Benyon Grove, Orton Malborne, Peterborough, PE2 5XS
A modern (1980s) octagonal church built to serve the new Orton Township, this design by Thomas Wilson Associates of Oakham is compact and well-detailed, but lacks the adventurousness of original proposals for the site.
In about 1975 the Peterborough Development Corporation started building work on the new Orton Township, part of the late twentieth-century expansion of Peterborough. Mass for local Catholics was said at first in the leisure centre and then in a variety of hired locations. The first resident priest was appointed in 1978. After a slowdown in the building programme in the early 1980s, the Development Corporation allocated a site for a new church in 1985 and two years later designs were commissioned from Thomas E. Wilson Associates of Oakham, Rutland. The striking original design, with a fan-shaped layout and swept conical roof over the sanctuary was revised in favour of an octagonal design, with a large central space surrounded by meeting rooms and other smaller spaces under a more conventional pitched conical roof. The first turf was cut by Bishop Alan Clark on 17 July 1988, and the completed building was dedicated in September 1989. The builders were Bowmans of Stamford.
The building is not orientated; the liturgical east end faces south. The church is a steel framed structure with claddings of hand-made buff-coloured brick laid in stretcher bond and roof coverings of grey artificial slate. It is octagonal on plan, with a low outer ring of rooms lit by vertical slit windows and with monopitch roofs surrounding a taller central space, which is lit by broad horizontal clerestorey windows and capped by a low-pitched conical roof. Detached from the church to the east is a tall steel pylon intended as a campanile, but as yet without a bell.
Internally, the central worship space is also octagonal; it has bare-faced buff brick walls and timber-lined ceilings and is lit entirely from the clear-glazed clerestorey windows. The main worship space is carpeted and seated with chairs. Retractable partitions on the south (liturgical east) side allow the wide sanctuary area to be separated off from the main space. The altar, ambo and font are of Ancaster stone and buff brick. The Station of the Cross were painted by Anthony James of Norwich and there are two embroidered panels showing the Mysteries of Creation and Salvation by Isobel Greeting. The subsidiary rooms surrounding the central area are functional in character.
Architect: Thomas Wilson Associates
Original Date: 1988
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed