720/6/290 VICARAGE ROAD
CHURCH OF ST BARNABAS
(Formerly listed as:
CHURCH OF ST BARNABAS)
DATES OF MAIN PHASES, NAME OF ARCHITECT: 1848-9 by Benjamin Ferrey. 1868-9 S aisle and SW tower also by Ferrey. Lady chapel and part of N aisle 1905 by J T Lawrence. N aisle finished and N and W porches added 1912-13. The chancel was extended by 15ft under a separate scheme in 1913-14 by G H Fellowes Prynne.
MATERIALS: Local, coursed, squared rubble with Bath stone dressings and bands. Brown clay-tiled roofs
PLAN: Nave, chancel, S aisle, SW tower, W and NE porches, NE Lady Chapel with N side vestries attached, SE organ chamber.
EXTERIOR: The 1840s building has been greatly expanded and the church is now a very spreading composition, yet surprisingly consistent in appearance given its long building history. It is in the Gothic Revival style and takes its inspiration from the architecture of the late C13. The various parts of the building are separately articulated under their own gables. The chancel has clasping buttresses and a four-light Geometrical W window. On the sides there are tall two-light windows (N and S) and a one-light trefoil-headed window (S). The organ chamber has a two-light traceried E window. On the N side the Lady Chapel has a canted apse, a fleuron-carved eaves cornice and a ribbon of trefoil-headed lancet windows. The nave aisles are buttressed and have two-light windows with quatrefoils in the heads, and, in the E bay of the N aisle, a three-light window partly obscured by the N porch. The nave W window is of four lights and in front of the W wall is a porch with a moulded head and shafts in the reveals. The tower is of three stages and has a plain parapet and corner gargoyles. It has clasping buttresses to the lower stage, set-back pilaster buttresses to the next stage and corner shafts to the belfry. The tower has chamfered lancet windows and large two-light belfry windows with shafts and hoodmoulds. It also has a moulded S doorway and a low-peaked roof.
INTERIOR: The arcades have conventional double-chamfered arches on cylindrical piers: the capitals have foliage carving. At the entrance to the chancel the arch has fillet moulding and semi-circular responds. Over the chancel is a boarded, keeled wagon roof, divided into panels by moulded ribs. That over the nave is of hammerbeam construction, plastered behind with two tiers of wind-braces and a flat ceiling above the collar. In the aisles the roofs are arch-braced, also plastered with a flat ceiling above the collar. The Lady Chapel is separated from the choir by a two-bay arcade with circular piers. Within the chapel there is a stone band carved with text: also wall shafts, a string-course, shafts to the windows, and pretty black and white marble paving. The sanctuary has attractive marble and stone paving dating from 1912.
PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: There is a good collection of fixtures added since the building of the original church. The benches, of 1912, are attractive and well-made with tracery in sunk panels: the tops alternate between square-headed and scoop-out: some of the carving was added in 1915. The font, of 1913, has a deep bowl of Verona marble with carved sides on a cylindrical stone base with green and red marble shafts. In the chancel the stalls date from 1897 and have shouldered ends and blind tracery decoration. At the entrance to the chancel there is a wrought-iron screen also dating from 1897 and made by Jones and Willis. The pulpit is of timber and has open traceried sides on a Dumfries stone base: the tester was added in 1951. The pulpit dates from 1883 and is to the design of E B Ferrey, son of the architect of the church. His also is the reredos which too dates from 1883. The wooden lectern of 1912 has rather fussy detailing and is to the design of G H Fellowes Prynne. Some of the windows were filled in 1994-5 with glass made by C E Kempe for the theological college at Ely. Two windows in the N aisle of 1878 and 1885 are by Kempe and original to the church. The single-light figure of St Barnabas in the vestry is an important early work by Morris and Co. The E window is of 1873 by Heaton, Butler and Bayne and was reset when the chancel was extended. The Lady Chapel and W windows are by Percy Bacon.
HISTORY: The early C19 saw the rapid development of New Linslade as a new settlement centred on the canal (1805) and railway (1838). The parish church was some two miles away and in 1840 the vicar suggested a church and school to meet the needs of the area. After years of delay both school and church were built in 1848-9 with the support of the London & North Western Railway. The foundation stone was laid on 31 May 1848 and the completed church, consisting of nave with W gallery, chancel, and N porch were consecrated on 15 June 1849 and St Barnabas became a parish church the following month. Expansion was needed in the 1860s due to overcrowding and plans were drawn up by a Bristol architect, Joseph Neale, who was responsible for the new church of St Leonard, Leighton Buzzard. These were severely criticised by the diocesan architect, G E Street, and the commission went to the original designer, Benjamin Ferrey. The original bell-turret from the W gable was removed and later re-erected at Billington church. The successive changes at the church, which are outlined above, carefully followed what had gone before, giving a surprising unity despite the long building history.
Benjamin Ferrey (1810-80), is a well-known Victorian church-architect. He was a pupil of Auguste Charles Pugin and knew his son, the great A W N Pugin, well and became his biographer (1861). Ferrey set up in independent practice about 1834. He was the diocesan architect to Bath and Wells from 1841 until his death, a post which explains the large amount of church work he undertook in that diocese. He was succeeded by his son Edmund Benjamin (1845-1900).
Incorporated Church Building Society papers, Lambeth Palace Library, file 6814
Chris Pickford (ed), Bedfordshire Churches in the Nineteenth Century, part 4, Appendices and index, 2001, pp 905-8
Geoff Brandwood in Elizabeth Williamson and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire, 1994, p 434
Antonia Brodie et al., Directory of British Architects 1834-1914, vol 1, 2001, p 644
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
The church of St Barnabas, Leighton Linslade, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is a good example of C19 church-building which has a remarkable unity given its long, accretive building history.
* It has an extensive collection of fixtures of interest and which have been added over a long period of time