Building » Thame – St Joseph

Thame – St Joseph

Brook Lane, Thame, Oxfordshire OX9

One of the newer churches in the diocese, of traditional design, with a large, well-lit interior and furnishings and stained glass of some quality. 

The mission at Thame was established in 1913, when Colonel Harman Grisewood permitted the use of the chapel in the former residence of the Bishop of Lincoln’s prebendary for public services.

In 1922, a temporary church was built on part of the present site. In 1963, a prefabricated timber building was built as a parish hall. The 1920s church was extended in 1972 and 1983, but in 1996 planning permission was granted for its demolition and replacement with a new church and parish rooms (architect John D. Holmes). The church was blessed and opened by Archbishop Couve de Murville on 20 June 1997.


The church faces south. The following description follows conventional liturgical orientation. The church has brick-faced walls in stretcher bond with a slate roof. The plan is nearly square, with a narrower sanctuary to the east. There are two cross-roofs over each side with large windows. At the east end of the nave roof is a small flèche. There are diamond-shaped windows in the apex of east and west gables. The entrance is in a link building at the west which leads into a narthex connecting church and parish hall. A large slate plaque commemorating the opening of the church is set below a window beside the entrance.

The four-bay interior has a boarded timber ceiling on laminated timber portal frames. The dadoes under the windows, the west wall and the east chancel arch are all of brown exposed brick. The chancel is plastered, with a timber ceiling. The sanctuary furnishings are by David John, in matching stone. Semi-circular sanctuary steps project beyond the chancel arch. Above the tabernacle hangs a modern crucifix. The font is at the west end, consisting of a circular bowl on a square stem. All the windows have stained glass by Bowman’s Stained Glass of Aylesbury (1997); those at the northwest, northeast, southeast and to the sides of the sanctuary depict saints (including Our Lady of Thame and the Sacred Heart), while those to the north and south are largely abstract. The small gable window at the west depicts the Ecce Homo, and the east window the dove of the Holy Spirit. There is an etched glass screen to the narthex.

Entry amended by AHP 03.09.2023

Heritage Details

Architect: John D. Holmes

Original Date: 1997

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed