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Christ Church Baptist Church, attached schoolrooms, and Church Hall

A Grade II* Listed Building in Tanworth-in-Arden, Warwickshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.3468 / 52°20'48"N

Longitude: -1.7859 / 1°47'9"W

OS Eastings: 414682

OS Northings: 272097

OS Grid: SP146720

Mapcode National: GBR 4JR.Z5K

Mapcode Global: VH9ZR.087T

Entry Name: Christ Church Baptist Church, attached schoolrooms, and Church Hall

Listing Date: 2 August 1972

Last Amended: 9 July 2014

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1382428

English Heritage Legacy ID: 482812

Location: Tanworth-in-Arden, Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, B94

County: Warwickshire

District: Stratford-on-Avon

Civil Parish: Tanworth-in-Arden

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Nuthurst cum Hockley Heath

Church of England Diocese: Birmingham

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Summary


A Baptist church, in Decorated style with lavish detailing; built in 1877 by George Ingall of Birmingham (fl. 1861-1910) for George Frederick Muntz Jnr of Umberslade Hall, as an estate church. Vestries and schoolrooms at the east end added in 1892; with a hall to the north, formerly a temporary timber church.

Description

A Baptist church, in Decorated style with lavish detailing; built in 1877 by George Ingall of Birmingham (fl. 1861-1910) for George Frederick Muntz Jnr of Umberslade Hall, as an estate church. Vestries and schoolrooms at the east end added in 1892; with church hall to the north, formerly a temporary timber church.

MATERIALS: blue lias Wilmcote stone with Bath stone dressings, and Welsh slate roofs. Broseley tile floors.

PLAN: a four-bay nave with a north porch, south-west tower incorporating a further porch, shallow north and south transepts, and apsidal east end. Extending from the eastern end a rectangular block housing vestries and Sunday schoolroom.

EXTERIOR: the building is a high single storey with steeply-pitched hipped roofs, buttresses with off-sets and a three-stage tower. There are pinnacles with finials to the ends of the nave and transepts. The gabled north porch, at the western end of the church, has a plank door set in a roll-moulded, chamfered surround. The nave has lancet windows with Geometric-type tracery. The west end has an arcade of four lancets, with a four-light, Geometric-type window above. The gabled transepts each have an arcade of three lancets, with rose windows above. The polygonal apse has similar lancets with Geometric-type windows. The tower has diagonal buttresses with off-sets running to full height, each surmounted by a pinnacle, except to the north-east angle where there is an embattled, octagonal stair turret. The western side has a plank door with a stilted arch, in an ornamented, gabled porch with two orders of moulding, and slender colonettes. The second stage has trefoil windows, and a decorated band. The third stage has clock faces to two sides, pairs of lancet belfry windows under a continuous hoodmould, and a pierced quatrefoil parapet. The spire has gabled lucarnes.

INTERIOR: the interior, which has plastered walls and a boarded ceiling, has a wide, lofty aisleless nave. The floors are tiled in polychrome Broseley tiles. The polygonal apse to the east end has a broad, moulded open arch to the four-bay nave which has an open timber roof, the arch-braces carried down to rest on carved corbels low on the walls. There is geometrical stained glass to the rose windows in the transepts; the other windows have obscured glass with green marginal glazing. The original late-C19 furnishings remain intact. The bench pews have shaped ends with scrolls. Attached to some are decorative gas lamp standards with barley-twist columns and arms with foliate elements, possibly made from Muntz metal. The east end houses the central PULPIT, a large rostrum with twin staircases rising to either side of the pulpit desk, behind which the preacher’s seat is set within a Gothic aedicule. Between the pulpit and the communion table is the sunken BAPTISTERY, of unusual and elaborate form: an open, rectangular pool, lined in marble with three steps to the bottom, and surrounded on three sides by a balustrade of squat, yellow marble columns with carved, foliate capitals and a coped marble rail. From the east end a door gives access to the later extension, which houses vestries, WC and a schoolroom with an ingenious partition which rolls up to the ceiling when not in use. The walls are clad in matchboarding, and the windows are paired or triple lancets with cusping, with coloured margin glazing. The doors are panelled, with chamfered and stopped margins to the fields.

FIXTURES AND FITTINGS: the south transept houses the ORGAN, dating from the late C19, built by Bishop and Son. In the tower is the CLOCK, by Gillet and Bland, and eight carillon bells, which originally played seven different tunes. In the north transept is a brass MEMORIAL PLAQUE to G F Muntz and his wife Matilda.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: to the north of the church is a TIMBER CHURCH, gabled and clad in weatherboarding, built as a temporary church by G F Muntz prior to the construction of the present church. Subsequently used as a school, until well into the second half of the C20, the building is now a hall.

History

Christ Church Baptist Church, also known as Umberslade Baptist Church, was opened in 1877. It was built for industrialist and Baptist convert George Frederick Muntz Junior, of Umberslade Hall, within whose estate is was constructed. The church was designed by George Ingall, a Birmingham architect and Congregational lay minister (fl. 1861-1910), who built several non-conformist chapels in the Birmingham area in the latter years of the C19. It replaced a temporary wooden church Muntz had built just to the north of the site of the current church, which was later used as a school, and survives as a hall. Umberslade Hall had previously been leased by George Frederick Muntz Senior, a Liberal Member of Parliament and businessman who had made his fortune through the manufacture of ‘Muntz metal’, an alloy used to coat the hulls of wooden ships. Muntz Jnr and his brother both continued to work in the family business after their father’s death. G F Muntz Jnr built his chapel to serve the Umberslade estate, but his evangelical zeal as a convert to the Baptist cause meant that he wanted to spread the word in the local village, which lead to the building’s siting at the northern edge of the estate, closer to Hockley Heath.

The church was extended to the east by the addition of vestries and a Sunday school room, typically found attached to places of Baptist worship, and accessed from the sanctuary, in circa 1892; they are not shown on the Ordnance Survey map published in 1887, but are present on the second edition of 1905. The church remained in use until 1999 when it was vested in the Historic Chapels Trust.

Reasons for Listing

Christ Church, a Baptist Church built in 1877 by George Ingall for GF Muntz Jnr of Umberslade Hall, with an associated timber church, is listed at Grade II*, for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: the church is an impressive example, in Gothic style, of a non-conformist chapel, by George Ingall, a recognised architect of non-conformist chapels in the region;
* Rarity: its design, as an exuberant Victorian Gothic church, is relatively rare for a Baptist chapel, which are traditionally simpler, and mainly Classical in inspiration during the C19;
* Interior: the interior is richly appointed, with good quality carvings and fittings, stained glass and a particularly good open baptistery with marble balustrade;
* Intactness: the interior retains much of its original suite of well-made furnishings, and a rare carillon clock by Gillett and Bland (later Gillet and Johnston), makers of carillon clocks of international reputation
* Group value: between the temporary timber church and the current building, and the war memorial in the burial ground, which is separately listed at Grade II.

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