Garrison Church of St Barbara at Deepcut Barracks, 1901.
Reasons for Designation
The Garrison Church of St Barbara at Deepcut Barracks, 1901, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: it is a good and relatively ambitious example of a prefabricated ‘tin tabernacle’, which were economic and swift solutions to accommodation demands;
* Survival: these increasingly uncommon buildings were not intended for longevity and its survival for over a century is testament to the quality of the product and its fitness for purpose;
* Historic interest: the church is a repository of memorabilia that charts historic events relevant to the Deepcut, Blackdown, Hilsea and other regiments; windows, memorials, art works and other fixtures exhibit considerable quality and interest, and as a group are a rich collection, enhancing the typically plain interior.
An Anglican church was built in 1901 to serve the units stationed at Deepcut and Blackdown camps, at that time two infantry regiments and the Royal Field Artillery. The church was a prefabricated kit, possibly supplied by manufacturers Humphreys, a slight variation on their ‘40’ model.
A short opening service was held in March, and a dedication festival in September on St Michael and All Angels’ day, after whom the church was initially named. It was not until the closure of Hilsea Barracks in the 1960s that the church was re-dedicated to St Barbara, the Patron Saint of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) whose operations and training were moved to Deepcut in the 1940s. The RAOC was amalgamated into the newly created Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) in 1993.
In 1905 an acre of land surrounding the church was gifted by the Crown and a burial ground was consecrated.
Structurally the church is relatively plain internally, but is embellished with numerous memorials and art works that been added throughout its life, in a manner typical of regimental churches where items commonly move with the regiment. The brass First World War Roll of Honour memorial was moved, with the RAOC, from Hilsea Barracks to the church in 1949. There is a plaque commemorating the Ordnance Services in Malta that was re-sited in 1978 from Christ Church, St Andrew’s Barracks, Malta. The pipe organ from Hilsea was installed in the church in 1967, along with the painting of St Barbara. The bas relief panel depicting St Michael on the west wall was installed in 1950, along with the lectern, pulpit and stalls. In 1979 the RAOC 7 Division banner was received from Woolwich Garrison Church; it dates from 1917 and was made to commemorate service in Mons and Ypres during the First World War. There are other flags in cases, and rows of standards hung from the clerestory. In 1983 the oak reredos to the Lady Chapel was added. The medieval font, installed in 1988, had come via Hilsea, from Gatcombe House on the Isle of Wight.
The stained glass windows in the church range in date and origin. Those in the east end were installed in 1922 having been taken from the Portobello Barracks, Dublin. The three archangels in the west end were purchased in 1956. The three windows above the choir vestry were re-sited from Hilsea, along with another to the west. Several new windows were added in the 1990s, including one commemorating the millennium.
A Roman Catholic chapel was built just to the north of St Barbara’s at around the same time. It was dismantled in the late C20.
Garrison Church of St Barbara at Deepcut Barracks, 1901, possibly by manufacturers Humphreys.
MATERIALS: galvanised corrugated iron on a timber frame with a timber fleche.
PLAN: the church is orientated north-west to south-east; the liturgical east end is at the south-east. It consists of a five-bay nave with a west narthex and north and south aisles and transepts, the latter internally part of the store rooms and vestry, a chancel, with a vestry and storerooms to the north and south of it.
EXTERIOR: external walls and roofs are painted corrugated iron sheeting. Windows are in timber frames and are pointed-arched in shape, unless otherwise stated.
On the west elevation is the principal entrance, through the narthex on the gable end of the nave. It has a large window with three-light Y-tracery in the gable and windows with cusped lights and quatrefoils in the ends of the aisles. The narthex projects as a lean-to structure with a central doorway in a gable. The doorway is a pointed arch and contains double doors of vertically boarded timber with strap hinges and scroll embellishments. The narthex is lit by a strip of arched windows that wraps around the front and sides; these have diamond leaded lights with various military and ecclesiastical emblems. There are iron cross-finials to the gables of the narthex and west end.
The north and south elevations are in five bays, each with a four bay aisle, a two-light window per bay, while the south aisle also has a west window. To the east, each has a taller gabled transept, windowless to the south, and each with an external door as per the narthex; there are trefoil windows to the clerestory. The roof has three dormers to each side, and a short, square timber fleche with a cross finial. The chancel is a canted apse with tall narrow windows. Attached to it are gabled projections that link to the transepts internally, providing the vestry and stores.
INTERIOR: the interior is a light and open space, it is relatively plain of architectural features but is embellished with a great number of decorative and commemorative items. The walls and roofs have painted timber match-boarding, stained dark below dado level, and there are timber boarded floors. The aisles to the nave are wide and are defined by square timber columns to each of the five bays, these are chamfered and have moulded bases and capitals with stiffening braces. Exposed roof trusses follow the same rhythm, and have scissor braces and a quatrefoil details at the junction with the clerestory. There are two single doorways symmetrically positioned on the west wall leading to the narthex. Internal doors are framed and vertically boarded and have pointed arched heads.
The sanctuary has a low altar rail with turned timber spindles creating a balustrade. Benches line the sides of the sanctuary, and there is a pair of pulpits with fielded panels and applied military insignia in the chancel. There are pews in the Lady Chapel (E bay of S aisle) and stalls for the choir. The organ pipes rise in the Lady Chapel, where there is an oak reredos in three sections depicting Christ and angels. The font is at the west; the bowl is in dove marble and the base Caen limestone.
Regimental fittings and memorabilia
The east windows, re-sited from the Portobello Barracks, depict St George, Christ in Glory and St Patrick. There are three cusped pointed arched stained glass windows separating the vestry; these were re-sited from Hilsea and are dated 1926. On the west wall is a plaster relief panel depicting St Michael fighting the dragon, above which is the archangel’s west window. The stained glass windows of the north and south aisles commemorate various RAOC and RLC-related milestones, people and events, as well as dedications to St Barbara. A large First World War Roll of Honour is situated in the narthex. There are numerous other plaques and memorials, a stained glass panel and cases containing flags and banners fixed to the church walls. Flag standards are suspended from the clerestory.