Wolsey Close, Halam Road, Southwell, Nottinghamshire NG25
A laminated portal frame church of the early 1960s in the modern Gothic style then favoured by its architects, Reynolds & Scott. The church is prominently located on a raised site, and the design takes full advantage of this, giving it a presence which belies its relatively small size. The church was well extended in 1997.
In 1948 a Mass centre served from Newark was opened at the Women’s Institute, Queens Street, Southwell. This served until the site in Halam Road was given in a legacy. Reynolds & Scott of Manchester drew up the plans for a church designed to seat 180, and the contract was awarded to J. E. B. Wheatley of Kirkby-in-Ashfield. The foundation stone was laid by Bishop Ellis on 7 October 1961, and the completed church officially opened by the Bishop on 12 September 1962. The cost, including furnishings, was about £17,500. At first the chapel continued to be served from Newark, but it soon became a parish in its own right, taking in the chapel of ease of St Anthony at Calverton. A bungalow presbytery was built in 1970 from designs by Reynolds & Scott.
In 1997 an internal narthex with choir loft and organ was added. At the same time, plans were being developed for a linked parish centre, from designs by John Marshall of Marshalls of Nottingham, who had recently rebuilt the church at Calverton (qv). The new parish centre is circular in form, and was opened by Bishop McGuinness in October 1999.
The church is on a raised site, somewhat exaggerated in the architects’ original sketch drawings . It is a relatively small building, seating 180, in the free modern Gothic style with which Reynolds & Scott were experimenting in the early 1960s (e.g. Corpus Christi, Clifton, qv). The main west front, the canted east wall of the sanctuary and the side walls of the projecting gabled window at the side are faced in artificial gritstone walling, while the other surfaces are faced in hand-made red bricks. There is a steeply-pitched (60 degrees) roof covered in slates. A flight of steps leads up to the main entrance, which is marked by a projecting porch with canopy, above which is a deeply recessed west window rising up to the apex of the gable, surmounted by a metal cross.
Inside, the church consists of a single space of aisleless nave and narrower sanctuary. The bay divisions are delineated by the laminated timber portal frame. The internal walls are plastered apart from the solid east wall of the sanctuary, where the stone is left exposed. At the west end there is a narthex with choir gallery and organ above, added in 1997. An opening on the south side of the nave near the sanctuary leads through to the new parish centre, a circular structure of red brick with yellow bands, with a conical slate roof with deeply overhanging eaves carried on timber posts (photo bottom right).
The furnishings generally date from the 1962 rebuild and include the altar and font (made from Ancaster stone), the suspended canopy over the altar, the crucifix on the east wall, the figures of Our Lady and St Joseph fixed to the brick walls on either side of the sanctuary arch and the plain wooden benches, with inscribed crosses in the ends.
Original Date: 1961
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed