Building » Harleston – St Thomas More

Harleston – St Thomas More

Jays Green, Harleston, Norfolk IP20 9HH

An early twentieth century group of brick and pantile former school buildings, acquired in 2001 to serve as a chapel-of-ease to Bungay. 

The parish of Bungay covers two concentrated areas of population, Bungay itself and the equally large town of Harleston. The 1822 former Baptist chapel at Wortwell (a small settlement two miles east of Harleston) was used as a Mass Centre from the 1970s, served by the Benedictine priest at Bungay. On his arrival in 1993, Fr Edward Crouzet OSB thought it too limiting and too far from Harleston. In the late 1990s the early twentieth century Harleston Boys’ School (which had become Jay’s Green Youth Centre) was put up for sale by South Norfolk District Council. Fr Edward thought it could not only serve the Catholic congregation as a better chapel-of-ease than Wortwell, but the second hall could continue to be used by the wider community. The buildings were leased from the council in 1999 and then following the sale of the Wortwell chapel, purchased by the Downside Abbey Missions Trust in 2001.

Parishioners redecorated and furnished the former games room as a chapel and it was opened and dedicated to St Thomas More by Bishop Alan Clark on 21 June 1999. A former classroom at right angles to the chapel was refurbished and opened as extra congregational space in 2004-05. It is separated from the main chapel by a folding door. A second, larger hall to the south has also been refurbished for congregational social use, but is mainly let out to local community groups. Currently the Mass centre is self-supporting. 


The chapel and ‘L’-shaped extension are built of red brick with steep black glazed pantile roofs and timber casement windows. The community hall is also of red brick and black pantiles, but with sash windows, now replaced in uPVC. At either end and between the halls are flat-roofed extensions with white brick soldier courses at the tops of the walls. They were built with metal casement windows but those to the link block have been replaced with uPVC.  The interior has not been inspected.

Heritage Details

Architect: Not established

Original Date:

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed