Building » Luton – St Martin de Porres

Luton – St Martin de Porres

Leagrave High Street, Luton, Bedfordshire

A functional post-Vatican II design, well reordered in 2000, with a painted rood by Stephen Foster.

The parish was founded in 1962, the year of the canonisation of the Peruvian Dominican, St Martin de Porres. A wooden building was used until the present church was built in 1979, from designs by the Ellis Williams Partnership. It was designed to seat up to 300 people. The wooden building was converted to a  parish hall and replaced in the mid-1990s by a new hall, built using similar materials to the church.


The building is octagonal in plan, enclosing a large, undivided worship space. The buff-coloured bricks clad a steel frame which supports a pitched slate roof. The plinth, in darker brick, matches the narrow vertical bands of dark-framed windows which light the sanctuary. Elsewhere, the tall, clear-glass windows are larger but retain the dark frames. On the Leagrave High Street elevation is a large, raised, brown brick cross alongside the name of the church. The sacristy, confessional and WC are attached to the south side of the building, between it and the neighbouring presbytery.

Inside, the walls are of bare brick, with stained timber door frames and a slatted suspended ceiling inset with spot lights. The seating comprises wooden chairs rather than benches. The sanctuary is raised by three steps  and has a stone floor. The fittings, including the altar and ambo, are stone with gilded detail and were renewed in about 2000. The carved, painted and gilded panel of the crucified Christ flanked by Our Lady and St John behind the altar was designed by Stephen Foster (other work of his can be seen at the cathedral, Princes Risborough, Buckingham etc), and dates from 2000. A stone font, in a similar style to the sanctuary fittings but with a timber cover, sits to the southeast of the sanctuary.

Amended by AHP 24.01.2021

Heritage Details

Architect: Ellis Williams Partnership

Original Date: 1979

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed