1834/1/128 RANMORE COMMON ROAD
11-NOV-66 CHURCH OF ST BARNABAS
Estate church, later parish church. 1859 by Sir George Gilbert Scott for George Cubitt, the first Lord Ashcombe and son of builder Thomas Cubitt. Vestry added 1911 at north east angle.
MATERIALS: Flint cobbles on an ashlar plinth, ashlar dressings and slate roofs. In Decorated manner.
PLAN: The church is cruciform in plan with a large central octagonal crossing tower supporting a tall facetted spire. It has a three bay nave, with the entrance on the south side, a two bay chancel. North and south transepts.
EXTERIOR: The west end of the nave has clasping buttresses, with a shaft at the outer angle similar to shafts at the angles of the transepts and porch. The chancel has angle buttresses. Nave and transepts have a continuous moulded plinth, a cill band which rises under the north and south transept windows and nave and chancel have corbelled eaves tables. All have flush ashlar bands. Windows, in openings enriched by a shaft, have plate tracery and moulded hoods with foliate stops. The west end of the nave has a two-light window enriched with grouped foliate shafts over a five-bay trefoil-headed blind arcade, and a small gable cross. The nave has two-light north and south windows. The south porch has paired side lights and an arch of multiple moulded orders supported on foliate headed shafts. At the apex is a small stone cross, the floor is of polychrome tiles. The inner doorway has three grouped shafts, and doors with foliate iron hinges. Transepts have tall two-light north and south windows under an encircled cinquefoil light, which echo the form of the east window. The south transept has a shallow rectangular porch with an embattled parapet enclosing an ogee-headed doorway with a door of vertical boards with foliate iron hinges. Transepts have triple lancets with shafts between on east, where visible, and west elevations. The chancel has a grouped three-light east window over a raised cill band, under a vesica with foiled tracery, and two-light north and south windows. The tower has an octagonal base with circular foiled openings on all faces, except for the south east angle which houses the stair. The second stage has a two-light ringing chamber opening on each face with shafts at the angles and over a continuous ballflower band. The openings are deep set between a marble shaft and under a roundel enriched with a foliate design. Above is rich corbel table beneath a frieze with pierced quatrefoils, three per side. The spire has narrow deep set two-light bell chamber openings on the cardinal faces, each under a gablet surmounted by a small cross. At the apex of the spire is a cross and weathervane. A single storey vestry was added to the north of the chancel in 1911.
INTERIOR: The nave and chancel roofs are canted with exposed rafters. The interior is richly finished with extensive use of coloured marble and alabaster. At the west end under the window, is an enriched blind arcade supported on paired red and green marble shafts. Nave window openings have alternate Cork red marble and Connemara green marble shafts on splayed moulded bases, all over a continuous moulded cill band. Crossing arches have multiple moulded orders supported on red marble shafts with richly carved capitals. Inner shafts are supported on carved splayed brackets. The crossing has a ribbed vault supported on green marble shafts on carved brackets and squinches of three moulded orders. An arcade of slender green marble shafts under circular openings rests on a deep foliate frieze. The chancel is lined in blind cusped arcades on marble shafts, two bays on the north side open to the former organ chamber and now the vestry. The east window openings are of paired marble shafts, above an inlaid alabaster reredos and altar, the latter inscribed July 1905, in memory of Lady Laura Ashcombe. The altar rail of oak has turned annulated shafts between trefoil-headed arches. The octagonal pulpit is of red Mansfield sandstone embellished with alabaster medallions of heads of the Evangelists, alternating with red marble shafts and on a French Campon Rose and Melange marble plinth supporting serpentine marble piers. The font is of red Cornish serpentine on a granite plinth. A hemispherical bowl is supported on squat shafts on a square base. The wooden lid is encased in a pierced iron rim and has an ornate brass hub-like handle with enriched foliate spokes. Chancel and nave floors are of red, brown and yellow encaustic tiles, the sanctuary floor is of grey marble. Pews are of oak with carved floral ends, the front row with a pierced rail. The south transept, now a memorial chapel, is enclosed by an oak parclose screen. It houses the war memorial erected in 1920 by Second Baron Ashcombe in memory of his three sons who fell in the First World War and painted by late Pre-Raphaelite artist Reginald Frampton. The reredos of carved beerstone frames an altarpiece of the Holy Family with the Magi. The altar and plinth are of grey marble. The whole is framed by a mural unusually painted directly on to the stone, of individual figures including Hope, Fortitude and Peace, flanked by groups of mourners and set over a rainbow. Stained glass is intact. The east window of 1859 was by JG Crace, the remainder of the windows, installed from 1874 to c1900, are by Clayton & Bell. The organ which was moved to the north transept in 1954, is of 1866, by JW Walker and is highly regarded. The crowns on the tops of the front pipes are said to be typical of Scott and it is possible that the painted decoration is also by Scott and thus extremely rare.
HISTORY: St Barnabas was built as an estate church in 1859 by Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811-1878) for George Cubitt, later the First Baron Ashcombe and son of the builder Thomas Cubitt. Scott was a friend of George Cubitt and was a frequent visitor to his nearby home, Denbies, which was built in the 1830s but demolished in 1954. In 1962, following the death of the Third Baron Ashcombe, patronage of the church was handed to the Church Commissioners and the church became united with the church of St Martin, Dorking.
The church is enclosed by a hedged churchyard entered from the road by a lych gate which is separately listed grade II. Smaller gates lead from the churchyard to the gardens and to the road. To the east of the chancel is the grave of George, First Lord Ashcombe.
The long straight road along the ridge with its exceptionally wide verges was laid out to serve the church and provides a dramatic approach to the building. A painting from the 1880s by a member the Cubitt family depicts the church set against a backdrop of trees which play an important part in framing the building today. The adjacent school also by Scott was built in 1858 and enlarged in 1909.
Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811-1878) was one of the leading architects of the Gothic Revival. In 1827 he was articled to James Edmeston who later complained that Scott 'wasted his time sketching medieval buildings.' Scott travelled in Europe to study medieval art, producing his first Gothic building, the Martyrs' memorial in Oxford, in 1840. His output was prolific ranging from the restoration and new building of parish churches and associated buildings countrywide to The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (1862-75), the Albert Memorial, Kensington (1863-72), and St Pancras Hotel and Station (1865-74), and from church fittings such as the screens at Hereford and Salisbury cathedrals, to restoration at Westminster Abbey where he was Surveyor to the Fabric from 1849 until his death. He wrote extensively on the building and restoration of Gothic buildings both secular and ecclesiastical.
Buildings of England, Surrey (1971) p420-421
Directory of British Architects, 1834-1914, RIBA (2001)
P Howell and I Sutton,The Faber Guide to Victorian Churches (1989)
R Butler and P Pitkin, St Barnabas, Ranmore, Stones used in the building (church leaflet)
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The church of St Barnabas, Ranmore Common, built in 1859 by Sir George Gilbert Scott, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* The quality of the building from its form to its finest detail, its intactness, its historic interest both as an estate church for the Cubitt family and as an example of a complete church designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, leading exponent of the Gothic Revival, give it more than special interest.
This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Register. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 27 October 2017.