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Roman Catholic Church of St Richard

A Grade II Listed Building in Chichester, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8329 / 50°49'58"N

Longitude: -0.777 / 0°46'37"W

OS Eastings: 486220

OS Northings: 104416

OS Grid: SU862044

Mapcode National: GBR DGS.NCN

Mapcode Global: FRA 968W.T98

Entry Name: Roman Catholic Church of St Richard

Listing Date: 13 November 2007

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1392318

English Heritage Legacy ID: 503023

Location: Chichester, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19

County: West Sussex

District: Chichester

Civil Parish: Chichester

Built-Up Area: Chichester

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Chichester St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

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Listing Text


593/0/10048 CAWLEY ROAD
13-NOV-07 Roman Catholic Church of St Richard

Roman Catholic Church built in 1958 to the design of Tomei and Maxwell of London; builder Messrs A Booker and Son of Walberton; stained glass by Gabriel Loire and paintings by David O'Connell. The church is of concrete portal frame construction, and red and grey brick, with a shallow-pitched corrugated roof. The plan is T-shaped comprising a 4-bay nave and N and S transepts of 3 bays each; the latter comprises a chapel and baptistery at the S end. Linked campanile to NW.

EXTERIOR: The main, west, entrance with canopied porch is linked by a flat roof to the campanile to the south, which has an openwork cap, clock and prominent cross. Above the main door is an almost life-size depiction of the Crucifixion, which is set against the large stained glass window in the west of Our Blessed Lady, flanked by cement blocks in alternate plain and diamond-pointed squares in a chequerboard design. The building is divided into bays by cement pilasters socketed into a moulded plastic eaves cornice, below which, on the nave and the west sides of the north and south transepts, is a continuous frieze of stained glass windows. At the gable end of both the north and south transepts are large stained glass windows. That on the north illustrates the life of St Richard of Chichester, and at the gable end of the south transept, a window, divided by the floor of the gallery inside, depicts symbols of Baptism. At the east, the presbytery abuts the church. This is not of special interest.

INTERIOR: The roof is supported by exposed concrete portal frames in the form of Tudor arches which divide the interior into bays, spanning the crossing diagonally. The main body of the church has parquet flooring. The benches are Sepele mahogany, matching the flooring of the sanctuary. The sanctuary lies on the east wall, and the altar stands at the meeting point of the nave and the north and south transepts, all of which are broad to accommodate the modern liturgy. The altar, of Tinos green marble, stands on a step and curb of Belgian black fossil marble. The altar piece is a painting of the crucified Christ by David O'Connell, who was also responsible for the Stations of the Cross on the walls of the nave and transepts. The ceiling above has gold-leaf tracery. Behind the altar is the vestry. At the end of the S transept is the Blessed Sacrament Chapel (formerly dedicated to Our Lady of Walsingham), which incorporates the Baptistery, also designed by David O'Connell, and above which is a gallery. The baptistery is equally rich with its walls of polished marble and floor of Italian slate. The font is of white Portland stone and around its base is a design in Westmorland slate, gold glass mosaic and white Sicilian marble.

The interior however is dominated by its stained glass of 'dalle de verre' construction - glass pieces set into a concrete and resin framework - which throws light from every angle into the church. The stained glass is a major work of narrative design by the internationally-renowned French stained glass designer Gabriel Loire (1904-96). The window over the west door shows Our Blessed Lady, Mary the Mother of Christ, in heaven surrounded by angels. There is a clerestorey around the nave and transepts, with 4 lights to each bay. Those to the nave S wall depict the Biblical story of the world's preparation for the coming of Christ; those to the N the time between that of Christ and the present day; those to the N transept depict the present-day church and those to the S transept the laity. The main N transept window depicts the life of St Richard Bishop of Chichester from 1244 to 1253. In the baptistery is a large window with symbols of Baptism and new life.

HISTORY: The parish of Chichester's first Roman Catholic Church was built in 1855. Prior to this, mass was celebrated in a room of the Bedford Hotel in Southgate. This first church was a small Victorian Gothic building which stood at the junction of Market Avenue and Southgate, built with funds from private donation on land given by Anne, Countess of Newburgh who was a member of the fervently Catholic Ratcliffe family. The present church, also funded by parishioners, was built on a new site, near to the old one, at the junction of Market Avenue and Cawley Road in 1958 by Messrs A Booker and Son of Walberton to a design by Tomei and Maxwell of London. The Stations of the Cross, the altarpiece painting behind the sanctuary and the paintings on either side of the tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrement Chapel, are the work of David O'Connell.

The church of St Richard is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* The stained glass, which forms the most notable feature of the church, is the largest scheme undertaken in this country by Gabriel Loire, a major figure in post-war stained-glass design. It forms a complete figurative narrative, an unusual use of the technique of dalle de verre, which was usually employed in abstract designs.
* The architecture of the church, while not of intrinsic special interest, forms an ideal, simple foil for the intricate stained glass.
* The paintings by David O'Connell are of interest, and other interior fittings are generally executed in good-quality materials.

SOURCES: Joanna Smith and Derek Kendall, RCHME report St Aidan's Church Ealing London NBR Index No; 97000 (1998)
Nick Antram, Historic Review of the Roman Catholic Churches in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton (2005), St Richard of Chichester.
'Parish of St. Richard of Chichester', guide to the church, July 2006

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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