Wickford - Our Lady of Good Counsel

London Road, Wickford, Essex SS12

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A post-Vatican II church by the prolific firm of Burles, Newton & Partners, its internal plan and design more interesting than many of their designs. The church retains most of its original furnishings.

A Mass centre opened in Wickford in January 1924, served initially from Stock. A church opened in May 1928. The presbytery was built for the first resident priest, who arrived in 1932. The parish was erected in 1935. A new church was opened in November 1951 (now Our Lady’s Hall). In autumn 1971 the construction of the present church began. It was completed in 1972 and opened on 20 December. The architects were Burles, Newton & Partners and the building cost about £30,000 (without fittings). The church was consecrated by Bishop Casey on 8 December 1976.

The church is constructed using load-bearing brickwork (laid in stretcher bond) with steel framing. The roof is covered by tiles and pantiles and has a thin lead-covered spire. The plan is an elongated octagon, with the entrance and sanctuary on the long sides. Beside the northwest entrance is a plaque commemorating the opening of the church. The west narthex houses the repository. The interior has exposed brickwork and pine-boarded ceilings. There are small windows bands to the south and west and clerestory windows below the raised sanctuary ceiling. The northwest and northeast corners have small niches with timber statues of the Sacred Heart and Our Lady of Good Counsel, respectively (originally, Our Lady and St Joseph). Between them, on the north side are two large stained glass windows of the Risen Christ and St Mary.

Alongside the side-lit sanctuary is the octagonal stone font, standing in a sunken area. The white marble lectern has the four symbols of the Evangelists, while the front of the white marble altar is decorated with five gilded crosses. A large crucifix hangs on the east wall. In the south corner of the sanctuary is the tabernacle, framed by brick piers and with a metal canopy above. The sacristy and the flower vestry are to the south, flanking the centrally-placed confessional. In the southwest corner hangs a modern oil painting of the crucifixion.

Diocese: Brentwood

Architect: Burles, Newton & Partners

Original Date: 1971

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed