FORMER CHURCH OF ST NICHOLAS
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
- Statutory Address:
- FORMER CHURCH OF ST NICHOLAS, THE CROSS
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- Statutory Address:
- FORMER CHURCH OF ST NICHOLAS, THE CROSS
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Worcester (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SO 84994 55059
SO8455SE THE CROSS 620-1/12/606 (East side) 22/05/54 Former Church of St Nicholas (Formerly Listed as: THE CROSS (East side) Church of St Nicholas)
Church, now restaurant, with office to crypt. 1730-35, attributed to Thomas White or Humphrey Hollins; with earlier possibly C16 origins to crypt and with later additions and alterations including alterations to interior with addition of gallery (Colvin claims 1790 by Thomas Johnson of Warwick, but it looks Mid C19). Limestone ashlar over brick with sandstone to crypt; concealed roof. PLAN: apsidal rectangular preaching box on raised crypt, 4-stage west tower with cupola; 5 x 3 bays, the westernmost to each side is a staircase bay, they in turn embrace the central entrance/tower bay to west. STYLE: classicizing baroque, with tower taken from Gibbs's Book of Architecture (1728). EXTERIOR: West facade: tall chamfered plinth surmounted by giant Doric pilasters to ends (forming stepped angles), doubled for the portal bay. Horizontal rustication. Continuous crowning cornice, breaking forwards over columns and with central segmental pediment with coat of arms which interrupts ramped balustrade with bulbous balusters. Entrance has 3/4 engaged Doric columns surmounted by frieze with triglyphs and metopes and pediment; 4 renewed steps to tall, double 20-raised-and-fielded-panel doors. A horizontal oval above. Side bays have round-arched niches with sills on corbels and cavetto-moulded architraves, imposts and keystones; roundels over. Tower has variety to each stage: a square with stepped corners, a square with recessed rounded corners, then an octagonal stage surmounted by a double-curved cap with a cupola. First stage: central breakforward to each side has clock to west in moulded surround, otherwise round-arched windows to north and south with multi-pane glazing, in cavetto-moulded architraves with imposts and keystones. Continuous cornice raised segmentally over clock and windows. Second stage: central pedimented breakforward to each facade has round-arched belfry opening with louvered covers, in moulded architrave and with sill, keystone and imposts; continuous moulded cornice. Third stage: similar round-arched belfry openings with louvered covers to each face; moulded cornice surmounted by double-curved cap and cupola of Doric columns, moulded cornice and dome with crowning ball finial and weather-vane. North and south sides alike: the westernmost bay breaks forwards with end giant pilasters, horizontal rustication, crowning entablature and balustrade as west facade. Otherwise nave on crypt (which reads as a plinth) and with crowning moulded cornice and low parapet. 5 round-arched windows altogether with 12 fixed panes and side-lights, radial glazing to heads; the westernmost window to north and south have moulded architraves with keystone and imposts and moulded sill on corbel brackets, and beneath these windows an oblong panel with moulded surround. East end: 3 similar round-arched windows to apse and with rectangular panels beneath; oculus over central window. Crowning frieze, cornice and parapet continues from nave. To north-east and entrance: flight of 5 steps which curve around apse to renewed door, with triangular pediment on corbel brackets. Outshut to south-east. Crypt has 2 blocked doors in the north wall, both in C16 arches, entrance to right with chamfered lintel, glazed doors; rectangular single-splayed lights in groups of three. INTERIOR: entrance hall to west has 4 giant round-arched openings, that to west is blind and has to lower stage an inner timber porch with fluted Doric columns and double, part-glazed and panelled doors with similar, single side doors. In north and south arches are cast-iron overthrows with lamps; 'imperial' staircase to north side has flights to tower and gallery with rod-on-vase balusters and moulded handrail; the south staircase is in 3 parts at time of Review. 3 entrances to nave have double part-glazed, raised-and-fielded-panel doors. Nave has gallery to 3 sides on cast-iron pillars; gallery has blind arcaded balustrade in French Decorated Gothic style and with cast-iron foliate embellishments with to each arcade and with roundels in the spandrels, nailhead frieze. To nave a raised and fielded panel dado. Apse has tall raised-and-fielded panels and central pediment with delicate scrolled decoration within, on Roman Doric pilasters, frieze with triglyphs and foliate decoration to metopes, the whole curved around apse; this incorporates 2 arched raised-and-fielded inscription panels. Wine-glass pulpit has similar arcade, stairs up have rod-on-vase balusters. Scotia-torus moulded cornice; ceiling has plaster ribs and circular Adam-style vents, that to centre renewed. Cast-iron foliate balusters to altar rails. All windows have keystones, deep reveals and mainly with splayed sills, those to east end have stained glass in memory of the First World War, otherwise with opaque glass and stained quatrefoils to margins. At south-east vestry has 6-raised-and-fielded-panel door, fireplace has shelf on brackets and late Victorian tiles. To gallery are several good late C17 and C18 wall monuments. Vaulted crypt. HISTORICAL NOTE: the architect of this church has been a matter of dispute, in 1968 Pevsner thought it was Humphrey Hollins; in 1978 Colvin attributed a new gallery of 1790 to Thomas Johnson of Warwick and Worcester; in 1980 Baker attributed it to Thomas White, as did the 1971 List; in 1985 Cruikshank thought it by Humphrey Hollins though notes it is also attributed to Thomas White. The design of the tower is taken from Gibbs 'Book of Architecture', which came out in 1728, Cruikshank states that: 'perhaps the most impressive of Gibbs-derived towers is that sported by St Nicholas, Worcester, which is based almost exactly on a published unbuilt version for St Martin's(-in-the-Field).' A key streetscape feature, occupying an important corner site at the junctions of The Cross, St Nicholas Street, Angel Street and Foregate. One of an important group of four churches in Worcester which, in their present form, are largely eighteenth century, with Church of All Saints, Broad Street; Church of St Swithin, Church Street and Church of St Martin, Cornmarket (qqv). Their towers, together with the Cathedral (qv) and St Andrew's Church Tower, Deansway (qv), form the most significant feature of Worcester's skyline. NMR photographs. (Transactions of the Worcestershire Archaeological Society: Baker N: The Urban Churches of Worcester: Worcester: 1980-: 115-124; The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: Worcestershire: Harmondsworth: 1968-1985: 295, 320; Colvin H: A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects: 1600-1840: 1995-; Cruikshank D: A Guide to the Georgian Buildings of Britain and Ireland: London: 1985-: 109).
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
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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