Barford Lane, Downton, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5
Built under post-war restrictions, the church is a utilitarian structure of little architectural interest. Associations with Trafalgar House and the descendants of Admiral Lord Nelson’s brother lend it some historical interest.
Some distance north of the village of Downton lies Trafalgar House, a house of 1733 by John James with additions by John Wood and Nicholas Revett, and originally known as Standlynch House. Its name was changed to Trafalgar House in 1814 after it was acquired by the nation and given to the family of Admiral Lord Nelson in commemoration and thanksgiving for victory at Trafalgar. In the parkland was a small church, which had been rebuilt in ‘Gothic survival’ style in 1677. Countess Nelson converted to Roman Catholicism in 1896 and in 1913 her son Thomas, the fourth Earl Nelson, had the old church dedicated as a private Catholic chapel, served by a resident priest.
The Nelson family sold the Trafalgar House estate in 1948 but Lord Henry Nelson acquired a large plot of land in Barford Lane, which was conveyed to the diocese of Clifton with an endowment for building a new church. The building was erected in 1949 by a firm of Salisbury builders. It was initially richly furnished from the previous chapel, but most of these fittings were subsequently either sold or transferred to St Osmund’s in Salisbury. The enclosed porch was added in 1984. The church is served from St Osmund’s.
The church is not orientated; the liturgical east end is towards the west. The building is a functional design, rectangular on plan with a continuous pitched roof and a lower glazed porch at the (liturgical) west end. The walls are built of breezeblock, with metal windows and slate roof coverings. The side walls are divided into seven bays by pilaster strips, with a window in each bay. The east end wall is blind. The interior is plastered and the windows are all clear glazed. The metal structure of the roof is exposed. The simple fittings include a timber altar made for the church by Italian craftsmen and a copy of the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, purchased by Lord Nelson in 1927.
Original Date: 1950
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed