Abbey Hutton - Our Lady and St Benedict

Abbey Lane, Abbey Hulton, Stoke-on-Trent ST2

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A stripped Romanesque design of the early 1960s by E. Bower Norris, its square tower in particular giving it some local townscape presence. The interior has been altered but retains its unusual original ceiling treatment. 

The original church and attached primary school were built in 1937-8 on part of the grounds of the old monastery of Hulton in Abbey Lane. The foundation stone, taken from the foundations of the medieval abbey, was laid in 1937 and on 18 September 1938, the 400th anniversary of the surrender of the abbey, the new church was opened with Mass sung by Cistercians from Mount St Bernard. This building, designed by Hollins & Jones of Newcastle, was used as the school hall, with the sanctuary partitioned off when not in use. It was served from Birches Head until 1941 when a separate parish was created.

In 1962 the present church was built in Abbey Lane, a short distance from the previous one, which then became the school hall. The design was by the prolific Catholic architect E. Bower Norris of Sandy & Norris of Stafford. The foundation stone was laid on 24 March 1962 and the church was officially opened on 12 December in the same year. The builders were Elsby Bros of Burslem. Consecration took place on 28 May 1966. In 1996 the altar was brought forward and a new wall built behind it to create a meeting room so that the plan of the worship space became T-shaped.

The church is in a stripped modern Romanesque style and is built of buff brick with limestone dressings, to a cruciform plan with wide transepts and a square campanile at the northwest corner. There are no aisles. The roofs are shallow pitched and are placed behind parapets. The fenestration includes single-light windows to the nave, and large circular windows the west end and in each of the transepts.

Internally the building is plastered with the walls being painted cream above a low bare brick dado. A narthex with gallery over it lies within the west end of the nave. The former sanctuary has been taken up by a meeting room and thus the current sanctuary sits within what was originally the crossing. The ceiling is of textured board with a large raised cross of similar material, an unusual and original feature. There are no fittings or furnishings which require particular mention.

Diocese: Birmingham

Architect: Sandy & Norris

Original Date: 1962

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed