Crown Road, Wheatley, Oxfordshire OX33
A former tithe barn sympathetically converted for use as a church in the 1960s, with a recent porch extension. It forms part of the setting of the listed farm house, Rectory House, and lies in a conservation area.
From 1922, Mass was said in a series of temporary locations, including a chapel in the grounds of the army hospital at Holton. On 29 August 1962, a large stone barn with an adjoining cottage was acquired for about £6,000. The barn was originally a tithe barn for Rectory Farm (once owned by Magdalen College, Oxford), centred on Rectory House, a late sixteenth/early seventeenth century farmhouse. The barn was generally in good condition; the roof having last been replaced during the interwar years. The architect Patrick Little was in charge of the conversion (1962-4). The cart entrances on both sides were converted to an entrance porch (west) and a projecting curved Lady Chapel (east). The altar stone was put in place on 3 December 1964 but the opening ceremony was delayed by the illness of the Archbishop. The dedication took place on the Feast of the Assumption 1965. The adjoining stable was sold in 1986 and is now used as offices.
In 2008, planning permission was granted for the construction of a new porch (architects Rhys & Benedict of Oxford). At the same time, a small meeting room was constructed at the liturgical west end with a small kitchen and accessible WC.
The church faces south. The following description follows conventional liturgical orientation, i.e. as if the altar was to the east.
The church is a converted barn on an oblong plan with a projecting south porch (c.2008) and a tear-shaped Lady Chapel (1962-4) projecting to the north. The building was built using rubble limestone with ashlar quoins and dressings. The half-hipped roof is tiled with clay tiles.
The interior is divided into five bays by the roof trusses; the west bay is the new meeting room at the west (fully partitioned off from the rest of the interior) and the sanctuary is in the east bay, which is separated from the nave by altar rails. A crucifix is fixed to the easternmost truss. The east wall has three niches; the central one houses the tabernacle. Above the stone altar is a curved timber canopy. The font and lectern are of timber. The Lady Chapel has vertical windows with blue glass as well as an old Italian nativity crib in a display case. There is a small sacristy in the angle between the chapel and the church.
Architect: Patrick Little (conversion)
Original Date: 1964
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed