Balsall Common - Blessed Robert Grissold

Meeting House Lane, Balsall Common, West Midlands CV7

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A substantial modern suburban church. The materials and architectural forms are traditional and the play of different roof slopes provides architectural interest.

Balsall Common was originally in the parish of St Augustine, Kenilworth and then Dorridge. The first Catholic church in Balsall Common, made from three former army huts and dedicated to St Philomena, was opened on 2 December 1948 on part of a two-acre piece of farmland which had been purchased by Canon Manion, the parish priest of Dorridge, with a view to building a church and school. When Balsall Heath began to grow in the 1970s most of the land was sold but a portion around the church was retained. Planning permission was obtained in the late 1980s for building a new church on the old site and also for three new houses, one of which was initially retained as a presbytery.  The new church and parish centre was built to the designs of John D. Holmes of Leamington Spa and opened in 1994. It was dedicated to Blessed Robert Grissold, martyred at Warwick in 1604 and beatified in 1987. A plaque by the main entrance records that the church was awarded Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s Design Award for 1995.

The church and parish centre are combined in a single modern vernacular building. The external facings are of red brick laid in stretcher bond, the steep roofs are covered in slate. The two main elements are distinct. The church is taller, rectangular on plan with large transeptal traceried windows midway along both sides, a short projecting sanctuary at the east end and a bellcote on the western gable. The hall is lower with a projecting southern extension.

The interior of the church has bare brick walls. The laminated timber trusses of the main roof are exposed and the internal roof slopes are boarded. The east wall is blind. Some of the fittings were brought from the previous church (the tabernacle, the statues and the Stations of the Cross). The main side windows are clear glazed but smaller windows flanking the sanctuary have modern stained glass.

Diocese: Birmingham

Architect: John D. Holmes

Original Date: 1994

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed