The Green, Feltham, Middlesex TW13
A well-designed inter-war brick church by T. H. B. Scott, in the free Romanesque style so popular for Catholic churches at that time. The church has a harmonious and effective interior. The stone carving by P. Lindsey Clark, stained glass by John B. Trinick, and the sanctuary mural by Carmel Cauchi are of particular note.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century local Catholics had to walk to Sunbury for Mass. Then, in the late 1890s the Crusade of Rescue opened St Anthony’s Children’s Home in Hatton, and from the early 1900s local Catholics were invited to attend services in the chapel there. In 1910 the first public Mass in Feltham since the Reformation was celebrated at Crendon Lodge. The following year a plot of land – ‘The Hollies’ – on Feltham Green was purchased as the site for a church. There, in 1912, a corrugated iron church was blessed on 15 February. The parish of Feltham was erected in 1927 and additional land was bought.
The foundation stone of the permanent church was laid in July 1932. Designed by T. H. B. Scott, it was planned to be built in two stages, the first involving the nave, aisles and west end. It was completed in five months at a cost of £7,500. The school, also by Scott, was opened in 1934, the year of the designs for the presbytery. In 1937 a serious fire reduced the church to a shell; the restoration was combined with completing the eastern parts, and the building was reopened and blessed on 4 September 1938.
In 1971 the church was reordered by architects Broadbent, Hastings, Reid & Todd of Twickenham (job architect J. F. G. Hastings). At this time the first permanent stone altar was erected with a new Blessed Sacrament altar in a remodelled sanctuary area. The font was repositioned near the sanctuary and the former baptistery converted into the Lady Chapel. Also the choir gallery was provided with steps for seating and an enclosed narthex formed below it. The overall cost was £17,000.
The church is built of dark brown brick in a round-arched, sub-Romanesque style, popular between the wars. It was designed by T. H. B. Scott. The presbytery is attached on the south side. The church consists of a nave, sanctuary, north and south aisles, and has a narthex (with gallery over) at the west end. The south aisle is much wider than that on the north, which is little more than a passage. The sanctuary terminates in a three-sided apse (semi-circular internally). The internal walls are plastered. At the west end there is a circular window above a three-light window and below this is a doorway with well-carved detail – Christ in Majesty surrounded by the Evangelists, below which is a frieze bearing figures of the Apostles; this is the work of Philip Lindsey Clark, who was also responsible for all the other stone carving. There is a clerestory on the aisles with pairs of windows. The baptistery was located in the southern part of the narthex but this area has been transformed into toilets. The font is now placed to the south of the sanctuary. The nave has four bays and is divided from the aisles by tall round columns with Romanesque capitals, each of which is differently carved. Before the sanctuary there is a crossing-like bay, defined by four cruciform piers.
Fine Stations of the Cross line the aisles by P. Lindsey Clark; these are carved in stone and are set into the wall. The style is reminiscent of Eric Gill’s Stations at Westminster Cathedral. Each has a border in which there are emblems reflecting the subject matter of the relevant Station.
Font: A square, cushion-shaped piece with further carvings similar to those on the Stations.
Stained glass: Beautiful work in the western oculus, mostly in rich blues with red details, depicts the Coronation of the Virgin surrounded by the heavenly host. It is by John B. Trinick and dates from the building of the church. Also by him are three panels from the former baptistery (figure 1; currently housed in an illuminated box in the sacristy but planned for resiting in a more public position). The Coronation window is reminiscent of the work of Christopher Whall but the sacristy panels are in a totally different style, inspired by thirteenth-century work. Trinick is known to have worked in various styles and the attribution for both works is supported by Little, 2002.
Around the apse are scenes from the life of St Lawrence, painted on canvas by Carmel Cauchi, 1996.
Architect: T. H. B. Scott
Original Date: 1932
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed