Church of St Philip and St James
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
- Statutory Address:
- High Street, Chapmanslade, Westbury
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- Statutory Address:
- High Street, Chapmanslade, Westbury
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
Anglican parish church of 1866-7 by G E Street.
Reasons for Designation
The Church of St Philip and St James of 1866-7 by G E Street is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: as a well-executed example of Gothic Revival church architecture and the work of a major C19 architect; * Intactness: the church is very well preserved, with its leaded windows and internal fixtures and fittings intact; * Fittings: well-designed contemporary fixtures and furnishings of a high quality; * Group value: it has group value with the churchyard war memorial and the adjacent school which was also designed by Street.
The Church of St Philip and St James was erected in 1866-7 on land given by the Marquis of Bath and was paid for by Rev. Charles F. Hyde of Dilton Marsh, public subscription and a grant from the Incorporated Church Building Society, on condition that all the seating was free and unappropriated. It was designed by George Edmund Street (1824-1881) and the builders were Frederick & George Brown of Frome. St Philip and St James was built originally as a chapel of ease to Dilton Marsh, to serve a growing population consisting ‘almost entirely of poor people – weavers & agricultural labourers’ and to counter the growing success of nonconformity in the area. According to the 1865 application for a grant from the Incorporated Church Building Society, ‘Dissent abounds – at Chapmanslade there are about six Church families!'
Churches such as this were intended to give poorer communities access to dignified Anglican worship in a high-quality architectural setting, often, as here, achieved on a relatively small budget. Street helped create the style known today as High Victorian and was at the height of his powers in the mid-1860s. Despite the fact that he was working on the designs of one of his masterpieces, the Law Courts on the Strand in London, at the same time as Chapmanslade church, he did not skimp on his smaller commissions and his work at St Philip & St James shows his customary attention to detail, especially in the excellent, vigorously designed furnishings. That said costs were clearly an issue and they slightly exceeded the estimates. Records indicate that Street’s initial proposals were rather too ambitious: an 1865 scheme was superseded by a ‘new & simpler Design’ in 1866. In the C20 some renovation was carried out; more recently, in 2008, a new heating system was installed and some of the pews were re-arranged.
Adjacent to the church is the Grade II listed primary school which was also built on land given by the Marquess of Bath. It too was designed by Street and opened in 1872 as a National School.
Anglican parish church. 1866-67 by G E Street.
MATERIALS: coursed rubble stone under a tiled roof with ceramic ridge cresting.
PLAN: the church is orientated west to east and consists of a nave and chancel under one roof, a north vestry, a south porch and a small bellcote.
EXTERIOR: the nave and chancel have a continuous moulded string course and a buttress with offsets divides the two parts. The south porch has a steep gabled roof and a trefoil-headed doorway. To the right of the porch there are two lancets and a two-light window with plate tracery. There is a sanctus cross to the roof. The chancel has two plate tracery windows and a pointed chamfered doorway with hoodmould to its south side, while the east end has three stepped lancets with a hoodmould over. The coped verge has a cross finial. The north side of the chancel has a two-light window with plate tracery. The attached lean-to vestry has a pair of lancets to the east side, a window of three lancets under a gabled half dormer to the north, and an ashlar stack with offsets at the junction with the nave. To the right (west), the nave has a pair of lancets and two single lancets. The west end has a projecting buttress with a two-light window with geometrical tracery to either side. The buttress rises to an octagonal bellcote with pointed openings and gableted buttresses to the octagonal spire.
INTERIOR: the inner door of the porch has a planked door with ornamental hinges. The nave has exposed rubble stone walls and a braced collar rafter roof; the original fittings are by Street throughout. A chamfered, pointed doorway on the north side of the nave leads into the vestry. The chancel arch is pointed and there is a low integral screen wall. The Corsham stone pulpit which is attached to the right-hand screen wall has trefoil carvings and an open-lancet type balustrade. Three shallow steps with green-glazed tiles to the risers lead up to the chancel; the railings are wrought iron. The sanctuary rails are also of wrought iron with finials to the arms and a timber handrail. The sedilia has two seats with pointed arch heads carried on a circular shaft between the two; the piscina is to the left, also under a pointed arch. The chancel roof has braced collared rafters and stencilled decoration. The organ chamber to left side of the chancel is set in a chamfered pointed arch and houses an organ of 1867 by Willis (Scudamore) which was enlarged in 1907 by Griffen & Stroud of Bath.
FITTINGS: at the west end is a quatrefoil-shaped font of pennant stone set on single compound pier and with an oak cover. The moveable pews are of an unusual design, including choir stalls with brass candleholders to the backs. There are scones to the walls of the nave and a brass chandelier in the chancel; the floor tiling to the nave and chancel is by Godwin's of Lugwardine. The altar stands on a marble plinth, while the Caen stone reredos has Evangelists' symbols carved in relief and stencilled patterns to each side. The stained glass includes the east window by Clayton & Bell who were regularly patronised by Street; the other glass is by Horwood of Frome.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Pevsner, N , The Buildings of England: Wiltshire, (1975), 161
Church Plans Online, accessed from http://www.churchplansonline.org/introduction_p1.htm
Parish of Corsley and Chapmanslade, St Philip and St James' , accessed from http://www.chapmanslade.org.uk/index.php/church
The Architecture of George Edmund Street (1872), accessed from http://www.victorianweb.org/art/architecture/street/eastlake1.html
Architectural History Practice, 'Rediscovering our Parish Churches' English Heritage and the Diocese of Salisbury Partnership Project. Chapmanslade, St Philip & St James, 2008,
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
End of official listing