The Highway, Hawarden, CH5 3DL
An imposing modernist church by Weightman & Bullen built in the 1960s of dark brick with a flat roof and prominent buttresses giving it a muscular character. The interior is well-proportioned with a freestanding sanctuary lit by a clerestory. The church has been little altered, but with the exception of the altar rails, spiral staircase and pendant lights, the fittings and furnishings were not designed by the original architects and lack unity.
A church was built on the site in 1922 by C. B. Toller, a local landowner, whose wife was a Catholic convert. A house was also built in the 1920s at the rear of the site, and the first parish priest appointed in 1936, but the house was demolished in 2008.
The original church was a green-painted timber and corrugated iron building, and was moved to another part of the site and used as a hall when the present church was built in 1966-67, from designs by Weightman & Bullen of Liverpool. It was opened by Bishop Petit of Menevia in June 1967. The hall was removed at this time and subsequently replaced with the present temporary building attached to the east end of the church.
The church is served from Holywell by the Vocationist Fathers (Society of Divine Vocations).
The church was built in 1966-67 to the design of Liverpool architects Weightman & Bullen, who were responsible for a number of churches and schools in the diocese around this time. The design reflected the liturgical requirements of the Second Vatican Council, with the seating arranged on three sides of a freestanding sanctuary to encourage active participation in the liturgy. The church is constructed of purple brick with recessed joints and fitted with dark stained doors and windows. Full height buttresses flank the window openings and contain the side chapels; the windows too run full height. The roof is flat apart from a metal clad pyramidal lantern with clerestory lights above the sanctuary.
The building has a symmetrical plan, with a narthex at the west end beneath a gallery, and a sacristy at the east end beyond the sanctuary. Transepts extend to each side of the sanctuary, and chapels are contained by the buttresses along the side walls. The baptistery and children’s area were originally housed in the narthex, but both functions have been moved to the east end, while the gallery, which is reached by a spiral staircase, is no longer in use. The railings that screen the transepts originally ran in front of the sanctuary. Otherwise the interior remains largely unaltered. Most of the furnishings were not designed by the original architects; the stone altar came from St Mary’s Flint, and individual parishioners have made gifts of the reredos, tabernacle and font. The benches are probably also from another church. The original light fittings remain, there is a richly coloured stained-glass west window depicting the crucifixion, and the artist William McAllister Turner, who lived locally, painted the Stations of the Cross.
Architect: Weightman & Bullen
Original Date: 1967
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed