Church of St Swithun and attached railings


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Church of St Swithun and attached railings, Church Street


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Statutory Address:
Church of St Swithun and attached railings, Church Street

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Worcester (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SO 85043 54949


SO 8554 NW 620-1/17/154

WORCESTER CHURCH STREET (North side) Church of St Swithun and attached railings


GV I Parish church, now redundant, and attached railings. 1734-36 with earlier origins, including C15 tower (refaced 1734-36). Architects: Thomas and Edward Woodward of Chipping Camden. Limestone ashlar over brick with concealed roof and cast-iron railings. Classical style with Gothic details. Rectangular on plan with west tower, six bays.

West tower in four stages, marked by string courses and with diagonal off-set buttresses; west entrance has double six-raised-and-fielded-panel door with carved lintel surmounted by fanlight with Perpendicular-type glazing in tooled architrave with moulded imposts and cherub's head carved in keystone. Upper stages have Y-tracery to two-light windows (leaded lights to first floor, blind above and louvred to belfry) with chamfered mullions and triple-chamfered reveals.

Nave has fluted full-height Doric pilasters between bays and round-arched, multi-pane windows with tooled architraves and keystones. Three-bay east end articulated by Doric pilasters and with projecting pedimented bay to centre pierced by an elaborate Ionic-style Venetian window; clock above parapet set in pediment; outer bays have panelled doors set below tall windows, all with similar round arches.

INTERIOR: aisleless, having a segmental vault with ribs springing from corbels each side with crowned and winged cherub-heads; bosses with Gothic motifs and circlet of cherub-heads over altar. Chancel divided by screen walls with raised and fielded panelling and outer six-panel doors, ramped up to tall 'plinths' surmounted by Roman Doric columns, panelling continues as reredos. Similar panelling to north and south walls approximately 2 metres high. Venetian window to interior has Ionic columns and cornice with acanthus modillions. Canted west gallery standing on square fluted wooden pillars; staircase has two-panel door. Leaded glass to windows, except late C19 stained glass to east designed by Eginton.

FURNISHINGS: wrought-iron altar table; box pews throughout, panelled; triple-decker pulpit has closed-string winding stairs, balustrade with fluted columns and tester with elaborately carved crown and surmounting pelican. Altar rails. Mayor's chair with scrolled sword rest. Round-arched door to tower has two raised-and-fielded panels. White marble font a bowl on stem.

MONUMENTS: a good collection includes those to Edward Milton d.1627; Richard Harris d.1684; Martha Trovell d.1711; Anna Colles d.1716; Henry Hope, grocer d.1753 by Richard Squire of Worcester; John Clements d.1781; Thomas Wakeman d.1794 by W Stephens of Worcester; John Southan d.1804. In tower a monument to Joseph Withers d.1741 by CT Withers.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: railings and gates to west end have two levels of rails and spearhead bars, gates have segmental arch.

HISTORICAL NOTE: built on site of C13 church. Made redundant in 1977. A remarkably complete example of a mid C18 church, representative in its plan and internal details of both the C18 established church and civil administration and ritual. One of an important group of four churches in Worcester which, in their present form, are largely eighteenth century, with Church of All Saints, Broad Street; Church of St Martin, Cornmarket and former Church of St Nicholas, The Cross. Their towers, together with the Cathedral (qv) and St Andrew's Tower, Deansway (qv), form the most significant feature of Worcester's skyline.

A key building in this part of the city centre, forming a focal point for and having good group value with all the listed buildings in Church Street, St Swithin's Street and Mealcheapen Street (qqv).


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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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

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