Thanet Street, Clay Cross, Derbyshire, S45
A modest late nineteenth century brick chapel, serving a coal mining area, much altered in the 1980s.
A chapel was first built in 1862 to serve a growing Catholic community in Clay Cross, a coal mining town. The church was rebuilt in 1882 with a nave, chancel and Lady Chapel, to seat 200 (in the same year there was a terrible explosion in the colliery, with many lives lost). The builder and last resident parish priest was Fr Daniel Meenagh, who died in 1915; since then the parish has been served from Alfreton. Major repair and refurbishment took place in 1924-5. In the 1980s the parish acquired the adjoining detached house, demolished the former presbytery and extended the nave and built a new sanctuary on the site, between the house and the church. At the same time, the interior was reordered and the former sanctuary adapted for a sacristy.
The church is designed in Early English Gothic style with a steeply-gabled entrance front facing the road. The original sanctuary was at the north end of the building; in this description, conventional liturgical compass points relating to the original orientation of the church will be used. The building is faced in red brick laid in English garden wall bond and the steep roof is laid with Welsh slate and has coped verges. The west gable has a stone gabled bellcote (missing the bell) above a blind quatrefoil and two pairs of lancets with continuous hoodmoulds and gableted buttresses. The former sanctuary is expressed by a lower, narrower roof and set-back side walls and was lit by a quatrefoil window on the east gable; the south lancet has been adapted to form a doorway. The north of the church is lit by lancets beneath twin gables, the entrance porch faces west with arched doorway and modern hardwood double doors. The 1980s red brick extension forms a link between the adjoining late nineteenth century house and south side of the church; the flat-roofed addition forms part of the nave and the sanctuary and is lit by semi-circular headed windows.
Inside, the church has been substantially altered by the 1980s reordering; the removal of the south wall to extend into the addition and the insertion of suspended ceilings across the former nave and sanctuary makes the original plan-form almost illegible. Original in situ features include the sanctuary steps and a Gothic piscina to the east (now the sacristy) and the two-bay pointed north arcade; the latter is glazed and the aisle acts as an entrance lobby. A north aisle lancet retains stained glass in memory of Fr Meenagh but the octagonal marble font and marble memorial tablet, also to Fr Meenagh, have been moved to the new south wall. The hardwood pews are late twentieth century.
Amended by AHP 27.01.2021
Architect: Not Established
Original Date: 1882
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed