St Columba's Church, Drypool Team Parish, Diocese of York

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(This page is a soft copy of text taken from the printed guide, copies of which are available from the church)



St. Columbaís Church



In the first edition of this guide Reverend Jim Roxburgh wrote:-

"This Church was built at a cost of £73,000. It was built by people who believe that God ought to have the best of which men are capable. There was therefore some first class craftsmanship put in by the main contractors. There was also some considerable sacrifice on the part of many people to help to pay for this building. Altogether compensation payments amounted to £58,000, but the people of the parish had to give some £15,000 themselves. And this was not easy. But the job of building this church was tackled wholeheartedly because of the need to create as beautiful a home as possible in which God's people could meet together.

"It's here now to be used. To be used, first for worship. Men need to have something and somebody to worship. The God who made the world of men, and who "so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" is the God whom men ought to worship. This Church was built in order that the people of this part of East Hull may be able to do just that.

"It is to be used too to proclaim by its furniture, by its atmosphere, and above all by the words read, services conducted and sermons preached, that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world, and has reconciled God and man.

"It is to be used too to provide a place where men and women can have fellowship with God and with each other.

"St. Columba's fabric has been built. But as 1 Peter 2 v 5 says "Like living stones, be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." May we all heed those words and act




General Information

The first place of worship with the designation "St. Columba" was opened in 1914, and is now the Church Hall.

In October 1926 H.R.H. The Princess Royal laid the Foundation Stone of the permanent Church. She was visiting Hull to receive purses in connection with the Hull Church Extension Appeal, and she laid the Stone by "remote control" from the Cecil Cinema. The new Church was consecrated by Archbishop William Temple in January 1929.

During an air raid in July 1943 the Church was destroyed by bombing, and services were transferred back to the Hall, where they continued to be held until 1960.

The Foundation Stone of the second permanent Church was laid by H.R.H. The Princess Royal in person on the site in October, 1958, and the new Church was consecrated by Archbishop Ramsey in September I960.

The first Church had only a temporary West End. The second Church has been completely finished. Because of the Hull Corporation's intention to widen Holderness Road, it was necessary to set the building back from its original foundations, and for this reason the sanctuary of the present Church stands where the chancel stood in the first Church. Hence, the present St. Columba's is regarded as a new Church, and so has been consecrated rather than rehallowed.

The first Foundation Stone is located in the Baptistry on the Chancel arch nearest the Organ Chamber. The second Foundation Stone is located on the arch by the Laburnum Avenue porch. H.K.H. The Princes Royal donated to the Church the replica of the first Foundation Stone that was presented to her in 1926.

The architects of the new St. Columba's were Messrs Milner and Craze, who had been responsible for such notable work as the restoration of York Guildhall, Southwark Roman Catholic Cathedral, St. Mary's Southampton, St. Mark's Surbiton, St. Cuthbert's North Wembley. They have designed St. Alban's, St. Andrew's and St. Martin's in Hull. The main contractors who were responsible for the building were the well known local firm of Messrs Houlton and Grant.

Full details of the gifts that have gone into the new Church and of the story of the building, are recorded in the "St. Columba's Builders Book" which was donated by the children of the Archbishop William Temple School.

From the old Church the walls at the Holderness Road end of the building have been retained to half their height, and the piers from half way down the nave. Several items of furnishing have survived; these include the ewer and the processional cross, but few of the memorials survived from the old Church. Such as have are now in the Muniment Room.


Features of the Church


(a) Mural

The east wall of the Church is occupied by a mural that has been painted by Robert Hendra and Geoffrey Harper. It shows Christ in Glory, surrounded by a Heavenly Te Deum. He stands to receive the offering of men and their labour (one of His hands is outstretched), and at the same time He stands to judge men and their labour (the other hand holds in it the Book with the seven seals as referred to in Revelation 5.)

At the base of the mural to left and right are shown symbolic representations of Hull's docks and industries, and in the centre, the fishermen, Peter and Andrew - linked with the Saints of Drypool's first two Churches, and with Hull's great fishing industry - are shown with nets. There is a rock behind Peter as a reference to the words of Christ to Peter "On this rock I will build my Church."

The shaft of light that runs up the mural is a symbol of God the Father (1 John 1 v 5). The Holy Spirit is represented at the top by the Dove, and it is the activity of God through His Spirit that makes men able to know their God and to do His Will.


(b) West Window

In the upper part of the window, the large figure of St. Columba is shown standing on an island, symbolic of the Isle of Iona. Certain of the traditional symbols associated with St. Columba are surrounding him - sea birds and the dove. (The name Columba in Latin means dove). The border of oak leaves is a reference to Durrough (field of oaks), one of the many monasteries founded by the Saint in Ireland, and is intended as a general allusion to the great work he did in Ireland before he sailed to Scotland. One of the features of Columba's work on Iona was the number and variety of his visitors. The lower part of the window shows a group of these visitors crowding to hear the Word of God as Columba proclaimed it.

This window has won first prize in the internal competition organised annually by the Federation of Master Glass Painters.


c) Chapel Windows

The seven Chapel windows, like the West Window, are also the work of Robert Hendra and Geoffrey Harper.

They aim to tell the story of how the Church of God has expanded, and they are linked with the story of the Parish of Drypool.

On the north side of the Chapel are four windows representing "old time" Saints.

1.      ST. PETER - His symbol, the Keys, is above the figure, and below is the text from John 1 v 41 "He first findeth his brother," reminding us that Peter himself was brought to Christ because his own brother witnessed to him.

2.      ST. ANDREW - The figure of St. Andrew is surmounted by his Cross, and underneath is the text "I will make you to become fishers of men" (Mark 1 v 177), Christians are to "fish" men into Christ's nets.

3.      ST COLUMBA - Columba is holding a scroll and quill, reminding us of his great work in copying the Gospels. The symbol above is the ornamented Celtic Cross, and this is to make us realise the importance of Columba in the evangelistic story of Celtic Christianity.

4.      ST AIDAN - The symbol above is St. Oswald's Cross, and is a reminder that it was Oswald who brought Aidan to Northumbria to proclaim the Word of God.

These four Saints have been included not only because they tell their story that by personal testimony of those who know Christ the Church goes forward, but also because they are the Saints of the Churches of Drypool Parish,

The original Church of Drypool was St Peter's (first Church about 1100, rebuilt 1823, destroyed in Word War II and now a Garden of Rest near Victoria Dock) When a second Church was built in the Parish (1878), what more appropriate a name to pick than Peter's brother - Andrew. St. Andrew's stood at the corner of Holderness Road and Abbey Street until 1984 when it was demolished. Church services in that area of the parish began again in 1988, meeting in Craven Street School. Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland, and therefore when a third Church was needed in the Parish (1914), it was appropriate to pick as its dedication the man who was responsible for the conversion of Scotland - Columba. Later, a fourth Church was needed in the Parish, and since Aidan continued in Northern England where Columba had finished in Scotland, this Church was called St. Aidan's (1925).

On the east side of the Chapel are three "modern" scenes continuing the same story.

5.      FOUNDING OF C.M.S. - The Parish of Drypool has many close links with the Church Missionary Society. It was with the founding of this Society in 1799 that the modern missionary movement of the Church of England really began. The Society was founded by the leaders of the Evangelical Revival meeting at the Falcon and Castle Inn in London. The window shows the famous teapot, which is still presented at the Society's Headquarters.

6.      SAMUAL CROWTHER - Samual Crowther was the first African Bishop of modern times, and the arms of his diocese - the Niger - are shown above. Crowther was freed from slavery as a result of Wilberforce's work, and Wilberforce was also the patron of the living of Drypool. Crowther was made a Bishop as a result of the policy of Henry Venn, the Secretary of C.M.S. who encouraged in the Society's mission areas the establishment of an indigenous ministry. And Venn before he went to C.M.S. had earlier served as Vicar of Drypool.

7.      ALL SAINTS - Above is the symbol of All Saints, and the figures represent people of all nations and races crowding into the kingdom of God, The text below is Revelation 5 v 9.


May we learn the lesson of these windows, and from a real faith Jesus Christ, go forth with our Gospel to others who know Him not.


(d) Choir and Clergy Stalls

The feature of the Choir and Clergy Stalls is the series of wood-carvings that have been made by Messrs A. Robinson of Kingston-on-Thames.

The carvings on the Clergy Stalls are of the Diocese of York and of the City of Kingston~upon-Hull.

The carvings on the Choir Stalls are a series of symbols of the Twelve Apostles. Many of these are based on obscure legends, and not all of them are by any means the best known of the Apostolic Symbols.


1.      ST. PETER - (keys and the cock). The Keys are the Keys of the Kingdom, and the cock is a reminder of Peter's denial "before the cock crowed thrice."

2.      ST. ANDREW - (Cross saltire and fish). The saltire symbol of St. Andrew is in memory of the Cross on which he is reported to have suffered martyrdom. The fish alludes to his being a fisherman.

3.      ST. JAMES (The Great) - (Wallet horse with harness ornamented with shells, sword). The scallop shell was adopted by pilgrims in memory of the Saint as a fisherman. The Spanish Knightly Order of St. James was founded in memory of the Battle of Clavijo where, it is said, the Saint as patron of Spain appeared mounted on a white horse, sword in hand, to fight against the Moors with the trappers of his warhorse powdered with scallops. The badge of this Order is a sword with a silver scallop upon the hilt. The wallet is a pilgrim's purse.

4.      ST. BARTHOLEMEW - (Butcher's flaying knife and skin of man with scull). The flaying Knife and skin etc. represent the tradition that Bartholemew was flayed alive,

5.      ST. THOMAS - (Spear, long staff and palace). There is an old story that Thomas was asked to build a palace for King Gudnapher, and was given money for the building. When the King returned from a journey from afar there was no palace, for Thomas had spent the King's money on the poor, The King ordered Thomas to death, but in the night the King's dead brother returned to him, and told him what he had seen in heaven and of the mansions there. Among them was a great and glorious palace that had been built for the King by Thomas his architect. So the King forgave Thomas and was baptised. Thomas was slain with a spear.

6.      ST. PHILIP - (T cross and dragon). The story goes that Philip was crucified because he destroyed, by holding up a cross, a large dragon which the Phrygians worshipped.

7.      ST. MATTHEW - (Money box, axe, carpenter's rule). The axe is the instrument of his reputed martyrdom, and the money box signifies that he was a tax gatherer.

8.      ST. JAMES (the Less) - (Fuller's club, saw and Fuller's sill). The Fuller's club was the reputed instrument of his martyrdom.

9.      ST. JUDEA - (Boat, carpenter's square and boat hook) - The boat and hook allude to his calling as a fisherman. The square may denote him as one of Christ's Kindred - if so, there has been a confusion of Judes.

10.  ST. SIMON - (Saw and two fishes). Simon is thought of as a fisherman, and is traditionally thought to have been martyred by being sawn asunder.

11.  ST. MATTHIAS - (Crown of martyrdom, leg and halberd).Matthias is often thought to have been martyred by being slain with an axe. No reason is known for the leg emblem.

12.  ST. JOHN - (Poison, chalice and serpent). The story goes that a priest of Diana challenged John to drink a draught of poison, but when he made the sign of the cross over it, Satan rose from it in the form of a dragon and flew away.


Little in this symbolism may have Scriptural authority, and it is mythical. But they remind us of twelve men who braved in the service of One whom they came to know as the Son of God Saviour of the world. Little in this symbolism may have Scriptural authority, and it is mythical. But they remind us of twelve men who braved in the service of One whom they came to know as the Son of God Saviour of the world.


e) Iona Stone

Set into the front of the Pulpit is a piece of granite that has been cut from Iona, and has been sent to St. Columba's by the Iona Community. It is more than fitting that this link should be preserved between St. Columba's original centre and his latest Church. We make grateful acknowledgement of the co-operation of the Iona Community in making this gift possible.


f) Communion Table

The inspiration for the somewhat unusual Communion Table in the main sanctuary came from the well known Church at Assy in Savoy. The table is of wooden construction throughout. and the top is balanced, cantilever fashion, on the central base.


g) Other Wood Carvings

(i) On the Communion Rail there are carvings of wheat and of grapes - the basic materials for the Bread and Wine of the Holy Communion service.

(ii) On the Sedilia Desk there are three carvings. The centre one is of the Celtic Cross. The other two are both traditional symbols of Christ - the Alpha and Omega (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet) and the "Chi-Rho" monogram (the first two letters of the name "Christ" in Greek).

(iii) The arms of the Diocese of York are carved in front of the Bishop's Chair and Desk in the sanctuary.


i) Font

The Font has been installed in the Baptistery, and comes from the old St. James's Church. It has been completely restored. A portable font was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Blencoe in memory of their son, and is in regular use.


j) Ceiling

The ceiling is a coffered one. It has been painted on a base of fibre plaster.


k) Bell

There is only one bell in the Tower. It was made at the Whitechapel Foundry. The bell from the old Church is now in use at the Rural Training Centre at Asaba in the Western Region of Nigeria.




The Chapel in the north east corner of the Church is named after St. Peter to keep the continuity of name with the ancient Parish Church of Drypool. From about 1100 until St. Andrew's Church was built in 1878 Drypool Church was St. Peter's Church. Even after St. Peterís ceased to be the Parish Church of Drypool it continued its life and witness until, following the bombing of the Church in World War II it was finally closed in 1948.

The Chapel has been furnished as a memorial to Canon E. Arthur Berry. Canon Berry was Vicar of Drypool from 1914 to 1947, and was responsible for building both the Hall and the first Church of St. Columba. He was the man also who made the first plans for the rebuilding of this Church. Canon Berry's personality dominated the Drypool scene during an important phase in its history, and his grateful parishioners have preserved his memory in this Chapel.

The Communion Rails are the personal gift of Canon Berry's son and his family.

The Cross on the Communion Table is the one that was in the main Sanctuary of the first St. Columba's.


c) Organ

The organ is a complete rebuild of the organ that used to be in St. James's Church. The Hall and Broadfield Organ Co., have been responsible for the work and Mr. Eric Bell, Organist of St. Mary, Beverley, has acted as consultant and adviser. The specification of the organ is:


1.       Open Diapason

16 ft

2.       Bourdon

16 ft

3.       Quint

102/3 ft (from No. 2)

4.       Octave

8 ft (from No. 1)

5.       Flute Bass

8 ft (from No. 2)

6.       Super Octave

4 ft (from No. 1)

7.       Flute

4 ft (from No. 2)







1. Open Diapason

8 ft

1. Open Diapason

8 ft

2. Stopped Diapason

8 ft

2. Hohl Flute

8 ft

3. Dulciana

8 ft

3. Salicional

8 ft

4. Principal

4 ft

4. Principal

4 ft

5. Harmonic Flute

4 ft

5. Flageolet

2 ft

6. Twelfth

22/3 ft

6. Mixture

3 rks

7. Fifteenth

2 ft

7. Contra Oboe

16 ft

8. Mixture

2 rks

8. Cornopean

8 ft

9. Trumpet

8 ft






4 double touch thumb pistons to swell with pedal on 2nd touch, duplicated by toe pistons.

4 double touch thumb pistons to great with pedal on 2nd touch duplicated by toe pistons in reverse.

Great pedal to reverser by thumb and toe piston special thumb piston giving swell solo stop with accompaniment on the great.

Stop key control. R.C.O. pedal hoard.

Detached console in oak with bench to match electro-pneumatic action with all electric console voltmeter for action current.

Duplex blower with push button control, pistonselectorswitches on the console, balanced swell pedal.



(d) Muniment Room

Up the tower a special Muniment Room has been constructed in which all the documents of the Parish were stored, though most are now kept in the Humberside County Record Office in Beverley.




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