Building » Bourne – St Gilbert

Bourne – St Gilbert

St Gilbert’s Road, Bourne, Lincolnshire

Interesting for its plan form but not otherwise distinguished and clearly built to a tight budget.

In 1911 Mary Ann Duffy, from Montrose, was the only known Catholic in Bourne. In 1919 Deeping Manor became a novitiate house of the Xaverian Brothers and Bourne’s few Catholics could travel to Deeping St James for Mass. In 1949 The Altar Society was formed to raise money for a Catholic church in Bourne. The temporary Sacred Heart church opened in 1950 on the site of the present site, then in Exeter Street. Later St Gilbert’s Road was constructed (named after the local St Gilbert of Sempringham) and its southern end took in what had previously been part of Exeter Street. It was not until 1976 that the permanent combined church and hall was built.


A steel-framed brick church of unusual plan form, an irregular heptagon of five equal short sides and two longer sides. Alternatively one might describe it as an octagon with one side removed and drawn out to a point. The sanctuary is set within this point. Over the worship space is an octagonal lantern with continuous clerestory and pyramid roof. The roofs appear to be covered in roofing felt. Narrow clerestory bands light ancillary rooms and the sanctuary is lit by two groups of three vertical strip windows, together with a lantern light. The entrance is recessed at the junction of two of the faceted sides and has a glazed screen with panels of coloured and opaque glass.

The geometry of the plan becomes clearer inside with the worship area an octagonal space. At clerestory level the steel frame is clad in concrete with an exposed aggregate. The sanctuary extends into the point of the heptagon and there is a folding screen that can be drawn across to enable social functions to take place in the main part of the church. At the time the client, Fr Peppard, stated that he wanted the building to be designed as a church that could be used for social activities rather than, as was often done, a church hall that could be used as a church. The functional division is deftly handled at Bourne. The internal walls are of fair-faced brick with boarded timber ceilings. Around the perimeter of the octagon are arranged meeting rooms, kitchen, bar, lavatories and sacristy, as well as the porch or narthex. The altar and  wooden  sanctuary furniture  is  probably  original  to  the  church  but  the  nave seating has been replaced with upholstered chairs. No furnishings of special note.

Heritage Details

Architect: Thomas E. Wilson

Original Date: 1976

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed