Building » Sutton Coldfield (Walmley) – Holy Cross and St Francis

Sutton Coldfield (Walmley) – Holy Cross and St Francis

Signal Hayes Road, Walmley, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham B76

A functional modern church of the mid-1970s retaining much of its original character.

The mission was founded from Erdington Abbey in 1942 and served initially from Holy Trinity Sutton Coldfield. An independent parish was established in 1951, when a brick church/hall was built. The present church was built in the mid-1970s from designs by Paul Bonham & Associates, Birmingham (contractors Maddocks & Walford of Birmingham). Seating 450, it was completed in March 1975 at a cost of £82,000. According to the account in the Catholic Building Review (1975) ‘the aim of the parish priest, Fr J. O’Dwyer was to produce a church which was simple and strong and devotional in character. The atmosphere was created by the use of diffused daylight’. The old church was retained as a linked parish hall.


The church is modern in style, roughly square on plan, with choir and chapel spaces on either side of the sanctuary and a large entrance narthex with a curving front wall. The external walls are faced with red brick; the porch or narthex is faced in York stone.  The flat roof is not visible. The narthex is single-storeyed, with entrances at either end.  The main body of the church has broad brick piers alternating with full-height vertical window strips.

The interior has a stone-flagged floor and walls of bare-faced brickwork which have the same rhythm of brick piers as the exterior. A flat ceiling is supported by laminated timber beams spanning across the full width of the church from pier to pier. Skylights provide daylight to the side walls. The organ case is set on the wall above the main western entrance. The northeast side chapel and southeast choir are enclosed from the body of the church by glass screens. The sanctuary across the east wall is raised on black marble steps and has a blind east wall faced in York stone, lit by a skylight in the roof.  The bench seating is original.

Heritage Details

Architect: Paul Bonham & Associates

Original Date: 1975

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed