Building » Dipton – St Patrick

Dipton – St Patrick

North Road, Flint Hill, Dipton, Co. Durham DH9

A large post-Vatican II church built on the longitudinal foundations of the predecessor church but with a centralised interior. Older buildings of the church complex include the school of 1907 and the presbytery.

The mission was founded in 1907 from Brooms parish. A site was acquired on favourable terms from Lord Ninian Stewart who also let a house to the first resident priest, Fr (later Canon) McGill. On 29 June 1907, a large timber and iron church with side aisles was opened by Bishop Collins. The brick school building was also completed that year. In 1910 Fr John Maloney became the first resident priest.

In 1934, the church was clad in stone and the interior plastered. It burnt down on 15 June 1964. A new church was erected in 1967-68 using the old foundations, opening on 28 August 1968. The architect was Anthony Joseph Rossi (1916-1971) of Consett and the builders were Henry Ayton & Sons Ltd, Blackhill, Consett. While the plan form is longitudinal, the interior of the church was planned with the new liturgical requirements in mind; the sanctuary was placed against the north wall, with the seating arranged (as now) around three sides. However, the current appearance of the interior belongs largely to a reordering of 2007. A weekday chapel was created at the southwest, new furnishings were introduced, the sacristies refurbished and additional toilet facilities added.

The first (early twentieth-century) parish hall was replaced in about 1964. In 2011, this building was given to the adjacent school. Dipton is now served from Stanley and the presbytery is occupied by a retired priest.


The church faces west and the altar is placed against the north wall. This description uses conventional liturgical orientation, i.e. as if the altar was at the east.

The church is built with a steel portal frame, clad with Cotswold Grey bricks in stretcher bond and a Welsh slate roof. The plan is rectangular, although the altar has always been in its present position.

The entrance elevation has a narrow full-height projecting porch, implying an internal division into nave and aisles. Above the three doors is a gabled recess in concrete with a grid of thin concrete fins connecting it to the brick walls of the porch. On either side of the porch are two vertical clerestory windows above near-square ground-floor windows.

The interior of the porch is timber panelled. Originally, the short sides of the rectangular interior both had galleries. The south gallery was removed and the space enclosed by a glazed timber partition as a weekday chapel. This contains several pieces of modern sculpture: a timber altar whose circular base is carved with the Last Supper, and an unusual large timber crucifix by Ken & Jennie Grant made for the Millennium. The plastered nave ceiling follows the shape of the pitched roof, apart from the ceiling over the sanctuary which has a steeper pitch and is covered in grey ceiling tiles. The west wall has large oblong windows, while the east side is lit only by clerestory window bands over the confessionals on either side of the sanctuary.

At the northwest are the former Lady Chapel (now the repository), the sacristy and toilet facilities. There are statues of St Patrick and the Virgin Mary on the north side. A stair at the northeast leads to the north gallery which was originally open to the nave but is now glazed for use by children and for meetings. The sanctuary furniture is of timber and stone. The octagonal stone font originally in the southwest corner is now just north of the sanctuary. The crucifix on the east wall combines the figures of Christ, Mary and St John in a group as on a rood or Calvary. The Stations of the Cross are unframed reliefs. The organ at the south is by J.W. Walker & Sons Ltd (1968).

Heritage Details

Architect: Anthony J. Rossi

Original Date: 1968

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed