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List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.


List entry Number: 1216300



The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Bridport

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: II*

Date first listed: 28-Nov-1950

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 401577

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.




II* By Charles Wallis, 1826-7. Reordered in 1901 by C.E. Ponting, and again 1959. Vestry and hall by Angela Dudley of Humberts, Sherborne, 1991.

Materials: Mostly local Bothenhampton stone, rendered and painted. Slate roofs.

Plan: The orientation is reversed, with the entrance east and altar west; for consistency, the compass points hereafter used refer to ritual orientation. Simple rectangular preaching box, with portico and west gallery. L-shaped vestries etc., to the east.

Exterior: The entrance facade has a four-column Greek Doric portico raised above four steps, with triglyphs in the entablature. The columns are unfluted and without bases, and have a necking band below the capital. Behind the plain pediment is a drum-shaped bell turret with rectangular louvred openings and a shallow dome. There are three entrances with broad moulded frames, the central one beneath the portico being larger; the side doors give access to the gallery stairs. Above each is a large round-arched window with a moulded frame over the arch only, and a stringcourse at the level of the imposts. The sides of the building have five windows like those on the front, linked by the impost stringcourse. The flat parapet rises from a moulded eaves cornice, hiding the hipped slate roof. The ritual east wall is blank except for the glazed lunette over the altar: this is now blocked internally.

Interior: The interior is a spacious rectangular hall, c. 60 feet long by 48 feet wide, with a 25 foot high ceiling. The ceiling has been tiled, with four original plaster roses. The lower walls have panelled wainscots. Behind the altar is a shallow recessed arch with a lunette window in the head, now blocked. The entrance beneath the tower originally led by transverse doorways into two lobbies, with broad glazed lunettes towards the church. The north lobby is now a vestry, the south a baptistery (with its lunette removed). The west end has a large gallery on cast-iron columns, and panels partly filled with iron interlaced arcading. Its centre was brought forward to accommodate the organ, probably in 1857. A door in the south-east corner if the church was made c. 1991 to access the new vestries and hall.

Principal Fixtures: The original pews survive, probably of deal, with panelled bench ends and mahogany top rails. They were lowered and the doors removed in 1901; they were also rearranged to form a central walkway. The gallery retains seven tiers of original seating (south). Green and yellow window glass, probably late 19th or early 20th century. The lunette over the altar was blocked internally c. 1900-6; of the original glazing of 1827 about half survives (see outside); in eight concentric bands, with rays of glory, running scrolls, fleurs-de-lys, paterae and palmettes, mainly in gold and red. The Blessed Sacrament altar (ritual north) has a Gothic reredos of gilded oak, designed for the high altar in 1902. The high altar and oak communion rail are of 1959, as is the large crucifixion figure hanging behind, carved by Francis Stevens of Faith Craft Studios. To its south, one of the two original pulpits, of painted and gilded timber. Square on plan with a single panel on each face, and fluted and chamfered angles. It has been lowered in one of the reordering. The staircase to it has stick balusters and ramped mahogany rails. Octagonal Gothic font of 1864.

Subsidiary Features: Low hall and vestry etc added 1991, connected to the building by a glazed corridor, enclosing two sides of a small courtyard behind the chancel. The style is generally contextual, with arched openings, slate roofs, and rendered walls. The church sits at the top of a slope with a central path from the gates, flanked by numerous 19th century gravestones. The main gate has ashlar piers with iron overthrow and lamp, dated 1850.

History: A medieval church was sited about 1 mile north, but was ruinous by the 1820s. It was replaced on this new site in 1825-7. Little is known of the architect Charles Wallis, who practised in Dorchester in the 1820s and designed several classical churches and public buildings. He may be the same architect who worked in Swansea in 1802-4, superintended the Mumbles Marble works at Margam, was involved with restoration of Margam Abbey (1805-9), and who was in Bristol by 1832. Adjustment to the seating began in 1849 (ICBS archive); the left hand pulpit and reading desk were removed in 1854, and in 1857 a gallery organ was installed. The church reopened after C.E. Ponting's reordering in November 1901. By then there were elements of Anglo-Catholic worship. Later reorderings included two side altars.

Sources: Colvin, H., Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840 (1995), 1019. St Swithun's Church, Allington, Bridport (2007) Newman and Pevsner, The Buildings of England; Dorset (1972), 110.

Reasons for Designation: The church of St Swithun, North Allington, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Noble Grecian facade with Doric portico and bell turret, an unexpectedly urbane classical design for a small Dorset town.

* Unusually authentic interior; Victorian restorers did not add a chancel, as so often happened.

* Panelled wainscot, west gallery, seating, some stained glass and one of the pair of pulpits all survive from 1827, thus retaining much of its original character.

Selected Sources

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National Grid Reference: SY 46137 93094


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End of official listing