070617.Walcot, St. Swithin’s Pevsner Architectural Church Chat

June 17, 2007 at 12:09 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Cathedrals and churches, Columns, Ionic Order, Jane Austen, Light and Shadow, Pevsner, somerset, Towers, Walcot | 12 Comments

061002.105.Somset.BathSt Swithins.d John Palmer.1777-9007013.23.SO.Bath
Designed by Jelly and Palmer and built between 1777-1780, St. Swithin’s is the city’s only classical parish church, “extended east to its present six-bay size by two further bays in 1788. The central square west tower, circular drum with arched openings, and octagonal spire (dismantled and rebuilt in the early 1990s) were finished by 1790. All round the exterior are giant Roman Ionic pilasters, unusual for an C18 church (cf. All Saints, Oxford, but this has a prominent attic above the order). Each bay has two tiers of windows, segment-headed and round-headed, and a string course at gallery level. The west doorway is in the base of the tower, but the access is managed in a rather feeble way, with shapeless lobbies either side that cut across the lower parts of the giant pilasters, giving access to the galleries.”
On either side of the nave are three giant Ionic columns. The galleries were cut back following structural damaged during a landslide. “W. J. Willcox added a shallow sanctuary corbelled out on the Walcot Street elevation in 1891.”
“Notables buried here include the painter William Hoare d.1792, Bath poet and editor the New Bath Guide, Christopher Anstey d.1805, and Jane Austen’s father the Rev. George Austen d.1805. George Austen, one time curate of the parish, and William Wilberforce were both married in the church. ”
–Michael Forsyth, Bath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 227-228.

(Below: West End, Rt: East and West End during the Victorian Era)

061002.111.Somset.Bath..d John Palmer.1777-90


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  1. […] parent’s marriage certificate (blurry due to camera difficulties). Her father preached at St. Swithin’s and was eventually buried in the crypt (now becoming a Sunday School […]

  2. I wish Jane was still writing, I’d read every one. Oh well, I’ll just keep rereading the ones she wrote. She is the main reason I would love to visit Bath, although from your photos and my sister’s, I have seen what an attractive city it is.

    I tried replying to your comment yesterday via email, but it was returned undeliverable. I hope no one was offended, I said, but oh, maybe you meant the dirt/mulch. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the tour of this old building. Wonderful info.

    Today I’ve posted different Amish buggy’s. Take the 320 question quiz to see how much you know about the Amish.

  4. Gorgeous Church shot J!

    Love it…and NO, NO plastic talk in the parking lot you goofball!


    Doing great aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall the way over here in California Land!

    Don’t forget to come visit sometime…I’ll give ya the premium tour!!!


    So what are ya up to NOW…working? Or hardly working!!! 😉

  5. […] the church, Des Brown and his wife Maureen, wrote the nice historical pamphlet “Parish Church of St. Swithin: Walcot, Bath,” which is available for free if you visit the church. It’s open for Sunday […]

  6. Thanks for so many pieces of information to the photos. I like the steeple in the first photo. Funny those variety of chimneys on the house next to it.

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