Market Harborough - Our Lady of Victories

Coventry Road, Market Harborough, Leicestershire LE16

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A relatively modest red brick Gothic church of the 1870s, forming part of a complex of Catholic buildings. The church was enlarged in the 1890s and again enlarged and completely refurbished in the early 21st century. It now represents a very interesting fusion of Victorian and 21st century Gothic architecture.

The first Mass centre in Market Harborough was established in about 1858 by Fr Malvoisin.   In 1872 Fr Vandepitte was given charge of the mission and during his ministry a church and school were erected to the designs of C. G. Wray and opened in 1877 by Cardinal Manning.  The site for the church was given by the Flint family and a large donation towards the cost of building was made by Miss Christina Neville of Neville Holt. The presbytery was built in 1887. In 1894 Fr Kavanagh was appointed and he employed Peter Paul Pugin to oversee a redecoration of the church and some additions to the buildings including the link between the church and presbytery. The work was completed in 1898 and partly paid for by Sir Humphrey de Trafford. Additions were made to the adjacent school in 1910.  In 1943 the spire of the church was partly rebuilt.  In 1948 the school was again enlarged.  In the 1970s a new school was built on a separate site and the old school buildings were taken over for community use. The church (and the presbytery, with the linking cloister) were listed grade II in 1977.   In 1979 an octagonal community centre was built at the north end of the site to the designs of Eberlin & Partners, Nottingham.  In 2001 John Halton Designs was appointed to oversee a substantial enlargement of the church. The work was completed in 2005.

The original 1870s church consisted of an unaisled nave of five bays with a short lower chancel and a chapel and tower on the south side. Peter Paul Pugin linked the church and presbytery by a new cloister, also on the south side.  In the recent works completed in 2005 new lean-to aisles were added (re-using the original two-light traceried side windows of the nave), the west end was reformed with a new and larger narthex and  a new entrance was formed through  a substantial single storey addition on the south side of the tower.  All the new work is in the Gothic style and in red brick with stone dressings to match the original work.

Inside the church new nave arcades have been formed, with moulded pointed arches on cylindrical stone columns.   The new aisles have open timber ceilings on stone corbels echoing the elaborate nave roof.  The nave has a new oak floor. At the wesend of the nave is a new glass-fronted choir gallery. The sanctuary was completely re- fitted, with the new altar brought forward under the chancel arch. Fittings of note include the side altar in the southeast chapel which is a First World War memorial, and the handsome stained glass in the east and west windows and in the aisles, much of it dating from about 1900 and perhaps by Hardman. The five-light east window was given by Sir Humphrey de Trafford. The stone sanctuary furniture and timber benches in the nave and aisles are all new.

Diocese: Nottingham

Architect: C. G. Wray, Peter Paul Pugin, John Halton Designs Ltd.

Original Date: 1894

Conservation Area: No

Modifications: 2005

Listed Grade: Grade II