Mount Avenue, New Milton, Hants
An interesting late Gothic Revival church, drawing upon regional traditions in the design and materials. The architect was W. C. Mangan, who had a prolific Catholic practice in the interwar and post-war years, and who was responsible for several churches in Portsmouth diocese. The church has similarities with Mangan’s slightly later church of St Colman, Portsmouth, and both are untypical of Mangan’s work as Gothic, rather than Italian basilican designs. Inside, the hammerbeam roof structure is particularly striking.
The church was built on a large site in 1927, to the designs of W.C. Mangan. The masonry contractor was Marchetti of Portsmouth. The report of the opening in The Tablet (16 July 1927) was as follows:
‘His lordship the Bishop of Portsmouth blessed on Sunday last, the new church of Our Lady of Lourdes at New Milton, Hampshire […] A few years ago Milton was only a hamlet on the seaboard fringe of the New Forest. To-day, with Barton-on-Sea, it has become a rapidly-developing town of about six thousand inhabitants, a place beautifully situated, looking as it does towards the Needles, and backed by the glory of the New Forest. In past years the few resident Catholics journeyed seven or eight miles to Mass at the neighbouring churches of Lymington and Christchurch. During the past three years Mass has been celebrated at Milton by the priest of Lymington, assisted by the Fathers of Montford College, Romsey, either in a private house or, latterly, in the Institute. Last Sunday, for the opening ceremony, there was a congregation too large to find accommodation inside the building.
‘In an address the Bishop related how, after some difficulties, he had acquired the site, and had within a fortnight received a cheque for £750— the exact purchase money — from an anonymous benefactor. Subsequently other benefactors sent generous sums, so that a great part of the sum expended on the building was already provided. The congregation on Sunday included General and Mrs. Newenham, the Catholic Mayor and Mayoress of Lymington, and Mr. Henry and Miss L. Weld, whose family first replanted the faith in that district, and whose generosity built and endowed the church at Lymington.
‘The new church, of concrete, is in dimension 64 by 24 feet, and is early English Gothic in style. Accommodation is provided for 160 persons. Mr. Wilfred C. Mangan, of Preston, is the architect, and the building was executed by Messrs. Marchetti, of Portsmouth’.
The church was extended in the early 1950s, and the vaguely neo-Georgian presbytery may date from the same time. There is a parish hall of the 1970s.
The earliest part of the building is Mangan’s aisleless Gothic nave of 1927, with walls of pre-cast concrete blocks with knapped flints set into the surface to create a chequerboard effect, all under a tall red-tiled roof. The west gable has an elaborate triple-tier frontispiece with an image of Our Lady; the side walls have single lancet windows with trefoil heads between gabled buttresses. The additions of the early 1950s comprise gabled double transepts on both sides, each with a pair of lancet windows, and a chancel whose roof is continuous with that of the nave. The walls of the transepts and chancel are plain-rendered, as is the large flat-roofed vestry extension attached to the north east transept.
The main west door leads to a lobby and so into the nave, which has plain plastered walls and a tall and elaborate timber hammerbeam roof. There is a western organ gallery over the entrance lobby. The elaborate roof is continued the full length of the building, supported at the transept by octagonal columns. All the windows are clear glazed. The church has a parquet floor, with marble sanctuary flooring. The sanctuary has been reordered and the altar brought forward. The wooden nave benches probably date from the 1950s; the pendant light fittings seem more typical of the 1920s.
Entry amended by AHP 26.12.2020
Architect: W. C. Mangan
Original Date: 1927
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed