Clifton St Francis

Archaeology

View of the church from
the north

The church was built on a greenfield site with no previous structure there apart from the workman’s hut used for services before the church was completed. It is built of light coloured bricks and concrete blocks on a steel framework with a shallow pitched roof covered with ruberoid felt. It consists of nave, chancel, anteroom leading to the hall, tower, choir or side chapel and clergy vestries, organ loft, store room, kitchen and toilets. Projecting blue bricks were used for decoration on the outer walls of the tower and hall. All interior walls were plastered. The roof of the hall was re-felted in 2005.

The main windows facing the street have been replaced with PVCU white finish. In 2007 it was reported that there was much damage to the steelwork and metal windows. All the aluminium supporting brackets for the louvres in the tower had corroded badly and were removed along with all the louvres, which were replaced with ‘Galebreaker’ material to the six openings. Due to vandalism several vulnerable windows were removed and the spaces blocked up with red bricks.

The nave looking east The nave looking west

Parts of the nave ceiling and that of the hall and corridor to the hall are covered by panels attached to timber joists. At least two of the panels in the nave were, in 2013, in a sorry state due to water damage.

There are various floor coverings. In the nave wood block parquet was used, but in the sanctuary it is Portland Purbeck freestone, which by 1973 was badly pitted. The corridor to the hall has quarry tile flooring, but in the office and entrance area thermoplastic tiles and carpet sufficed. The present Hope Church put new carpet down in the hall and decorative wall panels.

The modern brick vicarage was built next to the church on Southchurch Drive. Known as St. Francis House, it contains seven rooms downstairs and eight upstairs. Gardens back and front are 28 yards (25.6 m) long.

The chapel was to be called St. Clare’s Chapel. But it was too cold for services so the clergy vestry was converted into a chapel and the choir moved to a small room near the kitchen. The old choir vestry became the clergy vestry.

Technical Summary

Timbers and roofs

NAVE CHANCEL TOWER
Main False ceiling plaster panels conceal the superstructure. Identical with and contiguous to nave.  
S.Aisle n/a    
N.Aisle n/a    
Other principal      
Other timbers      

Bellframe

The bellframe is by Hayward Mills dated 2007, steel, Pickford group 8.2.A.

Not scheduled for preservation.

Walls

NAVE CHANCEL TOWER
Plaster covering & date Plastered and painted Plastered and painted  
Potential for wall paintings None None  

Excavations and potential for survival of below-ground archaeology

There have been no known archaeological excavations.

The main fabric dates entirely from 1953-7. The previous use for the site was agricultural fields.

The churchyard is roughly square, with the church positioned centrally. There are no burials.

The overall potential for the survival of below-ground archaeology in the churchyard, is considered to be LOW, dating entirely from 1953 and later. The potential for pre-church archaeological deposits is UNKNOWN but likely to be LOW. Below the present interior floors of the church it is considered to be LOW. The fabric of the church is all 1953-7 and the potential for archaeology in the standing fabric of the post-modern period (by Vernon Royle) is considered to be MODERATE.

Exterior: No burials. Minimal landscaping. Pre-church archaeology unknown.

Interior: Stratigraphy under the church is likely to be all 1953-7 construction evidence.