Lower Street, Cleobury Mortimer, Kidderminster, Worcestershire
A simple building of the early 1960s, with historical connections with the Blount family of Mawley Hall and good stained glass, probably by Earley of Dublin.
The origins of St Elizabeth’s church are tied to the tradition of the Catholic presence at nearby Mawley Hall. Here, for centuries, the Blount family maintained a chaplain who ministered to all Catholics in the locality. The long history of the Blounts and Catholicism at Mawley came to an end with the death of Sir Walter Blount in 1958. However, anxious that the Catholic community should have somewhere to worship after his passing (and the inevitable sale of Mawley Hall), in his will Sir Walter gave the Diocese a large plot of land in Cleobury Mortimer and £1,000 together with the instruction that this legacy was given on the proviso that the town’s Catholic church would be completed within three years.
Built to the designs of Mr Roman Lewandowski, a Ludlow-based architect, St Elizabeth’s cost £8,000 to construct and was opened in September 1962. The chief subsequent alterations to the building have been the removal, throughout the building, of the original doors and windows for replacement with UPVC counterparts.
St Elizabeth’s is a church of rectangular plan built on a sloping site. Constructed on a level yet running against the contour of the terrain, the height differential between the building’s north and south ends is such that it was possible to install a lower storey beneath the ‘downhill end’. Incorporating a two storey flat-roofed western projection, this comprises a generous and well-lit meeting room with toilets and a kitchen. On its upper level the western projection accommodates the sacristy and a confessional, both of which are accessed from the church. The church is entered from the north via a brown brick-built narthex. The body of the church is built of the same brick with rendered and white painted infill panels.
The central circulation alley is flanked by simple pews. The sanctuary is raised on a single step and lit by the raking light of a generous east window. There is a timber altar and ambo, with a wall mounted cross and timber canopy over. In the north gable and the narthex there are stained glass windows which bear comparison with the Earley of Dublin window at St Peters, Ludlow. The link between St Elizabeth’s church and Mawley Hall is commemorated by a possibly mid-eighteenth century crucifix from the Hall in a wall mounted case.
Architect: Roman Lewandowski
Original Date: 1963
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed