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Roman Catholic Heritage

This page explains the projects we are involved in on Roman Catholic Places of Worship

There are over 3000 Roman Catholic Places of Worship in England. They form an important part of our faith heritage and yet in some areas are under pressure, because of reduced numbers of congregations and clergy. They have been poorly represented on the statutory list. Historic England and other decision makers need to understand their significance better at a local and national level in order to give them appropriate protection.

The dioceses in England in partnership with Historic England are achieving this through a process of ‘Taking Stock’ of what exists by undertaking thematic assessments of their places of worship. This is leading to an enhanced understanding of their heritage values, a management tool for local decision-making, incorporation into Historic England datasets and designation results.  

So far this project has enabled the significance of the majority of Roman Catholic parish churches and mass centres to be assessed. Recently completed dioceses include Newcastle and Salford, Birmingham, Clifton and Hallam.

Each building has, as part of this project, a summary of its history and significance and these are now largely available via the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales through the Taking Stock website.

Interior view of the Sacred Heart and St Catherines Roman Catholic church, Droitwich Spa, showing the nave with elaborate mosaic decoration above the arches to the aisles.
The Sacred Heart and St Catherine’s Roman catholic church, Droitwich Spa. © Historic England James O Davies AA058930

Historic England carried out a small project which looked at how the resulting information would develop our datasets: in particular, the National Record of the Historic Environment, which provides information appearing on the PastScape website. The pilot project used the Roman Catholic ‘Taking Stock’ project for the Archdiocese of Liverpool.
Find out about other work on the character of 20th century Roman Catholic churches and mass centres that is also underway, along with other work on 20th century places of worship.

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