By Elizabeth Challand - May 23rd, 2023 | Posted in News No comments

We are proud to announce that St Joseph’s Church, Newbury, has been awarded Grade II Listed status by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and has been added to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.

In partnership with the Patrimony Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and the Diocese itself, Historic England commissioned a survey of Roman Catholic Places of Worship in the Diocese of Portsmouth. The survey was part of the Taking Stock Project, an initiative to record and assess the heritage significance of places of worship. The findings have been used to update and enhance List entries for Roman Catholic heritage across England.

St Joseph's Newbury

Parish Priest, Father Michael Fava CBE, commented, “I am pleased that St Joseph’s has been awarded Grade II listing. It is one of 30 listed churches in our Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth. Our diocese celebrates its 141st anniversary this week and our churches are an integral part of our communities. This recognition reflects the pride that our parishioners have always had in their church as a place of worship for a large congregation, but also as such a prominent landmark in Newbury. It is a truly significant building that should be celebrated.”

The Historic England Listing Selection Guide: Places of Worship (2017) identifies that when assessing buildings of this type and date for listing, account should be taken of architectural quality, association with a nationally significant architect, artist, cleric or patron, level of survival, quality of architectural and artistic embellishment, and design and craftsmanship.

The Church of St Joseph is a well-designed inter-war church of strong Byzantine and Romanesque style which has a restrained and elegant exterior including a richly decorated campanile and a good quality, largely unaltered interior. It is also a good example of the work of a distinguished church architect, W C Mangan, particularly in its brick detailing and interior survival. The Roman Catholic Church of St Joseph, Newbury is recommended for listing at Grade II for the following reasons:

Architectural interest:

  • 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 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.

Historic interest:

  • 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.

Group value:

  • The church has functional association with the adjacent early C19 presbytery (NHLE reference 1221165, listed at Grade II in 1983).