Seaview - Holy Cross

Seafield Road, Seaview, Isle of Wight

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Holy Cross is a modest 1950s church, not unattractive and with a devotional atmosphere inside. It is not of any importance architecturally.

Helen Gladstone, sister of the Victorian statesman came to live in Seaview in 1858 and the following year converted a room in her house into a Catholic chapel. No permanent arrangements were made and in the 1930s Mass was said in various public halls. Spurred on by the opening of a Catholic church at nearby Bembridge, the Catholics of Seaview eventually achieved their objective of a church at Seaview in 1956-7.

Holy Cross is a small portal frame brick building with gable end to the street. This has a characteristic 1950s design of a central entrance recessed with plain stepped brick jambs, a large window above rising into the gable and the plain red brick walls to either side decorated with projecting blue header bricks, the whole enclosed by pilasters. The east wall is more simply treated but also has a pattern of projecting blocks. The side walls are more utilitarian with high-level Crittall windows and large French doors throwing light onto the sanctuary.

The interior is modest and devotional, with the focus on the sanctuary, a narrow space formed by the placing of sacristy and confessional on either side. The roof structure of rafters and purlins is exposed and painted and the lower element of the middle truss becomes a kind of lightweight screen, an attractive feature in such a plain building. The sanctuary furniture dates from 2006. The nave seating is Victorian chairs. The most interesting furnishings are the Stations of the Cross and the painting of the Resurrection over the west door, all of 1961 by the Irish artist Father Jack P Hanlon (1913-68) in a painterly expressionist manner with vivid colours.

Diocese: Portsmouth

Architect: C. A. F. Sheppard of Ryde

Original Date: 1956

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed