Building » Kew Gardens – Our Lady of Loreto and St Winefride

Kew Gardens – Our Lady of Loreto and St Winefride

Leyborne Park, Kew, London TW9

A classical, Italianate church of the early twentieth century by the architect- priest A. J. C. Scoles, the youngest son of the Gothic Revival architect J. J. Scoles. Canon Scoles normally worked in the Gothic style but Miss Frances Ellis, the benefactress, insisted on a classical design. The church was sympathetically extended in the 1960s by Walters & Kerr Bate. It has been extensively reordered and retains only a few furnishings of note. It makes a positive contribution to the conservation area and is locally listed.

In 1898 Bishop Bourne gave his approval to Canon Bagshawe’s proposal to find a religious congregation to establish a mission. The Marist Fathers came and set up a mission centre at 14 Kew Gardens. The ground floor of the house was converted to a chapel for 100 people and the first Mass was said on 26 October 1898.

The site for a new church was acquired for £1,200 and Miss Frances Ellis donated £3,000. Canon Alexander Joseph Cory Scoles (1844-1920) drew up plans in his favoured Gothic style; however, Miss Ellis insisted on an Italianate classical style. The foundation stone was laid on 21 November 1905 and the church was opened by Bishop Amigo on 17 July 1906. The builders were Sooles of Richmond. Fr Cummins wanted a dedication to Our Lady of Loreto, whereas Miss Ellis was set on a dedication to St Winefride, her sister’s patron saint. A compromise was found in a joint dedication. Originally, the church had no side aisles and a door in the apse led into the former sacristy (now flower room), which was later blocked off. The Stations of the Cross from the original chapel in 14 Kew Gardens Road were installed in March 1910. The same year, a crucifix was installed. In 1911 the pulpit was installed as a memorial to Fr Cummins (removed in 1998).

On 13 October 1918 a memorial to those who served in the First World War was erected, i.e. before the Armistice. The memorial and the Lady altar (removed) were the gift of Eugene Bisgood and his wife Ada, who were also benefactors to the church at East Sheen. By the late 1920s the Sacred Heart chapel was also furnished with an altar.

In 1933 an ‘army hut’ was purchased for use as a temporary hall. In 1934 the Bisgood family commissioned a stained glass window at the southeast, depicting the Annunciation and the House of Loreto, in memory of Eugene and Ada. After the Second World War the small stained glass panel of the Crucifixion was installed in the apse. In 1952 the English Province of the Marist Fathers was established, with 14 Kew Gardens as the Provincial House. In 1956 the Catholic Women’s League donated a statue of Our Lady for the golden jubilee of the church.

In 1967 work on the long-planned completion started, comprising side aisles. The architects were Walters & Kerr Bate, and the builders were Messrs Dorey & Co. By Easter 1968 the new additions were ready for use. The side aisle included shallow outer chapels, a larger one dedicated to St Peter Chanel, confessionals, a new baptistery. A new vestibule was installed and new pews. Messrs Whitehead & Sons designed the Chanel Chapel and provided the marble for the Lady Chapel and the shrines.

In 1970, the current presbytery, 1 Leyborne Park, was acquired and 14 Kew Gardens Road was sold. In 1976 the temporary hall burnt down and was replaced with a new hall by Maguire & Murray (1978-9). In 1977 the church was reordered, which included the removal of the high altar and the altar rails. The new altar and tabernacle stand included some pieces of marble from the former altar. A legacy from Mrs Moya Rinkenback cleared the remaining debt and the church was dedicated and consecrated on 27 April 1979 by Archbishop Bowen.

The Marists departed in 1984 and the parish was handed over to the diocese. As a parting gift, the order donated a crucifix by Stephen Foster (blessed 1988). In 1987 the old baptistery became the repository. In 1998 a further reordering took place, when the pulpit and the side chapel altars were removed.


The church was built in 1905-06 by Canon A.J.C. Scoles. The side aisles were added in 1967-8 by Walters & Kerr Bate. The church is built using brick, with rubbed orange brick for the west front, coarser red brick for the side aisles and stock brick for the nave and east end. The brick bond is Flemish bond at the west and for the side aisles, with English bond for the nave, side chapels and apse.

The plan is longitudinal, with an aisled nave with a polygonal (internally semi-circular) apse, with side chapels and a Lady Chapel projecting perpendicular on the north side. The central part of the west facade slightly projects forward, with quoins along its edges. Below its pediment is a round-headed window within a pedimented surround. The central doorway has a rusticated surround. The lateral bays have pedimented niches (empty) above round-headed doorways. An entablature with a dentil cornice and a string course link the three bays.

The narthex below the organ gallery has the former baptistery (now repository) at the northwest and the stairs at the southwest. The nave is six bays long, with a barrel vault with lunette windows. The nave is separated from the aisles by an arcade with Doric pilasters and a large modillion cornice. The aisles have circular windows and the outer side chapels have small rectangular windows. At the northwest is the semi- circular baptistery, with a large marble font with a gadrooned bowl and metal rails. The floor and walls are panelled in green and brown marble. In the other bays are side chapels opening off the aisles, in the form of shallow niches, each framed by a broad arch. The side chapels on the north side have statues of St Theresa and St Joseph. (The latter chapel used to be the Lady Chapel and has a marble pedestal and floor). The Stations are painted reliefs in a carved timber frame.

The Lady Chapel is larger and projects at right angles. It has a marble altar and a marble dado and a statue of Our Lady of Loreto. The north window is mostly blocked. The entrance to the sacristy is just to the east. The northeast chapel has a statue of the Sacred Heart on a simple corbel, a circular skylight, a stone floor and a brass plaque to Frank Thomas Morrell and his wife Dara.

The sanctuary has a semicircular apse with three arches with paired Corinthian pilasters. On the frieze is the inscription ‘Et verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis’. The central window has a small oval stained glass panel of the Crucifixion. The altar and tabernacle stand are plain and incorporate some red marble panels and columns from the original high altar. Above the tabernacle hangs a timber crucifix by Stephen Foster of 1988. Behind the altar is a semicircular sedilia (probably of c.1998). Lectern and chair are of timber.

The southeast chapel has a circular skylight, a statue of St Winefride, and the First World War Memorial, recording not just the fallen but all who served. At the south is the stained glass window of the Annunciation with the House of Loreto above, given by the Bisgood family in 1934. At the southeast is another side entrance. Further west there are cupboards, confessionals, the current side chapel to St Peter Chanel with a statue by P. Vermare of Lyon, and another confessional. At the west end of the south aisle hangs the large crucifix of 1910.

Heritage Details

Architect: Canon A. J. C. Scoles; Walters & Kerr Bate

Original Date: 1905

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed