Littlemoor, Newbold, Chesterfield, S41
A multipurpose worship centre of the mid-1960s, with a simple and dignified worship space which can be expanded to cater for larger congregations or subdivided to allow for other uses.
A pre-Reformation chapel stands in Newbold, now part of Chesterfield. It incorporates Norman masonry, with signs of rebuilding, including the replacement of the roof structure in the fifteenth or sixteenth century. It was a manorial chapel of the recusant Eyre family and was sacked by a Protestant mob in 1688. Repairs of unknown precise date were instituted, probably by the Eyre family. It was given to the Catholic Church in 1949, and Mass was said here regularly. Since 1987 the building has been leased by the Diocese of Hallam to the Eyre Chapel Trustees, and is used for various community purposes.
The Eyre chapel is often seen as the ‘mother church’ of Chesterfield, and the church of St Hugh of Lincoln as its spiritual successor. The impetus behind the creation of the parish was the development of a large housing estate in the area. In 1963 the site on Duke’s Drive was acquired by the Diocese of Nottingham and a parish priest appointed, and the work of raising money for the new building began. The architects John Rochford & Partner were asked to prepare plans for a multipurpose church hall and Mass centre. Building work started in the spring of 1965 and the Eyre Chapel continued in use until the new building was ready in April 1966.
The new building was positioned on one side of the plot to allow room for a separate church. However, this plan was not realised and the dual-purpose building, then emerging as a fashionable solution under the auspices of groups such as the University of Birmingham’s Institute for the Study of Worship and Religious Architecture, has remained. In about 1967 a neighbouring house was bought to serve as a presbytery. This was replaced in 1978-9 by a purpose-built presbytery immediately beside the church, built to the designs of John Smith.
During the 1980s improvements were made to the facilities in the hall. A phase of refurbishment has been undertaken in recent years.
All orientations given are liturgical. The church and hall building is long and low, constructed of brick laid in stretcher bond with a flat roof, painted timber trim, and glazed screens along the north side of the building. The main entrance is on the south-east side, and there is a separate entrance to offices at the east end. The building takes the form of a large hall on the north side which can be divided into three separate spaces using folding shutters. The east end is set up permanently for worship, where the sanctuary is slightly raised and set beneath an elliptical timbered ceiling. Modern sanctuary furnishings include a forward altar and a tabernacle designed by David John. This area is divided from the south side of the building by a partition. On this side a spacious corridor serves WCs, a spacious kitchen and meeting rooms.
Original Date: 1966
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed