Building » Carterton – St Joseph

Carterton – St Joseph

Arkell Avenue, Carterton, Oxfordshire OX18

An L-shaped complex of two former Cotswold barns dating from the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century, used since the 1930s as a church and hall. The primary heritage significance of the buildings lies in their original use as stone-built agricultural structures, but the current use is sympathetic, retaining the simple and open character of the interiors. 

Shortly after 1900, Carterton was founded by the speculator William Carter, director of Homesteads Ltd, as a colony of smallholdings. In 1914, a small Catholic church was opened, served from St Gregory and St Augustine, Summertown, Oxford (qv). This first church was built by the architect Henry Yates. In 1938, two adjoining barns in Carterton were purchased for £600 and converted for use as a church and a hall by F. Russell Cox, opening in 1940. As part of the conversion, a small flat-roofed extension was built to the rear of the church. A presbytery was built on part of the adjacent land.

Sometime after 1966, the 1930s rear extension was replaced by a more sympathetic-looking sacristy and by a flat-roofed toilet block along the rear of the hall . More recently, the church has been refurbished and repaired with a grant from HLF/English Heritage (architect Peter Brownhill of Brownhill, Hayward Brown of Lichfield). The walls were repointed and a new insulated roof installed. This work was completed in 2011–2.


The building is L-shaped, consisting of two originally separate barns. The church is in the barn at right angles to the road, on a north-south axis. The hall is at right angles to the church. The list description describes the church as ‘the main west range’ and the hall as the ‘north range’.

The list description does not describe the interior of the church and hall. The church has an open roof with simple trusses with tie- and collar-beams. At the west end is a small timber-panelled inner lobby. The stone altar is placed on a platform of three stone steps; behind it is a tabernacle shelf on the wall. Above this is a modern crucifix. The font is of timber with a bowl and lid carved in the shape of a bivalve shell. The small hipped roof side extension is a small Lady Chapel. The most significant furnishings in the building are the carved and painted Stations of the Cross, reputedly from a convent. The Diocesan Archives have an estimate (£4 14s 6d, dated 9 August 1940) from A.R. Mowbray & Co of Oxford for the framing of Stations mounted with a Latin cross.

The interior of the hall has a similar open roof to the church. One of the former large cart entries leads into the rear WC block. At the east end is a small gallery.

List description


Former barn, now Roman Catholic church and church hall. Late C18/early C19, altered c.1930. Coursed rubble limestone with stone slate roofs. Main west range is of 5 bays, with central hipped projection, probably a former cart entry. This now has tall C20 metal casement to front. Left bays have a row of nesting boxes for pigeons, with ledge, just below eaves, and 2 C20 2-light metal casements. Small lean-to in angle with projecting bay. North gable end of this range has C20 circular window, and C20 double doors in moulded stone architrave surround. North range, also of 5 bays, has blocked vent slits and central opposing cart entries, partly blocked and partly with large C20 wooden mullion and transom windows. North entry also has C20 double board doors. In rear angle are a later rubble stone extension with lean-to roof, and a C20 concrete extension with flat roof. Barn borders east side of former yard of Rock Farm, established after the Enclosure Act of 1770, the farmhouse now known as No.45 (Manor Guest House), Lawton Avenue (q.v.).

Listing NGR: SP2771406895

Last updated: 11.12.17.

Heritage Details

Architect: Not known

Original Date: 1800

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II