St Francis Church Salisbury - History of St Francis's Church

History of St Francis's Church

The church was founded in 1930 to serve the north of the city. Work began in 1930, with the consent of the vicars of Stratford-sub-Castle and St Mark's. With much voluntary help, a temporary wooden church was built on the eastern side of Stratford Road and dedicated in November 1930. In 1937 a new district was established, partly from the parish of Stratford-sub-Castle and partly from that of St Mark's, and a vicar was installed. In the same year a building committee was formed and a new site at the junction of Beatrice Road and Castle Road purchased. Building work began in 1938, the foundation stone was laid in January 1939 and the church was consecrated in 1940.

The church building is in the modern style with a wide nave with passage aisles and an apsidal Lady Chapel behind the sanctuary, instead of a chancel. On the south side of the church is a tower, 70 feet high. The church is a Grade 2 listed building. St Francis's Church was designed by the architect Robert Potter; the construction is structurally concrete with brick cladding and infill, and the church has artificial stone surrounds to the doors and windows. The cavity walls are faced with varigated red bricks and the dressings are of reconstituted stone. The roofs are of reinforced concrete covered with asphalt.

Pevsner's Wiltshire volume contains a short entry on the church, as follows:

"St Francis, Castle Road and Beatrice Road. 1936-9 by Robert Potter. Red brick. Square, with a short s w tower and an apse. The details Österbergish - rather late in the day. Quite an impressive white interior, the floor of the apse raised considerably above the altar space."

In the 21st century the church has had a £450,000 renovation to bring the building up to modern standards. One tenth of the renovation funds (£45,000) were at this time given away to build a secondary school in Juba in the Southern Sudan.

The parish registers for christenings from 1930 and marriages from 1940, other than those in current use, are held in the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre.

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