Building » Bideford – The Sacred Heart

Bideford – The Sacred Heart

North Road, Bideford, Devon

A modest late nineteenth century church with later additions, forming a picturesque composition in the Bideford Conservation Area. 

In 1882 a Catholic mission started in Bideford, served from Barnstaple. 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, a London architect who had served his articles with Henry Reid of Plymouth.

A baptistery was added in 1907 by Canon Middleton, the design apparently copied from that of the church of St Anne beside St Stephen’s Gate in Jerusalem. 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 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.

Heritage Details

Architect: George Lethbridge

Original Date: 1892

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed