Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of CHURCH OF ST MARY AND ST EDWARD
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Statutory Address:

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

North Somerset (Unitary Authority)
Barrow Gurney
National Grid Reference:
ST 51465 68449



3/1 Church of St Mary and St Edward 11.10.61


Parish church and manor house chapel. 12th century origins virtually rebuilt by Henry Woodyer 1887-90 for Henry Martin Gibbs son of William Gibbs of Tyntesfield. Built in local lias largely squared and snecked with Bath stone dressings to windows and Dundry elsewhere. The lower stage of the tower is in coursed and squared ashlar like Drundry stone. Many of the dressings have Woddyer's characteristic quoins with irregular inner edges, a trick borrowed from Butterfield to simulate age. Slate roofs. Decorated style throughout with lapses, eg Early English mouldings to bell chamber openings. Slightly complex plan but with each part clearly distinct in the best Puginian manner. Basically two bay chancel with to north a gabled two storey vestry, organ loft and angled stair turret. 4 bay nave to north porch and west tower. Diagonal baptistry. South aisle, family chapel approached by Chaplain's vestry to west. Later probably with alobby and covered way. Impressive west tower of Somerset Locking and Bleadon type. Three stages, diagonally set crocketed pinnacles framing upper stage. Pierced traceried parapet with further diagonally set pinnacles to corner and mid points. Taller spirelet to stair turret north east corner, Lucarne to each face and projecting florets at each angle. Pairs of windows to bell chamber, 3 to east face flanked by corbelled pinnacles. Mostly 3-light windows with different tracery patterns for nave and chancel. The east window has a vressica shape in the tracery supported by reverse arch segments. Slightly more complex tracery to the two lights south aisle windows. Good head stops to all labels representing the establishment, Kings, Queens, Bishops and Knights. Rather heavy buttresses, diagonal at corners. The north porch is roofed in stone slabs and has a tall gabled crossing and lean to. Moulded doorway in wider ashlar surround with cusped head and flanking shafts. Decorative iron work to door.

Note: The gable of the vestry is flush with the wall of the south aisle. The lobby and chaplain's vestry to west of the south aisle runs parallel with, but distinct from, the church allowing a passage to the boiler-house beneath. Decorative rainwater heads dated 1887 to chancel and 1888 to nave and a good 18th century one to south aisle with a cherub and the Gibbs coat of arms.

Excellent and unaltered interior. Pevsner comments on the ignorant conflict of styles in the tower chamber but missed the point. Patron and architect worked to evoke the medieval parish church with all its richness and trappings. Authenticity was less important to them than pious effort. The church consists of the parochial nave separated from the chancel by rich timber and wrought iron screens and the family aisle separated by a rich parclose screen. The chancel has a cosmati work floor and a boarded wagon ceiling. Heavily carved reredos framing the east window enriched choir stalls. The nave has all its low pews and a tiled alled. Plaster wagon roof. The most distinctive feature is the internal masonry porch which reflects inside the design of the outside. The pulpit has carved panels and is reached by steps from the wall with the miniature rib vault. The south aisle Gibbs Chapel, has a marble alley and sanctuary floor. Panelled and tinctured ceiling with enriched ceilure over east bay. Statues within, and within a blind east window and a very heavily carved reredos. High panelling with crested top. Evidence of circa 1400 window opening at high level at west end of south wall, and of a large sumbry roughly central. The best monuments mostly to the Gibbs family and all wall memorials are in this chapel. Also included are military decor- ations of the family in a showcase. Fittings: Decorated style chalice type font, excellent stained glass, early Kemp, and a complete series. Large medieval bell dedicated to St Cecilia under the tower arch. Superb ironwork to the nave door. Lions in the manner of St Giles, Cheadle, Pugin, of course. Unusual altar with corner shafts and ceramic inlay. In the vestry are well-made cupboards for vestments etc. Desk, table, chairs and a piscina. Similar joinery details in the chaplain's vestry. These amongst others contribute to the overall effect of lavish piety. This is a church of quality. The patron was the son of the man who paid for Keble College and its slightly old-fashioned style might be the result of his mother's influence for she paid for some of it. It is the embodiment of the high Victorian ideas of medieval religion and is particularly valuable for being complete and unaltered.

Listing NGR: ST5146568449


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

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Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol, (1958)


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

End of official listing

Images of England

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Date: 26 Oct 2000
Reference: IOE01/00500/18
Rights: Copyright IoE John Boothroyd. Source Historic England Archive
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