Coleford - St Margaret Mary

High Nash, Coleford, Gloucestershire GL16

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A small, aisleless brick church of the early 1930s, of functional, hall-like character.

Until the mid-nineteenth-century the Forest of Dean was a very remote area but in 1855 Fr Thomas Abbot was granted missionary facilities there. He established a station for occasional Mass at a farmhouse near Coleford owned by George Morgan. For a short time in the 1890s Coleford was served by the chaplain at Courtfield and Canon Chard from Gloucester officiated in emergencies. In 1896 an Italian priest took over but the Catholic cause did not thrive due to small numbers, lack of funds and apparent bigotry. In the twentieth century Mass was celebrated at St Briavels from 1911 to 1928. Permanent arrangements were instigated in 1930, culminating in the opening of the present church in 1933, a modest early design by Roberts & Willman of Taunton, which is said to have been built with local volunteer labour.

Today Cinderford, Lydney and Sedbury (qqv) are all served from Coleford.

The church is a plain building, possibly intended to serve as a hall to a future more substantial purpose-built church. It is built of red brick in a minimal round-arched style to a longitudinal plan. The screen-like ‘west front’ has a raised half-round pediment incorporating a cross, brick-on-edge detailing and chamfered corners. The nave and sanctuary are in one and there are no aisles. The windows have been renewed in uPVC.

The interior is light and functional and is covered by a three-sided plaster ceiling and a thin tie-beam roof structure. There are no fixtures or fittings requiring particular mention.

Diocese: Clifton

Architect: Roberts & Willman of Taunton

Original Date: 1933

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed