Roman Catholic Church of St Charles, attached presbytery and boundary wall to south and south west
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Statutory Address:
- Church Road, Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE3 1TX
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- Statutory Address:
- Church Road, Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE3 1TX
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Newcastle upon Tyne (Metropolitan Authority)
- Non Civil Parish
- National Grid Reference:
Roman Catholic Church and presbytery, 1910-11 to the designs of Charles Menart. Decorated Gothic style. The west glass porch, the attached modern parish hall and walls and structures attached to the east end of the church are not of special interest and are not included in the listing.
Reasons for Designation
The Roman Catholic church of St Charles and attached presbytery of 1910-11 is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: the church is an interesting and well-detailed Decorated Gothic Revival design of good quality materials, that, with its paired west towers, forms a striking landmark; * Architect: understood to be a sole English design by one of the leading Scottish-based Catholic architects of the early C20; * Group value: the church, presbytery and south boundary wall with gate piers and overthrow, complement each other in scale and design and benefit from a strong spatial and functional group value; * Fixtures and fittings: richly fitted out with a high quality scheme including marble-clad walls and reduced elements of the original sanctuary fittings such as the High Altar and baldicchino; * Stained glass: three fine examples of the work of Harry Clarke [studio], an important early-C20 Irish stained glass artist and leading figure in the Irish Arts and Crafts Movement, whose work is famous for its intricate detail and vivid colours.
This church replaced an 1896 corrugated-iron church constructed on the same plot of land donated by George Dunn Junior. The foundation stone of the present church was laid by Bishop Collins on 14 August 1910 and the church opened on 3 December 1911. The architect, Charles Menart was Belgian by birth but was trained and practiced in Glasgow and is a notable early-C20 church architect. With the exception of the sanctuary, the church was originally quite bare internally and was enriched over time, with additional marble cladding to the sanctuary, stained glass to the apse in 1919, a W gallery to accommodate an organ in the 1920s (enlarged in 1983), and after 1932 the remaining bare walls were clad in Italian marble. After the Second World War three fine stained glass windows by Harry Clarke Studios were installed. Harry Clarke is an important early-C20 Irish stained glass artist and a leading figure in the Irish Arts and Crafts Movement, whose work is famous for its intricate detail and vivid colours. In 1970 a wide glass porch was added to the west end enclosing the entrance and in 1983 the west organ and choir gallery was enlarged and a new full width partition inserted.
The interior was reordered in 1985-6, when the altar rails and the ornate baldacchino over the high altar were removed; the rails were relocated against the side chapel walls and parts of the baldacchino were incorporated into a new lectern and font and into supports for uplighters in the apse. The sanctuary dais was extended forward into the nave, with a new forward altar.
Roman Catholic Church and presbytery, 1910-11 to the designs of Charles Menart. Decorated Gothic style.
MATERIALS: rock-faced sandstone with ashlar dressings and blue-grey slate roofs.
PLAN: cruciform, oriented E to W. It has an apsed chancel, with a vestry on the S side linking to a presbytery, a three-bay aisled nave with short transepts, W porch, and NW and SW towers.
EXTERIOR: the CHURCH occupies a central location in Gosforth. It has steeply pitched roofs and stone gable copings. The E end has a five-sided apse with a pyramidal roof; the central face is blind and there are wide round-headed windows to the other faces in the style of the C16. The chancel has paired lancets with cusped heads to the N and S sides, and a single-storey vestry with a pitched roof has been added to the S side. The gabled transepts have large and wide pointed-arch windows with a Decorated Gothic window to the S, surmounted by a cross finial. The three-bay nave has a clerestory of three, wide round-headed windows similar to those of the apse, each under a small eaves gable, and those to the S side have tracery in a perpendicular style. The N aisle is largely obscured by the modern parish room addition, but the S aisle has a pent roof and each of the three bays has paired lancets with cusped heads. The three-bay W end is surmounted by a cross finial and has a large pointed arch window with hood mould to the centre gabled bay and similar tracery to that of the S clerestory. The Gothic W entrance in the central bay is formed of ashlar stonework beneath a shallow porch and includes a pair of tall pointed-arched openings alternating with pilasters supporting canopied niches, the whole now encased within a modern glass porch. The two end bays are formed by a pair of tall towers, blind for the most part but with cusp-headed lancets to the ground and upper stages, the latter set within shallow rectangular projections. The upper stage is also set back slightly and constructed of coursed squared sandstone. The towers are surmounted by octagonal broached spires with gabled lucarnes to the cardinal faces and a crocket finial. From the N and S outer faces of the towers project tall, gabled stair turrets.
The PRESBYTERY has two storeys plus attics with quoins, sill bands and hipped roofs of slate with overhanging eaves and decorative ridge tiles; there are external stone stacks to the N and S gables, that to the latter with ashlar detailing. Window frames are mostly original six-over one horned sashes, with some replacements. The S elevation has a two-bay cross wing to the right with a scrolled pedimented parapet, prominent verges and scrolled kneelers. It has a canted bay window with a segmental-arched and crenellated parapet to the ground floor, a pair of rectangular windows to the first floor and triple narrow small-pane rectangular windows to the attic, which also has an Art Nouveau-style apron with Fleur-de-Lys motif above. To the left there is a two-bay range with a five-panelled door main entrance and canted bay to the ground floor with continuous porch, and to the first floor a pair of rectangular windows and a large keyed, round-headed window. There is a single attic dormer with a segmental head. The building is attached at the SW corner to the Church vestry by a narrow linking block.
INTERIOR: the CHURCH'S walls are clad in Italian marble slabs in cream, black and white and piers and columns are square with recessed corners and a classical moulding rather than capitals. The sanctuary has projecting canted steps and the apse has a pointed arch blind arcade; the marble cladding of the latter has black bands outlining panels of cream-coloured stone. Marble pilasters support the chancel roof which has arch-braced trusses and a winged angel boss. The E window comprises four stained glass windows depicting scenes from the life of Christ, signed Atkinson Bros. The side chapels flank the sanctuary and that to the N contains a reduced form of the original high altar and a section of the original marble altar rail. The Lady Chapel to the South has angel bosses to its arch-braced roof from the dismantled baldacchino and a font also comprising pieces of the latter, and a section of the original altar rail. The shallow transepts have tall wide pointed arches with transverse arches, and both have high quality stained glass windows by Harry Clarke Studios: to the N a Pieta and to the S Adoration of the Shepherds and the Magi. Also to the N transept, high on the wall facing the tabernacle is a First World War memorial recording the names of the 36 Fallen from the parish; this is a large copy of Raphael’s ‘Sistine Madonna’. The nave has stone arcades of three wide, stone pointed arches springing from clustered columns of square form alternating with slim pilasters which rise to the round-headed clerestory to support the decorative arch-braced, collar-rafter roof. The central window of the S side also has a fine stained glass window by Harry Clarke Studios of Christ before Pilate. Hand carved marble Stations of the Cross are affixed to the walls of the aisles. At the west end, the organ gallery is supported on a pair of slender cast-iron columns and a brass rail with Perspex panels.
The PRESBYTERY has geometric tiles to the entrance hall and five-panel doors throughout the ground and first floors. The ground floor has a central stair hall with a small fireplace with an unusual, ornate chimneypiece and reception rooms off. Reception rooms to the front have original timber or stone chimneypieces, ceiling roses, skirtings and cornices with that to the right also timber-panelled. The main staircase is a closed-string open-well stair with turned balusters and ornate newel posts and is lit by a round-headed stair window with stained glass to its upper parts. The first floor landing has an identical small fireplace and bedrooms off; bedrooms mostly have original fireplaces and chimneypieces, ceiling roses, cornices, skirtings and at least one has an original fitted cupboard. A plaster arched opening leads to the second floor via a winder staircase; rooms are small and have original small cast-iron chimneypieces to the fireplaces and doors are mostly four-panel.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: an arched and buttressed main corner entrance with flanking, stepped walls with convex coping stones. The stepped wall extends to the E with a central entrance flanked by piers with a stone band and pyramidal caps.
This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Register. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 27 October 2017.
Books and journals
McCombie, Frank, Cullen, Michael, A Parish In Its Time, (1996)
War Memorials Register, accessed 27 October 2017 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/34486
Churches in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle: An Architectural and Historical Review, AHP, 2012
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
The listed buildings are shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’), structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building (save those coloured blue on the map) are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act.
End of official listing