Building » Long Eaton – St Francis of Assisi

Long Eaton – St Francis of Assisi

Tamworth Road, Long Eaton, Derbyshire NG10

A modest red brick church of 1930, made noteworthy by a dramatic reordering of 1995, with curved sanctuary dais, axially placed font with sunken pool and artworks of a high order.

In 1884 the Rev. P. F. Elkins of St Barnabas Cathedral was given charge of a new mission in Long Eaton. A site was acquired in Sawley Road (now Tamworth Road) and an iron church seating 76 was built at a cost of £130. A presbytery was built in 1923, and on 13 June 1929 the foundation stone was laid for the present church, which was completed in the spring of 1930. The builders were Atkin and Barton of Shepshed. The Long Eaton Advertiser described the new church as ‘a new sanctuary of simple but tasteful design, approximately 90 ft by 32 ft in area, with room for 350-500 worshippers, with interior woodwork of Columbian pine’. The papal arms over the altar  and two stained glass windows (St Winefride and St Patrick) in the sanctuary were given by Mrs Winifrid E. Cobb, and a baldacchino over the high altar was built by two unemployed parishioners. The cost of the new church was approximately £2500.

In 1973-4 a narthex addition was built at the west end of the church. At the same time alterations were made to the presbytery and sacristies, and a parish hall built at the rear. The architects for this work were Reynolds & Scott. In 1995 a major reordering of the interior was carried out under the direction of Tim Gough of Austin Winkley Associates (contractors Baggeley and Jenkins of Mansfield).


The church is a red brick lancet Gothic design, with stone dressings and a slate roof. It  consists of an aisleless  nave and  sanctuary, with a later  western narthex. The presbytery is attached to the south side of the church. The main west front has a raised frontispiece with paired lancets and a niche below the stepped parapet, containing a carved statue of St Francis. In front of this, the narthex of 1973-4 is built of matching brickwork, has tall lancet windows, and a flat roof hidden behind a parapet. The entrance to the narthex is on the south side. On the flank walls the bay divisions are marked by attached buttresses, and there are paired lancet windows with stone arches in each bay. The attached presbytery is in domestic style, stone rather than brick faced and with a steep slate roof. It was altered and extended in 1973-4.

The church interior consists of an aisleless nave with a narrower chancel separated by a pointed chancel arch with narrower arched openings on either side. The internal walls are plastered and painted, with an arch braced roof of Columbian pine. Apart from the old font, now used as a holy water stoup in the narthex area, the furnishings date almost entirely from Austin Winkley Associates’ reordering of 1995. This was a collaborative exercise, involving several artists of note. Features include:

  • Altar, altar steps and paved sanctuary floor of Derbyshire Dark Warmsworth and Course Guiseley Stone, designed by the architect
  • Hanging cross with figures of St Francis and St Clare, by David John
  • A large painted canopy hovering over the sanctuary by Marianne John
  • Celebrant’s chair, ambo and backdrop screen in beech, by David John
  • Font of similar materials placed in front of the altar with a sunken pool lined with patterned mosaics by the Mosaic Workshop, London
  • Bronze tabernacle in north (Blessed Sacrament) chapel, by David John
  • Abstract stained glass window in the Blessed Sacrament chapel, by local artist Frances O’Brien

The stained glass figures of St Winefride and St Patrick in the lancets at the west end date from c1930 and were moved here from the sanctuary in 1995. The seating consists of moveable chairs rather than benches.

Heritage Details

Architect: Not established

Original Date: 1929

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed