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Roman Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart and St Teresa, and two pairs of gatepiers

A Grade II Listed Building in Coleshill, Warwickshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.4911 / 52°29'28"N

Longitude: -1.7043 / 1°42'15"W

OS Eastings: 420174

OS Northings: 288178

OS Grid: SP201881

Mapcode National: GBR 4H4.V7W

Mapcode Global: VHBWG.DNV4

Entry Name: Roman Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart and St Teresa, and two pairs of gatepiers

Listing Date: 26 January 1989

Last Amended: 4 February 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1034700

English Heritage Legacy ID: 309330

Location: Coleshill, North Warwickshire, Warwickshire, B46

County: Warwickshire

District: North Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Coleshill

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Coleshill

Church of England Diocese: Birmingham

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Coleshill

Summary

A Roman Catholic parish church, built in 1938-42, to designs by George Bernard Cox (1886-1978) of Harrison and Cox, with two pairs of contemporary gate piers.

Description

A Roman Catholic parish church, built in 1938-42, to designs by George Bernard Cox (1886-1978) of Harrison and Cox, with two pairs of contemporary gate piers.

MATERIALS
Pale brown brick with concrete dressings, and plain tile roofs.

PLAN
The church is cruciform on plan: the narthex is flanked by apsidal baptistery and stair wing, with confessionals attached to the east of each; a five-bay nave with side aisles, transepts, crossing tower, and square-ended chancel.

EXTERIOR
The church is Byzantino-Romanesque in style. The central, double-leaf west door is flanked by Corinthian columns, with a semi-circular tympanum above, plain, but probably originally designed to receive mosaic decoration. Over the door is the inscription: SSMO CORDI JESU ET S TERESIAE. The doorway is flanked by windows, each of two round-headed lights with a central colonette. The outer bays of the narthex, which are lower and have semi-circular ends, house side doors in deeply chamfered openings with brick architraves, which correspond to the two aisles; above them are paired single lights under the eaves of the pitched roofs. Directly above the main door, at gallery level, is a circular window with a deeply-moulded surround, and a ventilator above in the central gable. To the long elevations, blind panels with corbel tables alternate with semi-circular-headed lancet windows to the clerestory. The flat-roofed aisles have shorter but similar windows in pairs. To the south side of the nave, a stack rises at the eaves. The large crossing tower is square-topped, with round-headed bell chamber lights, seven to the east and west sides and five to each of the north and south sides. The gabled transepts each have a window of three semi-circular-headed lancets. There is a similar window in each of the north and south sides of the sanctuary. At the east end, the rear wall of the sanctuary is blind. The cast-iron rainwater goods have shaped heads with rope-twist and floral decoration.

INTERIOR
The west entrances all give access to the narthex, which is separated from the body of the church by a wall with central double doors in a moulded stone surround, flanked by windows of two semi-circular-headed lights in brick surrounds, and moulded stone stoup. To the north, iron gates with cusped detailing give on to the apsidal former baptistery, with a marble floor. At the southern end are the stairs to the gallery, in the curved end of the range. The floor has a central mosaic roundel of the coat arms of Bishop Griffin. The interior walls, originally left plain to receive a scheme of mosaic decoration, were plastered and painted in the 1970s. The rather low nave arcades are formed of round-headed arches springing from foliated imposts, within taller round-headed recesses which also contain the clerestory windows. Above the narthex is the west gallery, with corbel table. The church has an open timber roof over the nave, with panelled tie beams on moulded corbels carrying king posts and queen struts, the tie beams carried on moulded stone corbels with scrolls. The floor of the nave is laid with bold, geometric polychrome stone. The south aisle has a series of narrow, semi-circular-headed doorways with panelled timber doors to confessionals. The transepts each house a chapel, that to the north the Lady Chapel, St Teresa to the south; both have polychrome marble altars within apsidal recesses. The crossing has tall, round-headed arches, and a panelled wooden ceiling. The sanctuary is paved with polychrome marble laid in geometric patterns. The coloured marble altar, with detached shafts and foliate capitals to either side, has been brought forward, with the former gradine retained and adapted to a tabernacle throne.

PRINCIPAL FITTINGS AND FURNISHINGS
These are contemporary with the construction of the church, unless otherwise stated. The FONT, moved from the baptistery to the west end of the nave, is white marble, tapering slightly to a narrower shaft, with an octagonal cover. The PULPIT is constructed from yellowish marble blocks, used as ashlar to build a polygonal structure on a narrower plinth, with moulded timber coping. The STATIONS OF THE CROSS are set into the aisle walls in concave-moulded frames, and made from opus sectile mosaic on gold grounds. The STAINED GLASS includes one window in the south wall of the sanctuary by Hardman, dedicated to Fr Wheatley, the first resident priest (d.1882), brought here from the earlier church after its demolition in 1987. The three lancets in the north transept depicts the Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary; they were probably designed by Gilbert E Sheedy, circa 1950. Sheedy was probably also responsible for the ten clerestory windows, which depict the Ten Commandments. In the south transept is an unusual Gothic war memorial in oak with gilded details, the names of the fallen in illuminated script, a painted depiction of the Sudarium of St Veronica above. The church retains its bronze light fittings. The seating throughout the church is in the form of carved oak BENCHES, with panelled backs and moulded and scrolled ends, contemporary with its construction.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES
To the roadside are two pairs of gatepiers, contemporary with the church, of matching brick with half-round stone caps, with crosses in relief to either side of the semi-circular heads.

History

The Catholic mission at Coleshill was established in 1850, served by the Rev Daniel Haigh from Erdington; mass was initially said over a stable, in the absence of a formal place of worship. A church, dedicated to the Sacred Heart and St John the Evangelist, and a presbytery, were built in 1882, by a local contractor named Rowbotham; a Hardman window to Fr Haigh was installed at the east end. The church was enlarged and adapted in 1910 to designs by Harrison and Cox architects of Birmingham.

In 1884 the St Paul’s Home for Boys was set up at Coleshill, replacing homes for Catholic children established previously at Marston Green. In 1899 The Rev George Vincent Hudson was appointed to the Coleshill mission, and greatly expanded this as a Catholic children’s home. Buildings erected for the ‘children’s garden city’ of Father Hudson’s Society included St Edward’s Boys’ Home (1905-6), St Gerard’s Orthopaedic Hospital (1912-13), both by Henry Sandy, and others by Harrison & Cox (1923), the Cottage Homes (1925), St Joan’s Home for Girls (1931), schools and other facilities, creating an extensive complex off the Coventry Road.

The present church, on the opposite side of the road from the earlier church building, was begun in 1938 by the Rev Dr Bernard Griffin, who soon after his appointment as parish priest became Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, and later became Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. The church, to seat 600, was designed by G B Cox of Harrison & Cox and the contractors who began the work were J & W Malley. At the outbreak of the Second World War the project lost its architect to the army, and subsequently the contractors declared bankruptcy. Despite this, Rev Griffin persevered, appointing new contractors, Collins & Godfrey, and work continued despite the war; it was opened in September 1942, having been brought in at a cost of £25,000. It was a very large church, built to the memory of Fr Hudson, and intended to meet the needs of both the parish and the children’s homes.

In about 1950, new stained glass was installed in the church, probably from designs by Gilbert E Sheedy. The sanctuary was liturgically reordered in the 1970s to reflect changes from the Second Vatican Council, in particular bringing forward the altar. When the old church was demolished, the Hardman window to Fr Haigh was installed in the sanctuary. The Fr Hudson’s Homes were closed in the 1970s and 1980s, and the buildings are now in other uses, along with those which have been developed on the site since. The Church of the Sacred Heart and St Teresa remains in use as the parish church. In 2009 a casket containing the relics of St Teresa of Lisieux was brought to the church as part of a nationwide tour, attracting a large number of pilgrims and devotees.

Reasons for Listing

The Roman Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart and St Teresa, built in 1938-42 by G B Cox of Harrison and Cox, is listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: the church is in a well-executed Byzantine-Romanesque style, with good massing and neat, crisp detailing, designed by a regional firm of some reputation;
* Interior: the interior space is well-handled, with fine carving, and retains a full suite of high-quality fittings and furnishings;
* Historic interest: the church was built as the centrepiece of Fr George Vincent Hudson’s ‘children’s garden city’, a group of Catholic children’s homes set up in Coleshill in the first three decades of the C20.

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