Building » West Kingsdown – St Bernadette (chapel-of-ease)

West Kingsdown – St Bernadette (chapel-of-ease)

Fawkham Road, West Kingsdown, Kent

A late 1980s church of distinctive architectural design, by a noted local architect.

From 1947 Mass was celebrated in a room at Red Court, Hollywood Lane, the home of Mr & Mrs Hazlewood. Latterly Catholics were able to use the Anglican church, until the building of their own church in 1988 (architect John Wood of Burns Guthrie & Partners). It is a chapel-of-ease to Sevenoaks.


A most distinctive church of pyramid shape, or a central pyramid with glazed lantern and four projecting gabled elements, the gables being taken down to a shallow plinth. The gable ends have brick below and stained weatherboard above, except to the south where the weatherboard has been replaced with a synthetic material. Plain, concrete tile roof. To the west a shallow gabled porch, its rafters continued down to the ground but not covered below tie beam level. High-level windows on three sides, a stepped group of four, narrow and with square heads.

The interior is dominated by the upward thrust of the pyramid roof, its underside boarded and giving the warm tone of natural wood. The small areasĀ  of wall are plastered and painted, apart from the wall behind the altar, which is in fair-faced brick and conceals the sacristy behind. Kitchen and lavatories are accommodated in the northwest and southwest corners. Altar of Connemara marble, designed by Canon John Bailey. He also designed the ambo which has a panel of Connemara marble set within a wooden frame. To the left of the altar a bronze statue of St Bernadette made by Canon Bailey. Coloured glass donated by the architect. Other fittings not of special artistic merit. Outside the church, by the entrance, is a cast iron statue of Our Lady of Lourdes brought over from France by Sisters of Nevers who established themselves at Tonbridge.

Heritage Details

Architect: Burns Guthrie & Partners

Original Date: 1988

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed