Building » Stroud Green – St Peter in Chains

Stroud Green – St Peter in Chains

Womersley Road, London N8

A relatively modest lancet Gothic church from the turn of the twentieth century, designed by the priest-architect A. J. C. Scoles, now with a plain interior.

In 1893 local Catholics petitioned the Archbishop of Westminster to give them their own mission and in 1894 the Canons Regular of the Lateran were given permission to undertake pastoral duties. Two tall houses in Womersely Road were purchased as the priory. Designs for a new church were supplied by Fr (later Canon) A. J. C. Scoles; the building was opened in 1902 and finally completed in 1908. Early photographs, perhaps of the 1930s, on the parish website show both the sanctuary east wall and the wall over the chancel arch covered with figurative paintings.

The timber west porch or narthex was added in 1964.  The sanctuary was reordered and the altar brought forward in the mid-1980s. In 2004 the Canons Regular withdrew, and the parish has since been served by secular priests.


The church is in a simple lancet Gothic style. The walls are of red brick with dressings and windows of stone. The pitched roofs of nave and aisles are covered with concrete tiles. The plan of the church comprises a nave with north and south aisles, a flat-roofed outer north aisle and timber west porch. A stone arch in the east wall suggests that a chancel or sanctuary may have been intended but was never built. The west front has a large 1960s timber porch over the main entrance which has a doorway with jamb shafts and a relief in the tympanum of the pointed arch. Above the porch the nave west wall has two pairs of tall lancet windows in plate tracery with a figure of St Peter in a canopied niche between them and a sexfoil window over all. The head of the west gable has stone louvres. The west end of the south aisle has a doorway with shafted jambs and a tympanum relief below a window of two lancet lights with a quatrefoil in plate tracery. The north aisle is similar but with triple stepped lancets at lower level. The south side of the church is largely concealed by the adjacent presbytery. On the north side the flat-roofed outer aisle has a canted west end and stepped buttresses with pairs of lancet windows in alternate bays. The inner north aisle has six sexfoil windows. The nave has paired lancet windows in the clerestory.

Internally, the walls are plastered and painted with stone dressings. The nave has five bay north and south arcades with pointed double chamfered arches on octagonal stone columns with moulded capitals and bases. The nave has a six-sided panelled painted timber ceiling, the aisles have four-sided ceilings. The floor is parquet throughout. The west bays of the nave and south aisle have a timber gallery with a stone vestibule below. The outer north aisle houses the confessionals and several small side chapels, including the chapel of St Joseph whose walls are entirely covered with green glazed Minton tiles. A tall moulded and pointed arch on demi-octagonal responds opens into the very short sanctuary which is flanked by aisle chapels. Both the sanctuary and north chapel have elaborate carved reredoses. With the exception of these reredos and the elaborate tiling of the north side chapel the church is simply furnished.

Heritage Details

Architect: A. J. C. Scoles

Original Date: 1902

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed