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Douglas Horsfall

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Horsfall in Durham MA dress, from The Stag, the magazine of St Chad's Hall, Durham, Epiphany Term 1911
Horsfall in Durham MA dress, from The Stag, the magazine of St Chad's Hall, Durham, Epiphany Term 1911

Howard Douglas Horsfall (1856-February 1936) was a stockbroker and benefactor based in Liverpool, England. He is remembered for building churches in Liverpool, and as a founding benefactor of St Chad's College, Durham.

Early life and education

He was the second son of Robert Horsfall, and nephew of Thomas Horsfall, MP for Liverpool.[1]

The Horsfall family had a tradition of building churches: Douglas' grandfather, Charles, was a founder of St George's Church, Everton, and Charles' sons built Christ Church, Everton in his memory.[2] Douglas' father Robert had firm Anglo-Catholic convictions, and funded the building of the Church of St Margaret of Antioch, Liverpool, in 1868.[3]

He studied at Eton College (with William Johnson Cory as his tutor) in 1870-71, before entering his father's stockbroking firm.[1]



Like his father, Horsfall was a firm supporter of the Anglo-Catholic movement, and his benefactions reflected this aim.[1]

In 1883, Horsfall, with his mother, funded the building of the Church of St Agnes and St Pancras, Toxteth Park. It was designed by John Loughborough Pearson and described by Nikolaus Pevsner as "by far the most beautiful Victorian church of epitome of Late Victorian nobility in church design".[4] in 1975 it received the highest Grade I listing for historical significance.

In 1900 he funded the building of St Faith's Church in Great Crosby.[5]

In 1913 he funded the building of the Church of St Paul, Liverpool, designed by Giles Gilbert Scott.[5][1] It is Europe's largest brick-built church, and was used by Scott as a test bed for many ideas later used in Liverpool Cathedral.[6]

Horsfall was also a member of the original committee for the building of Liverpool Cathedral; though he did not make any donation to its building.[7]

St Chad's College

In 1904, he became the major benefactor involved in the founding of St Chad's Hall at Durham University, to train Anglo-Catholic priests to serve in the Church of England.[1] He retained this link and continued to give to the hall throughout his life, and was celebrated as "Fundator Noster" (our founder) in the college magazine (although in recent years the college has shared that title with Julia Warde-Aldam, benefactor of the predecessor institution St Chad's Hostel).[8] In 1907, the University awarded Horsfall an honorary degree of Master of Arts in recognition of this support.[1]

The hall survives as St Chad's College, Durham, and Horsfall's portrait hangs over the high table in the dining hall.[8][9]

Personal life

In 1887 he married Mabel, daughter of Egerton Parks Smith, and had two sons and two daughters, including Olympic and Oxford rower Major Ewart Horsfall M.C.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Mr H.D. Horsfall, a builder of churches in Liverpool". The Times. 10 February 1936.
  2. ^ Brown & de Figueiredo, Sarah & Peter (2008). Religion and Place: Liverpool's Historic Places of Worship. English Heritage. ISBN 978-1873-592885, p20
  3. ^ Brown & de Figueiredo (2008), p21
  4. ^ Sharples, Joseph; Pollard, Richard (2004), Liverpool, Pevsner Architectural Guides, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, pp. 284–286, ISBN 0-300-10258-5
  5. ^ a b Brown & de Figueiredo (2008), p22
  6. ^ Simpson, Ian. "The Horsfall Churches: Conserving the Legacy of Liverpool's Great Church Building Family". Future for Religious Heritage. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  7. ^ Sir Frederick Radcliffe (17 February 1936). "Letter to the editor". The Times.
  8. ^ a b "St Chad's Other Founder". The Chadsian. St Chad's College, Durham (2018): 22–26.
  9. ^ Masson, Margaret. "St Chad's revisits its past". St Chad's College.
This page was last edited on 28 November 2020, at 00:34
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