E.W. Pugin – Neo-Gothic architect

Edwin Welby Pugin was born the eldest son of August Welby Northmore Pugin on 11th March 1834. When his father died in 1852 he took up the family practice. He died in 5th June 1875 at the early age of 41. He designed more than 100 Catholic Churches during his working life. We are lucky enough to have three of them right here in West Cumbria.

St Beghs Whitehaven which was built in 1868

St Mary’s Cleator which was built in 1872

Our Lady Star of the Sea and St Michael, Workington built in 1876

(You can see why one of our Parishioners choice to fund raise by walking the Pugin Triangle back in 2019 – not sure he realised it would be 30 plus miles !!)
When Edward initially took up the practice his designs were very like his fathers which included “rood screen”, however later in his practice he developed designs with open sight lines within the churches without the rood screens.

(Saxon word rood or rode meaning “cross” – ornate partitions between the chancel and the nave usually from carved wood or wrought iron. Many of these screen would have another screen above with a central large figure of the crucified Christ )


He never married and had a difficult life with uncertain health, taking habit forming medication of Chloral hydrate , his bankruptcy in 1873 will no doubt have contributed to his worries.

If you look at the timeline sadly he died before the church of Our Lady Star of the Sea and St Michael was completed. His younger brother Cuthbert Welby and half brother Edmund Peter oversaw the completion of Our Lady Star of the Sea and St Michael.