The ‘new’ church was built by John Keswick of Micklegate in 1881-1883 to the designs of J B Hall of Canterbury. It is the largest ecclesiastical edifice in York after the Minster. Built to serve an ever-increasing population of working class parishioners, it is set back from Lawrence Street in several acres of leafy churchyard on the slight rise towards Heslington Road. Blackened by the smog from coal fires and industry from the days of the early 20th century, the church has taken on a formidable yet elegant appearance which betokens dignity and reverence. The spire is visible from from all along Hull Road and from beyond the outer ring road.
The church is pewed and can comfortably seat about 400 in the nave. The parish received a grant from the Church Buildings Council for the building of the new church. The size of the grant was proportional to the seating: there were originally pews to seat 850.
The 15th century font, which was brought from the old church, stands at the back of the South aisle.
St Lawrence houses a large quantity of 20th-century stained glass, the majority of which is by renowned York stained glass artist J W Knowles of Stonegate. There is also stained glass by Joan Fulleylove, Bewsey and Harry Harvey. If you would like to find out more about the stained glass, a brief guide to the stained glass can be found here.
There are three side chapels: The Chapel of Our Lady, the Chapel of Divine Compassion and the Chapel of St Nicholas.
The 3-manual pipe organ was rebuilt and fully restored in 2020. It is a Yorkshire masterpiece. Built by Denman of York in 1885 at a cost of £950, it is housed in a spectacular carved oak case, designed by James Demaine of Brierley Groom architects.
The Old Church
The old parish church stood a few yards from the New Church, the old tower of the church still stands in the churchyard. It was demolished in 1881 to make way for the new building. Although the building was in good condition and had many interesting features, it was thought to be too small for the growing population of the parish. The foot print of the old church is marked with old ledger stones. Some of the stained glass was transferred to the new church, as well as the font. We have the Jacobean vestry table, two old restoration chairs, and silver from the old church.