Newent - Our Lady of Lourdes

Ross Road, Newent, Gloucestershire, GL18

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A modest building built in the late 1950s, largely with volunteer effort, and adapted in 2006-7, with some striking timber sanctuary furnishings. 

In the early 1950s Mass was celebrated in a house on the Land Settlement by a priest from Blaisdon Hall, which had been run since 1935 by Salesians of Don Bosco as a school for disadvantaged children. Later the Old Market House was used. In 1955 plans were set in train to build a church. A site for a church was then acquired on Ross Road for £475. The building was put up, beginning in August 1957, mostly by volunteer effort by the parishioners, calling on help from one of their number, a Mr Mooney who was a clerk of works with a Cheltenham firm of builders.  A local builder also offered the services of Winston Wildsmith, one of his experienced bricklayers. The official opening took place in the incomplete building in December 1959. The cost was a modest £2,848 since much of the labour had been supplied by volunteer effort.

In 2006-7 the front of the church was extended by three metres to provide a larger porch and disabled WCs. A retired architect, Peter Gibbons, gave his time for free. At this time the original entrance tower was removed and a large bay window put in the sacristy. The sanctuary reordering presumably also dates from this time. Bishop Declan Lang celebrated blessed the new sanctuary and the refurbished building on 11 February 2010, the golden jubilee of the opening of the church.

The church is built of golden-coloured brick made by the National Coal Board and has a wooden shingled roof. The entrance front is now largely glazed, a remodelling of 2006-7, with a paved ‘apron’ forecourt of brick. The side windows are simple rectangular openings, two per bay in the nave and two on the right-hand side of the sanctuary.

The interior consists of a single space divided into four nave bays by timber portal frames, plus the sanctuary and western porch. At the west end is a gallery with an open balustrade front. Furnishings of note include highly individual sanctuary furnishings, constructed of bare timber which is said to come from the Forest of Dean, and square ceramic Stations of the Cross, somewhat in the manner of Eric Gill. There is some modern abstract and semi-abstract coloured glass in the sanctuary. 

Diocese: Clifton

Architect: No architect involved

Original Date: 1960

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed