Weston-Super-Mare - Our Lady of Lourdes

Baytree Road, Milton, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, BS22

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An interwar design in free Gothic style by Roberts & Willman, with a wide and light interior with reinforced concrete vaulting. Later additions are of a rather ad hoc character.

The mission was founded in 1923, when a timber chapel was erected on land donated by Daniel Cotter. In 1933 an adjoining piece of land was acquired. The church was built in 1938 at a cost of about £4,000. The architects were Roberts & Willman of Taunton, who built a number of Catholic churches in the area. Their design allowed for a future extension in form of a chancel, sacristy and south transept. In 1964, the parish was erected. In 1970, the former chapel (then used as a hall) was replaced by the present parish hall.

In 1976, a side chapel and sacristy were added; this block was further extended in 1992 with a small meeting room. In 1978, the year of the consecration, the present organ was installed, coming from St Peter’s Anglican church, Burnham-on-Sea. In 1982, the presbytery was built. In 1999, a false internal east wall was constructed in order to address the effects of a damp problem (architect: David Haswell of Abergavenny). In 2009, new gable crosses were installed.

The church was built in 1938 on a roughly L-shaped plan with a short north transept. The planned extensions would have resulted in a cruciform plan. A flat-roofed south transept housing a sacristy and chapel was built in 1976, without the Gothic details of the original church. A small meeting room under a pitched roof was added to the east of the sacristy in 1992.  

The materials of the original building are Taunton Vale cream bricks laid in stretcher bond with firestone dressings. The roof is tiled. The general style is Gothic, the window tracery of a free Perpendicular character. The west elevation has a large three-light window above the entrance doors; both are framed by a shallow recessed gabled arch. On either side are circular narthex windows with mullions and transoms forming crosses.

The four-bay nave has pointed reinforced concrete transverse arches whose apex is just below the ceiling at collar-beam level. The sanctuary in the crossing has diagonal ribs forming a kind of rib vault. Above the narthex is the organ gallery, and on the gallery front hangs a painting attributed to Sassoferrato. The north transept (originally the sacristy) is now the Lady Chapel, while the south transept (1976) is a weekday chapel. The sanctuary has a stone altar (remodelled when moved forward) with a carving of the Pelican in her Piety, and a timber font and lectern. The tabernacle is set on a canopied stone shelf.

The stained glass in the south transept depicts three saints (1988) and that in the north transept the Holy Family (1996); both were made by the local firm John Baker Stained Glass Ltd. Most of the originally blue-green tinted nave windows have been replaced with white cathedral glass with yellow crosses (1995). The timber Stations of the Cross date from 1999.

Diocese: Clifton

Architect: Roberts & Willman

Original Date: 1938

Conservation Area: No

Modifications: Later additions

Listed Grade: Not listed