Frome - St Catherine

Park Road, Frome, Somerset, BA11

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A 1960s church with a low and inconspicuous exterior, faced with concrete blocks. The interior is more welcoming, its hexagonal plan and use of laminated timber roof trusses characteristic of the period.

Mass was said in Frome by visiting priests from Downside after 1850 but the first resident priest was the Rev. Richard Ward, who arrived in 1853. A former Irvingite chapel off Whittox Lane was acquired as a church and St Catharine's Tower nearby taken as a presbytery. The present site in Park Road was acquired in the 1920s. A parish hall was built in 1928 and was used as the church for nearly forty years. A presbytery was built at about the same time. Plans for a new church like that at Westbury-on-Trym were drawn up by Roberts & Willman of Taunton in 1938 but never realised. The present church was designed on a hexagonal plan by Martin Fisher of Bath and opened in 1968. Additional seating was provided and further windows formed in 1991.

A modern church, built after the Second Vatican Council, low and inconspicuous in elevation and hexagonal on plan. A rectangular porch with recessed entrance is placed on the west side and a sacristy linking the church to the presbytery on the south. The external walls are faced with concrete blocks and the roofs have metal coverings. The entrance lobby has a wide entrance door and a shallow pyramidal roof. The main church has a flat roof, with a low hexagonal tented section over the centre of the building (originally glazed). Two canted west walls and the north wall of the church have modern rectangular metal windows. The northeast and southeast angles have slight projections with glass-block walls but the two eastern canted walls of the church are blind.

Inside, the main space is dominated by the curving laminated timber trusses which support the main roof. The floor covering is artificial stone flags; the walls are barefaced concrete blocks; the tented central ceiling and the sloping outer ceilings are covered with insulation board; the windows are clear glazed. The sanctuary is set in the eastern angle of the hexagon and its walls have a timber lining. Furnishings include a stone forward altar, a small octagonal stone font by the west door and timber bench seating arranged around the sanctuary.

Diocese: Clifton

Architect: Martin Fisher

Original Date: 1968

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed