Pewsey - Holy Family

Broadfields, Pewsey, Wiltshire, SN9

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A low-budget but well-detailed 1960s church of A-frame construction, with a high-peak copper roof. 

From 1934 Catholics in the Pewsey Vale were able to attend Mass in a small private chapel, dedicated to the Holy Family, belonging to Lady Frances Phipps at West Stowell. The present church, seating 110, was built in 1963-4 on the Broadfields estate, a development of post-war housing on the western edge of Pewsey, and was blessed by Bishop Rudderham on 13 May 1964. The church (figure 1) is of A-frame construction, of a type then popular for smaller parish churches and chapels of ease. It was designed Rendell & West, Planning Consultants of Devizes and the builders were Gaiger Bros of Devizes; the total cost, including purchase of the land, was £20,000. A caretaker’s flat was originally also provided (visible in figure 1), now demolished. The church was originally served from Devizes, but today is served from Marlborough.  

The church is not conventionally oriented, but this description assumes an altar position to the east (it is actually to geographical west).

The church has a reinforced concrete A-frame, with steel members at the east and west ends. On plan it is rectangular, with a flat-roofed baptistery projection at the northwest corner. At the northeast corner a flat-roofed sacristy connects to a plant room. The main roof is covered in copper and sweeps down almost to ground level, where there are (of necessity) wide gutters. Below these, the lower part of the concrete trusses are externally exposed, in the manner of flying buttresses. A pale brick apron runs around the lower level of the building, with a foundation stone bearing the inscription AMDG (Ad Majoram Dei Gloriam) 5 June 1963 placed low and centrally in the east wall. The gable ends and the north wall of the baptistery are almost fully glazed, the glass in the west window deeply recessed, to provide modulation and reduce glare.

The main entrance is placed centrally on the west front, with double (bronze?) doors each with three raised Greek crosses. Timber doors lead from a narrow lobby into the main space. This is a single volume with a fair-faced brick perimeter wall, with the steeply-pitched ceiling, clad in varnished deal boarding, springing from the back of this. The light fittings are in triangular deal-clad cowls on the ceiling. The floor is of concrete slabs and there are two banks of seating on either side of a central alley. The sanctuary furnishings are simple in character; a piscina is set into the south wall. The large triangular windows have multi-coloured geometrical panes of glass (mainly purples, blues and yellows), each incorporating a purple-pink cross, that at the east end also incorporating a roundel of the Holy Family with a sunburst surround. In the baptistery (now a small chapel; the wooden font has been moved to the sanctuary) is a stained glass panel of the Baptism of Our Lord, c.1964, in the manner of Hardman & Co.. 

Diocese: Clifton

Architect: Rendell & West of Devizes

Original Date: 1964

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed