Building » Fareham – Sacred Heart

Fareham – Sacred Heart

Hartlands Road, Fareham, Hants

A small and well-detailed essay in fourteenth century Gothic, along Puginian lines. Its architect, John Crawley is not a major figure on the national scene, although he is prominent in the diocese as the architect for Portsmouth Cathedral as well as St Joseph, Havant (a similar design). He also designed the Catholic Cathedral in Hong Kong (built in 1883-88 by J.S. Hansom after Crawley’s death).

A Catholic mission was first established at Fareham in 1873. The site for a permanent church was acquired in 1877, a former timber yard between Hartlands Road and Portland Street. The foundation stone was laid on 19 March that year and the church opened for worship on 4 September 1878. The architect was John Crawley, a Catholic architect from London, who died, aged 47 in 1881, and is best known in Portsmouth Diocese for his design for the Cathedral. Sacred Heart church was designed to accommodate 300 and cost £2,400. The sanctuary was reordered in 1977 by J. Frame of Horsham. Entrance lobby with WCs added 1976-7.


A modest church of flint with brick dressings and a steeply pitched blue-grey slate roof with bands of green slate. The church appears tall and narrow, with nave and lean-to aisles, polygonal sanctuary, western lean-to narthex and gabled bellcote with two openings. It is in the Decorated Gothic style, with mostly trefoil-headed lights in pairs. A lobby, added in 1976-7, is attached at the southwest corner and a nineteenth century hall runs along the south side of the church. The main west window is of three lights with an encircled cusped star and two-light east windows with spherical triangles in the tracery. The polygonal apse has colonettes at the angles rising from buttresses. A link corridor has a gabled projection with a three-light window. The new entrance lobby extends the narthex southwards and links it to the adjoining hall.

The lofty interior has nave arcades of alternately round and octagonal piers with double chamfered arches. Two-light clerestory windows with deep internal splays. Between them shafts on carved corbels support trefoil-section roof. The chancel arch is of three orders, the outer ones on corbels the inner of shafts with shaft rings. Boarded sanctuary roof, also of trefoil section and with Gothic arches rising from corbels. There is a west gallery with an unusual design of splat balusters. The pews were installed in about 1973, following a fire. Octagonal Bath stone font (moved to its present position in 1977), altar with stout polished marble columns, both contemporary with the church, the latter cut down and incorporating mosaic panels of the 1920s. The brass tabernacle against the east wall comes from the chapel of Lambeth Hospital. The ambo is recent in date (about 2000). There is stained glass in most of the windows apart from those of the clerestory; it is of mixed date and quality, and none of the artists have been identified. The apse windows are original to the church, and of good quality. Altar furnishings in the side chapels not of particular note. The Stations of the Cross are said to be Austrian.

The red brick presbytery of 1934 stands at the end of a Victorian terrace southeast of the church, with a linking corridor contemporary with the church.

Heritage Details

Architect: John Crawley

Original Date: 1878

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed