Warley Hill, Great Warley, Essex CM13
A small but unexpectedly rich stone-built church in transitional Romanesque-Early Gothic style, built for the soldiers at Warley barracks. The church was largely financed by Countess Tasker of Middleton Hall, Brentwood, and the architect was her cousin, Francis W. Tasker.
A mission with resident priest was established at Warley in 1881, primarily to serve the needs of Catholic soldiers based at Warley barracks. Francis Campbell of Mountnessing gave £730 towards the purchase of the site, which included Primula Villa, an existing house of 1857, which became the priest’s house. The foundation stone for the church was laid by Cardinal Manning on 20 April 1881, and the completed building opened by the Cardinal on 12 October in the same year. The cost was £3,986, of which £2,430 was given by Countess Helen Tasker of Middleton Hall, Brentwood. Other donors included Frederick and Ellen Willmott of Warley Place, who gave £276 towards the cost of the Thomas Earp altar and reredos and the original stained glass windows in the sanctuary. Canon Kyne of Brentwood paid for the bell turret (£205). The church was designed by F. W. Tasker, cousin of the principal donor, and built by Lathey Bros of Battersea Park, London. The designs were illustrated in The Builder. These show a church consisting of nave and south aisle with south porch, and with a sacristy extending east of the Lady Chapel at the east end. The perspective of the sanctuary shows a tunnel vault (with ribbed vaults over the high altar only), and a high degree of enrichment of the walls.
As built, the extending sacristy was omitted, and the church retains to this day a somewhat cramped sacristy giving off the north side of the sanctuary. The south porch, shown on the drawings, was added in 1884. In 1888 a north aisle and the front boundary wall were added, with donations from Frederick Willmott. Miss Ellen Willmott paid for the furnishing of the Lady Chapel.
The mission became an independent parish in August 1918, and the church was consecrated in July 1919.
The church suffered wartime damaged in late 1944, when the glass was blown out; it reopened in October 1945. In 1986 new stained glass was installed in the sanctuary, from designs by John Lawson of Goddard & Gibbs.
The church has been served from Brentwood Cathedral since 1994.
Architect: F. W. Tasker
Original Date: 1881
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: II