Building » Watlington – St Edmund Campion

Watlington – St Edmund Campion

Watcombe Road, Watlington, Oxfordshire OX49

A modern church of cruciform plan, attractively fitted out. 

In 1929–30, a temporary church dedicated to the Sacred Heart was built on the current site through the efforts of Fr William Brown, the chaplain at Stonor Park. A presbytery was built in 1954. In 1969, planning permission was granted for the construction of a timber church hall (by D. Benham, ARICS).

In 1988, consent was granted for the demolition of the old church and its replacement with a new church with attached ancillary rooms. The new church was dedicated to St Edmund Campion, the Jesuit martyr canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970, whose Decem Rationes (Ten Reasons) had been printed on a clandestine press at Stonor. The architects for the new church, which opened in 1990, were Peter Bosanquet & John Perryman Associates of Oxford. This was a late project for Bosanquet (1918-2005), who in the 1960s designed a group of modernist Anglican churches in
Metroland and also worked with Lionel Brett (Lord Esher).

In 1999, planning permission was given for the replacement of the single-storey presbytery with a two-storey building linked to the church (architects Duval Brownhill Partnership, Lichfield).


The church is a cruciform space, with the sanctuary in the short east arm and ancillary rooms to the south and west. A short square lantern is above the crossing. The external walls are mostly rendered, leaving bare brick around the entrance and the narrow slit windows. The north arm and the two cross roofs to the west have glazed gablets. The main entrance is between the north and west arms. Just beside the doors is the re-set foundation stone of 23 September 1929. The interior has not been inspected. It is described in Scarisbrick (ed.) as ‘a little masterpiece: small and intimate, with daring roofage gathered around a central lantern and some excellent glass’, including an Annunciation in the east window.

Heritage Details

Architect: Peter Bosanquet & John Perryman Associates

Original Date: 1990

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed