Building » Doncaster – Sacred Heart

Doncaster – Sacred Heart

Warmsworth Road, Balby, Doncaster, DN4 0RR

A modest but dignified post-war suburban church, one of a number of economic designs built about this time by R. A. Ronchetti. The interior retains its original seating but most of the fittings are modern, as are the well-designed facilities in the enlarged narthex.

Balby originated as a small village to the southwest of Doncaster, but became an outer suburb after terraces of workers’ housing were developed in the late-nineteenth century.  A school chapel was established on Roberts Road in 1933, the mission served from St Peter-in-Chains (qv). The parish was erected in 1953, and a new church (to seat 300) and presbytery built two years later, from designs by R. A. Ronchetti of Harrogate. The new buildings cost around £14,000, and due to the risk of mining subsidence in the area, the church was built with reinforced foundations.

In 2005 the church was reordered and extended by Alan Hair of John Hill Associates, Doncaster. An addition was built on the south side to provide a new entrance and social space and the former narthex at the back of the church was adapted to provide WCs with meeting spaces over. A baptistery was created towards the back of the church with a confessional/reconciliation room areas formed within an extension to the sacristy.

The church is aligned with the sanctuary to the approximate northwest, and the presbytery is attached to the northwest corner. In this description liturgical compass points will be used.

The church was built in 1955 from designs by R. A. Ronchetti, and is of a functional, pared-down classical character. It is faced in a rustic red brick laid in stretcher bond with a chamfered brick plinth and artificial stone dressings. The roof is laid with Acme dark red tiles and the rainwater goods are moulded cast iron. The seven-bay building consists of a sanctuary, nave and narthex under one roof, with the west entrance front facing the main road. The original narthex is expressed by set-back side walls with a pair of ground floor windows, and the west front is framed by brick pilasters rising to a simple open pediment with a coped verge and cross finial. The original entrance doorway is blocked, now with inserted brickwork and one window, flanked by small side windows. Over the doorway is a tall semi-circular headed window, protected with a polycarbonate panel. The north and south side elevations have simple flat-headed tall windows to each bay, defined by pilasters. All the openings have keystones and projecting sills, and windows are timber with hopper vents to the lower panes. The sanctuary has a plain east wall with two tall windows and a plain verge to the roof with no decorative detailing. A porch was added to the south side of the enlarged narthex in 2005, in the same plain style, and a roof light installed on the north side of the nave roof as part of the same phase of works.

Inside, the church was altered at the west end in 2005 to provide a larger narthex and additional facilities, by inserting a first floor in the two west bays and a full-height plaster and glazed screen. The nave has painted brick walls, newly-insulated sloping ceiling and carpeted floor. The exposed seven-bay roof structure has collar trusses and two tiers of purlins. The sanctuary is simply arranged with modern timber liturgical fittings, a carpeted altar platform and the east wall painted a deep purple. The nave has painted pews, probably dating from the 1950s.

Heritage Details

Architect: R. A. Ronchetti

Original Date: 1955

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed