Building » Minster, Sheppey – Immaculate Heart of Mary (chapel-of-ease)

Minster, Sheppey – Immaculate Heart of Mary (chapel-of-ease)

Minster Road, Minster, Sheppey, Kent ME12

A long, plain and functional 1950s chapel built by the parishioners, using a prefabrication system.

In 1943 a ‘hut’ chapel at 172 Minster Road was rented as a temporary chapel, which opened on 21 February that year. This was used once a month for a Sunday service. In 1928 Miss Dallimore had left 21 small plots of land at Minster to Bishop Amigo. However, none were large enough for a church with presbytery and school, which were planned for Minster in the post-war years. (The 21 plots were gradually sold off in the 1940s-60s.) Instead the present site, measuring 110 by 115 feet, was acquired for £450 in 1946. Ten years later, the decision was made to build here. However, a church to seat 200 would have cost £10,000. As it was impossible at the time to borrow the sum at a reasonable interest rate, it was decided that the parish should build the church themselves. A prefabrication system called DriCrete, consisting of interlocking concrete blocks, was chosen. Work started in August 1956 and the shell of the building was finished by the end of the year. The structure cost only £1,000; the foundations, interior  decoration and furnishings cost another £1,000. Mass was first said on Easter Sunday 1958 and the chapel was opened on 21 September 1958 by Bishop Cowderoy.

On 31 May 2008 the chapel was blessed by Bishop Hine, on the occasion of its Golden Jubilee. Within the last ten years, it was extended at the north (liturgical west) end, providing a small meeting room in the porch.


The chapel is facing south. This description follows conventional liturgical orientation.

The chapel was built in 1956-8 by the parishioners using a prefabrication system called DriCrete, made by Erith Construction Ltd. It consists of a steel frame with interlocking concrete blocks, which suggest the appearance of traditional weatherboarding. The more recent west extension was probably built in brick. (Brick footings are visible below the rendered portion of the wall.) The plan is of a long rectangle. The north facade has metal grilles to six pairs of windows, painted to suggest lancet windows with one transom. The entrance is at the northwest.

The interior has a very low suspended ceiling, inserted to counter the loss of heat through the roof in winter. The nave is six bays long. At the west end is a crucifix, a pietà and a Sacred Heart statue. On the north side is a resin statue of St Joseph, facing a timber statue of the Virgin Mary on the opposite side. The Stations are small, timber reliefs. The sanctuary furniture is modern and of timber. At the east wall hangs a Risen Christ crucifix. Behind the sanctuary is the sacristy with a toilet and a small kitchen.

Heritage Details

Architect: None

Original Date: 1956

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed