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School, Chapel of St Peter and St Paul and House About 80 Metres South of the Monastery Buildings of the Benedictine Abbey of St Michael and All Angels

A Grade II Listed Building in Clehonger, Herefordshire,

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Latitude: 52.038 / 52°2'16"N

Longitude: -2.756 / 2°45'21"W

OS Eastings: 348238

OS Northings: 238002

OS Grid: SO482380

Mapcode National: GBR FJ.FP11

Mapcode Global: VH85V.51VH

Plus Code: 9C4V26QV+5H

Entry Name: School, Chapel of St Peter and St Paul and House About 80 Metres South of the Monastery Buildings of the Benedictine Abbey of St Michael and All Angels

Listing Date: 22 October 1986

Last Amended: 18 December 2012

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1348796

English Heritage Legacy ID: 155342

Location: Clehonger, County of Herefordshire, HR2

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Clehonger

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Clehonger

Church of England Diocese: Hereford

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A combined schoolroom and Roman Catholic chapel with attached house for a schoolteacher. Built in 1853-4 by Edward Welby Pugin for F C Wegg-Prosser of coursed rubble with ashlar dressings and a plain tiled roof.


EXTERIOR: the west front of the teachers' house has three-storeys to the right and two to the left. The right hand portion is of three-bays with an arched door set beneath a gabled porch which has low stone walls to the sides supporting a timber superstructure. At either side are mullioned and transomed windows of two-lights and there are two-light casements to the first and second floors with a single light above the porch. The left hand part of the front has a single-bay with mullioned and transomed window to the ground floor as before. Above this bay is a two-light dormer window with decorated timber bargeboards and there is a similar window to the second floor at right. The gabled south reveal has a square projecting bay with hipped stone roof at ground floor level, with mullions and transom. Above this is a three-light casement, and there is a single light casement to the gable, which has kneelers and a coping with an iron finial to the top. At right the schoolroom has four-bays of windows, divided by buttresses with offsets. Each window is of three-lights with foiled heads. At the juncture between the schoolroom and house there is a large stack with five flues. To the right, the flank of the sanctuary is recessed, and there is a small sacristy with catsilde roof. The eastern end has a traceried window lighting the sanctuary with two cusped lights and a quatrefoil to the apex. The gable has kneelers and a coping and appears to have formerly had an iron finial which is now partially missing. Above and behind this, the gable end of the schoolroom supports a stone sanctus bellcote with arched opening and gabled top, which has lost its bell.

The north flank has a similar schoolroom window at left to those seen on the south front and a boiler chimney with offsets and an octagonal cap. The right hand side of this front has now been masked by a flat-roofed extension which appears to have been added in the C20. The gable end of the convent house at right has a stack with octagonal brick flues.

INTERIOR: the boarded schoolroom roof has scissor-beam trusses which rise from stone corbels and two ranks of purlins with a ridge beam. The sanctuary area has been converted to be a part of the meeting hall, but the lateral walls have recessed panels which appear to have been intended to house the chancel doors, which would have been closed during the week when the larger space served as a school and opened at the weekend to allow for religious services. There is a low door with arched head to the right of the sanctuary arch which leads to the sacristy. The convent house has a staircase with chamfered balusters and newels with domed square caps. There are fitted cupboards to two rooms and chamfered fire surrounds.


In 1852 Francis Wegg-Prosser converted to Roman Catholicism. He was a landowner, who had inherited the Belmont estate to the south-west of Hereford, and had acted as MP for Herefordshire from 1847 until his conversion. He had already commissioned work from Anglican architects, including the restoration of the church at Clehonger by William Butterfield. Following his conversion he decided to build a school with attached chapel and schoolmaster’s house to the south-east of his own house. The architect chosen was Edward Welby Pugin, and Wegg-Prosser would have known of the Pugin family through the designs of AWN Pugin at Eastnor Castle, undertaken by the decorator, Crace. There were other connections with the elder Pugin's practice, including the commission stained glass and fittings for the chancel from JH Powell of Hardman & Co. Altar fittings costing £51 were dispatched to Pugin in January 1853 and an order for chalice, missal and other fittings was complete by July, ready for the opening on 26 July 1853 (see SOURCES, O'Donnell, Belmont Abbey).

The inclusion of the school in his scheme for a range of catholic institutions at Belmont appears to have had a very particular role: in his discussions with the Benedictine Order in 1856-7, Wegg-Prosser made it plain that he did not want the brothers to run any kind of school for secular purposes. He regarded it as a distraction which would absorb too much of the energies and divert the focus of the monks. However, he was willing to allow for a small number of poor children or those who assisted in the Offices in the church, to be educated on the site. It appears that the schoolroom with its chancel was built first and a priest, Father Lambe, was appointed to work there, but the attached house was built to serve as a convent for the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, who taught in the school for its first few years (see SOURCES, Berry, 49-50). Both buildings were designed by EW Pugin, but the paler limestone used for the dressings on the house and its more mature design indicate its later date.
A lean-to extension, incorporating changing rooms, was added to the north flank of the school room/nave in the mid C20 but the buildings have been little altered otherwise, save for the loss of the sanctuary fittings, including the doors and the majority of the stained glass in the east window.

Within two years of this first commission Wegg-Prosser had started to build the abbey church at Belmont and again employed EW Pugin as his architect. The foundation stone for the abbey church was laid in 15 February 1854, and work continued, with numerous changes of plan, firstly under Edward Pugin and then, following his death in 1875, under his brother Peter Paul until 1889.
The monastery buildings were started in 1857 and, again, a succession of additions and alterations, including the attached school buildings, meant that work continued under Edward and then Peter Paul Pugin and latterly RA Ford of Bettington and Sons into the 1930s.

Soon after the establishment of the abbey, the intention became that it should be the Central Novitiate for the English Congregation of the Benedictine Order, a function which it fulfilled from 1859 to 1917. Between 1859 and 1916 the abbey church was also the cathedral for the diocese of Newport and Menevia. However, following the death of Bishop Hedley in 1915, the cathedral was moved to Cardiff and in 1920 the abbey became an independent Benedictine community.

The monastery started its own, larger school, whose buildings formed a part of the abbey complex. The original building of the combined schoolroom and chapel, with its attached house, now serve as a church hall and housing for members of the abbey community.

Reasons for Listing

The School, Chapel of St Peter and St Paul and attached house about 80 metres south of the monastery building of St Michael and All Angels, Belmont, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural Interest: the first phase of the schoolroom and chapel is the earliest work by EW Pugin, and shows the advanced talents of this respected architect at an early age. The attached house, built a few years later, is a good demonstration of his more mature style;

* Intactness: despite the unfortunate loss of the majority of the chancel furnishings, the building is otherwise notably intact with a largely unaltered plan and original fittings throughout;

* Historic Associations and Context: the monastery building forms part of a group of related buildings which were commissioned or inspired by Francis Wegg-Prosser, an important and generous benefactor of the Roman Catholic cause in the mid-C19;

* Group Value: the group of Roman Catholic buildings at Belmont, which includes the abbey church of St Michael and All Angels, the Monastery, the Almshouses, the School and teacher’s house and Belmont House with its chapel is one of the most complete surviving groups which resulted from the benefaction of a wealthy landowner in the mid-C19.

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