Whiteway Lane, Rottingdean, East Sussex BN2 7GA
One of Henry Bingham Towner’s better churches but nonetheless not special architecturally. For its time it is very conservative in style.
Henry Bingham Towner (1909-1997) was born and lived his life at Uckfield. Our Lady of Lourdes is one of his better churches, partly owing to the use of flint in place of his more common use of reconstituted stone, and partly owing to the hillside location. The church seems to grow out of the hillside, with the saddleback tower at the highest point, over the sanctuary (the reverse of Billingshurst). The height of the tower was kept low due to concerns from the planning department. The flint is a facing over brick and the dressings are of reconstituted stone. Construction of the church took eighteen months and cost £25,000.
The church consists of clerestoried and aisled nave and sanctuary with short tower above. Whilst the exterior sits comfortably in its hillside location just away from the village centre, the interior is disappointing. It is very plain, plastered walls, the nave arcades have rather the effect of a pierced wall, the arches dying into the imposts. The nave has insufficient height in relation to width to impress and the canted ceiling is clad with acoustic panels. Whilst the church is clearly derived from the Gothic, the simplification is so extreme as to give more of a domestic than an ecclesiastical feel, such that the stone sanctuary arch almost looks out of place. Large nave and aisle windows have shallow four-centred arches and minimal curving tracery. There is no stained glass, apart from recent glass in the west window and in the Lady Chapel window. The west window was unveiled in 2000, was designed by Rosalind Sprey and made by Opus Glass of Poynings. The parish rooms to the south of the church obstruct and rather swamp the south view. They were opened in 1993, designed by Clive Ludd.
Architect: Henry Bingham Towner
Original Date: 1957
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed