Stock - Our Lady and St Joseph

Mill Road, Stock, Ingatestone, Essex CM4

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A former school with attached schoolmaster’s accommodation, built from designs by Peter Paul Pugin in the 1890s at the expense of the Gillow family of nearby Lilystone Hall. The building was converted to a church in 1937. It contains a number of historic furnishings of note from the chapel at Lilystone Hall. 

A mission was founded in 1744, served by resident Jesuits priests at nearby Crondon Park. The house had been owned by the Petre family of Ingatestone Hall from the mid-sixteenth century, and by the eighteenth century was in the possession of the Mason family, also Catholics. The Stock parish registers record the burial of ‘Richard Belling from Crondon Park, a Romish Priest’ in 1769.

In 1852 a temporary chapel was opened at Lilystone Hall, which had been recently acquired by the Catholic Gillow family. In 1875 this was replaced by a permanent chapel addition to the house, designed by Charles Alban Buckler and dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Sir William Gillow also built a priest’s house, from designs by the local architect George Sherrin (now Bishop's House) and in 1890-91 St Joseph’s Catholic School in Mill Road (the present church), from designs by Peter Paul Pugin. The cost of the school was £5000 and the builders were Messrs Green & Co., Ingatestone.

The parish was erected at the time of the creation of the Diocese of Brentwood, on 24 July 1918.

In 1936 the Lilystone Hall chapel was closed, and the school converted to use as a church, also dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. A small canted apse was added at the east end. The church opened for worship on 26 April 1937.

The church contains a number of furnishings from the chapel at Lilystone Hall. It was renovated & re-ordered in 1970-71 by Burles, Newton & Partners, at which time a bellcote was added at the west end of the nave, replacing five Tudor-style chimney stacks. The bellcote houses a bell struck by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, given by John Arthur of Westcliff-on-Sea in 1970. A new celebrant’s chair (bearing the Agnus Dei and the arms of Hertford College, Oxford) and eagle lectern, made by Mabbitts of Colchester, were given by the McMahon family. The 1970 altar was made by Bartlett & Purnell of Westminster. The church was consecrated by Bishop Wall on 3 June 1971.

In 1978 the Gillow Trustees, who still own the property, gave stained glass windows on either side of the sanctuary, bearing the arms of the Petre and Gillow families, by Moira Forsyth of Farnham. A painting of the Flight into Egypt (school of Barocci) was given in memory of the Rev. Hugh Verity and hangs at the west end of the nave.

Since 1980 the parish has been served from Ingatestone. The dedication was changed to Our Lady and St Joseph in 2001.

The church is of red brick construction, with a slate roof. Designed in a free Tudor style, its external appearance still bears the character of its original use as a school, lit by large segmentally-headed windows on either side. The addition of a bellcote at the west end of the nave and a short polygonal apse (1937) lend a more ecclesiastical air. At the west end the two-storey accommodation denotes the former schoolmaster’s accommodation; this is asymmetrically arranged with a projecting first-floor oriel window to left, a taller staircase window to right, and a hipped roof with decorative carved timberwork in the gablet. The entrance to this accommodation is via a lean-to to the west. There is a former classroom on the south side (now an aisle, photo upper left). There are buttresses and raised parapets at the east and west ends, while on the north side (photo upper right) the bay divisions are marked by pilasters.

The interior is bright and well-lit, with mainly clear glass large windows on both sides . It has a timber roof, ceiled at collar level. It consists of a nave, south aisle/side chapel and sanctuary with recessed apsidal addition at the east end. The tall blind ‘chancel arch’ is rather puzzling given the original school use, and perhaps indicates an early intention that the building should be extended and double up as a chapel as well as a schoolroom.

The building retains a number of original doors, with chamfered panels, and at least two original fireplaces, a big Gothic one at the west end of the nave (hidden by the organ), and a smaller one (blocked) in the sacristy. On the mantelpiece of the latter is a semi-circular carved marble panel of the Pelican in her Piety, the figures painted and gilded, formerly over the tabernacle in the high altar of the chapel at Lilystone Hall.

Diocese: Brentwood

Architect: Pugin & Pugin

Original Date: 1891

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not listed