Littlehampton - St Catherine

St Catherine’s, Beach Road, Littlehampton, West Sussex BN17 5JH

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The church occupies an unusual position, effectively part of an open space between two streets.  It has good townscape value as well as being of architectural significance in its own right as an example of a mainstream Catholic church of the mid Victorian period.

Enlargement of original circa 1875 Chapel built for the Duchess of.Norfolk as one of 5 to commemorate the 'Five Holy Wounds'. Recast in 1883 by M E or C Hadfield. Stone. Aligned North-South. C13 French exterior. 2 gables to south above porch. Wheel windows. Nave and East aisle of 5 bays. West transept gabled North and South. Presbytery joined at East transept. Interior contains three crocketted and gilded altars with saints and a pulpit, all with variety of marbles etc.

The church was founded by Minna, Duchess of Norfolk in 1862-3, the architect was M E Hadfield.  The church was enlarged in 1883-84 by Hadfield & Son and was further enlarged in 1904 by Pugin & Pugin.  Although a Sheffield based architectural practice the Hadfields had a long association with the Dukes of Norfolk, principally with the extensive Norfolk land holdings in Sheffield, south west Yorkshire and northern Derbyshire.  M E Hadfield’s grandfather had been agent for the Duke of Norfolk’s Glossop estate.  In 1862 The Builder reported of the church that the ‘style is Geometric Gothic, and the materials Kentish Rag and Whitby stone. The characteristic features of the design are a porch at the west end, having a deeply-recessed doorway and a lean-to roof…and the building is nearly ready for the roof’.    The original scheme consisted of a church, presbytery and school designed to form a group.  What was built was the presbytery and nave and sanctuary opened in 1863.  In 1883-4 an aisle and a gallery were added and in 1904 the church was extended eastwards by two bays, together with a sanctuary of about the same length, and St Joseph’s Chapel, with an independent entrance, was added on the north side.  Pugin & Pugin were the architects,  The Building News in 1904 reported that the church’ re-opened last week after enlargement.  Built in 1864, the edifice then consisted of a nave with high, open-timber roof;  in 1884 an aisle was added, and now the original body of the church has been prolonged eastward by two bays, together with a sanctuary of almost equal size.  On one side is a new St Joseph’s chapel with its independent entrances.  Two confessionals have been built into the wall.  The new high altar has been carved by Messrs R L Boulton & Sons of Cheltenham.  Beer stone elaborately carved has been chiefly used….The altar has cost £340.  A low stone pulpit of similar design…’.  The article mentions that the same stone was used, Kentish Rag with Whitby stone dressings on the outside and Bath stone on the inside.  Stained glass in sanctuary, nave north side and south aisle by Cox & Barnard of Hove.

Diocese: Arundel and Brighton

Architect: M E Hadfield, Hadfield & Son, Pugin & Pugin

Original Date: 1862

Conservation Area: Yes

Modifications: 1883-4, 1904

Listed Grade: Grade II