Waltham Abbey - St Thomas More and St Edward

St Paul’s Way, Rochford Avenue, Waltham Abbey, Essex EN9

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A utilitarian design, built in the 1970s as a Methodist church.

The first church in Sewardstone Road opened in 1951, served from Our Lady of Grace and St Teresa, Chingford, until the parish was erected in 1973. In 1960, planning permission was obtained for the building of a church and presbytery on the site of the former Farm Hill House, at the corner of Farm Hill Road and Rochford Avenue (now St Paul’s Way). The development stalled over the refusal for permission to develop eight houses on the site as well. Between 1971 and 1972, the site was sold to the Methodist Church who gained consent for the erection of a church (St Paul’s) and a terrace of six houses.

In return, the Catholic parish bought in 1973 the former Waltham Abbey Methodist Church in Monkswood Avenue, which was formally opened in 1974. (This is a grade- II listed Free Perpendicular church of 1903 by John Wills & Sons of Derby.) That church was sold in c.2009 to the evangelical Lea Valley Church and the Catholic parish acquired the Methodist church, built in the 1970s on land formerly owned by the Catholic Church, while retaining the presbytery in Monkswood Avenue. The church was dedicated by Bishop McMahon on 12 September 2010.

The church is a modern, concrete-framed building of the 1970s. The outer walls are of brick laid in stretcher bond. The plan is nearly square, with the southern half containing the ancillary spaces and the higher northern half which contains the nave and  sanctuary.  The  roofs  are  flat,  apart  from  a  small,  glazed  gable  above  the sanctuary. The  north elevation has  one  clerestory window  and  two large,  arched windows to the nave, and one clerestory window (with crucifix below) and one arched window  to  the  sanctuary.  The  east  elevation  with  flagstaff  is  blind.  The  south elevation has five clerestory windows above the roof to the porch. To the west are two large square-headed windows, one of which is also a fire exit.

The porch contains the sacristy, the office, toilets, a kitchen and the boiler room. The church is a single space divided by ceiling beams into three nave bays and a two-bay sanctuary. The timber altar came from the predecessor church, where it was a side altar. The timber benches and the remaining timber sanctuary furniture came from the church at Epping.

Diocese: Brentwood

Architect: Not established

Original Date: 1970

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed