Dorking - St Joseph

Falkland Grove, Dorking, Surrey RH4 3DL

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St Joseph’s is one of the many churches designed by the prolific Roman Catholic architect Frederick A Walters.  Had the building been completed as intended it would certainly have merited listing.  As it is, however, the exterior suffers from the lack of the intended tower, and the interior is obviously incomplete without the north aisle.  Walters’ ambitious scheme for the church, with its dramatic flight of stairs to the west and tall tower to the south, was a fine one.  

The foundation stone of this church was laid on 17 May 1894 and the church was opened on 2 July 1895.  The architect was F A Walters.  The church was to have comprised nave, aisles and sanctuary flanked by two side chapels, one with a tower above it, and a baptistery at the west end.  But the north aisle, south chapel and tower were never built.  The church has tiled roofs and is built of Bargate stone with Bath stone dressings.  It stands high up on a steep hillside overlooking Dorking and must be very visible from the other side of the valley, though close to it is rather hard to see.  This is because trees shroud the west end of the building hiding the angled flight of steps that leads up to the main entrance.

Inside the church the arcade is of Beer stone, the walls are painted white, the sanctuary has a timber vault (with painted decoration) and the nave and aisle have open timber roofs.  There is a modern organ gallery at the west end with a narthex beneath it.  Good fittings include the painted reredos in the sanctuary, fine altar and statue of Our Lady at the east end of the south aisle with the tapestry made by Margaret Rohlfing in 1993 hanging behind it, and the font, now in the south aisle.

The presbytery predates the church.  It was designed by Gilbert Robert Blount and built in 1871 (Architect, 5 August 1871, 71).

Diocese: Arundel and Brighton

Architect: Frederick A Walters

Original Date: 1894

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed