Brockworth - St Patrick

Ermin Street, Brockworth, Gloucestershire GL3

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A large church, square on plan, built for a new residential area shortly after the Second Vatican Council, and externally altered. It is perhaps most notable for its dalle de verre glass by Brother Gilbert Taylor of Prinknash Abbey.

The site was developed to serve the new Downend housing estate. A house called Rathlea was built in 1954 to serve as a presbytery and the foundation stone for a dual-purpose church and hall, designed by William & Egbert Leah, was laid on 17 March in the same year. This was opened by Bishop Rudderham exactly a year later on 17 March 1955, becoming a parish church when the parish of Brockworth was erected in 1960. By 1963, plans were in place for a large purpose-built church accommodating some 320 people. Work was expected to begin in early 1964, according to the Catholic Building Review of 1963, which published a design showing a square tower. However it did not in fact start until April 1967, by which time the look of the building had changed substantially, reflecting developments in thinking about church design in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. It was also larger, seating some 500 people. The cost was £35,000. The church was blessed by Bishop Rudderham on 7 October 1968.

In 1980 a porch was added and a new pipe organ installed over it. The church was dedicated by Bishop Alexander in the following year, on 24 May 1981. In 1991, the original shallow-pitched roof of the church, which must have been leaking, was replaced by a hipped one with wooden cupola, giving a more traditional appearance. The original parish hall was demolished and replaced by the present parish centre in 2000, linked to the porch of 1980 (architects: Astam Design Consultancy).

The church is square on plan, with a projecting sanctuary. It is of steel-framed construction, externally faced with reconstituted stone and has a hipped roof with central cupola (added in 1991). On the left there is a projecting chapel and on the right a sacristy and confessional. At the opposite end from the sanctuary is the former baptistery, beyond which is the porch of 1980 linking to the parish centre of 2000. The natural lighting of the body of the church is by a series of small rectangular clerestory lights, while the sanctuary is side-lit by full-height concrete mullioned windows.

The interior is an uninterrupted square space with plastered white walls. A glazed double-height recess at the liturgical west end is now occupied by the organ. Seating is arranged around the sanctuary on three sides, and the font has been brought from the former baptistery into the sanctuary area. There are no fittings or furnishings of particular note apart from, in the porch and adjacent corridor (and also, according to the CBR account, in the sacristy), dalle de verre glass of 1985-6 by Brother Gilbert Taylor of Prinknash Abbey (cf. Churchdown). 

Diocese: Clifton

Architect: Ivor Day & O’Brien of Bristol

Original Date: 1968

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed