Snow’s Green Road, Shotley Bridge, Co. Durham
A small post-war church with an attached parish hall. It is a simple round-arched design by Anthony J. Rossi, built early in his career and before he developed his distinctive later style. The sanctuary has a large painting of the Virgin Mary by local artist Sheila Mackie. The church makes a positive contribution to the Shotley Bridge Conservation Area.
The parish was founded in 1952 from Blackhill (qv), with Fr John Kelly as the first parish priest. The church was built on the site of Derwent House. The architect was Anthony J. Rossi (given as ‘Anthony Ross’ in the Conservation Area Appraisal) and the builder was R.C. Williamson of Rowlands Gill.
Since 1987, when Fr James Burke retired, Shotley Bridge has been served from Blackhill. The former presbytery on the opposite side of the road has been sold.
The church faces southwest. This description follows conventional liturgical orientation.
The church is rectangular on plan, with a narrower chancel and a southwest porch. The hall is attached to the east and at a right angle to the church. The external walls of the church are rendered. Three groups of three round-headed lancets to the south aisle are separated by fin-like buttresses. The south side of the chancel has two round-headed windows above a flat-roofed corridor linking to the hall with three oblong windows. The pitched roof covers both nave and chancel. The hall shares some architectural details with the church: the pitched roof, three round-headed windows in the short sides, and a flat-roofed entrance block to the long side. The east side of the hall is lit by square clerestory windows.
The three-bay nave has a canted ceiling. Set centrally against the west wall is the square font with chamfered corners. Beside the pipe organ in the northwest corner is a small niche framed by a round arch echoing that of the entrance porch and lit by two windows, with a statue of St Joseph with the child. Another arch at the northeast leads into the Lady Chapel with a timber altar and reredos framing a stone sculpture.
The sanctuary is flanked by two doors, leading to the sacristy (northeast) and a corridor to the hall (southeast). Above the door to the sacristy is a statue of Our Lady Immaculate. The sanctuary is dominated by a large modern painting of Our Lady of the Rosary by local artist Sheila Mackie (died 2010). The sanctuary furnishings are all modern and of timber. To the south of the sanctuary is a statue of the Sacred Heart in white marble with a cloak and heart of brown marble. The Stations of the Cross are painted casts.
Architect: Anthony Rossi
Original Date: 1952
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed