Building » Totton – St Theresa

Totton – St Theresa

Beaumont Road, Totton, Hampshire

A modest building, quite striking in the local context, with an Italian flavour. The architect was W.C. Mangan, a prolific Roman Catholic church architect of the inter-war and post-war years, and his church at Totton was clearly built to a modest budget and has been considerably, though sensitively, altered. Not of special interest but important for its contribution to local townscape and history.

From 1910 there are records of various informal arrangements for Mass at Totton but in 1925 a permanent church was built in Beaumont Road (though the entrance was in Commercial Road), to the designs of the prolific Roman Catholic architect Wilfrid C. Mangan of Preston. The builder was Marchetti of Portsmouth. The church was enlarged in 1958-9 and a new entrance created onto Beaumont Road. The church was the first in Britain to be dedicated to St Theresa of Lisieux, who was canonised in 1925.

A small low building set within a grassed churchyard, consisting of nave, sanctuary and a centrally placed south transept with an open gabled turret containing a statue of St Theresa. Contemporary reports state that the church is constructed of concrete coloured to represent stone and with French or Marseilles tiles on the roof. The original centre part is constructed of concrete blocks and the remainder appears to be rendered. It is unclear how big the original church was, it might simply have been the centre gabled section oriented with the altar facing north. In 1958-9 the church was considerably enlarged on both sides, with the entrance moved from Commercial Road to Beaumont Road and the sanctuary placed facing west. The building today does not obviously appear as two builds and is in a uniformly Italianate style with simple round-arched windows mostly arranged in pairs. Sacristies in an extension on the north side together with a part glazed open lean-to structure. It is the centre part of the south elevation that gives the church its distinct and attractive Italianate character. Gabled, with deeply overhanging eaves, the centre part brought forward as a kind of tower with gabled top and open round arches, to the former porch below and as a housing for the statue of St Theresa above.

The church is now entered by steps with an open canopy off Beaumont Road via an internal porch. The interior is simple, with exposed utilitarian steel trusses on brick piers supporting the roof. The sanctuary has a wide opening, like the proscenium arch of a stage, and is lit by single windows to either side. Painted timber reredos of domestic character. Tiled areas to either side of the sanctuary arch probably dating from the 1960s or 70s. Side Chapel in the south transept-like projection (the former entrance area), with brown tiled dado and tiled floor, all of 1960s or 70s character. Altar with statue of St Theresa set in a niche above and flanked by the same blue tiles as found in the nave. Large crucifix set in front of a painted landscape.

Heritage Details

Architect: Wilfrid C. Mangan

Original Date: 1925

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed