Support the Café

Search our Site

Is indoor plumbing a passing fad?

Is indoor plumbing a passing fad?

The Daily Telegraph reports on a planning dispute over the installation of a toilet in a church in Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, England. The addition of indoor plumbing to the church building is part of a renovation that also drew ire from local historians objecting to the removal of a chancel wall, and railings which were themselves a 19th-century addition to the 13th-century church.

The Vicar and Churchwardens of St Mary the Virgin, part of the Tyndale Benefice in the Diocese of Gloucester

argued that the building needed to be a “fluid, flexible and adaptable space for worship, teaching, social activities and concerts”.

The Telegraph article focused mainly on arguments over the addition of toilets to the church building. Currently, the closest facilities are in a parish hall, separated from the church by some 30 yards. Not everyone embraced the idea of convenience when it came to the new plans.

In a letter opposing the idea objector Brian Jones told the court: “There is no compelling need to have them in the church since there are already two in the Parish Room which is no more than thirty yards from the North Door.

“Lavatories in a church is a current fad, but I see no reason why we should blindly follow it. The expense is quite unjustified.” …

Among a list of objections were “Noise disturbance and distraction during services (creaking/slamming/clicking doors/footfall/water running/flushing),” “smells (cleaning fluids/sprays)”, as well as the concern that “toilets attract children”.

Another objector wondered, “Why have anything as undignified as a lavatory in a church?” as though the dignity of human bodily experience had not been well established by the precedents of Creation and the Incarnation.

Alicia Collinson, deputy chancellor of the Diocese of Gloucester, ruled in favor of the toilets, saying she was

“firmly of the view that toilets are needed inside this church, and I am satisfied that sufficient steps can be taken to minimise their use being an intrusion on the solemnity of church services”.

Read more at the Daily Telegraph and the Reordering St Mary’s page of the church’s website.

Featured image via St Mary the Virgin, Wotton-under-Edge, on Facebook


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This is not unheard of in the modern day. We have a small parish in my area that we have been trying to restart that dates back to the time before indoor plumbing. We put chemical toilets behind the building.

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café