Building » Ponders End – Mary Mother of God

Ponders End – Mary Mother of God

Nags Head Road, Ponders End, Enfield, Middlesex EN3

An interwar church designed by Joseph Goldie in a free Perpendicular style, competently handled but somewhat old-fashioned for its date.

In 1866 a small number workers were sent to Ponders End from Dundee to start a jute factory and to teach the local people the work.  Several of the workers were Catholics and the nearest priests were at Tottenham or Waltham Cross. Fr Bronsgeest was appointed priest at Waltham Cross in 1876 and in 1887 obtained a house in Stanley Street for use as a school and also for a weekly Mass. In 1888 a piece of land was purchased in Alma Street and a temporary iron building erected for use as a school and church; the building had previously been used as a workshop at the Catholic Industrial School in Ilford. In 1890 a brick building was erected nearby to serve principally as a school.

Enfield and Ponders End were made a separate mission in 1899, but on the arrival of the Redemptorist Fathers at Edmonton they took on the responsibility for Ponders End.  The present site in Nag’s Head Road was purchased by the Redemptorists in 1912 and another iron church was built.  After the First World War in 1919 Fr Foley was appointed the first parish priest of Ponders End and shortly set about building the present church.  The architect was Joseph Goldie, son of the architect for St Monica at Palmers Green (qv), built just before the First World War. The principal benefactor was a local man, Mr Hubberstey.


The church is a free version of the Perpendicular Gothic style, with external walls of coursed sandstone rubble with stone ornaments and dressings and roof coverings of slate.  The building is not orientated; the east end faces north. The plan comprises a long aisleless nave and sanctuary under a continuous pitched roof, with a turret and spire at the (liturgical) southwest corner.  The west end has a wide shallow stone porch with a four-centred arch and a moulded four-centred doorway. The porch is flanked by small two-light windows under pointed arch heads and over the porch is a wide window of seven lights with two tiers of cusped openings and tracery in the head of the four-centred arch. At the southwest angle is a small octagonal tower rising from ground level with two tiers of single lights and a stone bell stage with eight cusped openings and a plain parapet, topped by a shingled spirelet.  The south wall is divided into seven bays by stepped buttresses.  The five nave bays have broad three-light windows with four-centred heads and Perpendicular tracery set high in the wall.  The two sanctuary bays have shorter windows of similar type.  The east wall has a seven-light two-tier window like that in the west wall.

The interior is simple, with plain plastered walls, clear glazed windows set in shallow full-height reveals and an open timber roof with arch-braced collars. The braces are brought down onto moulded stone corbels between the windows.  There is no division between the nave and sanctuary. The timber west gallery is supported on octagonal stone columns and was underbuilt in 1985, from designs by Chris Fanning, Diocesan Surveyor, to provide a vestibule, with new stained glass windows (SS John Fisher, Thomas More, Patrick and Francis) by Shades of Light. Against the east wall of the sanctuary is a stone reredos with triple canopied niches. The east window above the reredos is filled with stained glass given by Fr Foley in memory of Fr Bronsgeest. This is one of a number of windows of 1959-61 by the Hardman firm; there is also earlier (1926) glass by the firm in the north chapel. The forward altar came from a convent chapel and was installed for the consecration of the church by Cardinal Hume in 1985.

Heritage Details

Architect: Joseph Goldie

Original Date: 1921

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed