Horley - English Martyrs

4 Vicarage Lane, Horley, Surrey RH6 8AR.

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The Church of the English Martyrs, Horley, was built at a time when architects such as Justin Alleyn, Tomei and Maxwell and F G Broadbent’s younger partners were all vying with each other to build churches suited to the new approach to liturgy stipulated in ‘Vatican 2’.  As a result, they are breaking away from the traditional models and experimenting with new forms and plans suited to a more ‘inclusive’ type of worship.  A number of centrally planned churches, like the one at Horley, were built at this time.  

The best, and certainly the most distinctive, architectural features of this church are the ‘rippling’ shapes displayed in the treatment of the roof and elevations but, even so, I did not find its vast tent-like interior very appealing.  With a circular shape it is important to have a point where the eye comes to rest – and in a church that should be the sanctuary – but here the design of the sanctuary is not sufficiently powerful to dominate the interior.  Fourmaintreaux’s stained glass, evidently appreciated as there is a leaflet devoted to it, is the best thing in the church.

The church of the English Martyrs was designed by the architect, J H Alleyn (see Ewell report) and built in 1962.  The plan is octagonal with projecting chapels to north and south and a rectangular narthex to the west.  The church is built of yellow brick.  At the north end of the covered walkway leading to the main entrance is a detached bell tower of open ‘ladder construction’.

Inside, the fluted shape of the central roof dictates the undulating form of the continuous band of clerestory windows.  At the lower level, an ambulatory, running behind the pierced screens flanking the sanctuary, encircles the building.  As at Ewell, the ground floor windows are set in triangular projections and filled with stained glass by Pierre Fourmaintreaux, but in this case they are placed so they can be seen by the members of the congregation.  The images they contain represent the Stations of the Cross.

Diocese: Arundel and Brighton

Architect: Justin Henry Alleyn

Original Date: 1962

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed