749/1/4 HIGHDALE ROAD
05-APR-52 (South side)
(Formerly listed as:
1838-9, by Rickman & Hussey, altered in the late 1850s by Manners & Gill of Bath.
Materials: Local limestone ashlar, slate roofs.
Plan: Aisleless nave of six bays, short chancel without chapels, west tower aligned south of centre to the nave. North-west porch. West gallery. (20th century halls adjoining at the south-east corner.)
Exterior: Early 14th century Dec style, and unusually solid-looking for its date because of the deep buttresses needed to support the roof structure. Tall south-west tower with diagonal buttresses. The tower was remodelled by Manners & Gill in the late 1850s with an embattled parapet and crocketed pinnacles, Somerset tracery in the belfry lights, angel gargoyles and ballflower cornice. Other rich details are typical of Hussey's influence on the firm by the 1830s, and were perhaps done at Braikenridge's instigation; e.g. the varying Flamboyant tracery in the nave. The original entrance was a porch attached to the west face of the tower, with the tower base beyond acting as a vestibule. An additional porch was added at the west end of the north nave wall in the 1860s.
Interior: The interior is plainer than the exterior might imply, as is often the case with Rickman's churches. The wide uninterrupted nave is very austere and without decoration. One-bay chancel, characteristic of the date. The deep west gallery on slim cast-iron columns extends back into the tower. The most striking feature is the unusual wind-braced roof on five broad stone diaphragm arches sprung from moulded corbels.
Principal Fixtures: The church's Evangelical outlook is reflected in its planning and fittings. The seating is of 1883, but arranged to the original plan like a chapel, with passages at the sides but no central approach to the chancel. Two organ cases of 1964 flank the chancel arch. Gothic pulpit of 1889. Small octagonal ogee-panelled font, 1838-9. In the part of the gallery extending into the tower is a rare survival of a children's gallery with original seats, 1838-9. Stained glass: the East window has much medieval and Renaissance Continental glass given by Braikenridge. There is an especially finely painted French mid-13th century king from a Tree of Jesse, centre, and a Flemish 14th century panel with the Coronation of the Virgin, left: Mary B. Shepard of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, regards the Tree of Jesse figure as among the finest French glass produced during the reign of Louis IX (reigned 1226-70). Flanking the chancel arch are two rose windows high up, which also appear to have old stained glass, inaccessible behind the organ cases. The nave has four stained glass windows of the 1880s on each side.
Subsidiary Features: South-east of the chancel is a church hall, 1920-1, enlarged by Beech & Tyldesley, 1969-70, to an L-shape. (Halls not included in the listing). Highdale Road has many good early and mid 19th century villas.
History: Built for the expanding seaside area of Clevedon, which was remote from the medieval village and even more so from the parish church of St Andrew. Designs were made late in 1837, building began in May 1838, and consecration was on August 2, 1839. It was paid for by subscription, including over £1800 from George Weare Braikenridge of Brislington, Bristol, an antiquary with a renowned collection of medieval and later works of art which was dispersed in 1908 to international museum collections. Braikenridge had a summer home a little east of the church (now Claremont, Highdale Road). He donated the rare medieval stained glass in the church from his collection.
Thomas Rickman (1776-1841) had studied and drawn Gothic architecture and developed the now standard terms for Decorated, Perpendicular, etc. These were published in An Attempt to Discriminate the Styles of English Architecture from the Conquest to the Reformation, 1817. His reputation for antiquarian accuracy would doubtless have appealed to Braikenridge and may have been a consideration in this commission.
Foyle, A., Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol (forthcoming)
Sandford,E.N.T., Christ Church, Clevedon (1989)
Reasons for Designation: The church of Christ Church, Clevedon, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* The medieval stained glass given by G.W. Braikenridge, especially the fine 13th century King from a Tree of Jesse, which stands out as a work of international quality.
* Rickman was a notable church architect, and this building reflects his interest in different epochs of medieval architecture.
* The quality and individuality of the exterior architecture and of the innovative roof structure within.
* The tower is well expressed and forms an important landmark throughout the town, reflecting a key episode in this expanding seaside town.
* The interest of the surviving Low Church design and planning, especially the chapel-like seating, shallow chancel and the 1830s children's gallery.