(39) St Martha’s Roman Catholic Church, Little Common

Sculpture at St Martha's Roman Catholic Church, Little Common. Photo by Paul Wright, October 2012

Sculpture at St Martha’s Roman Catholic Church, Little Common. Photo by Paul Wright, October 2012.

St Martha’s Roman Catholic Church was designed by Marshall Wood and the foundation stone was laid in August 1939 by the Bishop of Pella, assistant to the Bishop of Southwark. Despite the outbreak of the Second World War one month later, permission was granted by the Ministry of Works for the building work to continue and the church was opened, unofficially and unconsecrated, in 1940. It was not until January 1971 that St Martha’s was finally consecrated. The sculpture of St Martha stands in a niche on the west front above the foundation stone. St Martha’s feast day is 29th July and she is the patron saint of housewives and domestic workers, hence the depiction of a bunch of keys hanging from her girdle as a sign of homely activity. A dragon is at her feet because, according to legend, she rescued the neighbourhood of Aix, in Provence, France, from a dragon that lay concealed in the banks of the River Rhone.

St Martha's Roman Catholic Church, Little Common. Photo by Paul Wright, November 2014.

St Martha’s Roman Catholic Church, Little Common. Photo by Paul Wright, November 2014.

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