Cheddar - Our Lady Queen of the Apostles

Tweentown, Cheddar, Somerset BS27

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A small steel-framed church built at the time of the Second Vatican Council to a conventional longitudinal design. Furnishings of note include two sculptures by the Benedictine sculptor Dom Hubert Van Zeller.

Before 1942, a Mass centre existed at Cheddar only intermittently, such as when the Axbridge reservoir was constructed in 1933–38, the contractor McAlpine provided a hut as a temporary Catholic chapel for the Irish workforce as well as locals. During the Second World War, Mass was said in various buildings, to serve evacuees and members of the armed forces as well as the local Catholic population. In 1942, the Pallottine Fathers purchased a cottage in Tweentown in Cheddar, where a room was used as a chapel. In the 1950s, Cheddar expanded and the small chapel was soon no longer sufficient. In about 1964, a parishioner sold to the parish a plot with a stone farmhouse on a site adjacent to the cottage.

 

The foundation stone for the present church was laid by the Father Provincial of the Pallottine Fathers on 5 May 1965 and the church was opened on 19 June 1966 by Bishop Rudderham. The cost of the church was £12,000 and the architects were Ivor Day & O’Brien. The design is very similar to their contemporary design at Patchway (q.v.). The church was consecrated on 17 June 1977 by Bishop Alexander. The first hall was built in c.1970 and the presbytery was acquired in 1973.

The church faces north. This description follows conventional orientation, i.e. as if the altar was at the east.

The church was built in 1965–6 to a design by Ivor Day & O’Brien. It is a steel-framed building with rendered walls and a reconstructed stone-clad west elevation. The pitched roof is tiled. The plan is longitudinal, with a small flat-roofed sacristy at the east end. The west elevation has the main entrance under a curved canopy, with the large west window above. The side elevations each have three single-light windows to the nave, with a triple-light window to the sanctuary.

The east wall of the five-bay interior is clad in stone, like the external west wall. The sanctuary has a plain stone altar in front of the tabernacle set into the wall which is flanked by timber statues of the Virgin Mary and St Joseph. Above hangs a timber crucifix and a curved canopy. There are two sculptures by Dom Hubert Van Zeller (1905–84) of Downside Abbey on the south wall, a pietà and a Sacred Heart. Under the organ gallery at the west are the confessionals and the gallery stair (in the former baptistery). The painting on the gallery balustrade depicts Our Lady Queen of the Apostles and was painted by Bob Cousins, a parishioner and local teacher.

Diocese: Clifton

Architect: Ivor Day & O’Brien

Original Date: 1966

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed