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St Anthony’s RC Church, Brotton

This postcard view from the Phoenix Series (Brittain & Wright of Stockton) shows the High Street, Brotton and the Roman Catholic Church of St Anthony of Padua, to give it the full and correct title; dates from 1915. Described as ” a modest structure built at the start of the 20th century. The exterior is plain and simple and has not been enhanced by the rebuilding and enlargement of the western porch. The chief interest lies inside in what is a very elaborate decorative scheme for a small wayside church. The church was built in 1905 (foundation stone was laid on 16th August) to serve the local Catholic community and was officially opened in 1907. The decoration of the ceiling panels was carried out by a Belgian painter Felix Beryngier and his workmen, probably brought across by the first parish priest, Father Gryspeert, one of many French and Belgian priests who sought sanctuary in England in the wake of early 20th century anti-clerical legislation. According to Minskip, the paintings in the sanctuary and on the chancel arch were added later, possibly during the time of Father Patrick Macken (1916-27). The church was enlarged slightly in 1979 with the rebuilding of the western porch.”

Image courtesy of Julie Tyrka, additional information courtesy of “Taking Stock – Catholic Churches of England and Wales”

 

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