OTTERY ST MARY
865/4/10009 CHURCH LANE
CHURCH OF ST JAMES AND ST ANNE
1849 by William Butterfield, 1879-83 vestry and belfry also by Butterfield
MATERIALS: Roughcast over brick. Clay tile roofs.
PLAN: Nave and chancel in one, SW porch, NE vestry.
EXTERIOR: The body of the church is a simple, four-bay, rectangular structure with roughcast walls. The bays are demarcated by buttresses. The nave has a plain SW porch and a W buttress which serves as a support for a bell-turret. Either side of the top of the buttress there is corbelling to carry the turret, which is a plain, rendered, rectangular box (longer E-W than N-S), and a most unusual feature. The windows are all plain lancets: the E window is formed of three graded lancets, the W one being a pair of lancets.
INTERIOR: The walls are plastered and whitened. There is no chancel arch. The nave/chancel roof has arch braces to a collar which supports a king post: the roof is reinforced with iron ties.
PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The church is plainly furnished. It has low bench seating of the kind favoured by Butterfield and plain, open stalls. Commandment boards flank the pair of W windows. The font is a sturdy octagonal piece set on a low, square base. On the N there is a wall monument to John Duke Coleridge (d 1894), first Baron Coleridge who was Lord Chief Justice of England and a benefactor of and worshipper at this church: it has marble shafts at the sides and a crocketed ogee head. At the W end there is another wall monument, this one to John Coleridge Patteson `first missionary bishop amongst the Melanesia Islands' (d 1871) who was martyred in Melanesia: it is no doubt by Butterfield and has his characteristically muscular style with polychrome cusping and a vigorous crocketed surround, topped by a circular cross. The E window is by Hardman and Co of Birmingham, designed by A W N Pugin for John Duke Coleridge: it was installed in 1852 and cost £35.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: E of the church is a lychgate of 1897: it has brick side walls and a timber superstructure. To the S is a large angular block forming a parsonage and school: by Butterfield, 1850.
HISTORY: The church was intended to be a temporary one, hence its modest structure and cheap materials. The designer, however, was William Butterfield (1829-99) who is recognised as one of the very greatest of C19 church architects. His career flourished from the mid-1840s when he was taken up by the influential Cambridge Camden (later Ecclesiological) Society as one of their favourite architects. He was responsible in the early 1850s for the great church of All Saints, Margaret Street in London which broke new ground in terms of Victorian church-building, making use of brick for the facing and the use of extensive polychromy for the detailing. Butterfield had an astonishing fertility of invention and his work often has striking originality, seen for example, in intriguing uses of geometry and the bold use of colour. Apart from All Saints, his best-known work is probably Keble College, Oxford. A devout High Churchman himself, his clients were usually of similar leanings. The choice of Butterfield arose because of his connections with the Coleridge family with whom he was working very closely on the restoration of St Mary's in Ottery St Mary.
Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner. The Buildings of England: Devon, 1989, p 126.
Paul Thompson, William Butterfield, 1971, p 429.
Stanley A Shepherd, The Stained Glass of A W N Pugin, 2009, p 215.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
The church of St James and St Anne, Alfington, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is of special interest as a relatively early work by William Butterfield and shows him willing to turn his attention to a very modest church building at a time when he was also designing important, large and elaborate churches, notably All Saints, Margaret Street in London. It is the result of his close association with the important local family, the Coleridges.
* The exterior is unusual in its austerity and singular treatment of the belfry.
* Although a cheap building, it is decently fitted up with bench seating and a strongly-designed font by Butterfield, creating an eloquent ensemble.
* There are two wall monuments, that at the W end clearly showing the hand of Butterfield, and of note for its record of Melanesian mission.
* It forms a group with Butterfield's parsonage and school to the S.