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Church of St Philip and St James

A Grade II Listed Building in Up Hatherley, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.8855 / 51°53'7"N

Longitude: -2.1223 / 2°7'20"W

OS Eastings: 391678

OS Northings: 220777

OS Grid: SO916207

Mapcode National: GBR 1KY.Q8M

Mapcode Global: VH947.5VCY

Entry Name: Church of St Philip and St James

Listing Date: 5 August 2002

Last Amended: 30 May 2014

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1088073

English Heritage Legacy ID: 489659

Location: Up Hatherley, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL51

County: Gloucestershire

District: Cheltenham

Civil Parish: Up Hatherley

Built-Up Area: Cheltenham

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Up Hatherley St Philip and St James

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester

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An Anglican church built in 1885, designed by the Cheltenham firm of Middleton, Prothero and Phillott in the Middle-Pointed style, as a private commission from Revd. Gretton and his wife, Laura Gretton.


An Anglican church built in 1885, designed by the Cheltenham firm of Middleton, Prothero and Phillott in the Middle-Pointed style, as a private commission from Revd. Gretton and his wife, Laura Gretton.

MATERIALS: the late-C19 church is constructed of rusticated limestone with ashlar dressings and has a clay-tiled roof; the 1980s extension is built in pale brick with an artificial slate roof.

PLAN: originally simple rectangular plan with nave, south vestry, north porch and apsidal chancel; the sacred space was reoriented on a north-to-south axis when in 1985 the church was extended to the south and a community centre was added to the south west.

EXTERIOR: the west gable end contains a central pointed-arch opening incorporating three-lancets and a rose window. Flanking this gable end is a pair of offset buttresses, the right of which is topped by a pyramidal-roofed bellcot. On the north elevation is a half-timber porch with a tiled pitched roof (the former entrance to the church that was blocked in 1991). The nave has four bays, including three pairs of trefoil-headed lancets. A buttress separates the nave from the rounded chancel which contains pointed lancet windows. The clerestory is lit by two dormers containing paired trefoil-headed windows. The vestry is attached to the south side of the chancel. The east wall of the vestry has trefoil-headed lancet windows, a pointed-arched plank door with ornate hinges and a hood mould above; two mullioned windows with hood-moulds and a further entrance. The south wall of the nave was removed in the 1980s when the building was extended. The 1985 south elevation contains a raised central wall with three overlapping purple brick crosses all under a mono-pitched roof, and on either side is an irregular fenestration of full-height, coloured glazing under double-pitched roofs that incorporate coloured glass within the spandrels. The community centre to the west has a steeply-pitched half-hipped roof with a central hall and four blocks which contain the toilets, kitchen, bar and meeting room projecting from the north, south, east and west side, between which are full height windows. It is is accessed via a timber-framed glazed entrance in the north elevation.

INTERIOR: the internal church space has been reoriented with the altar to the south side of the modern nave. The chairs, facing south, are positioned across the original nave and a large, modern, free-standing organ is located to the west end. Ornate candle holders are attached on curved brackets to the walls of the original church. The west end wall incorporates a trefoil-headed statue niche supported by colonnettes. Monuments include an engraved marble plaque to the founder of the church, Mrs Gretton. The wrought-iron chancel screen, by Prothero, is framed by a moulded horseshoe-shaped chancel arch with engaged shafts to capitals. The stained glass windows from the removed south elevation appear to have been incorporated in this screen. The walls of the chancel are decorated by a set of remarkably complete and well-executed Pre-Raphaelite style distemper tempera paintings by J. Eadie Reid, depicting New Testament scenes and figures including the boy Christ sitting in the Temple among the doctors; Mary, Joseph and the child Christ; the Three Wise Men; the Virgin Mary at the Annunciation; the Angel Gabriel; the Apostles, Saints Philip and James, dressed as bishops. These schemes are set in panels, with text below and stylised foliate friezes above, all framed in a gold and red border, with blue being chosen for the running foliate surrounds that frame the windows. The stained glass is by Heaton, Butler and Baynes and includes depictions of the Procession into Jerusalem (west window, 1895), scenes of the story of Christ from the Annunciation to the Ascension (chancel windows, 1896) and the nave windows (1904-10). The pews within the chancel are circa late-C19 and have floral bench ends. The nave and the chancel both have wagon roofs. The richly-painted chancel roof contains arch bracing, a decorative cornice and bosses to the purlins. The 1985 nave contains stained glass by R W Coomber (1991).The modern nave is separated from the community centre by an ash-wood and glazed screen and a lobby entrance with a timber staircase. The church also contains a C17 vase-shaped font with carved hart's-tongue ferns, brought in from the churchyard and now used as a stoup.


The church was designed by Middleton, Prothero and Phillot in 1885. It was commissioned by Revd W H Gretton and his wife, Laura Gretton. Mrs Gretton’s ill health prompted the building of the chapel in order that she could have a nearby church to attend service. It also offered access to the local residents of Up Hatherley. Consequently, as a privately-commissioned chapel, seating approximately 150 people, it was more modest than other churches by this firm in terms of its architectural ambition. The church was consecrated on Easter Tuesday 1886 by the Bishop of Gloucester. A set of wall paintings in the chancel was commissioned in 1894 by Mrs Gretton in memory of her husband, and depict New Testament figures and scenes. The artist was J Eadie Reid, best known for the 1910 paintings of the Triumph and Apotheosis of Labour at St Mark, Leicester, and some murals at Worcester Cathedral, and whose Pre-Raphaelite training clearly shows through in this scheme. In 1985-6 the church was substantially extended to the south by the Falconer Partnership. This work involved the removal of the south nave wall and the reuse of the chancel as a side chapel. The church seating was reordered with modern chairs positioned facing an altar on the south side of the new extension. A community centre, also part of the 1980s building phase, was added to the south west. In 1992 the late-C19 gate and a section of wall were removed from their original location and placed to the east of the church. In 2003 a glazed, ash-wood soundproof screen was installed in the west end of the modern church with stairs formed to a first floor meeting room.

The firm of Middleton, Prothero and Phillot was started by John Middleton (1820-1885), a prolific church architect who worked in Cheltenham, throughout Gloucestershire, in neighbouring counties and parts of Wales, on a variety of architectural projects. After his death his practice continued under various names including Prothero & Phillot (1885-1908); Phillot & Barnard (1908-1912) and L W Barnard & Partners (1919-1950s). Henry Allen Prothero (1848-1906) was a partner in John Middleton's architectural practice, along with George Henry Phillott (1852-1926). He carried out a significant amount of work in Wales, designed three or four small churches and carried out a number of alterations to others, as well as working on non-ecclesiastical work. In Cheltenham his best work is Cheltenham College Chapel (he was a former pupil) (1896; Grade II*). In partnership with Phillott he designed St Philip and St James (Middleton himself died in 1885, possibly during construction). Their other collaborative work included alterations to several of Middleton's churches, including adding a saddleback tower to the Church of St Philip and St James, Leckhampton (Grade II*).

Reasons for Listing

The Church of St Philip and St James, Up Hatherley is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: it is an interesting example of a small but well-executed church, built as a private commission;
* Level of survival: the church survives sufficiently well to understand its original form;
* Architects: Middleton, Prothero and Phillott were a renowned firm of C19 architects, particular well known for their high-quality ecclesiastical work and this church is an interesting example of their work on a smaller scale than their usual church commissions;
* Interior: the internal decoration includes a remarkably complete and well-executed Pre-Raphaelite style distemper tempera paintings by J. Eadie Reid.

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