Bourne End - St Dunstan

Cores End Road, Bourne End, Bucks

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An interesting modern church design by an established architectural practice, with a simply-planned church building linked to the previous temporary church and new presbytery to form a church complex.  The church itself with its rectangular plan and top lighting follows the practice of the period. The internal arrangements as built differ from what was originally proposed.

The first place of Catholic worship in Bourne End was a timber temporary church erected in 1956.   Designs for the present building were approved in 1969 but the foundation stone was not laid until 1978 and the finished building (opened in 1980) differed slightly from the original design.  The Catholic Building Review noted of the original design that, ‘the church and presbytery are planned as a group, with the existing temporary church shown converted into a social hall’.   Particular attention was given to the informal meeting of the congregation with the priest after Mass.

The church itself is rectangular on plan, the external walls faced with red brick and mostly blind apart from two rectangular windows on the Core’s Road and car park sides. From behind the plain parapet of the external walls rises an octagonal conical roof clad in artificial slate with an open steel fleche over the small skylight at theroof’s apex.  The main roof is slightly off-centre and in one corner is a smaller conical skylight over the altar.

The original plan shows a symmetrical layout, with benches grouped on three sides of a rectangular central space described by the architects as a ‘lineal sanctuary’ containing a central altar, the ambo, president’s chair, font and lectern.  In execution, the altar was placed on a dais in one corner of the space with the other elements grouped round it in a more conventional manner.

The walls of the interior are bare-faced red brick, with a steel and timber roof of which the main steel members are exposed. The windows are all clear glazed, but even so the level of natural light in low, accentuating the top light over the original altar position.

Diocese: Northampton

Architect: Williams & Winkley

Original Date: 1980

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed