Building » St Austell – St Augustine of Hippo

St Austell – St Augustine of Hippo

Woodland Road, St Austell, Cornwall

Built in 1990, with a light and pleasant interior and containing some good furnishings by David John. 

Catholic directories from 1857 record clergy travelling from surrounding missions to St Austell. In 1911 Mass was inaugurated in East Hill, above a painter and decorator’s workshop. In 1918 the Prior of Bodmin asked the Catholic Missionary Society to come to Cornwall, prompting the establishment of a permanent chapel. The Dowager Lady Bute donated £100 towards the cost of a site in Ranelagh Road.

In 1937 a large site was purchased in Woodland Road, close to the St Austell bypass, made possible with donations from Mrs Cobbold Sawle (a non-Catholic), Mr Julian Leacock of Wadhurst and Porthpean, and the sale of the Ranelagh Road property. A church was built that year and opened by Bishop Barrett on 8 September. The first resident priest arrived (from Bodmin) in 1960. In 1990 a large new church was built on the same site, from designs by David Griffin of Ian Penrose & Associates, Exeter.


Externally, the church has a low, spreading design, with prominent shallow concrete tile roof slopes leading up to a raised clerestory over the sanctuary area with a shallow pyramidal roof. The geometry of the building is complex, but the worship area is roughly fan-shaped, with ancillary spaces giving off. The interior is light and airy, with the seating arranged around the dais and sanctuary. A series of circular cast iron columns surround the central space, from which spring laminated timber trusses leading up to the central, top-lit and boarded raised clerestory. The church contains a number of good modern furnishings by David John: the carved wooden cross over the sanctuary, ambo, tabernacle door, Baptism bronze relief over the large total immersion font, relief in Lady Chapel, carved wooden and painted Stations of the Cross. Near the main entrance there is a large mosaic of St Augustine of Hippo.

Heritage Details

Architect: Ian Penrose & Associates

Original Date: 1990

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed