Church of All Saints
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
- Statutory Address:
- Church of All Saints, Brightwalton, Berkshire, RG20
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- Statutory Address:
- Church of All Saints, Brightwalton, Berkshire, RG20
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- West Berkshire (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
Church of All Saints, Brightwalton, built in 1862 by G E Street for Philip Wroughton of Woolley Park, with an organ chamber added in 1884 by Edwin Dolby.
Reasons for Designation
The Church of All Saints, Brightwalton, built in 1862 by G E Street for Philip Wroughton of Woolley Park, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
Architectural interest: * As a particularly fine church by one of Victorian England’s most distinguished ecclesiastical architects; * The design presages a return to traditional C13 English forms of church architecture, whilst retaining Street’s bold stylistic imprint; * A combination of planning and materials creates an interior which is both harmonious and striking; * The church remains complete and largely unaltered; * The church retains a complete set of contemporary fittings, all of high quality, introduced by Street.
Historic interest: * For the association with the Wroughton family of nearby Woolley Hall, from whom Street received three church commissions in a decade, including the nearby Church of St Mary, Fawley (1865-6), which is also being recommended for upgrading to Grade II*.
Group value: * With Street’s contemporary school and school house, and with three C17 cottages – Elm, Hazelnut and Christmas Cottages – all of which are listed at Grade II.
Improved understanding: * We are now able to provide a more accurate and detailed List entry, in line with current standards.
The current Church of All Saints, Brightwalton, which replaced an earlier, probably C13 church, was commissioned by Philip Wroughton of Woolley Park, Chaddleworth, a little over a mile away, in 1861. Wroughton had inherited the Manor of Brightwalton, together with Woolley Park, from his brother Bartholomew in 1858. The architect chosen was George Edmund Street, who had built and added to a number of churches in Berkshire during the 1850s, including adding a chancel to the Church of St Andrew, Chaddlesworth, for Bartholomew Wroughton, in 1854. The cost of the church at Brightwalton, which was built between 1861 and 1863, was about £4,000. Philip Wroughton would die in December 1862; his widow, Blanche, commissioned from Street the new church of St Mary, Fawley, designed in 1864 and built in 1865-6, in memory of her husband.
G E Street (1824-1881) was one of the most distinguished church architects of the mid to late C19, though his best-known work is perhaps the Royal Courts of Justice in London (1874-82, listed at Grade I). From 1844 to 1849 Street was employed in the office of George Gilbert Scott, after which he established his own practice. An architectural theorist as well as an architect, Street’s writing and buildings were hugely influential in forming the eclectic visual language of High Victorian architecture. Street’s churches, from the early 1850s, drew significantly on early French Gothic, St Mary, Fawley (Grade II*) being an example of this. However, at Brightwalton, Street’s traditional, picturesque design instead recalled English church architecture of the C13. The church was well-received: the Ecclesiologist called the plans ‘scrupulously correct’, whilst Charles Eastlake praised its proportions in his 'A History of the Gothic Revival in England' (1872). More recently, Street’s design has been described in 'The Buildings of England' (2010) as ‘one of his best churches’.
In 1884 Edwin Dolby of Abingdon (1838-1900) extended the north vestry to create an organ chamber, for the accommodation of an 1867 organ from the Church of St Saviour, Highbury; this replaced the harmonium given to the church by the Wroughton family.
The contemporary school and school house, standing to the west of the church, are also by Street. The rectory to the north is by Edwin Dolby, and dates from 1877.
Church of 1862, by G E Street for Philip Wroughton of Woolley Park, with an organ chamber of 1884 by Edwin Dolby. In an eclectic Decorated style, the window types moving from plate tracery referencing the early C13 through geometric and intersecting to the reticulated tracery of the early C14.
MATERIALS: coursed, rock-faced Bisley Common stone (from Gloucestershire) with ashlar quoins and dressings. Bath stone elements. The roofs are tiled, with a shingled roof to the tower.
PLAN: the church has a tall nave, with a south aisle only, and chancel. There is a vestry to the north, off the chancel, divided in 1894 by Edwin Dolby to provide an organ chamber to the west. There is a south porch at the west end of the aisle, and the tower is in the south-west corner, with the baptistery at its foot.
EXTERIOR: uniform features of the church include the plinth, moulded strings below cill levels, offset diagonal and angle buttresses, and gable parapets. The church is entered through the south porch, which has a gable parapet with a cross final to the apex, and a cusped, two-centred arched entrance. The vaulted interior of the porch has stone ribs; the moulded doorway has blind quatrefoil tracery above the impost. The boarded door has large wrought-iron hinges, with branching leaves. The tower is in two stages with a large splayed-foot spire. To the lower stage, a four-light window in the south side lights the baptistery; the window has geometrical tracery in a two-centred arch, protected by a drip mould with carved head stops. Above, both south and west sides each have a circular window with quatrefoil; the upper stage has a two-light louvre in a two-centred arch on each side. A stair projects from the intersection of the tower and the nave. The nave is lit by a clerestory of six round windows with alternate trefoil and quatrefoil openings, above the aisle which has three three-light trefoil-headed windows. To the west, the nave has a large pointed window with cusped reticulated tracery, beneath a drip mould with leaf stops. To the north, the nave has three three-light, two-centred-arched windows, with varied geometric tracery; set between these are sturdy buttresses. The chancel has two two-light pointed windows to the south, one having a trefoil and the other a quatrefoil to the apex; to the east is a large pointed window with intersecting tracery, beneath a drip mould with leaf stops. The north side of the chancel is partly obscured by the vestry and organ chamber. The vestry was originally a lean-to structure, its roof stopping below that of the chancel; a short section of this, with a two-light window to the east, remains, and the tapered stack is thought to be original. Dolby’s 1884 gabled organ chamber is of double height, and projects further to the north. Beneath its high lancet window the string is stepped up to frame a panel, which is blank. An adjoining section to the west appears to represent a modification to the scheme; this has a pointed doorway containing a boarded door with branched wrought-iron hinges. A small C20 boiler house filling the eastern negative corner between the old vestry and the organ chamber is not of special interest.* The church's cast-iron rainwater-heads are decorated with lancet panels. There are wrought-iron boot-scrapers to either side of the porch, and by the vestry door.
INTERIOR: the spacious and light interior has walls of dressed stone and a six-bay timber roof of collars and crown posts with curved and cusped bracing to the trusses. The church is floored with red, black and yellow tiles, with encaustic tiles in the sanctuary. The south arcade has short quatrefoiled Blue Lias piers with large, deeply cut, stiff-leaf stone capitals, supporting slightly depressed two-centred arches. The arcade continues, framing the entrance and the western baptistery, marked by a massive stone pier. The wide chancel arch springs from corbels in the form three clustered colonnettes with leaf capitals. The chancel has a low stone screen with blind quatrefoils to the face; to the north, steps lead up to the rounded stone pulpit, enriched with blind tracery. The timber roof of the chancel is particularly rich, with four collars, crown posts and cusped bracing. Protecting the sanctuary is a timber rail with scrolled metalwork supports. The rere-arch of the east window is supported on marble colonnettes; the glass, by Clayton and Bell, is of 1863. The window to the south, which is also framed by a rere-arch on marble colonnettes, incorporates a sedile with quatrefoils to the back. Beside it is the piscina, with a cusped opening. The vestry doorway to the north has been said to have come from the old church, but appears to be in keeping with Street’s work. To the west of this door is an opening, created in 1884 for the accommodation of the organ; the stone corbel course supporting the roof is continued across the opening in timber, whilst a C17 timber screen, brought from nearby Chilton, separates the organ chamber from the chancel. The organ chamber is lined in brick, rather than stone like the original part of the vestry. The organ itself is by G M Holdich, made in 1867 for the Church of St Saviour, Highbury, London, before being brought to Brightwalton. The church fittings introduced by Street are largely untouched. The alabaster reredos is by Thomas Earp, with Christ seated within a vesica, surrounded by censing angels, and symbols of the Evangelists in the four corners. The original pews remain, with a sexfoil roundel to the ends; there are smaller versions for children. The fine choir stalls have turned balusters to the book rests. The C12 font, with blind intersecting round arches, has a metalwork cover by Street, with a scrolled, foliate cross. In the south aisle is another 1863 window by Clayton and Bell. The baptistery window has brilliantly-coloured Pre-Raphaelite glass by Michael Halliday of 1868, made by Lavers, Barraud and Westlake. The church is floored with red, black and yellow tiles, with encaustic tiles in the sanctuary.
* Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the aforementioned feature is not of special architectural or historic interest.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Betjeman, J (author), Piper, J (author), Murray's Berkshire Architectural Guide, (1949), 97, 118
Elliot, J , George Edmund Street, A Victorian Architect in Berkshire, (1998), 84-6
Howell, P, Sutton, I, The Faber Guide to Victorian Churches, (1989), 19
Osment, J (author), Sayers, S (author), Stephens, J (illustrator), Brightwalton, A Downland Village, (2002)
Pevsner, N, Bradley, S, Tyack, G, The Buildings of England: Berkshire, (2010), 208-9
British Geological Survey, Strategic Stone Study, accessed 5 February 2020 from https://www.bgs.ac.uk/mineralsuk/buildingStones/StrategicStoneStudy/EH_atlases.html
Incorporated Church Building Society: Plans for All Saints, Brightwalton, accessed 9 March 2017 from http://images.lambethpalacelibrary.org.uk/luna/servlet/view/search;JSESSIONID=c812696a-7245-46aa-b141-441873c3f735?QuickSearchA=QuickSearchA&q=brightwalton&sort=identifier%2Cdate%2Ctitle%2Crights&search=Search
'Parishes: Brightwalton', in A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 4, ed. William Page and P H Ditchfield (London, 1924), pp. 48-51, accessed 16 March 2017 from British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/berks/vol4/pp48-51
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