Aylesbury Road, Bucknall, Stoke-on-Trent ST2
A dignified building in a stripped version of Romanesque by E. Bower Norris. Although not a major building in itself, it serves as a landmark in this post-war housing estate.
A Mass centre was opened by the parish priest of Abbey Hulton in the Clowes Community Hall on the Bentilee housing estate in 1956, and in the same year the area received its own priest and became a separate parish. The land was given for the church by the local authority, which also donated plots to other denominations. The church was dedicated to St Maria Goretti (1890-1902), an Italian virgin martyr canonised in 1950; it was built in 1959-60 to the designs of the prolific Catholic architect, E. Bower Norris of Sandy & Norris of Stafford. The foundation stone was laid on 21 July 1959 and the church was opened by Archbishop Grimshaw on 21 June 1960. At this time the north aisle was halted after the most easterly bay was built. Subsequently the plan was changed and a small passage aisle, meeting room and entrance porch were built to the west of the single completed aisle bay.
The church is built in a stripped Romanesque style, with walls of buff-coloured brick, roof coverings of grey tiles and tall straight-headed windows on the south side; those on the north are shorter. The plan comprises a nave and sanctuary under the same roof with a tall southwest campanile with a copper-clad pyramidal roof. A circular window is placed over the entrance.
The interior is simple in character, a broad space with nave and sanctuary under one roof, plastered walls and a low, gently canted ceiling. The north side has low rectangular openings to a narrow passage-aisle beyond which is the meeting room. At the west end the choir gallery is placed in a recess over the narthex. There are no fittings and furnishings of particular note, although the benches with their openwork tracery and the wooden surround to a crucifix on the east wall are attractive.
Architect: Sandy & Norris
Original Date: 1960
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed