Dunny Lane, Chipperfield, Hertfordshire WD4
A neo-vernacular design with a steeply pitched tile roof, built in 1998. The interior is attractive and welcoming, with extensive, high-quality carvings from a tribe in Tanzania, a thank-offering for assistance given by the Salvatorian Order and parish. The church makes a modest contribution to the Chipperfield Conservation Area.
In 1979 Bishop James O’Brien asked Fr Desmond Cantwell to start a pastoral area for the local area. Plans for a church were drawn up by Bird & Stones, civil engineers and surveyors of Plymouth in 1984: they produced further plans in 1985 by which time they were operating from a branch office in South Harrow. Land for the church was donated by Lord Charles Forte, and the first Mass was celebrated at Christmas Eve 1988. The building was dedicated on 11 October 1989. The church is served by the Salvatorian Order.
The church is a rectangle with a presbytery attached on one side. The external appearance takes its cue from Hertfordshire barns (in order to still local opposition and to gain planning permission). The walls are of light brown brick from Bovingdon Brickworks, and are covered by sweeping tiled roofs. The interior has a narthex with a gallery over and beyond this are five bays demarcated by laminated timber trusses rising to a steeply-pointed apex. The exposed light buff bricks and the bare woodwork of the roof and trusses create a light, warm interior. The altar is placed in the middle of the long side of the building away from the presbytery. It was made in the woodwork department of the local Catholic secondary school.
The church has had a long association with the people of the Makonde tribe, formerly in Mozambique but now displaced to southern Tanzania. They have provided the church with highly accomplished hardwood carvings for the Stations of the Cross, the holy water stoup, the font, and statues of St Mary and St Joseph.
Architect: Bird & Stones (civil engineers and surveyors)
Original Date: 1988
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed