Christ Church, Latchingdon

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1464427
Date first listed:
14-Jan-2020
Statutory Address:
1 Burnham Road, Latchingdon, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 6EU

Map

Ordnance survey map of Christ Church, Latchingdon
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Location

Statutory Address:
1 Burnham Road, Latchingdon, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 6EU

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

County:
Essex
District:
Maldon (District Authority)
Parish:
Latchingdon
National Grid Reference:
TL8861700483

Summary

A Gothic revival church in the decorated style, dating to 1856 and built to the designs of J P St Aubyn.

Reasons for Designation

Christ Church, Latchingdon, a Gothic revival church, dating to 1856 and built to the designs of J P St Aubyn, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest: * a well-composed and executed church in the Gothic revival style; * as a distinctive regional design, making use of an Essex bellcote which makes a major contribution to the local streetscape; * for the quality of the interior fittings, in particular the William Morris windows and other stained glass.

Historic interest: * for the association with J P St Aubyn, an architect of national note who is already well represented on the NHLE.

History

Prior to the 1850s the people of Latchingdon worshiped at St Michael's Church (see List entry 1110874) which is located outside of the village to the south. By the mid C19 the building was in poor condition and the chancel was demolished in 1856. In the same year a gift of land was made by Charles Pulley for the construction of a new parish church in the centre of the village. The construction was approved by the Bishops of Chelmsford and Rochester, the latter being the Patron, in the same year.

A description of the accounts of the project shows that, despite having raised funds from the Rector and local proprietors and ratepayers, they were unable to find a local builder to undertake the work. This led to an additional fundraising campaign and the removal of 'all carvings and mouldings, the porch and 14 feet of the length removed'. Ultimately, as noted in the same document, the architect Mr J P St Aubyn offered to undertake the design and construction work, and waived his £150 fee. This allowed construction to proceed. Initially only the nave was constructed, with the chancel completed shortly afterwards. As noted in the accounts, further contributions 'redeem the church from the rather meagre character it would otherwise have had'. The building was completed and consecrated in 1857. The total cost of the building was £1960, 0s, 11d. The stained glass windows within the building were donated by local families of note, to commemorate their relatives, including one Charles Pulley who donated the land for the church, and the daughters of the Flanders Howard family who lived in Tyle Hall (List entry 1168464) near the village. The building now contains the altar of St Michael’s Church - which was deconsecrated in 1976 and converted into a house - and an organ which was moved to the church from St James Church in West Tilbury, Essex in 1983. A plaque affixed to the organ commemorates this. An earlier organ initially stood in the choir and then the east end of the nave. The church also houses an important local collection of World War memorabilia and has an early C18 royal coat of arms.

James Piers St Aubyn (1815-1895) was an ecclesiastical architect of the C19. His primary work was with churches and he both designed and restored many throughout England. He was born in Worcestershire in 1815. He trained as an architect in the office of Thomas Fulljames. He was a cousin of the Levan family of St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall; this led to many of his commissions being in Devon and Cornwall where the family were important landowners. While he was a well-known and prolific designer and restorer, his work has been described as cheerless and without originality and flair - he almost exclusively worked in the decorated style of English gothic. His restorations were also criticised as being overly invasive. He failed to get the commission for the design of Truro Cathedral in the 1870s, which caused him great disappointment. He was responsible however, for the restoration of St Michael’s Mount, which is considered one of the greatest achievements of C19 architecture. His work is well represented on the National Heritage List (NHLE).

Details

A Gothic revival church in the decorated style, dating to 1856 and built to the designs of J P St Aubyn.

MATERIALS: the church is constructed of Kentish ragstone with ashlar dressings. It has a tiled roof.

PLAN: the building is rectangular on plan with the porch projecting from the south-west.

EXTERIOR: the church is in the decorated Gothic style with tracery to the 2-centred windows and diagonally projecting shouldered buttresses. The nave is higher and wider than the chancel. The main entrance is a pointed arch doorway in the south porch which has a moulded hood mould with carved head stops. There are two pointed windows to the west elevation with a wheel window above. There is a pair of windows to each side elevation for the nave and a further two in the chancel. The large east window has decorative tracery with lancets and quatrefoils interlaced above. The gabled porch projects to the south. An Essex bellcote rises from the western end of the church with a tiled lower stage and shingled belfry above; the steeple is conical and slated. There is a small vestry projecting at the north-eastern corner of the building.

INTERIOR: the interior is high church gothic. In the Nave a scissor braced roof with five principal beams rests on the wall-head and supporting crown posts. The chancel roof is of similar construction but without the principal beams. Two steps through a simply moulded gothic arch lead to the chancel. Here the floor is tiled and there is an altar rail of decorative ironwork. The chancel floor is tiled. The pews in the nave stand on slightly raised timber platforms. The central aisle is tiled and now carpeted. There is stained glass to two windows in the nave and chancel respectively; the chancel windows are William Morris. These depict scenes from the New Testament. The nave window to the south commemorates three daughters of the local Howard Flanders family and depicts St Helena, St Mary St Margaret. The other nave window is dedicated to Charles Pulley who donated the land for the church. The east window contains scenes from the life of Jesus. The organ stands towards the north-west corner of the church. The bellcote is partially exposed with bellropes hanging from it whilst the timber and octagonal pulpit is located by the altar of the former St Michael’s. A plain font is located in the south-west corner, standing on a floor of diamond red and black check terrazzo tiling with a decorative border.

Sources

None.

Legal

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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