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The Presbytery to the Roman Catholic Church of St Lawrence

A Grade II Listed Building in Chipping Sodbury, South Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.5385 / 51°32'18"N

Longitude: -2.3925 / 2°23'33"W

OS Eastings: 372871

OS Northings: 182245

OS Grid: ST728822

Mapcode National: GBR 0NJ.FY3

Mapcode Global: VH95T.HL0H

Entry Name: The Presbytery to the Roman Catholic Church of St Lawrence

Listing Date: 17 September 1952

Last Amended: 21 September 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1129246

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34070

Location: Sodbury, South Gloucestershire, BS37

County: South Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Sodbury

Built-Up Area: Chipping Sodbury

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Chipping Sodbury St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester

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Chipping Sodbury

Listing Text

5/23 (north side)

17.9.52 No 71,
(The Presbytery)

Early C17 with alterations in C18 and C19. Rendered. Modern tiled roof. Two storeys
nd attics in 3 steep gables with ball finials. Three windows with diamond lattice
glazing bars. Elaborate panelled door - centre panel is diamond shaped; fanlight;
stone arched surround with imposts.

Two storey wing to left with large square vehicle opening.

Interior: Winder stair with double ovolo moulded and stopped door-frame at bottom.

Listing NGR: ST7287582246

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


A former inn dating from the C17, altered and extended in the C18, and converted in the early C19 when it became the Roman Catholic presbytery of the Church of St Lawrence.


A former inn dating from the C17, altered and extended in the C18, and converted in the early C19 when it became the Roman Catholic presbytery of the Church of St Lawrence.

MATERIALS: the building is rendered and painted. It has a tiled pitched roof with stacks to the E and W gable ends, set behind gabled front and rear elevations.

PLAN: The building has an L-shaped plan with a carriage arch to its W (originally probably part of the adjacent Squire Public House, listed Grade II), a later kitchen extension (probably a former outbuilding), and an C18 infill extension in its rear NW corner. Attached to the rear is a late C20 conservatory, which is excluded from the listing.

EXTERIOR: the two storey S front plus attic facing Broad Street has three steep gables with ball finials. It has a central entrance with an elaborate panelled door of which the centre panel has a diamond shape with a fanlight above, set in a stone arched door surround. The early C19 windows, two on the ground floor flanking the entrance and three to each of the two floors above (those to the upper floor smaller in size), have diamond shaped lattice bars. To the left is the lower carriage arch (originally part of the Squire Public House, listed Grade II), with a sash window with diamond shape lattice bars as before. The windows date from the early C19 when the building became the presbytery.

The rear elevation consists of a two bay wide, three storey gabled rear wing to the left. Attached to this is the lower kitchen wing (a former outbuilding), which has a late C20 conservatory attached to it. To the right is the two storey C18 infill extension, which partially blocks the gabled bay behind it. To the far right is the carriage arch, the roof of which was extended forward to enlarge the room above the arch, and it has a brick external wall. The rear elevation has multi-pane sash windows throughout of varied proportions. The attic on the far left is lit by a three light casement. An earlier, stone mullioned window is set in the small gable behind the slightly lower C18 gabled infill extension.

INTERIOR: At ground floor level is a central hall flanked by the presbytery office and parlour, leading to the rear with cloakroom (in the C18 extension) and a large built-in C17 spiral staircase on the opposite side. Behind the built-in staircase is a utility room and kitchen. The spiral staircase leads to the two floors above which have bedrooms coming off a central hall, that on the first floor with a corridor leading to the room above the carriage arch.

The interior has been refurbished extensively in the C20. The interiors of the rooms in the C18 infill extension to the rear have all been stripped*. However, the remainder of the building does retain a number of historic fixtures and fittings of note, including panelled doors and deep skirtings throughout. The window in the presbytery office on the ground floor contains a deep, decoratively carved timber window sill, probably dating from the C17, and believed to be a re-used travel - or dowry chest. The parlour and hallway contain horizontal timber wall panelling to wainscot level dating mostly from the C19 but re-using older, probably C17 panelling in parts. Both the office and parlour have C19 fireplaces.

A large winder stair dating from the C17, is accessed from the hallway via a wide opening, which has a finely carved timber double ovolo-moulded four-centred arched surround, suggesting the stair may have earlier origins. The stair is constructed around a very thick and tall post made from one single piece of timber. The threads, becoming narrower towards the top, are carpeted at the bottom, and made of timber at top floor level.

The roof comprises a standard rafter roof with purlins, probably originating from the C17 but with extensive later repairs, and C19 inserted gables.

* Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the late C20 internal fixtures and fittings in the rooms of the C18 infill extension to the rear are not of special architectural or historic interest.


The Presbytery to the Roman Catholic Church of St Lawrence, a former coaching inn known as the Swan Inn, of circa C17 date, was altered and extended in the C18 and further altered in the C19. Harding (1999) suggests that the building was originally constructed as an Elizabethan town house, although no firm evidence is presented. In the early C19 the former inn and its associated outbuildings were bought by Sarah Neve, the Roman Catholic wife of the Vicar of Old Sodbury, to establish an early mission church dedicated to St Lawrence, endowed to the Diocese of Clifton and served by Benedictine monks from Ampleforth and Downside and later Douai. The former stables and brew house were converted to become the church (under consideration for listing separately), whilst the Inn itself, facing Broad Street, became the presbytery. Since 1928 secular clergy have been appointed at St Lawrence.

Reasons for Listing

The Presbytery to the Roman Catholic Church of St Lawrence, Broad Street, Chipping Sodbury is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: as an interesting example of a coaching inn, with a prominent street front, dating back to the C17, extended and altered in the C18 and converted in the early C19 when it became the presbytery;
* Interior: the interior retains a number of important fixtures and fittings, including a large C17 timber winder stair, a rare survival;
* Historic interest: as an interesting reminder of the development of coach travel in the C17 and C18, and for its interest as a Roman Catholic presbytery serving the Church of St Lawrence since its foundation in the early C19 as one of the first mission churches in the Diocese of Clifton;
* Group value: it has strong group value with neighbouring listed buildings and the Roman Catholic Church of St Lawrence, which it has served since the early C19.

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