High Street, Hatfield Broad Oak, Bishop’s Stortford CM2
A simple Congregational chapel of the 1860s, converted to Catholic use in the 1950s.
There was a Mass Centre in Hatfield Broad Oak from 1907 to 1913, served from Bishop’s Stortford. Later the village was served by the Diocesan Travelling Mission. In 1952 Canon F. Dobson, Travelling Missioner, negotiated the purchase for £300 of a former Congregational chapel in the High Street. This had been built in 1868 but by 1952 had been superseded by a new chapel at Hatfield Heath. The church was refurnished and repaired, and opened for Catholic use on 15 June 1952. It is served from Great Dunmow.
The church is orientated north-south, but this description follows conventional liturgical orientation, i.e. as if the altar faced east.
Built of stock brick with red brick banding, blue and red brick window dressings and a modern concrete tile roof. The style is a simple version of Perpendicular Gothic. The chief decorative detail is reserved for the entrance porch, which has a Perp stone arch over the door head with spandrels carved with oak leaves and a hoodmould. The porch gable has stone kneelers and a carved datestone (1868 set into a quatrefoil) with hoodmould over. There is a narrow, single light window on either side of the porch; these and the wider mullion and transom windows on the north elevation have all been replaced in uPVC. The three bays of this side elevation are marked by buttresses. The south elevation is behind a plain and rendered wall which gives onto the front garden of the adjoining property.
The interior is a single space, with sacristies and WCs giving off the south side, which has been opened up in the nave to form an ‘aisle’. The internal walls are plastered and painted; there is a scissor-braced roof supported on stone corbels, with exposed purlins and the underside of the roof lined with painted boarding. The stone mullioned east window is of three lights, with stained glass (Virgin and Child flanked by two saints). The timber altar, president’s chair and pews are presumably imported.
Architect: Not established
Original Date: 1868
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed