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)

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

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070614.Walcot, St. Andrew’s Pevsner Architectural Church Chat

June 14, 2007 at 8:53 PM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Cathedrals and churches, Pevsner, roofs, somerset, Towers, Walcot | 1 Comment

070610.38.SO.Bath
St Andrews from BLITZED! Bath At War Designed by Hugh D. Roberts, 1961-1964, “simple, dignified with a square side tower open at the top. The chancel has abstract stained-glass panels. THe exterior reuses rubble from old St Andrew, which once occupied the adjacent large, forlorn green triangular space to the south,” which had been designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the Gothic Revival style, 1869-1873 with an added 220-foot-spire of 1878 (the tallest in Bath!), but it was bombed in 1942 and demolished in the early 1960s. The short long building next to it is St. Andrew’s School, designed by Nealon Tanner Partnership in 1991, which “presents to the road a heavy, protective rubble base pierced by porthole windows. A contrasting, colourful steel-frame structure supports the roof, pieced by playful metal vents.”

–Michael Forsyth, Bath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 241.
St Andrews from BLITZED! Bath At War Below: The old church’s extreme height prominently interrupted the renowned sweep of the Royal Crescent, influencing the decision to demolish it in the 1960s. Nickolaus Pevsner wrote in his 1958 guide to the region descried the ruined church with “big…tower with broach spire…the rest happily bombed. The tower is now also coming down — a blessing; for it was unacceptable even from the picturesque mixer’s point of view.” (Figures 19 and 20 were photographed from Bath’s Victoria Museum’s “Blitzed! Bath at War” Exhibit, text copyright by David McLaughlin)
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070213.15.Somset.Bath.Bath At War
I found the two photos above in the book ‘Bath At War,’ and they originally came from the Bath Reference Library. They show the old St. Andrew’s after the 1942 bombing.

070511.Walcot, Lime Window (St Stephen’s Pevsner Architectural Church Chat)

May 11, 2007 at 5:19 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Cathedrals and churches, Chisel Marks, Conservation, Ladders, people, Pevsner, Preservation, Restoration, somerset, Tabernacles, Towers, Walcot | 9 Comments

Right where this metal scaffold pole cuts across those two streets (top: St. Stephen’s Rd, bot: Richmond Rd–and left of the pole is called Lansdown Rd) was the site of an 18th C turnpike.
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These ladders stretch three scaffolding levels. This was the lowest of three. The scaffolding went up the height of the tower, 30 meters, or so. It was also raining hard.
I took the sunny photo back in early November 2006. St Stephen’s put it up early to survey the repairs needed. These repairs are being carried out by Minerva Stone Conservators, who waited until spring for the “lime window.” As responsible conservators, all masonry repairs are being carried out with lime mortar, which takes a long time to set and cannot set during potential periods of frost. Below two conservators apply a dry lime mortar in the masonry joints and apply a cotton-like substance over sections.
061021.004.Somset.Bath.LansdownRd.St. Stephen's Church070509.56.SO.Bath.Walcot.StStephens.09L
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Designed to serve the spiritual needs of NE Bath by James Wilson and built between 1840-1845, St Stephen’s Church on Lansdown Road in Walcot cost 6,000 pounds (*today it cost 60,000 just for the scaffolding!) “It is broad and somewhat Georgian in proportion, and still in the mix-and-match style of the 1830s,, with lancets, but also Perp-style octagonal buttresses. The tower, similar to the W towers of Ely Cathedral (c.1400) or Antwerp Cathedral (1519), is a very imporant visual focus on Bath’s N slopes. Starting square and E.E., then at once turning octagonal, with detached big octagonal corner pinnacles connected with the octagonal, with detached big octagonal corner pinnacles connected with the octagon by traceried flying buttresses; a smaller octagon on top with pinnacles is arranged in the same way. The nave and transept are very be-pinnacled, with pierced parapets. Two-light lancet windows and cusped Y-tracery. The church remained unconsecrated for some forty years until 1881, after which W.J. Willcox built the very wide apsidal chancel in 1882-1883, together with the vestry and organ chamber (at a cost of 3,000 pounds). The handsome painted ceiling, 1886, is by W.J. Willcox, executed by H.&F. Davis. The NE aisle was added in 1866 for the use of the Royal School, presumably by Wilson & Willcox, in a harsh Gothic typical of the alter work of the firm and contrasting with the style of 1840. –Stained glass. E Window, Lady Chapel by Mark Angus, 1983, the ‘Centenary,’ depicting St Stephen’s transformation, on the bridge between life and death t the moement of martyrdom. With distorted ambiguity between pain and repose, the body rises amid red flames on a blue ground. –Font and font cover. Marble, florid Gothic, dated 1843. –Transept ceiling and reredos. By Sir T. G. Jackson [of Oxford University’s building program fame], c. 1900, then working on the Abbey. Slade, Smith and Winrow converted the crypt to a parish room in 1993-1994.”–Michael Forsyth, Bath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 265-266.

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Here’s the cornerstone to the apsidal chancel. Yes, a Masters of the Arts symbolically laid this stone, possibly touched it but probably didn’t carve or do anything artistic with it. (Perhaps it was his brilliant idea to repeat Grace. *Also, just noted that the degree makes his name off-center, as if it was added as an afterthought, either because he earned it later and had it carved into the stone, or feared it might be taken away so he could have it filled in with his name remaining centered.) I have no idea why everyone in the UK insists on putting their educational degrees on everything. Here it is on a cornerstone. I’ve seen it in books, presentations, and even tombstones. Almost without fail, they also include (Hons), if applicable, or even organizations they belong to (that they had to simply pay to join).
Another thing to note with this CORNERstone is one side’s red tint. There is a local red algae that’s around here and the red shade indicates the colder north facade of this church where the sun doesn’t warm the stone and evaporate the dampness.

070326.Bath, St Michael’s Within (Hetling Crt), Pevsner Architectural Church Chat

March 26, 2007 at 12:37 AM | Posted in Architecture, Cathedrals and churches, Chisel Marks, Pevsner | 4 Comments

BDP to the moon!

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“St. Michael Within, Hetling Court, behind the Cross Bath. This is the chapel of St. John’s Hospital. Rebuilt in 1723 by William Kiligrew. Two-storeyed windows, segment-headed and circular. Altered in C19 and provided with deplorable Venetian tracery.” (108)

070311.Weston, All Saints Pevsner Architectural Church Chat

March 11, 2007 at 1:15 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Cathedrals and churches, cemeteries - churchyards - and tombstones, Monuments and Memorials, Pevsner, somerset, Tabernacles, Weston | 9 Comments

070306.068.Somset.Bath.Weston.AllSaints.d.Pinch.1830-2
Summarized from All Saints’ Website:
An early church is mentioned by Pope Adrian IV in a 1156 Bull. Jordanus, the first vicar, arrives at Weston in 1297. In the 15th Century, “All Hallows” Church is built but is demolished in 1830 to create a larger space for a growing community with only its original tower surviving. The church bells were recast by Thomas Belbie at Chewstoke in 1739, and were repaired and retuned between 1952-1953.

The new church of “All Saints” was consecrated on June 2, 1832. It shares some similarities with Pinch’s other works at St. Mary the Virgin, Bathwick and St. Saviour, Larkhall, although both of those examples were newbuilds and are defined by tall western towers, whereas All Saints is more diminished. New seating with new transcepts and a chancel were added between 1880 and 1893, and new “clergy and choir vestries were added in 1909.”[1] The church furnishings and internal program have been remodeled several times since then and recently a restoration was undertaken of the tower. Near the tower door is a 19th century font, and on the West Gallery are displayed William and Mary’s royal coat of arms.

On the south aisle there is the St Alphege window, which “commemorates the famous saint whom tradition says was born in Weston (St Alphege became the Abbot of Bath Abbey and then Archbishop of Canterbury). Also depicted is Guthram, King of the Danes, submitting to King Alfred and accepting Christianity.” In the south transept, there is a “monument to Alderman Sherston dated 1641. He was Mayor of Bath in 1632. “In a niche in the north wall of the chancel is found the oldest monument in the church from the 12-13th century. This is a stone coffin lid that was found under the south porch during the rebuilding of the church in 1830.” Other monuments include a 1699 honoring John Harrington of Kelston, a monument to “Dr William Oliver (of biscuit fame) whose family owned Weston Manor for many years.”[1]

There are over 90 tablets in the churchyard and many more within the church with some going back to the 12th Century. The church kept excellent records which indicated that most of those buried here had no connection with the town but chose the spot for their final repose because it was an idyllically isolated community far from the smog and congestion of Bath. This popularity lasted for over 200 years. I’ll post more on this later but one includes Thomas Baldwin’s monument to Thomas Warr Attwood.
070306.067.Somset.Bath.Weston.AllSaints.d.Pinch.1830-2
There are over 90 tablets in the churchyard and many more within the church with some going back to the 12th Century. The church kept excellent records which indicated that most of those buried here had no connection with the town but chose the spot for their final repose because it was an idyllically isolated community far from the smog and congestion of Bath. This popularity lasted for over 200 years. I’ll post more on this later but one includes Thomas Baldwin’s monument to Thomas Warr Attwood.

“Other than the simple C15 Perp[endicular] w[est] tower, the church was rebuilt in 1830-2 by John Pinch the Younger. E Harbottle of Exeter added the chancel and transecpts in 1893m and Mowbray A. Green a memorial chapel in 1921. Nave and aisles. Tall lancet-like three-light windows with four-centred arches and Perp tracery. Battlemetns and pinnacles. Arcade of tall piers of Perp section carrying four-centred arches. The nave is broad and low with a rear gallery….” [2]
“Plate: Chalice and Cover 1572; Apostle Spoon 1614; Chalice and Paten 1692; Flagon 1739. ” [3]

1-2: All Saints, Weston Web site
3: Michael Forsyth, Bath (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 295.
4: Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol, (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1958), 334.

070226.Monkton Combe, St. Michael’s Pevsner Architectural Church Chat

February 26, 2007 at 12:25 AM | Posted in Architecture, Cathedrals and churches, cemeteries - churchyards - and tombstones, Monkton Combe, Overcast, Pevsner, roofs, somerset, Towers, Trees | 6 Comments

070215.78.Somset.MonktonCombe.St Michaels
The church is a small structure, 50 feet in length and 16 feet in breadth, covered with tiles; at the west end in a little stone turret hangs two small bells. It is dedicated to St. Michael.” -John Collinson, History of Somerset, 1791.

The original structure in the 1924 area guide was considered to be an “ancient Norman” one, and the parish minutes of 1757 give a glimpse of the small church structure having a chancel with at least two pews in it. “About the beginning of the XIX century,, when this little old church, after long neglect, needed extensive repairs, the inhabitant instead of repairing it, pulled it down and out of its materials build a new church of about the same size, seating only 95 persons, but to their minds no doubt more comfortable. It was erected in 1814 and did not last long. The Rev. Francis Pocock, being appointed vicar of Monkton Combe in 1863, found this church in a dilapidated state, and…for the needs for the parish, and had the courage to undertake the entire rebuilding of the sacred edifice.”– D. Lee Pitcairn and Alfred Richardson, An Historical Guide to Monkton Combe, Combe Down and Claverton (Bath: F. Goodall Printer, 1924) 28-29.

It was first suggested that an aisle should be added to the edifice, but this, it was found, could not be done, and it was finally decided to raze the old structure and erect and entirely new building. Mr. C. E. Giles, of London, designer of St. John’s, Bathwick, was the architect, and the builder was Mr. S. G. Mitchell of this city [Bath]. The church was opened on Tuesday, July 4th…capable of seating 300 worshipers.” —Bath Chronicle, July 6, 1865.

St. Michael. 1865, by C. E. Giles, enlarged in 1886 (GR), rather terrible piece of architecture. Inside a Venetian later C16 painting attributed to Schiavone (on loan). –Plate. Chalice and Cover 1634; Spoon 1797.” – Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol, (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1958), 229.
070215.56.Somset.MonktonCombe.St Michaels.1865.d.CE Giles.rd1886
Typically unforunate with Victorian churches and other structures is its Welsh Slate roof. If I may add something to this list of quotes it is that I agree with Pevsner here. This is why the people of Monkton Combe can’t have nice things….

070222.Combe Down, Steep Grassy Slope of Prior Park

February 23, 2007 at 1:38 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Chisel Marks, Combe Down, Gardens & Parks, Light and Shadow, Mansion, Pevsner, somerset | 6 Comments

061026.024.Somset.CombeDown.Prior Park
“Built as his villa in 1735-c.1750 for Ralph Allen. It is built of Bath stone and was meant to be Allen’s proof of the suitability of the product of his Combe Down quarry for work of the highest order. Prior Park certainly is a composition in the Grand Manner, the most ambitious and the most complete re-creation of Palladio’s villas on English soil. The architect was John Wood the Elder. But after a quarrel between him and Allen, the completion was entrusted to Allen’s clerk of works Richard Jones. The house was to consist of a corps de logis connected by galleries with two pairs of pavilions. It lies on the hillside, and its grounds extend down a green combe to the old village of Widcombe whose church is the final closing accent of the vista. Halfway down however the vista is crossed by the Palladian Bridge, a copy made in 1750 by Jones of Palladio’s famous bridge design in the Burlington-Devonshire Collection at the R.I.B.A. This was later published in Bertotti-Scamozzi’s Palladio edition. The drawing had been copied before (in 1736) at Wilton. The bridge is roofed and has two pedimented end pavilions with arched openings and an open colonnade of four Ionic columns between.” – Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol, (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1958), 114.

The house (not featured in this post) was based on Colen Campbell’s first design for Wanstead House in Essex (labeled Wanstead I) and was a giant showcase for Bath stone. Allen had made his money by reorganizing the postal system and then investing that capital in Combe Down, Bath quarries, where the soft cream colored stone was found. The material was not favored in fashionable circles, which is why he constructed his mansion to the popular design published by Campbell, insisting that John Wood the Elder design the column diameters to 1.5x those at the actual Wanstead.

After Catholic Emancipation in 1829, the structure was purchased by Bishop Baines, who used the mansion as his humble abode. When it burned in 1836, the bishop raised funds to restore his house by purchasing another mansion, Hunt Street House on the Mendips, which had been mothballed near its completion in 1770s after the owners ran went bankrupt. Had this mansion been completed, it would have been in the top three of Georgian mansions. The bishop stripped this newly purchased abandoned house and moved its grand staircase, plasterwork, and several other architectural features to his mansion, heavily subsidizing them. It has since become a Roman Catholic college.
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First two plans are from Walter Ison’s Georgian Buildings of Bath (the second being one by John Wood the Elder on the relationship between the three buildings and the valley) and the final five plans of Wanstead-based mansions with Prior Park second from the bottom is from Summerson’s Architecture in Britain: 1530-1830.

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