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Roman Catholic Church of St Edward the Confessor

A Grade II Listed Building in Garden Suburb, London

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Latitude: 51.5765 / 51°34'35"N

Longitude: -0.1964 / 0°11'47"W

OS Eastings: 525076

OS Northings: 187948

OS Grid: TQ250879

Mapcode National: GBR C4.957

Mapcode Global: VHGQK.KM0S

Plus Code: 9C3XHRG3+JC

Entry Name: Roman Catholic Church of St Edward the Confessor

Listing Date: 4 March 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1429919

ID on this website: 101429919

Location: Golders Green, Barnet, London, NW11

County: London

District: Barnet

Electoral Ward/Division: Garden Suburb

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Barnet

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Alban the Martyr Golders Green

Church of England Diocese: London

Tagged with: Church building

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East Finchley


The Roman Catholic Church of St Edward the Confessor was built 1914-15 to the designs of Arthur Young. It is a substantial brick-built building in a Perpendicular Gothic style of East Anglian character, dominated by a square lantern-tower over a nave crossing and flush chequerwork embellishments. The attached Presbytery and hall are excluded from the listing.


The Roman Catholic Church of St Edward the Confessor was built 1914-15 to the designs of Arthur Young. It is a substantial brick-built building in a Perpendicular Gothic style of East Anglian character, dominated by a square lantern-tower over a nave crossing and flush chequerwork embellishments.

MATERIALS: purple-brown brick walls with Bath Stone dressings; brick-tiled roof coverings.

PLAN: the church is conventionally oriented. It has a cruciform plan comprising a 4-bay nave flanked by north and south aisles, having a side chapel and baptistery respectively. A square tower sits over the crossing with north and south transepts; the sanctuary is flanked by side chapels and sacristies are located to north-east.

EXTERIOR: the principal west elevation is embraced by two slim projecting octagonal towers embellished with chequered flushwork beneath crenellated parapets. To the centre is a pointed entrance doorway with a moulded stone surround and above it sits a five-light pointed window with elaborate cusped tracery and leaded lattice glazing. At the apex is a stone rood carving, by Joseph Armitage. Flanking the nave are single-storey porches with hipped roofs behind crenellated parapets; each are abutted to the east by pent-roofed aisles with twin-light traceried windows under hood-moulds. The clerestory has taller windows, similarly detailed. East of the nave is a substantial square crossing tower, rising to almost 80 feet, clasped at the corners by half-engaged turrets and having chequer-work crenellated parapets. Each face has a group of three pointed-arched windows with slender transoms and mullions. The short transepts are the same height as the nave and have five-light traceried windows in the end gable walls. The sanctuary is similarly proportioned and has three twin-light windows on each side, abutted by lower pent-roofed sacristies. The east wall contains a five-light traceried window and a modern-looking addition across the lower part which is thought to be part of the rebuilding after fire damage in 1960.

INTERIOR: the interior is well detailed with several furnishings of note. The walls are plastered and flooring is linoleum. The nave features a timber waggon ceiling with ornamental bosses carved by Alfred Robinson. The west end of the nave contains an organ gallery with a narthex beneath. The nave is lined to the north and south by four-bay arcades of moulded pointed arches on clustered stone shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The outer mouldings have slightly incongruous stone portrait corbels by Geraint Davies and John Dasgupta, added in 2008, featuring notable members of the clergy. Above, the clerestory window openings are linked by a continuous moulded stone cill course. The aisles have timber roofs. The crossing space has tall pointed arches on shafted responds and an upper gallery with a decorative parapet of pierced stone. The flat ceiling is compartmented by moulded ribs with carved bosses. The sanctuary, which was remodelled during the 1970s and in 1996, has a timber waggon roof with stone wall shafts and two pointed arched openings on each side, rising to large carved and painted timber angels and having brass screens to side chapels.

FIXTURES AND FITTINGS include: to the sanctuary, elaborate carved timber clergy stalls and a fine reredos across the east wall of carved stonework incorporating carved figures of English saints by Philip Lindsey Clark, added in 1934; stained glass includes the war memorial east window, by Hendra & Harper (1947) and two aisle windows by Goddard & Gibbs, depicting St Bridget and St Patrick (south aisle) and St John, St Theresa and St Thomas More (north aisle); a carved figure of St Edward the Confessor over the sacristy door (sculptor not ascertained);side chapel fittings are more conventional, including carved stone altars with elaborate carved timber altarpieces above; that to the Lady Chapel is inset with watercolour paintings on board signed Norah EL Reid; the church seating consists of timber benches, replacing the original chairs; Stations of the Cross are oil on canvas, in timber frames.

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 29 August 2017.


In 1908 Fr William Bendon arrived in the London suburb of Golders Green to serve as chaplain to the Carmelite Sisters in Bridge Lane. His arrival coincided with the development of Hampstead Garden Suburb, marking a significant population expansion in the area. A chapel within the Monastery of the Carmelite Sisters served as an interim mass centre for the local Roman Catholic congregation, until the acquisition of the site for a new mission church in July 1909. As the site was part of lands given by St Edward to the Benedictines for religious purposes, a dedication to St Edward the Confessor was deemed appropriate. The first buildings to be erected were the Presbytery and a temporary chapel, which was soon replaced by St Edward’s Hall (1911), which was built at a cost of £1,000 and accommodated 300 people.

The present church was built to the designs of the architect Arthur Young, at a cost of £10,000 to the congregation. Cardinal Bourne laid the foundation stone on 25th March 1914. As the building of the church was carried out during the First World War, construction was carried out by older labourers. The opening of the church was scheduled for 8th September 1915, but the ceremony was postponed due to a Zeppelin raid over Golders Green on that evening; the church was finally opened by the cardinal on October 13th 1915, the Feast Day of St Edward the Confessor. Fr Bendon died in 1920 and was buried in Finchley cemetery, but was later reinterred outside the south wall of the church, over which was placed an inscribed stone, erected by the parishioners. The church was consecrated by Bishop Butt on the feast of St Edward, in 1930.

The high altar, with figures of the Four Evangelists, was installed in 1922, followed by the carved stone reredos, installed in 1925 to designs by Arthur Young; it is dedicated to the memory of Fr Bendon and cost £1,200. It was not until the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the church that the fine carved figures of English Saints and Beati (who were later Canonised) were placed in the reredos niches. They were executed by Phillip Lindsey Clark in collaboration with the architect Mr D Reid. The Lady Altar was installed in 1924. Ornamental carved stonework to the façade was by the noted architectural sculptor Joseph Armitage and the leaded glazing by A E Sedding. The stained glass in the east Memorial window is by R L Hendra and GF Harpes; it was installed in 1947 as a thanksgiving after the war and as a memorial to a parishioner, Captain Michael Allmand VC. The church was repaired and redecorated in 1960 following an arson attack which damaged the sacristy and part of the church interior. The sanctuary was reordered in the 1970s and again in 1997, the latter under the supervision of David W Aitken, when the altar was brought forward under the crossing and a new tabernacle plinth installed by Martin Duncan-Jones. St Edward’s Shrine was also installed in 1997. New stone portrait corbels to the nave arcades carved by Geraint Davies and John Dasgupta were installed in 2008.

The temporary church of 1911 remains as St Edward’s Hall, and the original brick presbytery also remains intact, now linked to the church via a link block of 1987. Neither building is included in the listing.

Reasons for Listing

The Roman Catholic Church of St Edward the Confessor, Golders Green of 1914 by Arthur Young, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: a robust and well-detailed example of C15 English medieval revival architecture in the East Anglian style, with good flushwork detailing;
* Fixtures and fittings: although some reordering has taken place, the sanctuary retains Young’s fine Gothic reredos, completed later with finely-crafted statuary of English saints by Philip Lindsey Clarke. The interior is further enhanced by some good timber carved detailing and stone carving by Joseph Armitage;
* Interior: a well-proportioned cruciform plan, with lofty tower rising over the crossing, and side aisles;
* Architect: the church is by the well-regarded ecclesiastical architect Arthur Young, and may be considered among the best representative examples of his work comparable with his other listed churches.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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