Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

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

Birmingham (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SP 10932 86298



5104 Small Heath Anglican Church of St Benedict SP 18 NW 8/8 II

Anglican Church of St Benedict. 1909. Nicol and Nicol of Birmingham. Byzantine Revival style. Thin red brick with rubbed brick and sandstone dressings; plain tile roof. Basilican plan

EXTERIOR: A substantial red-brick church with small round-headed windows throughout. The aisles and clerestorey walls are parapetted. The clerestorey has a stone cornice, with ten, two-light windows with circular light above, with a brick round headed arch. There are green inlaid crosses between the windows. The aisles have blind round arches, divided by brick buttresses, with a single round headed light to the centre. To the south aisle is the side chapel. There are two south porches and two north porches. The porch to the west end of the north aisle projects from the blind arch has a recessed chamfered brick doorway with broken triangular pediment to the gable. Between the gable and parapet pediment is a niche with a statue of St Benedict. The east end is dominated by the central bowed apse with battered buttresses; there is a corresponding baptistery projection to the west end. To either side of the east end apse are single storey vestries with stone and brick chequerwork. INTERIOR: The five bay arcades to the interior are formed from round sandstone piers supporting round arches with moulded stone hood mould above and dentilated detailing. Above the arcade is brick walling with the clerestorey windows divided by brick corbels supporting the wooden barrel vaulted nave roof, with painted decoration. The east end is enriched by the Byzantine-style painting of the apse by Henry Holiday and depicts Christ in Glory with angels, and saints in arcading, below. The painting was executed between 1912-19. Many of the fittings have been replaced, but a marble font on a pilaster-enriched base remains, as does an elegant arcaded screen to the north aisle.

HISTORY: The Church of St Benedict was constructed in 1909 to the designs of Nicol and Nicol of Birmingham, and replaces a simple rectangular mission church. Henry Holiday painted the apse in 1912-19, towards the end of his long artistic career. Known both for his easel paintings and his designs for stained glass, Holiday was also responsible for mural schemes at Worceser College, Oxford; at Bradford and Rochdale Town Halls too. Its design reflects his direct knowledge of Byzantine art, gained through visits to Italy and Greece, and it compliments most effectively the style of the church in which it is placed. The associated St Benedict's Vicarage was also designed by Nicol and Nicol of Birmingham and erected in 1911-12; it was listed at Grade II in 1997.

SOURCES: N Pevsner and A Wedgwood, The Buildings of England: Warwickshire (2003) 205; P Cormack, 'Holiday, Henry George Alexander (1839-1927), painter and stained-glass artist' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-9)

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The Church of St Benedict is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * A good example of an early C20 church by Nicol and Nicol of Birmingham in the Byzantine style * It is a highly accomplished design with a good use of space, impressive massing combined with a very competent use of brick * The Byzantine-style wall painting to the apse by Henry Holiday is an unusual and carefully executed scheme, created by a significant Victorian artist, which compliments the architectural style of the church

Listing NGR: SP1092786298


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

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Books and journals
Cormack, P, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Holiday, Henry George Alexander, (2004)
Pevsner, N, Wedgwood, A, The Buildings of England: Warwickshire, (2003), 205


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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