Eton Wick Road, Eton Wick, Berkshire
A modest church of the 1960s, conventionally longitudinal in plan, and displaying architectural and decorative detail typical of its time.
Before St Gilbert’s Church was opened Eton Wick Catholics attended Mass in the village hall for over a decade. The charge for hire was four shillings a week; the congregation were also required to clear up after the previous evening’s event. In 1954, a fundraising effort was launched to provide a permanent Catholic church for the village. It took nearly ten years to raise the funds to build the church, which was blessed by the Bishop on the day before Palm Sunday in 1964. St Gilbert’s was built to seat 154 at a cost of £16,000, on land purchased for £1,500.
The church was originally served by the Canons Regular of the Lateran from Datchet, hence the dedication to St Gilbert (of Sempringham). The church is now served from Our Lady of Peace, Burnham by secular clergy. About 45-50 attend Sunday Mass.
Built of brown brick, the church has a wide nave with a tiled roof, attached to a low east tower with hipped roof, also tiled. The nave has five long windows, replaced with PVC-u (as have the arched stair windows in the tower). The west gable end has a circular window with a cross motif. Attached to the west end is a brick porch with segmental arched roof. Its two doors – either side of a once-glazed central section – provide principal access to the nave. South of the tower is a single-storey, flat-roofed block which houses a sacristy and WCs; this seems to be later than the rest of the church, but is built in the same brick. It has a PVC-u door and windows.
The interior of the church is plain, with framed bay subdivisions, painted plaster walls, glass globe pendant lights, a wooden floor and a mixture of original wooden pews and stacking chairs. At the west end is a shallow gallery with 1960s geometric patterning across its front and, below, space for a confessional and repository. Behind the altar a wooden Crucifix is mounted on the wall; at the northeast end of the nave is a carved wall sculpture of the Madonna and Child. All other fittings, including the pulpit, appear to be modern.
Original Date: 1963
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed