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Church of St Mary

A Grade II* Listed Building in Bathwick, Bath and North East Somerset

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Latitude: 51.3843 / 51°23'3"N

Longitude: -2.3509 / 2°21'3"W

OS Eastings: 375679

OS Northings: 165088

OS Grid: ST756650

Mapcode National: GBR 0QJ.0H3

Mapcode Global: VH96M.6GKM

Plus Code: 9C3V9JMX+PM

Entry Name: Church of St Mary

Listing Date: 12 June 1950

Last Amended: 15 October 2010

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1394251

English Heritage Legacy ID: 509656

Also known as: St Mary the Virgin, Bathwick

ID on this website: 101394251

Location: The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Bathwick, Bath and North East Somerset, Somerset, BA2

County: Bath and North East Somerset

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Bath

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Tagged with: Church building

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(North side)

Church of St Mary


Church. Designed c1810, built c1817-20. By John Pinch the Elder, on a site donated by the Earl of Darlington. Chancel c1873 by GE Street; baptistery of c1906 by Charles Deacon of Liverpool.
MATERIALS: Limestone ashlar, slate roof.
PLAN: Symmetrical rectangular five bay aisled plan with a tower to the west end; church hall and related buildings at east end.
EXTERIOR: The three stage tower, equal in width to the nave and 34m high, has a pierced battlemented parapet between octagonal clasping buttresses terminating in 5m tall panelled and crocketed finials. Narrow panelled strips and spandrels flank the openings; paired two light pointed arch louvred bell openings to the upper stage have an apron of nine trefoil-headed panels with a clock to the front; a horizontal frieze of seven square quatrefoil panels is over a four light blind window with panel tracery to the head and below the transom; below is a similar frieze with diagonally set square panels over a similar taller window glazed below the transom. Between the string courses, encircling the buttresses, are delicately carved crowns, signifying the Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven, with an MR monogram in shields. Porches flanking the tower in front of the aisles have similar smaller parapets and 3-light windows over label moulds and Tudor arched, vertically panelled double doors with foliate spandrels. The nave has panelled and crocketed finials to semi octagonal buttresses articulating the bays and three light four-centred arched clerestory windows; battlemented parapet; cross finial to east end. The aisles have similar parapets, buttresses, finials and taller three-light windows with a hood-mould. Exterior of the chancel is more archaeological, with a trio of two-light windows with Decorated tracery, and a seven-light east window with a rose window to the centre, and heads of reticulated tracery to the sides.
INTERIOR: Originally a five-bay Georgian preaching box, with a lectern placed towards the west end; this was replaced with the present High Anglican, liturgically correct, arrangement in the 1870s, with an organ by Father Willis to the north of the chancel, and a Lady Chapel to the south. The plaster, groin-vaulted, ceiling and galleries on three sides, with slender four-shafted piers rising up in front, survive from the original phase and are highly characteristic of Gothic church design of this period.
FITTINGS: Fittings include an early C16 Netherlandish polyptych as altarpiece, above an alabaster altarpiece depicting Christ laid in the tomb; the former altarpiece, by parishioner Benjamin Barker, of the Adoration of the Child now hangs on the west wall. The chancel was decorated by Clayton and Bell, who furnished the stained glass and former stencilled decoration; richly moulded arch (Alfred Bell was a regular attendee at this church); metalwork by Singers of Frome; encaustic tiled floor; the sanctuary panelling was carved by Harry Hems in a mixed Gothic cum Wren style. Painted decoration to chancel arch depicting gold ground angels either side of the Annunciation. Carved pulpit by Thomas Earp of London, with high relief angels. The baptistery is particularly sumptuous, with grilles to the gates with high relief lilies, painted decoration by Alfred O. Hemming, c1906: this was part of Charles Deacon¿s programme of embellishment, which also affected the chancel. Sydney Gambier Parry converted the sanctuary into a Lady Chapel in c1896, lining the walls with green marble and pink alabaster. The pitch pine pews date from c1866. Numerous monuments on the walls: among them, the New Sculpture memorial on the south wall to Lieut. Ralph Ellis RFC (d1917) is particularly good.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: Octagonal piers of stone to boundary wall, with two orders of trefoil-headed lancets, moulded bases, finials. Dwarf walls of stone with iron railings above to street front.
HISTORY: The foundation stone was laid on September 1st 1814, `the old small and inconvenient church having fallen into a ruinous and useless condition¿. The rising suburb of Bathwick received a notable new church occupying a prominent position at the junction of several new streets: it was conceived as the centrepiece of the never-completed Bathwick New Town development. The builder Walter Harris began work in c1817 and the church was consecrated on February 4th 1820 having cost some £20,000. This was largely financed by selling pew space. Around c1870, plans for a new east end were prepared by J Elkington Gill, a local architect, but were abandoned in c1871. G.E.Street instead designed a new east end in a Decorated style which was erected in 1873. This included a Lady Chapel and sacristy, as well as a chancel, and led to a comprehensive re-ordering of the church. Vestries were added in c1880, and enlarged in c1885. Pinch¿s church (one of only two he designed in Bath: the other is St Saviour¿s [qv]) was among the finest of new churches in the Gothic style in the country, and has been cited as an influence on the celebrated church of St Luke¿s, Chelsea by James Savage of c1820. The church gained a reputation for its music and High Church liturgy later in the century and its richly appointed interior reflects its status and flavour of worship. [Pinch¿s drawings are in the Somerset CRO, Taunton].
SOURCES: R.E.M. Peach, `Bath Old and New¿ (1891), 114-17; `The Original Bath Guide¿ (1919 ed), 176-78; Nikolaus Pevsner, `The Buildings of England. North Somerset and Bristol¿ (1958), 106-07; John Summerson, `Architecture in Britain 1530-1830¿ (7TH ED. 1983), 529; Neil Jackson, `Nineteenth Century Bath. Architects and Architecture¿ (1991), 125-30, 168-70]. Michael Forsyth, ¿Bath ¿ Pevsner Architectural Guide¿, 2003, pp.192-194.

Listing NGR: ST7567965088

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