Fore Street, Kingsbridge, Devon
A former Quaker Meeting House retaining part of its old burial ground, acquired for Catholic use in 1902 and much altered in the later twentieth century. The primary architectural and historical significance of the site lies in the burial ground and the contribution made by the front façade to the conservation area. The interior has been rebuilt and while it contains some furnishings of note, is not of special interest.
The church was purchased for use as a Catholic church in 1902. Before that it had been briefly used by the Salvation Army and before that it was a Quaker Meeting House. The building appears to be early nineteenth century in date although it is understood that there was a Meeting House in Kingsbridge in 1617. Part of the former Quaker burial ground survives at the rear of the church, with burials reinterred here in 1881 when the former Quaker burial ground in Duncombe Street was developed. The building was considerably extended at the rear in 1965, doubling the size of the old nave and transforming the interior into a rectangular space. A sacristy, classroom and store were built beyond the sanctuary, over part of the former burial ground.
See list description, below. This describes the front elevation only; behind this the church has been virtually if not totally rebuilt.
The church is a simple structure, rectangular on plan with a projecting front porch. All the external walls are faced with render; the roof coverings are slate. In the centre of the principal front to Fore Street is a projecting porch with a wide double doorway and a pitched roof with cusped bargeboards. The gabled front wall of the church has three sash windows with pointed heads. The bargeboards referred to in the list description have been removed. The ‘south’ side wall abuts another building, the ‘east’ end wall abuts the hall and the ‘north’ side wall is windowless and fronts a narrow side passage leading from the street to the burial ground.
The interior is a single space, lit only by the three windows in the ‘west’ end wall and four small skylights. The church has a parquet floor, plain plastered walls and a suspended ceiling of acoustic tiles with cross-beams. The sanctuary is marked only by a single step. In a round-headed niche at the west end of the north side is an elaborate Italianate marble altar; a modern square headed niche in the same wall frames an opening with modern abstract stained glass. The benches and other fittings are mostly modern and of no particular interest. Over the main entrance is an eighteenth or nineteenth century oil painting of the Virgin and Child.
Early C19 original face retained of former church, stucco, painted, 3 pointed casements with glazing bars and exposed frames including centre window in gable of moderate pitch with barge boards. Nos 4 to 32 (even) and Roman Catholic Church form a group.
Architect: Original architect not established; architects for 1960s work Evans, Powell & Powell
Original Date: 1965
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Grade II