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Parish Church of St Augustine of Hippo

A Grade II* Listed Building in Edgbaston, Birmingham

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Latitude: 52.4733 / 52°28'24"N

Longitude: -1.9458 / 1°56'44"W

OS Eastings: 403776

OS Northings: 286158

OS Grid: SP037861

Mapcode National: GBR 5PC.77

Mapcode Global: VH9Z2.7358

Entry Name: Parish Church of St Augustine of Hippo

Listing Date: 21 January 1970

Last Amended: 20 July 2009

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1076255

English Heritage Legacy ID: 217386

Location: Birmingham, B16

County: Birmingham

Electoral Ward/Division: Edgbaston

Built-Up Area: Birmingham

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Midlands

Church of England Parish: Edgbaston St Augustine

Church of England Diocese: Birmingham

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Listing Text


Parish Church of St Augustine of Hippo

(Formerly listed as:
Anglican Church of St Augustine)

(Formerly listed as:

(Formerly listed as:



An Anglican parish church in a C13 style, built in 1868, by Julius Alfred Chatwin (1830-1907); extended by the addition of a tower and spire to the south in 1876, also by Chatwin. The narthex porch was built in 1968 to a design by Philip Boughton Chatwin (1873-1964).

MATERIALS: The church is built from rock-faced sandstone with limestone banding, and plain clay tile roofs. The interior walls are sandstone and limestone ashlar.

PLAN: The building includes an aisled and clerestoried nave, transepts, apsidal chancel, and a later lean-to narthex at the west end. To the south side, the base forming the south transept, is a tower and spire.

EXTERIOR: The church has stone elevations set on a slightly projecting plinth of larger stone blocks. The four-bay nave has a steeply-pitched roof with lean-to aisles and clerestory above. The bay structure of the aisles is expressed by buttresses with two off-sets; between them are three-light windows with cinquefoils in the tracery. The clerestory windows above are spherical triangles with alternating tracery in cinque- and sex-foils. The north transept has diagonal buttresses a high three-light traceried window, and a spherical triangular window set in the gable. The north-east vestry, adjacent to the north transept, has diagonal buttresses and a very tall pavilion-type roof, hipped. The chancel has a polygonal east end, with diagonal buttresses with two off-sets, and gables. The two-light windows have various tracery. To the south, the tower, which also forms the south transept, has gabled angle buttresses. The tower is in three stages. The lower stage has a three-light window with tracery. The tall bell-stage has high, two-light louvred openings. This stage is surmounted by crocketted pinnacles. The third stage is recessed, and supports a delicate corona, which marks the transition between the tower and the slender spire above. To the west, there is a lean-to narthex with a gabled entrance, housing paired doorways with attached columns and a tympanum with relief panels showing scenes from the life of St Augustine.

INTERIOR: The main entrance is by the west narthex porch; it has a crown-post roof structure and polychrome polished stone floor. The interior of the main church is of sandstone ashlar with limestone banding. The nave has a false hammer-beam roof. The four-bay nave arcades are formed from pointed arches carried on round piers with detailed foliate and floral capitals, showing plants from all seasons. The attached columns at the east and west ends of the nave also have human heads personifying the seasons. The roof trusses spring from elaborate corbels with clustered columns and carved figures of the Apostles. The north transept houses the baptistery, designed by George Pace, with stone bench seating and a recessed circular font of rough-faced limestone. The south transept and part of the south aisle are occupied by the Lady Chapel. This is divided from the body of the church by a timber screen, made by Robert Panchieri. It has carved and pierced decoration. The chancel has a painted angel ceiling, polychrome tiled floor, and much rich carved decoration, which is continued throughout the church; the carving is by John Roddis of Birmingham and members of the Bromsgrove Guild. The apsidal east end has a canopied reredos with deep relief of the Last Supper, flanked by blind Early English arcades with cusping, crenellation and other embellishments. The choir stalls and pews are of hardwood, the choir stalls with decoratively-carved ends. The pulpit, situated at the foot of the chancel arch on its north side, is of carved stone, with deeply-cut relief panels showing the Sermon on the Mount, Moses and St Augustine; it is reached by an integral stone stair.

SOURCES: Foster, A, Pevsner Architectural Guides: Birmingham (2007), 239; Pevsner, N and Wedgwood, A, The Buildings of England: Warwickshire (1966), 165; History of the County of Warwick (Victoria County History), Volume 7: City of Birmingham (1964), 384; 'The Parish Church of St Augustine of Hippo' - introductory leaflet

HISTORY: The wealthy suburb of Edgbaston developed throughout the C19 from about 1810, under the auspices of the Lords of the Manor, the Gough-Calthorpe family. Large numbers of middle-class houses were built, with new roads laid out periodically. By 1851, houses had been built along the main route from the city centre, the Hagley Road, as far as Rotton Park Street. As the population grew, so did the need for places of worship, and the Church of St George was consecrated in 1838, and the Church of St James in 1852. In 1864, Joseph Gillott, a successful pen manufacturer who lived in Westbourne Road, and owned land immediately to the north of the Hagley Road, resolved to instigate the building of a new church, as the existing buildings were no longer able to accommodate the 18,000 residents of Edgbaston. He discussed the siting of the new church with J A Chatwin, the foremost ecclesiastical architect in the city; Chatwin suggested the creation of an island site just north of the Hagley Road, from which a new straight road (now St Augustine's Road) would run. The site was donated to the church authorities, and £9,000 was raised in subscriptions for the cost of the building. Chatwin won an open competition for the design of the church, and the building, dedicated to St Augustine of Hippo (then comprising chancel, nave, aisles and north transept) was consecrated by the Bishop of Worcester in 1868, as a chapel of ease to the Church of St Bartholomew, Edgbaston. The tower and spire were added in 1876, at a cost of £4,000. A stained glass window depicting St Augustine was donated by the congregation and set in the south transept, under the tower. A parish was assigned to St Augustine's in 1889, formed from part of the parish of St Bartholomew. A Lady Chapel was created in the south aisle and transept around 1930, divided from the body of the church by a pierced timber screen carved by Robert Panchieri. During enemy action in 1940, the window depicting St Augustine was lost as a result of bombing, but was replaced after the war, though with a catalogue design mistakenly showing St Augustine of Canterbury rather than St Augustine of Hippo. In 1964, a baptistery was created in the north transept, designed by the renowned mid-C20 church architect George Pace (1915-75), including a new font to his design. To celebrate the church's centenary in 1968, a new narthex porch was added at the west end, to an earlier design by P B Chatwin, nephew and colleague of J A Chatwin.

The Anglican Church of St Augustine of Hippo is designated at Grade II*, for the following principal reasons:
* The church is a high-quality design by J A Chatwin, the foremost church architect in the region in the second half of the C19
* Its exterior shows clear quality in its proportions, massing and detailing, particularly the tall tower and spire, with its delicate corona and rich embellishment
* A narthex added to the west, to the design of P B Chatwin, adds to the interest and variety of the exterior
* The quality of craftsmanship is very good throughout the building, both inside and outside
* The interior has extensive, high quality and rich decoration, including a painted chancel ceiling, botanical and figurative carving by Roddis of Birmingham and the Bromsgrove Guild, and glass by Hardman and Co
* The interior is enhanced by the creation in the 1960s of a north baptistery by George Pace

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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