Ashby Road, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11
A handsome stucco-faced classical building with a prominent portico front to the busy Ashby Road. The spacious columned interior, which mostly dates from the enlargement of the original 1830s building in the mid-1920s, is a late essay in the classical manner but done with conviction and some style. The building makes a strong contribution to the character of the Ashby Road Conservation Area.
In 1833 Fr Benjamin Hulme arranged the purchase of the present church site and commissioned William Flint of Leicester to design a building in the classical style, combining church and presbytery. In 1841 the Rosminian Fathers took charge of the mission and have continued to serve it ever since. For a few years in the 1840s the mission was in the charge of Fr Luigi Gentili, a prominent figure of the Catholic revival and said to be the first priest in England to wear the cassock in the public streets. There was considerable local opposition to Catholicism in Loughborough, which continued to the mid-century. The original St Mary’s church lay west-east, parallel with Ashby Road, with the presbytery incorporated at the west end. The three-bay facade of the presbytery is still intact. Old photographs show that by the turn of the century the internal walls of the church had elaborate stencil decoration. In the 1920s a new nave was added on the site of the former graveyard in front of the building; the addition was in the same style as the original building but with a prominent portico towards the street (architect A. M. Barrowcliffe of Loughborough). A new high altar was consecrated in 1933 and marble altar rails added in 1937. The old church became the chancel, Lady Chapel and sacristy.
See 1984 list description below.
The 1920s nave has two rows of fluted columns with pilaster responds against the outer walls. Both columns and pilasters have palmette capitals derived from those used in the original nave. The high altar with pedimented marble baldacchino was consecrated in 1933; the marble altar rails, oak benches in the body of the church and the timber confessionals along the aisle walls are all of the 1920s and 30s and contribute considerably to the architectural quality of the interior.
List description (church and presbytery)
Roman Catholic church and house adjoining, 1833-4, by William Flint of Leicester. Stucco. Original church forms chancel of present church, which was enlarged in the 1920s by a 5-bay nave to the south. Massive 4-column south portico flanked by aisle windows in lugged architraves. Ceramic panel of the Annunciation above central door. Original church has ceiling with coved sides rising from cornice and west gallery with iron railing enriched with palmettes. C20 fittings otherwise. House to west: 2-storey, double-fronted, 3 window range. Giant pilasters supporting entablature. Lugged architraves and bracketed cills. Pilastered doorcase, rectangular fanlight, 6-panelled door (2 panels now glazed). C20 casement windows.
Listing NGR: SK5300919723
Architect: William Flint; A. M. Barrowcliffe
Original Date: 1834
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Grade II