Building » Manor House – St Thomas More

Manor House – St Thomas More

Henry Road, London N4

A modern complex of church, parish hall and presbytery, by the prolific firm of Burles, Newton & Partners.

Planning for the church started in 1972, with the drawings dating from October and November of that year. The church was opened on 29 June 1975. The architect was John Newton of Burles, Newton & Partners, and the client Canon Harold Winstone, a liturgical authority. Originally, the tabernacle was placed in a recess visible from both the church and the weekday chapel (when separated by screens). The current parish priest has moved the main altar to a central position on the west wall, whereas originally it would have been off-centre, near the tabernacle. The complex includes offices for the Catholic Association for Racial Justice.


The building has the hall in the basement, the church on part of the ground floor and the presbytery beside it (mostly on the first floor). The building itself is aligned on a northwest-southeast axis but the altar is set against the west wall. This description uses conventional, liturgical orientation, i.e. as if the altar was at the east.

The church is faced in yellow brick, laid in stretcher bond. The plan of the church is nearly square, with further spaces to the west and south (the former weekday chapel) which can be screened off by folding doors. The west elevation has a prominent staircase tower with a circular relief of St Thomas More (based on Holbein’s portrait) and a cross with a crown of thorns. The church has a small narthex.

The church has an overlapping pitched roof which creates a concealed horizontal window band lighting the sanctuary. The ceiling is timber panelled, the concrete beams and piers are painted, and the walls are of exposed light brown brick. The sanctuary has a timber platform and most of the furnishings are of timber and modern. The tabernacle is of an interesting design incorporating different metals. The large crucifix of Swiss craftsmanship behind the altar was installed by the present parish priest and was given by the Missionaries for Africa. The former tabernacle space has a coloured glass window and the timber font. In a recess in the former weekday chapel is a statue of Our Lady with the Child of Italian provenance. The sacristies are at the south.

Around the church hang the Stations of the Resurrection, temporarily replacing the Stations of the Cross. At the west are various modern icons of Jonah and the Whale, the Risen Christ and the Creation. Behind the folding screens are a small kitchen, the stair to the hall, and the repository. Set against a pier is a statue of St Martin de Porres. The benches come from Marylebone parish. A reconciliation room has been created at the southwest, with a door to the narthex.

Heritage Details

Architect: Burles, Newton & Partners

Original Date: 1975

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed