele, for which he received a Papal Knighthood. He also worked on many of A. W. N. Pugin's unfinished works.

In 1859 he took on a young Irish pupil, George Ashlin, as a partner, as he found it difficult running his Irish practice from England. Ashlin ran the Irish side of the business. The firm Pugin & Ashlin became a serious rival to J. J. McCarthy, who for the previous twenty years had been the most successful and prolific ecclesiastical architect in Ireland.

E. W. Pugin and the Earl of Shrewsbury

In 1852 A. W. N. Pugin and the 16th Earl of Shrewsbury both died, to be succeeded by the son, Edward Welby Pugin, aged eighteen, and the nephew, Bertram Arthur Talbot, aged nineteen. The first task that the two teenagers had to undertake was the repatriation of the 16th Earl’s body from Naples, Italy, and the staging of an elaborate requiem at Alton Towers. This could have been the end of the Talbot–Pugin partnership, but the new Earl also possessed his late uncle’s fervour for building; furthermore there was an element of trust placed on both lads to complete the works already begun. With funds released on the Earl’s coming of age, the Great Drawing Room and the New Rooms at Alton Towers were built between 1853 and 1855, followed by the 17th Earl’s largest and only new commission, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Help, Shrewsbury (1853–56).

Shrewsbury Cathedral is, in effect, Bertram Talbot’s memorial, for he died in Lisbon, Portugal, shortly after its consecration in 1856 at the age of twenty-three. Unmarried, and the last of his line, Talbot's title, lands and fortune devolved on a distant relative who had no interest maintaining the family connection with the Pugins. As a last act of friendship, E. W. Pugin designed a magnificent brass in the medieval manner, showing the Earl in his robes and wearing a coronet to go over his young noble friend’s grave to the south side of the altar at St. John’s, Alton.

E. W. Pugin and Scarisbrick

After 1861, Pugin found a patron in Lady Ann Scarisbrick, of Scarisbrick Hall, with which his father was closely associated. The interior of the existing Hall was largely redecorated to his designs, incorporating wherever possible the monogram ‘A.S.’ The clock-tower built by A. W. N. Pugin was taken down and replaced with a taller, more flamboyant one in French gothic style. An East Wing was added, with a pious inscription by Lady Ann, dedicating the work to her father’s memory, and this was joined to the original building by an octagonal tower with eight huge and rather sinister-looking heraldic doves of Scarisbrick. The present stable block, with its turreted entrance was also work of this period.

E. W. Pugin’s style was more lavish than his father’s, as can be seen from the best of his surviving decorative schemes in the Blue Drawing Room on the ground floor, and Lady Ann’s bedroom immediately above. Most of the work here was done in co-operation with Hardman’s of Birmingham, a firm which had worked closely with Pugin’s father. The profusion of colour and gilding in stained glass, painted ceilings, ornate marble fire surrounds, inlaid woodwork, parquetry floors and brass fittings, when combined with the original furniture designed by E. W. Pugin, must have been overwhelming. The exterior treatment of the new East Wing was also exotic; Hardman’s supplied large quantities of iron vanes, finials, flags and cresting to ornament the roof, all richly finished.

In the twenty years before his death, Edward Welby Pugin secured a number of commissions in Staffordshire from his late father’s friends: Oulton Abbey; Burton Manor, Stafford; St Austin’s, Stafford; and Cotton College. Worn out with work, he died suddenly in 1875. Like his father, he was but 40 years old.

E. W. Pugin the man

He had a reputation for being impulsive and argumentative and during his career he came into conflict with many of his fellow architects. He was also driven and overwork may have contributed to his early death. His most famous controversy was concerning who had been the architect for the Houses of Parliament, claiming that it had been his father rather than Sir Charles Barry. In fact it appears that Barry was the architect for the exterior and A. W. N. Pugin's work was principally in internal design and furnishing.


He died in June, 1875 at the age of forty of "syncope of the heart...partly through injurious use of chloral hydrate", which he may have used as a sleeping draught. His brother, Peter Paul Pugin, carried on the English end of the business. He had already ended his Irish partnership with George Ashlin in 1868.

Works in Ireland

SS Peter and Paul's, Carey's Lane, Cork (1859). A competition to replace a penal chapel here was won by John Hurley, but the commission went to the unplaced Edward Pugin, causing so much discontent that the chief grumbler among the participants (J. P. Jones) was paid off. Pugin's original Irish partner, James Murray of Armagh, was replaced by George Ashlin. This is Ashlin's earliest commission (1859) and stylistically a decisive influence on every other church he designed. The materials used are red sandstone and limestone dressings. The plan consists of a wide nave and aisles that take up the entire cramped space, with shallow transepts and no crossing. The clerestory windows are carried across the transept as screens, an idea that reaches its apotheosis in Cobh Cathedral. A polygonal apse, a superabundance of stained glass and sculpture. The most striking external feature, a belfry soaring to over 230 ft. remains incomplete. Altar entirely by Ashlin. Glass by Barnett's of Leith and Earley. Lavish confessionals guarded by angels. Other angels act as lampholders.

Edermine, Enniscorthy, County Wexford (c. 1858). Villa, chapel and conservatory all linked together to make a continuous structure overlooking an elaborate, but now partly vanished garden. Designed for the Power family, who divided their time, along with their workforce, between farming in Wexford and distilling Dublin. Pugin's father Augustus Pugin had the commission to design the chapel, but died before he could complete the task. It was then reserved for his son E. W. More remarkable today for its undisturbed interior than for the quality of its architecture. Even the wall decoration survives, though damp has dimmed its brilliance.

Cobh Cathedral (1867).

Killarney Cathedral.

Fermoy Roman Catholic Church, County Cork (1867). St. Patrick's Church in Fermoy was built in the early 1800s. The original church was quite small and was extended in 1843 when Father Timothy Murphy was parish priest. The architects Pugin and Ashlin designed further extensions in 1867 which gave the church its modern appearance. External appearance largely due to Pugin and Ashlin who were called in to add the asymmetrical tower and spire and supplied buttresses to stress the verticality of the facade. The interior is by the Pain brothers (see [http://www.corkpastandpresent.ie/img/irishbuilder/portrait/saint_patricks_church_fermoy.jpg] ).

Crosshaven Roman Catholic Church, County Cork (1869). Not to be outdone by the Church of Ireland who had a church designed by William Burges (see [http://www.corkpastandpresent.ie/img/irishbuilder/portrait/templebrady_church.jpg] ) (the designer of St. Finbarr's Cathedral, Cork), the formidable parish priest Canon Denis McSwiney commissioned his church from another leading English architect, E. W. Pugin. Work started in 1869 but was halted by litigation the following year when the builder, Richard Evans, was sued by the canon for not using the random masonry that Pugin intended, but did not clearly specify. The contractor lost and Pugin failed to get his fee. "I can only say that Canon McSwiney is the most extraordinary client I have ever come across in my life...". The church was Pugin's last Irish commission. Chancel since modernised. The lacy belfry is by another architect, possibly Coakley, and has been rebuilt.

Monkstown Roman Catholic Church, County Cork (1866) (see [http://www.imagesofoldireland.com/towns%20and%20villages/co%20cork/monkstown/CK487.jpg] and [http://www.gladysleach.com/images/monkstown_church.jpg] ). Canon Henry Neville, parish priest of Passage-Monkstown, commissioned Pugin and Ashlin, to design the Sacred Heart Church in the late 1860s. Bishop William Delaney consecrated the church on 27 August 1871. The church is built mainly of brown sandstone with limestone used for the corners and Gorsham stone for ornamental work.Originally the spire was to have a four-faced clock. Local folklore claims that Murphy's Brewery offered to pay for the clock but Canon McNamara, the then parish priest, refused the offer as he was opposed to the sale of alcohol. Designed in 1866, and built on a difficult terraced site above the estuary of the River Lee. Cruciform plan with double transepts screened by the nave arcades as in SS Peter and Paul in Cork. Apse has inset gabled central window. Built out of local red sandstone with Ballintemple and Bath stone dressings. Adjoining belfry with more elaborate spire completed in 1881. The red-brick presbytery (see [http://www.corkpastandpresent.ie/img/irishbuilder/landscape/monkstown_presbytery.jpg] ) below the church dates from 1868 and reveals the predominant influence of Pugin.

Convent of Mercy, Skibbereen, County Cork (1867). French Gothic chapel added by Pugin and Ashlin in 1867 to overlook the cathedral, linked to the earlier chapel transformed into a transept for the nuns. Rose window set above a row of lancets blocked with red marble. Gallery staircase contained in corner turret. Controlled polychromy throughout. Neo-medieval glass in window above the altar.

Convent of Mercy, Birr, County Offaly.

"Attributed" to:

*Midleton Arms
*Church and Convent, Ramsgrange, County Wexford
*Bellevue Roman Catholic Church, County Wexford

Works in England

* [http://www.stbeghschurch.co.uk St. Begh's Church] , Whitehaven, Cumberland (1868)
* [http://www.visitcumbria.com/sl/chf3.htm St. Mary's Catholic Church] , Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire (1866-7)
* [http://www.visitcumbria.com/wc/chw7.htm St. Mary's Church] , Cleator, Cumberland (1872)
* [http://www.visitcumbria.com/wc/chw12.htm Our Lady and St. Michael's Church] , Workington, Cumberland (1876);
* St. Patrick's Wolverhampton (demolished) [http://www.cobhcathedral.com/images/wolve.jpg]
*1853: Our Lady Immaculate and St Cuthbert, Crook, Co Durham;
*1856: Our Lady of Help, Town Walls, Shrewsbury, (now a cathedral).
*1856: Our Lady Immaculate, St. Domingo Road, Everton, Liverpool. Demolished. Lady Chapel of scheme for Liverpool Cathedral.
*1856: St. Vincent de Paul, St. James Street, Liverpool;
*1857: Holy Cross, Croston, Lancashire. Small estate church;
*1857-59: Our Lady and St. Hubert, Great Harwood, Lancashire;
*1859-60: Our Lady of la Salette, Liverpool;
*No Date: St. Mary's, Warwick;
*1860-1: St. Anne, Westby, Kirkham, Lancashire;
*1861: St. Edward, Thurloe Street, Rusholme, Manchester;
*1861-5: St. Michael, West Derby Road, Everton, Liverpool;
*1862: St. Anne, Chester Road, Stretford, near Manchester;
*1863: St. Peter, Greengate, Salford, Lancashire;
*1863: SS Henry and Elizabeth, Sheerness, Kent;
*1863: Convent of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge, Bartestree, Herefordshire (Subsequently converted to flats);
*1863: St Joseph, Bolton Road, Anderton, Chorley, Lancashire;
*1864: Our Lady and All Saints, New Road, Stourbridge, Worcestershire;
*1864: St. Marie, Lugsdale Road, Widnes, Cheshire (redundant);
*1864: Our Lady of Redemption, Wellesley Road, Croydon.
*1864: St. Hubert, Dunsop Bridge, Yorkshire;
*1865: St. Mary, Euxton, Lancashire;
*1865: St. Catherine, Kingsdown, Kent;
*1865-6: Mayfield Boys Orphanage (later Mayfield College, from 2007 converted to residential apartments as Mayfield Grange), Mayfield, Sussex;
*1865-7: St. Joseph, York Road, Birkdale, Southport, Lancashire;
*1866: Euxton Hall Chapel, Euxton, near Chorley, Lancashire;
*1866: St Francis Monastery , Gorton, Manchester ;
*1866: Our Blessed Lady and St. Joseph, Leadgate, Durham;
*1866: Chancel and transepts to Mount St. Mary, Leeds;
*1866-8: Meanwood Towers,Meanwood, Leeds;
*1866-7: St. Mary, Duke Street, Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire;
*1866-7: St Michael and All Angels, Mortuary Chapel and Knill Memorial, Brockley Cemetery, London, destroyed by bombing in 1944;
*1867: St Paul's, Maison Dieu Road, Dover, Kent;
*1867-8: St Mary, Fleetwood, Lancashire;
*1867-8: All Saints, Barton on Irwell, near Eccles, Lancashire;
*1867-8: All Saints' Church in Urmston, Greater Manchester [cite web|title=All Saints’ Church|url=http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/details/default.aspx?pid=1&id=212996|publisher=Images of England|accessdate=2007-12-22]
*1868: Two colleges at Mark Cross, Sussex;
*1868: St. Begh, Coach Road, Whitehaven, Cumberland;
*1869-72: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Cleator, Cumberland;
*1871: Stanbrook Abbey, Powick, Worcestershire;
*1875 Edward Welby Pugin dies;
*1875: St. Anne Rommer, Highfield Road, Rockferry, Birkenhead, Wirral, Cheshire designed by EW Pugin,
*1875-76: The English Martyrs, London. EW Pugin design;
*1876: Our Lady Star of the Sea, Workington. EW Pugin design;
*1877: St. Mary, Buttermarket, Warrington, Lancashire EW design;

Works in Scotland

1874: Glenfinan Church

Works in association with George Ashlin

* SS Peter and Paul's, Cork, (1859)
* Convent of Mercy, Clonakilty, County Cork (1867);
* Convent and Orphanage, William Street North, Dublin (1867);
* SS Augustine and John, Thomas Street, Dublin (1860);Regarded as Dublin's finest Victorian church, SS Augustine and John (John's Lane Church) in the Liberties area was designed by E.W. Pugin and executed by his partner George Ashlin for the Augustinian Fathers. It was built between 1862 and 1895. It has the tallest spire in Dublin (231 ft), and occupies a prominent position on high ground overlooking the Liffey Valley. It has a striking polychromatic appearance, being built in granite with red sandstone dressings. The eminent Gothic revivalist Ruskin is said to have praised it, describing it as a "poem in stone".Statues of the apostles in the niches of the spire are by James Pearse, father of Padraig and Willie, who were executed after the 1916 Easter rising.There is some good stained glass from the Harry Clarke studios.
* Presentation Convent, Fethard, Co. Tipperary (1862);
* Harrington Street Catholic Church, Dublin (1867); [http://www.tropicalisland.de/ireland/dublin/city_south/images/DUB%20Dublin%20-%20Saint%20Kevins%20Church%20in%20Harrington%20Street%2001%203008x2000.jpg]
* Donnybrook Catholic Church, Dublin (1863);
* Monkstown Catholic Church, Co. Dublin (1865);
* Arles Catholic Church, Stradbally, Co. Laois (1965);
* Ferrybank Catholic Church, Waterford (1867);
* Kilanerin Catholic Church, Wexford ((1865);
* Lady's Island Catholic Church, Co. Wexford; (1863).


* Michael Fisher "Pugin-Land: A W N Pugin, Lord Shrewsbury and the Gothic Revival in Staffordshire" Stafford Fisher, 2002.
*Rachel Hasted,"Scarisbrick Hall – A Guide", Social History at Lancashire County Museum Service, 1984.
* Frederick O'Dwyer, "Ecclesiatical Architecture from 1829" in W.J. McCormack (ed) "Modern Irish Culture", Oxford:Blackwell,2001.
* Frederick O'Dwyer, 'A Victorian Partnership- The Architecture of Pugin & Ashlin" in John Graby(ed) "150 Years of Architecture in Ireland", Dublin, Eblana Editions, 1989.
* Jeanne Sheehy, "The Rediscovery of Ireland's Past, The Celtic Revival 1830-1930". London 1980.


External links

* [http://www.cobhcathedral.com/History/Architects/EWPugin.html Cobh Cathedral]
* [http://www.pugin-society.1to1.org/LL-EWandPP-churches.html Pugin Society]

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