History in Structure

Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady and St Alphonsus with attached covered way

A Grade II* Listed Building in Hanley Castle, Worcestershire

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Latitude: 52.0908 / 52°5'26"N

Longitude: -2.2753 / 2°16'31"W

OS Eastings: 381233

OS Northings: 243643

OS Grid: SO812436

Mapcode National: GBR 0FX.TVF

Mapcode Global: VH935.HQZ1

Plus Code: 9C4V3PRF+8V

Entry Name: Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady and St Alphonsus with attached covered way

Listing Date: 25 March 1968

Last Amended: 8 February 2016

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1098781

English Heritage Legacy ID: 153288

ID on this website: 101098781

Location: Our Lady and St Alphonsus Church, Hanley Swan, Malvern Hills, Worcestershire, WR8

County: Worcestershire

District: Malvern Hills

Civil Parish: Hanley Castle

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: Hanley Castle with Hanley Swan

Church of England Diocese: Worcester

Tagged with: Church building

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A Roman Catholic church of 1846, designed by Charles Hansom with internal fittings by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin.


A Roman Catholic church of 1846, designed by Charles Hansom with internal fittings by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin.

MATERIALS: the buildings are constructed of Cradley stone with Forest of Dean stone dressings. The church has a slate roof.

PLAN: the church is orientated east-west, with aisles and nave under one roof and a lower chancel to the east. There is a large south porch. To the north, a covered way links the church with the presbytery.

EXTERIOR: the nave of the church is built in the Early English style and the design is based on the medieval church at Skelton in Yorkshire. The tall roof, with a bellcote at its eastern end, is continuous over both nave and aisles and sweeps down to low walls with simple lancet windows. Between the windows are small buttresses and a continuous stringcourse. The south porch has a large, pointed arch opening with a deeply moulded surround and ballflower decoration to the capitals of the shafts. The internal door is similar, and the sides of the porch have benches with pointed arcades above them. There is an iron gate enclosing the porch. The western end of the church has three tall windows with tall buttresses between them and an oculus above the central window. There is a carved stone cross at the apex of the gable. To the north, the organ chamber projects under a gabled roof from the north aisle. At the eastern end, the covered way projects from the sacristy, and connects with the presbytery to its north, with two-light windows along its elevation. The chancel is in the Decorated style, with two-light traceried windows in its north and south elevations and a large three-light east window with intricate tracery. There is a carved stone panel below this window, and a stone cross at the apex of the gable. The eastern elevation of the covered way is plan with buttresses and a door opening said to have been inserted during the Second World War.

INTERIOR: the interior of the church appears to retain a complete set of original fittings by AWN Pugin. The entire church is floored with Minton tiles to Pugin's designs, with more intricate designs used for the side chapels and the chancel. There are stained glass windows by William Wailes throughout. The nave retains timber pews with ends with pointed heads and cut-out trefoils, and is divided from the nave by arcades of tall pointed arches on quatrefoil piers. There is a ribbed vault over the nave which springs from corbels with carved angels. The aisles have lean-to timber ceilings; the sections over the eastern chapels have stencilled decoration to the ceilings and wall heads. Both side chapels are separated from the nave and aisles by painted timber screens, and both have painted stone altars and reredoses. In the northern chapel there is a recess under a carved and painted stone hood. The chancel is separated from the nave by an ornate timber rood screen across the pointed chancel arch, which is deeply moulded with clustered shafts. The screen is divided into three sections, with the central providing access to the chancel. The flanking sections have open tracery panels, all with painted decoration. Within the chancel there is collegiate seating with misericords, with a sedilia and piscina in the south wall, and an aumbry in the north wall, with a painted and carved surround. The carved stone altar sits in front of a reredos of five cusped ogee arches. The chancel has a rib vaulted ceiling springing from carved piers on angel corbels. The ribs are crocketted and there are ornate central bosses, all with painted decoration. The window reveals are also painted.

The covered way which connects the church with the presbytery has a tiled floor throughout, and a vaulted timber ceiling with chamfered posts.

In the churchyard are the remains of a churchyard cross, also of 1846, now missing its top section.


The Blackmore Estate near Hanley Swan had been in the hands of the Hornyold family since the C16, and in 1844 Thomas Charles Hornyold donated land for the building of a new Catholic church. The church, with an attached monastery for monks of the Redemptorist order, was paid for by John Vincent Gandolfi, a Genoese silk merchant who had married into the Hornyold family and would inherit the Blackmore Estate in 1859.

For the new church, Gandolfi chose as his architect Charles Hansom, on the recommendation of William Bernard Ullathorne, at that time Vicar Apostolic of the Western District. Ullathorne advised Gandolfi that Hansom 'could do all that Mr Pugin could'. Ultimately, while the exterior of the church was designed by Hansom, with input from Ullathorne who suggested basing it on the medieval church at Skelton in Yorkshire, the majority of the internal fittings were to AWN Pugin's designs. The floor tiles were made by Minton, the metalwork by Hardman and Co., and stained glass by William Wailes.

Reasons for Listing

The Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady and St Alphonsus, built in 1846 by Charles Hansom, with interior fittings by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: for its high quality design, a notable example of an 1840s Roman Catholic church;
* Fixtures and fittings: the church retains a near complete set of fixtures and fittings of exceptional quality;
* Architects: designed by Charles Hansom with internal fittings by AWN Pugin, the church is associated with two architects of considerable importance.
* Degree of survival: the church is relatively unaltered.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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