14 Mount Street, Battle, East Sussex TN33 0EG
Our Lady Immaculate and St Michael stands within the Battle Conservation Area and is a building, both for its architectural and historic interest, that contributes positively to the character of the area.
It was built in 1886. The architect is not known. It was thought to have been Bertram, fifth Earl of Ashburnham who founded and paid for the church, but there is a letter to the Bishop of Southwark from Arnold & Co of 60 Carey Street, Lincoln’s Inn, London, 9 January 1886, “Herewith is a list of tenders and the architect will, unless we heard (sic) to the contrary from Lord Ashburnham, conclude with the lowest. Kindly notice what a difference between the first and the last!”
It seems likely that Arnold & Co were solicitors. The presbytery occupies an existing early nineteenth century double fronted house clad in white painted weatherboard (listed Grade II). It is believed that there was hostility in the town to a Catholic church being built, hence the acquisition of an existing house and the erection of the church in the former garden of the house. This theory is born out by the close proximity of the church to the presbytery. There is simply a narrow pathway leading from Mount Street down the side of the presbytery to the church.
The church is of modest proportions, of dark red brick in an Italianate cum Romanesque style, somewhat unusual and not obviously having the appearance of a Catholic church. It is hemmed in with cottages adjoining the (ritual) north wall. The west front is gabled and has a central doorway with three windows above, all round arched and with shafts, but also keystones and all set beneath a broad segmental arch rising from rusticated pilasters. The windows are iron framed. The interior is plastered, with a canted ceiling on corbelled trusses. There are no fittings of particular interest. Three stained glass windows in the nave are by Cox & Barnard of Hove.
Architect: Not established
Original Date: 1886
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed