749/2/11 CASTLE ROAD
05-APR-52 WALTON ST MARY
CHURCH OF ST MARY
Late medieval tower base, the rest of 1869-70, by John Norton.
Materials: Local red sandstone, clay-tiled roofs.
Plan: West tower, nave on medieval foundations, three-bay north aisle, chancel and vestries. North porch.
Exterior: Somerset Perpendicular style tower, nave and aisle, Early English style chancel, the latter chosen because of the13th century foundation date, although there was no evidence of a medieval chancel. To the old tower base Norton added two upper stages, two-light bell openings with Somerset tracery, pierced panelled battlements and a tall Bristol spirelet over the stair turret. In the tower west window, fragments survived of early 14th century Dec tracery. But Norton substituted Perp tracery, and seemingly too the square-hooded doorway beneath in place of a Dec arch. The tower has diagonal buttresses. The nave and north aisle have varied tracery in two-light windows. The north porch has an ogee outer arch with crocketed mouldings, and a statuary niche above. Attached east of the aisle is a low vestry. The east window has Early English style stepped triple lancets, framed by a broad blind arch.
Interior: Tower arch with C14 wave mouldings. Three-bay nave arcade with typical Somerset Perp piers of four shafts and four hollows. The north aisle is almost as wide as the nave. The open timber roofs have small hammerbeams and angel terminals. South of the chancel arch, a small C15 trefoil-headed niche or piscina from the old church. The long chancel has a moulded chancel arch with multiple shafts, and is divided from the nave by a low screen wall. The east window has Purbeck marble shafts. Ribbed wagon roof painted with angels etc.
Principal Fixtures: Timber reredos, c.1870, painted and gilded, with many-gabled top and figures of the Evangelists. On the east wall are painted big worshipping angels, by the Rev. R. Hautenville, the Rector in 1870. The rood beam with Calvary group was designed by the Bristol architect Percy Hartland Thomas, and executed by Herbert Read, 1948. Fine wrought-iron chancel gates, 1870. Angular pulpit, corbelled off the wall north of the chancel arch. Purbeck marble font, 1879, with trefoil panelled sides. Good colourful Victorian stained glass. East window, incorporating a French medieval figure of a king, top centre. In the south nave wall, first from east, Heaton & Butler, c.1873, with medieval fragments in the top lights; second from east by Gibbs; third, by Ward & Hughes, c.1905. The north aisle east is by Heaton & Butler, c.1873. Also theirs, the north aisle, first from east, c.1877. Next west, by Jones & Willis, c.1916. The north aisle west window has two 16th century Flemish figures. There are other fragments of medieval glass, some of it French or Flemish, in the top lights of various windows and in the vestries.
Subsidiary Features: Good canopied churchyard gate in oak, 1927-8 by the Bristol architect C.F.W. Dening. Adjoining the west face of the tower is a new entrance with church hall to the west, by David Appleby, 1969-70. The entrance and hall are excluded from this listing.
History: The church of St Paul on this site was founded in the 13th century, and a tower was added or recast in the 14th century. It went out of use after the Reformation for uncertain reasons, and became ruinous. By the late 18th century only the tower base remained standing. But it remained the parish church of Walton-in-Gordano (c. 1¼ m. north-east) until 1838 when a new church was provided there. The ruined St Paul was rebuilt with a new dedication in 1869-70 by John Norton, at the instigation of the Rev. Rawdon Hautenville. It served the fashionable cliff-top villas around Bay Road nearby, built from c. 1860 as an adjunct to Clevedon, which had been successfully developed by the Eltons of Clevedon Court as a seaside resort from 1821. St Mary was consecrated on November 5th, 1870. In the early 1980s, St Mary's became part of the United Benefice of East Clevedon.
John Norton (1823-1904) was born in Bristol. He was articled to Benjamin Ferrey and set up in practice in London, although he maintained two offices in Bristol and did much church building and restoration in Bristol and Somerset, particularly in the 1860s. He often favoured a 13th century Gothic style, although he could equally well turn his hand to Somerset Perp, as here. He is best-known for his complete rebuilding of Tyntesfield house, Wraxall, 1863-5, c. 6 miles east of Clevedon.
Foyle, A., Buildings of England, North Somerset and Bristol (forthcoming).
Withers, C.D., The Story of St Mary's Walton, Clevedon (1995)
Reasons for Designation: The church of St Mary, Clevedon, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* The good quality mid-Victorian body of the church with contemporary decoration and fittings, by John Norton, a prominent church architect in Somerset at this date. The rebuilding reflects the mid-Victorian spread of Clevedon as a fashionable seaside resort.
* The medieval origins of the church are of historic interest, although the survival of fabric is fairly small: the tower base, which before Norton exhibited slight remains of 14th century Dec tracery etc., was reworked in Perp style to accord with the rest, and only the walls of the tower base can be safely regarded as genuinely medieval.