Tewkesbury - St Joseph

Chance Street, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire GL20

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A modest church occupying a 1930s former telephone exchange. The conversion was undertaken in 1977 and a narthex added in 2012. The building has no special architectural or historic interest but offers a light and welcoming space for worship.

In the first decades of the nineteenth century a Mass centre was to be found at Beckford Hall, owned by the Wakeman family. Just over the county border was Woollas Hall, home of the Hanfords, where Mass was also celebrated. In 1834 it was announced that ‘A gentleman, in the neighbourhood, is willing to assist in establishing a chapel in Tewkesbury’ although it seems nothing came of this. When William Wakeman died in 1836, the Hall passed out of Catholic hands and his co-religionists then had to travel to Overbury. Here the lady of the manor, Mrs Eyston, made her chapel available from about 1840 until the opening of Kemerton church in 1843. Other Catholics travelled to Cheltenham. Tewkesbury finally got its church in 1869-70 in Mythe Road to designs by Thomas Collins of Tewkesbury (Hough, p.20, says Collins & Cullis). It was in part a conversion of a former coach house. In 1977 the parish sold the church, having acquired premises more centrally placed in the town (the old church survives, now in residential use).

The present church is a conversion in 1977 of a former telephone exchange dating originally from 1938. Stained glass from the previous church was brought here in 1990. A narthex was added in 2012.

The church is a white, rendered building, rectangular on plan, built in 1938 as a telephone exchange. It has a hipped roof covered in slates, and has replacement uPVC windows. The entrance is via a monopitch-roof narthex which incorporates an office, WC and kitchenette.

Inside the building is bright and airy, having been redecorated in 2014 when the stone altar and font were installed. The roof structure consists of rolled steel components. The truss in front of the sanctuary is filled with a Seven Sacraments tympanum of 1995 by Ormsby Ltd of Scarisbrick, Lancashire. In the narthex is a Hardman stained glass window of 1888, depicting the Annunciation and a Lily Crucifix, from the former church.

Diocese: Clifton

Architect: Not established

Original Date: 1938

Conservation Area: No

Modifications: 1977

Listed Grade: Not listed