Building » Wolverhampton (Tettenhall) – St Thomas of Canterbury

Wolverhampton (Tettenhall) – St Thomas of Canterbury

Haywood Drive, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton WV6

A modern brick-faced church with an external design of powerful geometry, and a softer and pleasing interior. It was built in the mid-1960s at the time of the Second Vatican Council, and was forward-looking in its liturgical arrangements. Perhaps as a consequence, it is little altered. The design of the church is in marked contrast with that of the former presbytery, a timber framed building of sixteenth or early seventeenth century date. 

A church opened in 1931 in the former ballroom of Rock House on Old Hill. It was at first served from St Mary and St John, Wolverhampton, but from 1932 a priest lived at Rock House. In 1962, land belonging to a sixteenth or seventeenth century possible former hunting lodge (More House, the former presbytery, listed Grade II) was acquired for a new church. The foundation stone was laid on 12 September 1964 and the church was opened and blessed by Bishop Cleary on 19 March 1965. The account in the Diocesan Directory reported that ‘The architects Jennings, Homer & Lynch have so designed (the church) that full advantage may be taken of all the liturgical changes, now and in the future’. It was designed from the start with a forward altar, separate tabernacle, gently raked seating and without altar rails. Only in the provision for a separate baptistery was the design not forward-looking.

The Newman Centre (parish hall) was added in 1978. The church is now served from Codsall.


The church is of reinforced concrete and steel framed construction, with brown brick facing. The external design is somewhat Brutalist in character. At the entrance end, behind the narthex, is a parish hall (Newman Centre). Beyond the sanctuary are sacristies and a Lady Chapel. The church announces its presence with a tower-like structure comprising two pylons linked by a common roof and enclosing a cross.

The church seats 300 in a square worship area. The interior is faced with light brown bricks and is covered by a ceiling, the centre part of which consists of three inclined boarded panels, glazed in between to provide back lighting. The interior has been little altered since the time of the opening. Original furnishings of note include the unusual Stations of the Cross, which consist of rectangular panels of back-lit etched glass (artist not established).

Heritage Details

Architect: Jennings, Homer & Lynch

Original Date: 1965

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed