Stonehouse - St Joseph

Oldends Lane, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, GL10

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A broadly fan-shaped design of the mid-1960s, displaying the influence of Coventry Cathedral but also embodying ideas stimulated by the Second Vatican Council. The well-lit, welcoming interior contains some furnishings of note.

There was an early attempt to establish a Catholic congregation in 1894, when the Dominicans of Stroud rented a room and celebrated Mass once a fortnight, but this was short-lived. After World War I the first Mass centre was a converted outbuilding at Oldbury House near Eastington, the home of Lady Makins. Thereafter Mass was said in the Subscription Rooms at Stonehouse. The billiard room, and later the stage, served as confessional and sacristy, and Mass was celebrated in a ‘rather dingy hall’. The Mass centre continued to be served from Stroud by the Dominicans until they left in 1947. A site for a church was acquired that year but a long time ensued before building started. The church was built from designs by Peter Falconer & Partners of Stroud (job architect: Anthony Thompson). The church was planned to hold 205 people plus sixty in the gallery. Building began in April 1965 with the foundation stone being laid on 14 December that year. The church opened on 21 September 1966 and cost £28,600 (excluding the organ). It was designed from the outset with a freestanding altar and with seating located as close to the celebrant as possible. Consecration took place in 19 March 1976.

The church is a modern design, bearing the influence of Coventry Cathedral but designed on Vatican II principles. It is broadly fan-shaped on plan, with loadbearing brick walls and staggered bays with tall, rectangular windows at right-angles providing back-lighting. Lattice girders span the whole width of the building. The roof is copper-covered. The building is wider than it is long, with the altar at the wide end set against a blind wall.

The interior has Tyrolean rendered wall finishes, a timber boarded ceiling and slate flooring. The windows cannot be seen when one faces the sanctuary and bathe the interior with a gentle light. All the windows are filled with white, frosted glass.

Furnishings of note include the Stations of the Cross, by Bryant Fedden of Toddington, who also made the font cover and bowl.

Diocese: Clifton

Architect: Peter Falconer & Partners

Original Date: 1966

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed