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Roman Catholic Garrison Church of St Patrick & St George

A Grade II Listed Building in Tidworth, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.2354 / 51°14'7"N

Longitude: -1.6699 / 1°40'11"W

OS Eastings: 423139

OS Northings: 148523

OS Grid: SU231485

Mapcode National: GBR 60S.JM5

Mapcode Global: VHC2P.06JR

Plus Code: 9C3W68PJ+52

Entry Name: Roman Catholic Garrison Church of St Patrick & St George

Listing Date: 12 October 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1428797

Location: Tidworth, Wiltshire, SP9

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Tidworth

Built-Up Area: Tidworth

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: TidworthHoly Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Tagged with: Church building

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An early Roman Catholic Garrison Church, constructed using a steel frame in 1912 to the design of G L W Blount.


A garrison church of 1912 by G L W Blount of Salisbury.

MATERIALS: a steel-reinforced concrete frame construction with flint stone walls and ashlar quoins. The church has a timber roof structure covered in tile.

PLAN: rectangular on plan with an aisled nave, east sanctuary, north-east tower, south-east side chapel, and west narthex. The south vestry has been enlarged and links with the late C20 presbytery.*

EXTERIOR: the church has a seven-bay nave with clerestory. The bays are articulated by buttresses to three-light windows with ashlar eared architraves and mullions. The clerestory windows have curved transoms and six small upper lights. The north aisle has a central door with an ashlar moulded doorcase. The north-east tower has a similar door and single light window above. The tower has a wide clasping buttress with ashlar offsets and quatrefoil detailing in relief to the outer face. Above is a stepped parapet under a pyramidal roof. The sanctuary has a coped gable and paired lancets to both north and south faces. The nave roof has two ventilators. The west gable end of the nave has ashlar banding, quoins and kneelers and the aisles have ramped parapets. The central bay is the narthex with a wide central door with a deep ashlar case under a pointed arch with hood mould and label stops. At both corners slender clasping buttresses rise to a coped gable with a crucifix at the apex on a moulded stone corbelled base. There is a further stone base halfway down the gable to both sides. The south aisle matches the north but with a single storey extension of different phases at the east end. At the south-east corner is a side chapel with five-light windows and tracery and a lower transom. The south door has a chamfered ashlar case with a pointed arch, hood mould and label stops. Across the elevations are small round vents, marked “KNAPEN SYSTEM”. There has been some later adaption to the ventilation system.

INTERIOR: the seven-bay nave has square chamfered columns with stopped bases to pointed arches. Timber supports rise from nave corbels to scissor-braced trusses with four sets of purlins. The aisle roofs are supported on shallow-arched timber braces. All the timber roof structure is painted black and the walls and columns painted white. The chancel arch is reinforced concrete, pointed and chamfered. The sanctuary has wainscoting with a fretwork frieze and tabernacle with statuary to the rear. The panelling extends into the south side chapel which also has a tabernacle that is enriched with decoration. The chapel window depicts a military family and a priest standing at a font. The north-east tower has a confessional to the ground floor, a concrete stair and accommodation/storage at upper level. At the west end is a mid-C20 organ loft with organ*. Ten of the windows have stained glass, either in recognition of Catholic saints or with military and commemorative themes. There are a number of memorial plaques fixed to the walls. The floors are principally laid with timber boards.

* Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the presbytery annexe and link building, organ and loft, and modern fixtures and fittings are not of special architectural or historic interest.


In September 1897 the War Department purchased the Tedworth Estate from Sir John William Kelk, thereby obtaining most of the land required for the erection of permanent barracks for Tidworth Camp, and for military training. In 1902 construction began on barrack accommodation to house eight infantry battalions, plus units of the Royal Engineers and Army Service Corps. Tidworth was the largest pre-First World War camp constructed on Salisbury Plain and from the outset was provided with good-quality permanent accommodation. The barrack complexes were to a standard design and included messes, lodgings, commandant’s houses, four barrack blocks, guardhouse, drill hall, cookhouses, wash houses, latrines, stores and laundries. Buildings to provide recreation, as well as physical and mental improvement for the men, were common on barracks from the 1860s onwards. Facilities provided included reading, games and study rooms and venues for music, cinema, entertainment and socialising. Places for spiritual fulfilment were constructed following the completion of the main barrack buildings although initially the theatre was used for Anglican services, and the dining hall in Mooltan Barracks for Roman Catholic worship. Church parades were held in Tidworth Park in the summer months. In January 1909 the Presbyterian Church of St Andrew opened, and Anglican and Roman Catholic churches were built in 1911/12.

The Roman Catholic Garrison Church of St Patrick and St George is an early building of its type, purpose built garrison churches having been exclusively constructed for Anglican worship during this period and before. It is also an early use of reinforced concrete frame construction in a church building, contemporaneous with the neighbouring Garrison Church of St Michael. The design, by local architect G L W Blount, may have been influenced by the work of E Douglas Hoyland, the architect of the contemporary Garrison Church of St Michael close by.

A disused sandpit and rubbish dump was offered as a site for the church, and was prepared for the construction by Royal Munster Fusiliers and their families who filled in the pit with stones and bricks. The church was to have been built in 1910 but was delayed due to lack of funds. The cost of construction was eventually raised through subscription and by fines levied on recruits for mistakes made during training. On completion, the church was blessed by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Clifton the Right Rev Monsignor Burdop. Front gates were installed to celebrate the Marian Year of 1954. An organ loft was inserted in c1965 and an attached presbytery was constructed in c1970.

During the inter-war period Tidworth expanded. In recent decades most of the camp has been remodelled to meet modern standards for accommodation, training and storage. Jellalabad Barracks (many buildings being listed Grade II) is the only barracks surviving largely intact, although the Officers’ Messes of the other barracks still line The Mall. In the C21 Tidworth is undergoing further development to accommodate the withdrawal of British troops from Germany.

Reasons for Listing

The Roman Catholic Garrison Church of St Patrick and St George, Tidworth, of 1912 by G L W Blount, is listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:

* Historical interest: Roman Catholic garrison churches were rarely built before the First World War and usually temporary structures or adaptations of existing buildings. The efforts and sacrifices made by the Irish fusiliers and their families to clear the site and to raise the funds required through training fines and donations are of significant interest;
* Technological interest: an early example of a place of worship constructed using a steel frame and using the developing “knapen system” for ventilation. The use of a reinforced concrete steel frame at this time was innovative, especially in places of worship;
* Architectural interest: although of modest proportions and detailing, this adaptation of the mission church type is sensitively finished in flint in response to the local vernacular traditions. It provides a suitably deferential counterpoint to the monumental appearance of the contemporary buildings at Tidworth Camp.

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