Building » Bournemouth – Corpus Christi

Bournemouth – Corpus Christi

Parkwood Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth, Dorset

A substantial brick church in the Gothic style, built in the late nineteenth century and much enlarged and elaborated in the 1920s.

In 1886 the Religious of the Cross decided to make a foundation at Boscombe. In 1887 the Sisters purchased 4½ acres of land on which a large new convent and school was begun in 1888 to the designs of J.J. Carew. This large Gothic building was sold in 1981 and is now a language school. Next to the proposed convent buildings Mgr Vertue erected a small public chapel, an iron building bought from Lord Petre. This was opened in 1888 and was served from Bournemouth. The chapel soon became too small for local needs and Boscombe’s great benefactress, Baroness Pauline von Hugel, together with her friend Miss Redmayne, bought the property known as Holyrood and two acres of land stretching from Christchurch Road to the garden of the convent. The Baroness gave the church to the Society of Jesus on the condition that nothing should be done to diminish its beauty. Corpus Christi became a separate parish in 1897.

By the mid-1920s the church was wholly inadequate for the enlarged congregations of the holiday season and between 1932 and 1934 the building was considerably enlarged; the nave was lengthened, the aisles widened, a new Lady Chapel and sacristies added and the church was given a tall brick west tower.

The original church was begun in 1895 to the designs of J.W. Lunn of Great Malvern and opened in September 1896. This was a relatively modest building, faced with red brick laid in Flemish bond and consisting of a nave and aisles with a lower chancel with polygonal apse. The nave was five bays long, with paired lancet windows in the aisles and single lancets in the clerestorey above. In 1932 the church was enlarged to the designs of Wilfrid Mangan of Preston. The additions included a tall west tower of red brick with stone dressings, linked to the old nave by a new additional bay in the same style as the old and a new Lady Chapel and sacristies at the east end of the building. Apparently the aisles were widened. The tower has corner buttresses and is topped by an octagonal brick lantern.

The interior walls are unpainted red brick; the nave has six-bay arcades of double-chamfered stone arches on stone octagonal columns. In the sanctuary the arches of the paired lancet windows high in the wall are supported on shafts which are carried down to a string course above the altar forming a wall screen, an effective and unusual device. Most of the windows in the church are clear-glazed. The nave and sanctuary have open timber roofs.

Significant fittings include the organ in the west tower chamber, which was apparently brought from St George’s Cathedral in Southwark and installed in 1934, a handsome floor brass by Hardman to Baroness Hugel, who died in 1901, and an ornamental iron screen between the sanctuary and Lady Chapel. The benches in the nave and aisles presumably dated from the 1920s.

Heritage Details

Architect: J.W. Lunn of Malvern, additions by W.C. Mangan of Preston

Original Date: 1895

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: II