London Road, Daventry, Northants
An interesting design, especially in terms of the original internal layout, but this was radically remodelled about ten years after the church was built.
The Daventry mission was established in 1880 and Mass was said in the presbytery which occupied the former ‘Rifleman’ public house. Stables to the rear were converted to become St Mark’s church in 1882, paid for by Lord Braye of Stanford Hall. The congregation outgrew this building and the church was moved to the old grammar school in New Street, opening as Our Lady of Charity and St Augustine in 1916. In 1961 the Fox and Hounds pub on London Road was purchased as a site for a future church. In 1969 the Daventry Town Development Scheme was approved for the expansion of the town as a Birmingham overspill. Against this background of expansion the present church was built as a dual-purpose church and hall; the foundation stone laid on 3 October 1971 and the official opening was on 22 November 1972. Ellis Williams Partnership were the architects. In 1989 a new church hall was built next to the church and at some point during the 1980s the church was reordered for dedicated church use.
The altar faces southwest but in this description all references to compass points will be taken as if the altar faced conventionally due east. The church is of unusual form and layout, especially internally, and it is unclear to what extent this is due to the 1980s alterations. Brown brick with lead and concrete tile roofs. The plan is essentially a square with shallow projections in the centre of each side. These rise to cut off gables with glazing to the sides and glazed pitched roofs against the gables. To either side on the north and south elevations are paired windows set high up. Single storey porch and sacristy attached to the east side whilst to the west there is a projecting narthex and external covered porch flanked by ancillary rooms, that to the north the Damien Chapel. Within the covered porch are double-paired entrances. Above the porch is a steeply pitched tiled hipped lean-to roof.
The interior is spacious and light. False ceiling with a proprietary panel system. The ceiling cants up at the east end, at the point where the original folding screen was located. Acoustic timber clad panels are suspended from the ceiling, four circular panels over the pews and a rectangular panel over the central area. The layout is unusual in that, on entering the main church, the sanctuary occupies the anticipated location of the main nave aisle; the president’s chair and ambo at one end and the nave altar at the other. The fixed seating is arranged in a U-plan facing across this linear sanctuary. The carpeting is taken up to form the seats and sides of the banquettes. Utilitarian timber screens rise up behind the banquettes. Behind these are rather unsatisfactory dead-end aisles which inevitably are used as storage areas. The majority of the natural lighting comes from the projecting bays on each of the four sides which form brightly lit glazed slots. The projecting bays themselves have no other real purpose apart from providing natural light. These have internal glazed screens with winged angels in coloured glass of pastel shades and simple form. There are also the four high-level windows to north and south and some borrowed light from skylights. The eastern projection includes an altar on a raised platform and here the glazed screen comes forward into the church on plain timber supports. Crucifix above. The altar has gold painted gothic relief panels which look somewhat incongruous in the otherwise modern interior. The altar and ambo, like the banquettes, have the carpeting taken up the sides. The Damien Chapel is lined internally with plain vertical timber boards spaced apart with narrow gaps. Contemporary furnishings.
Architect: Ellis Williams Partnership
Original Date: 1972
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed