Nailsea - St Francis of Assisi

Ash Hayes Road, Nailsea, Bristol, Somerset, BS48

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A multi-purpose building of the 1980s with attached presbytery. In 2000, a matching hall was constructed. The glazing strips of the roof are a distinctive feature which also appears in the same architect’s church at Wootton Bassett.  

In 1937, the Franciscans of Clevedon (qv) founded a permanent Mass Centre at Nailsea. In the 1950s they purchased a site for a church and built a temporary building. In 1979, the parish school was built and Mass was said in the school hall. In September 1982, the parish was erected and the Bishop’s secretary, Fr (Mgr) Leyden, appointed as the first parish priest.

The present church was built in 1985-86 as part of a design and build contract with Stone and Co. Ltd, who commissioned designs from the architect John Webster of Holford Associates. It was designed initially as a multi-purpose church and hall. It was blessed and opened on 2 February 1986 by Bishop Alexander. In 2000, a matching hall was built beside the church and presbytery, replacing a timber hall on the site.

The external walls are of blocks of pale artificial stone. The pyramidal roof has bands of rooflights forming a cross with a metal cross at the apex. Sacristies and WCs are housed in a narthex. The interior is square with the sanctuary in the southeast corner, marked by short glass screens hanging from the roof. The internal walls are of concrete blocks, the ceiling is panelled in timber. The interior is lit by the rooflights and vertical windows on each side. The sanctuary cross takes the shape of the Jerusalem cross, a shape which is repeated throughout, for example in the consecration crosses and the font cover. The tabernacle stand left of the altar is formed of concrete blocks with timber detailing, as is the square lectern on the opposite side. The square font on the south side is also part of the matching furnishings. At the southwest corner is a stone statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary (by Sue Bachelor of Nailsea). The Stations of the Cross were designed by the parish school children under the direction of the architect. 

Diocese: Clifton

Architect: John Webster of Holford Associates

Original Date: 1986

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed