Hartford Road, PE29 1XG
A small church of 1901 in Romanesque style designed by local architect Simeon Croot, much altered in the 1990s. The building and slightly older presbytery make a modest positive contribution to the local conservation area.
A small iron building was opened as a Mass centre for Huntingdon in 1871 or 1872 by the Rev. John Duff, priest at the Ramsey mission. A presbytery was built in 1878 and from then until the end of the century the two towns were served by a priest based at Huntingdon. In 1900 Charles Temple-Layton of Brampton Grange provided funds for a new church. The new building, in a Romanesque style, was designed by James Simeon Croot of Brampton, surveyor to Huntingdon County Council and architect for the church of St Etheldreda at Ely (qv). Temple-Layton’s son George, who died at Murree in India in 1902, is commemorated in a stained glass window in the church.
The church was re-roofed in 1970 and extended in 1997, with additions either side of the front porch and a parish room set at right angles to the church and opening into it to provide additional accommodation. The architect was Julian Limentani of Marshall Sisson Architect.
The church is not orientated; the liturgical east end faces northwest. All directions in the following description are liturgical.
The building is in Romanesque style. The external walls are faced in white brick with dressings of Weldon stone, and the roof coverings are of brown tiles. On plan it comprises an aisleless nave, a two-storey west porch with modern extensions on either side, a small southeast Lady Chapel and an apsidal sanctuary. Giving off the north side at the east end is a parish room, added in 1997, which is capable of being opened up to the church to increase seating capacity.
In the centre of the west front is a gabled two-storey porch with a broad round-arched moulded doorway enriched with dogtooth detail and a hoodmould with headstops. Above the doorway is a canopied niche with a lively statue of St Michael, flanked by small round-headed windows. On either side of the porch are modern tower-like additions in the same style and materials as the original building; each has a single round-headed window and a gabled roof whose outer slope continues the line of the nave roof behind. The side walls of the church have round-headed windows set in brick reveals divided by pilaster strips with triangular caps. The eastern apse is lower than the nave and has four round-headed windows. Next to it on the north side is the parish room of 1997, in the same materials and round-arched style.
Inside, the nave walls are faced in Ancaster stone (now painted), with a boarded dado. The central alley is paved with encaustic tiles with ornamental borders, with a timber floor under the benches to either side. The timber roof is elaborate, with collars and tie beams braced down onto wall posts. Between each tie-beam and the collar is an open timber arcade, and above the collars is a modern boarded ceiling. The deep west gallery, supported on iron columns, is presumably a later insertion; the gallery front has open Chinese Chippendale-style panels. At the east end of the nave the altar has been brought forward and set on a timber platform. To the north is a modern opening to the parish room, to the south a round-arched opening to the Lady Chapel, now filled with a glazed partition. Behind the nave altar is a step up to the apse, which has a round arch to the nave with jamb-shafts. The apse wall has a panelled dado which ramps up in the centre to form a reredos behind the gradine.
Most of the windows are clear-glazed with diamond quarries, but two of the four apse windows have stained glass representing St Michael and St Hubert, patron saint of hunting. One of the windows in the body of the church is a memorial to George Temple-Layton, son of the donor. The altar is a modern stone block. The octagonal stone font, now at the east end of the nave, is Gothic in style and set on a clustered column; it is presumably an original fitting. The timber panelled nave benches are probably also original, but the gallery benches are modern.
Architect: Simeon Croot
Original Date: 1901
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed