Sandy Lane, Orford, Warrington WA2
A large, conspicuous and little-altered early 1960s church, modern in design but with clear echoes of traditional forms.
St Stephen’s is a large church, built to serve a new suburban area of outer Warrington which was developed in the 1950s and 1960s. Church and school stand next to a roundabout, which was intended to be the social centre of the new district with shops and other facilities, but these never materialised. The new church cost £40,000.
A concrete-framed church, faced with buff and red brick and with roof coverings of copper. On plan the building is a long rectangle with the nave and narrower sanctuary under a single shallow-pitched roof, northwest bell tower, low and narrow side aisles and a southeast Lady Chapel at the junction of nave and sanctuary, set at an angle to the main church.
The west wall is faced with red brick under the shallow-pitched roof gable and has a glazed vestibule across the full width of the front with a tall and wide window above with a four-centred head. Tall northwest tower of buff brick, with green and buff pebbledash chequerwork on the west side and an open bell stage under a shallow- pitched roof. Low, windowless flat-roofed side aisles with six tall rectangular windows to the nave clerestorey above. Southeastern Lady Chapel set at an angle to the main body of the building with a shallow-pitched copper-covered roof and large triple windows with concrete mullions on the east and west sides. The sanctuary has two similar triple windows in the north and south clerestories; the east wall is blind.
The interior is tall and wide, with an exposed concrete portal frame with bare brick infill. There are narrow passage aisles and a western gallery. At the east end the narrower chancel and portal framing produces the effect of a chancel arch. Modern glazed screen to the Lady Chapel. The windows throughout have a mixture of clear glass and blue and yellow coloured glass. The fittings are plain, simple and appear to be original; they include the marble altars, the nave benches and the pendant light fittings, an unusual survival.
Architect: Massey & Massey
Original Date: 1961
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed