ST SAVIOUR'S ROAD
656-1/18/1591 (North side)
Church of St Saviour
Includes: WALLACE ROAD, Church of St Saviour
Includes: HOLLAND ROAD, Church of St Saviour
A Gothic Revival church reflecting both Decorated and Perpendicular architectural detailing, built in 1829-1832, probably by John Pinch the younger to his father's design, with a chancel added in 1882 by C.E. Davis.
MATERIALS: The church is built in limestone ashlar. The roof could not be seen.
PLAN: The church, oriented north-south, has a rectangular six-bay nave with east and west aisles, a tower to the south end, and a chancel to the north, and vaults below.
EXTERIOR: The nave with coped parapet (continuous to chancel) is pierced by quatrefoils in diagonally set squares. The lower six-bay aisles have contrasting coped parapets pierced by trefoils in triangles, and are divided by tall buttresses offset at transom level, gabled below the parapet and with crocketed finials above. There are six three-light windows on either side with two orders of lights, set within hood moulds. The sixth bay at the west end of each aisle form the north and south porches, with double doors set below shields in recessed panels, enriched with Gothic panelling, and set within ogee-arched hoodmoulds with complex decoration simulating crocketing and large mask stops; diagonally-leaded windows with narrow margin panes and moulded plinth. To the east end of the north aisle is a single storey C20 block, and to the east end of the south aisle and south of the chancel are two lower blocks similar in style to the aisles housing the organ and vestry, each with a two-light window.
The tower, facing Holland Road, has three stages: the door is similar to others with canopied niche above it. Octagonal clasping buttresses diminish at each stage and terminate as turrets with Gothic panelling to each facet and crocketed finials. At first stage level is a frieze with latticed decoration similar to that of the aisle parapets. There is three-light opening at second stage which has ogee heads and four pierced quatrefoils in circles; clock face in upper part of tower window on the south and west sides. The second stage frieze is similar to the parapet of the nave. The third stage has two two-light openings similar to that below, separated by diagonally set buttress with crocketed finial, and rising from an angel corbel under the frieze. The parapet to the tower is similar to that of the nave. To the west ends of the aisles are two-light windows.
The high, gabled three-bay chancel facing Wallace Road is built of random-sized blocks of stone. It has a coped parapet pierced by two tiers of arcading with plain piers to the centre and quoins and cornice below it, with a stone cross on its apex. The five-light stained-glass east window is set within shallow pointed arch with sloping labels to the hood-mould, set over a tall blank plinth and it has complex trefoil headed tracery to upper and lower lights. Each side has three four-light leaded windows with mullions and transoms, Y-tracery with trefoil heads to each light and tinted glass, set within hood-moulds connected by a moulded string course. The east ends of the aisles have double doors.
INTERIOR: The church's interior is spacious and broad with slender piers (characteristic of late Georgian Gothic interiors), with a vaulted nave ceiling. The door from the south aisle leads into a hall with a stone open-string staircase to the gallery. It has stick balusters and oak handrail wreathed over curtail step. The two bays to the west were converted in the C20 into a church room with two original box pews to rear. The nave has slender piers with engaged shafts to four cardinal faces. Moulded splays continue into wide equilateral arches that carry the wall face. The piers have elaborate semi-octagonal corbels and level with crowns of arches from which spring the ribs of the plaster four centred section vault leading to the rear deep raked gallery. The nave and aisles have a stone-flagged floor. The ceilings to the aisles, probably c.1882, have brattished rails and Gothic panelling. The east end of the south aisle is richly painted and dominated by an organ of c.1882 by Sweetland. The chancel arch rests on geometric-shaped corbels. The chancel has a fan-vaulted roof and a polychromatic tile floor, under a high set back east window and three windows to each side thick pierced stone balustrades over segmental arched recesses, in that to south-east corner diagonally-planked vestry door with ornate wrought iron hinges in slightly ogee arch, wrought iron and oak communion rail, and a Gothic Revival reredos of marble and stone added in 1886, designed by J.D. Sedding and carved by Harry Hems. Its plinth is of similar marble to the altar (possibly C20). The west wall, with elaborate High Victorian stencilling, has double doors to each side of the gallery and aisles, and a high pointed-arched recess. Fittings include galleries with original pews, a late C19 octagonal oak pulpit, an octagonal stone font, later C19 pews, stained glass windows, and numerous wall monuments.
SETTING: The church stands in a rectangular churchyard enclosed by a dwarf wall with railings (qv) and entrances, marked by piers and gates (qv), at its north-east and south east corners. The grounds to the west side contain a raised terrace supported by a retaining wall and that to the east a War Memorial (qv).
HISTORY: The Church of St Saviour in Larkhall, Bath, was the second of the three Bath Commissioners' Churches, and was built after the passing of an 1824 Act. It was founded by Archdeacon Moysey, who issued an appeal for the building of a 'Plain Free Church... in the Doric Order' in 1824. It was consecrated in April 1832 and was completed to John Pinch's designs (by his son) after his death in 1827. It cost £10,600 and seated 1,096 worshippers. As a plaque inside the west end states, the Church Commissioners contributed to the overall cost and 700 places were accordingly free. The west end of the nave was glazed in c.1983. The chancel and crossing were re-ordered in 2002 when the kitchen and new staircase in the west end were installed.
SOURCES: R. E. M Peach, Bath; Old and New (1891), 105-6; W Ison, The Georgian Buildings of Bath (2nd edn 1980), 67-68; N Jackson, Nineteenth Century Bath Architects and Architecture (1991), p 132; M Forsyth, Pevsner Architectural Guides: Bath (2003), 235.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The Church of St Saviour in Larkhall, Bath is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* It has been strongly associated with the nationally important architects John Pinch and his son, widely known for their significant contribution to the building of Georgian Bath.
* It is an especially high quality example of an early C19 parish church in Gothic Revival style, with good quality architectural detailing, and a high quality interior with a number of important features and fittings.
* It has a significant historic interest in being one of three Commissioner's Churches in Bath (600 were built nationally), and thus forming part of the greatest state funded wave of church building in England between 1818 and 1856.