West End, Sedgefield, Stockton-on-Tees, Co. Durham TS21
A 1935 design of loosely Art Deco character, and one of the first churches to be dedicated to St John Fisher after his canonisation. The building occupies a prominent and sensitive position in the village conservation area.
A chapel was opened in Sedgefield in 1839, dedicated to St Joseph. This closed in 1869, and was described in the Northern Catholic Calendar for 1893 as ‘now falling into decay’. It had perhaps been made redundant by the opening of churches at Trimdon (1864) and Coxhoe (1866). A new parish was established at Sedgefield in 1935, with a church seating 170 opening that year. The architect was J. H. Garry of West Hartlepool (Tablet 15 June 1935). This was one of the first churches to be dedicated to St John Fisher after his canonisation that year.
The church is hemmed in by adjoining buildings. It is of red brick laid in English garden wall bond, with cement dressings, and has a 1930s Art Deco character. The west front has a projecting central bay with a rendered surround to the entrance, with triple keystone. Above this are three stepped lancets with flat tops, the central one with a keystone. There is a pedimented parapet surmounted by a cross, the only obvious external sign that this is a place of worship. Flanking this central bay are narrower recessed bays, each with a tall and narrow round-arched window. Modern powder coated aluminium windows over older stained glass. The rear elevation is entirely plain, and hidden from wider public views. It has a modern parish room addition.
The interior space consists of a single volume, with a western gallery. It is divided into bays by brick pilasters, which rise up to a flat canted ceiling. Around the perimeter, the walls are of exposed brick up to sill level. The walls are otherwise plastered and painted a cream colour, apart from that at the east end, which has been painted purple with stencil decoration. The mainly timber furnishings – high altar and reredos, forward altar, communion rails, octagonal sanctuary font – are not individually of special note, but hang together well. According to Fr Swales, some of the pews came from Winterton Hospital. The chief feature of note is the stained glass windows at the west end, with a risen Christ with dove descending in the central panel, flanked by St John Fisher and St Thomas More, original to the church and reset in memory of Fr Lucey, parish priest (d. 1950). This looks to be the work of the Hardman firm. Additional glass in the lower side lights depicts St Cuthbert and St Teresa.
Architect: J. H. Garry
Original Date: 1935
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed