Building » King’s Lynn – Holy Family

King’s Lynn – Holy Family

Field Lane, Gaywood, Kings Lynn, PE30 4AY

A modern complex of the mid-1980s, designed by Michael Wingate of Purcell Miller Tritton to serve an area of proposed housing which never fully materialised. The church is of architectural interest for its massing and volumes, with an octagonal large main worship space and a linked chapel, also octagonal, combined with a hall and large sacristy accessed by a top-lit narthex.

King’s Lynn saw considerable expansion during the 1960s and 70s, and by 1974 attendance at Mass in the town centre had risen to over 700. At the same time there had been a shift of the Catholic population to new estates on the edge of town. Plans for a new church were developed in the early 1980s, and a plot close to the Catholic school at Gaywood, some distance to the southeast of the town centre, was purchased from the local education authority. Designs for a large new parish complex were prepared by Michael Wingate of Purcell, Miller & Tritton of Norwich. Construction work began in November 1983 and the building was completed at the end of March 1985. In the event, the suburban development in this part of King’s Lynn was less intensive than anticipated.


The building is modern in style, designed to meet the needs of an anticipated large suburban parish, and to reflect post-Vatican II liturgical requirements. The main church space is octagonal on plan, with an attached smaller and lower day chapel, also octagonal, to the northwest. These have shallow-pitched conical slate roofs and walls faced yellow brick, with some red brick detailing. The main entrance leads to a top-lit narthex, sacristy and offices, grouped together to the north and east of the main church under wide spreading roofs with deep eaves. The main church has a continuous clerestorey under the eaves on seven of its sides; on the south and southwest sides the windows step down to provide a larger glazed area.

Inside, the church space has bare grey brick walls, a woodblock floor and an elaborate open timber roof. The walls are articulated by full-height blind recessed panels and capped with heavy concrete copings above which is the clerestorey, with clear-glazed windows. The raised sanctuary area is set against the southeast side. The main entrance from the narthex is on the north side, above which is a timber gallery. On the northwest side a rectangular opening with a heavy concrete lintel leads to the day chapel, which has a carpeted floor, bare brick walls with red brick bands and a boarded ceiling. There are no furnishings of particular note.

Heritage Details

Architect: Purcell Miller Tritton

Original Date: 1985

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed