Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

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

Cambridge (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 45636 57620


TL4557 HILLS ROAD (East side) 667/17/527

02-NOV-72 Church of St Paul


The nave and (liturgical) W tower are 1841 by Ambrose Poynter. An aisle chancel and N vestry were added in 1864, possibly to designs by H G Elborne. The N and S transepts were added to the eastern two bays of the nave in 1893 to designs by Temple Moore, when galleries were removed. The interior was converted to a multi-use space in 1996.

MATERIALS: Red brick with blue brick diapering, stone dressings and slate roofs.

PLAN: Aisled nave and chancel with transepts and N (liturgical W) tower. Converted in 1996 to a multi-use space, with the church in the former chancel and transepts, and the nave and tower converted to other uses. The original liturgical E was almost due S, but in the conversion works orientation was reversed, and the liturgical E is now to the N.

EXTERIOR: The exterior was intended to be an interpretation of St Mary the Great in Cambridge's Market Place, but in brick. Much derided at the time by Ecclesiologists, the exterior now can be seen to possess an appeal of its own and the tower forms an important part of the streetscape. It is dominated by the tall W tower, which has prominent clock faces and polygonal angle turrets picked out in pale freestone. It is embattled throughout and has transomed windows in a Tudor Gothic style. The Temple Moore transepts are in a similar style.

INTERIOR: The former nave is now subdivided, and the arcades of 1841 have been partially closed in at the former liturgical W end. The interior of the church space uses the former chancel and transepts as the nave, with the sanctuary recessed under the inserted floor in the former nave. Both the chancel and nave arcades are very tall. The former chancel (now nave) arcades are unpainted stone; the rest of the building is plastered and painted.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: C19 panelling in a C17-syle along the former E wall. Simple C17-style screens in the former chancel arcades are probably contemporary, and there is a good C19 organ case and a C19 octagonal timber pulpit with traceried panels. There is some good C19 and early C20 glass, notably a fine window by Heaton, Butler and Bayne for Bessie Jones, d.1904 which includes a copy of Holman Hunt's 'The Light of the World'.

HISTORY: The church was built as a chapel of ease in 1841 at a cost of £5,766 paid by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. It became an independent parish a few years later. It was designed by Ambrose Poynter (1796-1886), a pupil of John Nash who had a long and wide ranging career as a church architect. The design was vilified in the first issue of the Ecclesiologist by the Camden Society in November 1841, for its lack of a chancel, for the use of brick instead of stone, and for the unornamented, late C16 or early C17 style. It gradually became conventional in appearance as first a chancel, then transepts were added. The conversion works in 1996 reduced the worship space to approximately half its original size, and converted the rest to multi-use spaces.

SOURCES VCH Cambridgeshire, III 91959), 131-2 Pevsner, N., Buildings of England: Cambridge (1977), 229 RCHME City of Cambridge, II (1959), 286-7

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION The Church of St Paul, Cambridge, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Church of 1841 by Ambrose Poynter, with later additions. * Historically significant as one of the new churches harshly criticised in the first issue of the Ecclesiologist, an important publication of the Gothic Revival but which possesses visual interest in its own right. * The interior, in spite of reordering and change, retains spatial interest and some fixtures of note, particularly stained glass windows, and Temple Moore's work of the 1890s.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of Cambridge, (1959)


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

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