Beaudesert, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire
A plain brick church of the 1950s, substantially rebuilt in the 1970s.
A mission was established in Leighton Buzzard in 1892, when a priest came from Wolverton. In 1897 an iron church was opened, close to the present building, and this served for over fifty years. The present church was built by Fr Cyril Henslow; the foundation stone was laid by Bishop Parker on 9 October 1952 and the church opened on 19 June 1953. In the 1970s structural problems led to the rebuilding (to a different internal design) of the nave.
The church is built of local brick laid in stretcher bond, with an asymmetrical roof, now clad with corrugated sheeting. The projecting entrance porch has a curved hood and creased tiles at the sides; there is similar tile detailing also around the lower windows. There is a higher window under the uPVC eaves. The flank walls of the nave were seamlessly rebuilt in the 1970s, and have large windows with opaque green, blue and yellow glass. The shallower chancel is original, and has high-level windows at the sides and a curved and windowless east wall with an inset brick cross in the gable. There is a flat-roofed appendage (Lady shrine) in the angle of the chancel and the nave.
The entrance leads into a small lobby containing a stained glass window depicting the Baptism of Our Lord (G. Maile & Son, 1959), installed to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the ordination of Fr Henslow. The church consists of an aisleless nave and sanctuary, with a shrine to Our Lady to one side of the sanctuary and sacristy to the other. The nave is now roofed with crude steel trusses, while the original roof structure remains in the chancel. At the west end of the nave is an organ gallery with a modern and elegant pipe organ at its centre, somewhat obscuring a stained glass window of the Sacred Heart behind (by Maile & Son, 1960-2). The seating in the nave consists of oak benches. In the sanctuary there is a large pink and white marble altar, presumably the original one brought forward, and behind this a painted modern statue of Christ with outstretched arms, over a recessed tabernacle. There is a timber octagonal font by the shrine to Our Lady, and a stained glass window of the Presentation (Maile & Son, 1960-2) and statue within the shrine. On the other side of the sanctuary, doors to the sacristy and confessionals.
Amended by AHP 24.01.2021
Architect: Not established
Original Date: 1953
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed