Roman Catholic church of 1926-1928 with detached campanile, built to the designs of W C Mangan in the Italian Byzantine and Romanesque styles.
Reasons for Designation
The Roman Catholic Church of St Joseph, Newbury, of 1926-1928 with detached campanile, built to the designs of W C Mangan in the Italian Byzantine and Romanesque styles, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* it is a restrained and elegant composition in a Byzantine and Romanesque style with a variety of detail providing interest to the brick elevations, a finely detailed, classical west entrance with columns of Verde Corona marble and a cornice of Siena, Pavanazzo and Petitor marbles, a prominent crossing with Sacred Heart sculpture and a campanile with richly decorated belfry;
* it retains the majority of its good quality interior, including within the sanctuary where a baldacchino supported by Cippolino marble columns has a barrel-vaulted canopy of gold mosaic and marble decoration. The communion rail is of white marble with colonnaded twin columns of Siena marble and the high altar is richly appointed including hanging rood figures above, all by Messrs Marchetti of Portsmouth.
* it is a good example of the work of Wilfred Mangan, a notable early-C20 church architect who was responsible for several designs for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth.
* the church has functional association with the adjacent early C19 presbytery (NHLE reference 1221165, listed at Grade II).
In 1790 Woolhampton was recorded as one of Berkshire’s Catholic congregations, served by priests touring the mission stations on horseback. In 1852, Father Robert Hodgson, Spiritual Director at Woolhampton, started a mission to serve the Catholics of Newbury who were destitute and few in number. In 1853 priests from the Church of St Mary, Woolhampton, purchased a site at 105 London Road with its adjoining land and established the first mission there.
An existing early-C19 house on the site, became the presbytery (Listed at Grade II, National Heritage List for England reference 1221165). Fr Hodgson was the first resident priest, and he set up a small preparatory school in the house. In 1864, a church was built adjoining the presbytery at a cost of £800. This remained in use until the building of the present church in 1928, at which time it became the church hall.
There was a significant expansion in the numbers of Catholics in England between 1850 (around 700,000), 1911 (around 1.7m) and 1941 (2.7m). This increase was accompanied by the development of a new Catholic parish system in 1908, by the construction of convents, monasteries, schools and social institutions, and by landmark buildings such as Westminster Cathedral (consecrated 1910).
Though the First and Second World Wars had some short-term impacts on the rate of expansion, the boom in schools, new towns, suburbs and housing estates in the 1950s and 60s saw more Catholic churches built in England than at any time since the Reformation. During that period the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) introduced profound reforms to the Catholic church, including architectural changes informed by the Liturgical movement. Key changes include saying the Mass in languages other than Latin, and the reordering of churches to reflect a greater ecumenism and communality of worship.
The Church of St Joseph was built on behalf of Canon Francis Green from 1926-1928. It was built to the designs of W C Mangan (1884-1968), who had in the previous year worked on major extensions to A W Pugin’s church at Reading (Grade II-listed). The campanile is thought to have been inspired by that at Westminster Cathedral (Grade I-listed). Mangan was based in Preston, but he also had an office in Southampton Street, London. He was in partnership with his brother James Henry Mangan from around 1920 until 1926 and was one of the most prolific inter-war and post-war Roman-Catholic church architects in England. His other works include the Church of English Martyrs Tilehurst, Reading (1915-1926), the Church of St Patrick, Sandown (1928-1929), the Chapel of St Margaret, Canning Town, London (1929-1930) and the Church of Our Lady of Willesden, Brent, London (1930), all listed at Grade II.
The builders were Hoskings & Pond Ltd of Newbury and on account of the poor ground conditions, a specialist firm (Simplex and Company of Victoria Street, London) was brought in to build the foundations and campanile, at a cost of £2,062, with the overall cost at around £20,000.
The altar, baldacchino, sanctuary steps and paving, the oak block flooring, and the fibrous plaster and cast stone work were provided by Messrs Marchetti of Portsmouth. A foundation stone, located to the rear of the chancel records that it was laid on 19 January 1927, by W T Cotter, the Third Bishop of Portsmouth.
A new forward altar was added and consecrated by Bishop Emery on 18 June 1978.
Roman Catholic church of 1926-1928 with detached campanile, built to the designs of W C Mangan in the Italian Byzantine and Romanesque styles. The church is reverse orientated, so that the chancel is at the south-west end. The description uses the cardinal compass points.
MATERIALS: Daneshill bricks of light and dark brown hue with black headers in English bond, under a Lombardic tile roof. Copper dome to the campanile.
PLAN: the church has a cruciform plan and an aisleless nave with narthex to the north-east. The chancel is to the centre of the crossing and has transepts with side entrances to either side. Behind, there is a small chapel to either side of a sacristy, under a raised choir. The campanile is detached and located to the north-west.
EXTERIOR: the church windows are metal-framed and multi-pane, and along with the door openings, stand under round-headed arches of tile on end, or brushed brick. The walls have a tall plinth, high-set dentil band and decorative tile panels. The roof has deep eaves with exposed rafter feet and purlins under timber bargeboards.
The north-east front of the church is gabled and has a triple window with tall, recessed pilasters to either side. The timber entrance doors stand under a semi-circular porch which has sandstone steps and a tiled roof. It is supported by columns of Verde Corona marble and has a cornice of Siena, Pavanazzo and Petitor marbles.
The nave has high-set, two-light windows to each bay divided by tall and recessed pilasters. The transepts and chancel walls follow a similar form and the gable ends have a group of three windows above a decorative panel. The ground floor of the rear elevation has multi-pane windows under flat arches.
The gabled central crossing rises above and has a canted bay to each corner lit by three tall windows and decorated with a tiled fascia and dentil course. Each gable of the crossing has a large lunette window, bracketed by a pair of recessed pilasters under a dentil cornice. Above, is a triangular pediment and the ensemble is surmounted by a large, stone statue of the Sacred Heart.
The campanile is accessed by a door to the ground floor. It is square on plan and rises to around 30m in height. There are small openings to light the stairs within and four, high-set louvered openings to each face. The ornate belfry has a semi-circular brick balcony to each corner, surmounted by a tall round-headed opening. The other faces have a pair of round-headed openings with end on tile arches separated by a column with Romanesque capital, above a balcony with stone balustrade on console brackets. The fascia and cornice are of carved stone and the roof is formed by an ornately ribbed dome, surmounted by a Latin cross.
INTERIOR: the nave walls are of exposed brick and carry the Stations of the Cross. The bays are defined by rendered piers which rise to form round-headed arches decorated with a chevron moulding. The exposed roof is of British Columbian pine and oak panels and extends across the nave, transepts and choir. The raised sanctuary is located under the crossing, and is surrounded by a processional aisle, under high groin vaulted ceilings and lower set corner balconies. The piers and arches are decorated with capitals, end-on tilling, coloured brick or stone detailing. A painted and moulded cornice underlines the curve of the vaulting.
There is large baldacchino over the original high altar, which is supported by four Cippolino marble columns with Ionic capitals. The barrel-vaulted canopy has gold mosaic and marble decoration (Siena and Paranazzo). The communion rail is of white marble with colonnaded twin columns of Siena marble and gates of gilded bronze. The high altar is placed three steps above the rest of the sanctuary and has a gradine with onyxes and other coloured marbles and a bronze gilded tabernacle, with hanging rood figures above. Behind the sanctuary there is a raised choir with an organ by J W Walker and Sons of Brandon, Suffolk. The sacristy is plain and functional.
The transept to the east side has a painted panel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, set into a brick reredos. The west transept has a later-C20 grey reredos, depicting the Virgin Mary bracketed by angels and inset with mirrored discs. It surmounts an altar plinth of yellow and black marble.