Building » Sutton-in-Ashfield – St Joseph the Worker

Sutton-in-Ashfield – St Joseph the Worker

Forest Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire NG17

An ambitious and well-detailed post-war church in modern Romanesque style, occupying a prominent position in the townscape of Sutton.

Mass was said in various private houses in Sutton from the 1920s. In 1931 a room over garages in Outram Street was opened and blessed by Fr John Keogh. Fr Keogh died in 1940 and left a considerable sum for the building of a new church, but it took several years of further fundraising before the site in Forest Street was acquired. In the meantime a larger house was acquired not far from the site of the present church to accommodate the growing congregation. Work began on the new church, designed to accommodate 400, in 1959. Concerns about mining subsidence led to the architects adopting a raft and beam reinforced concrete foundation. The difference in levels meant that it was possible to accommodate a large parish hall beneath the church. The completed church was blessed by Bishop Ellis on 11 October 1961. The presbytery was built at the same time, situated high above the road to the east of the church, and accessible by a series of steps.

The church was consecrated by Bishop McGuinness in 1986, at the time of its silver jubilee. The parish is now served from Kirkby in Ashfield (qv).


St Joseph’s is a large church in modern Romanesque  style, occupying a prominent position in the townscape of Sutton. The architects took full advantage of the sloping, raised site, both practically (to provide a hall beneath the church) and architecturally. The church is built of straw-coloured brick over a dark red brick plinth, with stone dressings and a green pantile roof. It consists of nave and aisles under a continuous roof, narrower west front incorporating a narthex and flanked by single-storey flat-roofed structures and an eastern projection for the high altar. The church is raised over a lower parish hall, and at the junction of the nave and sanctuary on the south side (facing towards Forest Street) is a 71 ft campanile with an arcaded belfry stage and pyramidal roof.  Round-arched windows with rectangular quarries and Cathedral glass. The west front has no window openings, only a wide arched entrance with red brick surround, with a large inset cross above. There is a further entrance in the flat-roofed single storey structure to the right, with a stone carving of St Joseph by Jonah Jones (who worked with E. Bower Norris on Ratcliffe College chapel, built at the same time) placed in front of the window.

The interior has not been inspected. An account of the church in the Diocesan Yearbook for 1962 states that ‘the main feature of the church interior is the spacious Sanctuary with coffered ceiling and reredos which is the work of Messrs M. H. Martyns of Cheltenham’.

Heritage Details

Architect: Sandy & Norris

Original Date: 1959

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed