Bideford - The Sacred Heart

North Road, Bideford, Devon

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A modest late 19th century church with later additions, forming a picturesque composition in the Bideford conservation area. The interior is plain and contains no furnishings of particular note.

In 1882 a Catholic mission started in Bideford, served fromBarnstaple.  In 1891 a cottage was purchased for use as a presbytery with the garden identified as a site for a church.  The foundation stone for this was laid in August 1892 and the church was opened four months later. Pevsner gives the architect as ‘Lethbridge’; this was presumably George Lethbridge, aLondonarchitect who had served his articles with Henry Reid ofPlymouth.

A baptistery was added to the church in 1907 by Canon Middleton the design apparently copied from that of thechurchofSt Annebeside St Stephen’s Gate inJerusalem.  The turret over the baptistery contains a bell dated 1893.

The church is built of roughly-squared local stone with dressings and window surrounds of buff-coloured brick.  The roofs are covered with Cornish slate with red tile ridges.  The plan of the building comprises an aisleless nave with western apsidal projection and southwest turret, south porch, north and south transepts and an apsidal sanctuary.   The windows are mostly single lights with pointed heads though the transepts have broader windows with simple ‘Y’ tracery.

The interior is simple with plain plastered walls, a timber dado in the nave and a scissor-braced timber roof. The benches and other fittings are modern.  There is stained glass of the 1890s in the chancel and north transept.

Diocese: Plymouth

Architect: George Lethbridge

Original Date: 1892

Conservation Area: No

Modifications: baptistery and turret 1907

Listed Grade: Not listed