© John Boothroyd ARPS
CHURCH OF ST MARY AND ST EDWARD, BARROW COURT LANE (west side)
BARROW GURNEY, NORTH SOMERSET, SOMERSET
John Boothroyd ARPS
26 October 2000
11 October 1961
Date of last amendment:
11 October 1961
The Images of England website consists of images of listed buildings based on the statutory list as it was in 2001 and does not incorporate subsequent amendments to the list. For the statutory list and information on the current listed status of individual buildings please go to The National Heritage List for England.
ST 56 NW BARROW GURNEY BARROW COURT LANE
3/1 Church of St Mary and
Parish church and manor house chapel. 12th century origins virtually rebuilt by
Henry Woodyer 1887-90 for Henry Martin Gibbs son of William Gibbs of Tyntesfield.
Built in local lias largely squared and snecked with Bath stone dressings to windows
and Dundry elsewhere. The lower stage of the tower is in coursed and squared ashlar
like Drundry stone. Many of the dressings have Woddyer's characteristic quoins
with irregular inner edges, a trick borrowed from Butterfield to simulate age.
Slate roofs. Decorated style throughout with lapses, eg Early English mouldings
to bell chamber openings. Slightly complex plan but with each part clearly distinct
in the best Puginian manner. Basically two bay chancel with to north a gabled two
storey vestry, organ loft and angled stair turret. 4 bay nave to north porch and
west tower. Diagonal baptistry. South aisle, family chapel approached by Chaplain's
vestry to west. Later probably with alobby and covered way. Impressive west tower
of Somerset Locking and Bleadon type. Three stages, diagonally set crocketed
pinnacles framing upper stage. Pierced traceried parapet with further diagonally
set pinnacles to corner and mid points. Taller spirelet to stair turret north
east corner, Lucarne to each face and projecting florets at each angle. Pairs
of windows to bell chamber, 3 to east face flanked by corbelled pinnacles. Mostly
3-light windows with different tracery patterns for nave and chancel. The east
window has a vressica shape in the tracery supported by reverse arch segments.
Slightly more complex tracery to the two lights south aisle windows. Good head
stops to all labels representing the establishment, Kings, Queens, Bishops and
Knights. Rather heavy buttresses, diagonal at corners. The north porch is roofed
in stone slabs and has a tall gabled crossing and lean to. Moulded doorway in
wider ashlar surround with cusped head and flanking shafts. Decorative iron work
Note: The gable of the vestry is flush with the wall of the south aisle. The
lobby and chaplain's vestry to west of the south aisle runs parallel with, but
distinct from, the church allowing a passage to the boiler-house beneath. Decorative
rainwater heads dated 1887 to chancel and 1888 to nave and a good 18th century
one to south aisle with a cherub and the Gibbs coat of arms.
Excellent and unaltered interior. Pevsner comments on the ignorant conflict of
styles in the tower chamber but missed the point. Patron and architect worked
to evoke the medieval parish church with all its richness and trappings.
Authenticity was less important to them than pious effort. The church consists
of the parochial nave separated from the chancel by rich timber and wrought iron
screens and the family aisle separated by a rich parclose screen. The chancel
has a cosmati work floor and a boarded wagon ceiling. Heavily carved reredos framing
the east window enriched choir stalls. The nave has all its low pews and a tiled
alled. Plaster wagon roof. The most distinctive feature is the internal masonry
porch which reflects inside the design of the outside. The pulpit has carved panels
and is reached by steps from the wall with the miniature rib vault. The south
aisle Gibbs Chapel, has a marble alley and sanctuary floor. Panelled and tinctured
ceiling with enriched ceilure over east bay. Statues within, and within a blind
east window and a very heavily carved reredos. High panelling with crested top.
Evidence of circa 1400 window opening at high level at west end of south wall,
and of a large sumbry roughly central. The best monuments mostly to the Gibbs
family and all wall memorials are in this chapel. Also included are military decor-
ations of the family in a showcase. Fittings: Decorated style chalice type font,
excellent stained glass, early Kemp, and a complete series. Large medieval bell
dedicated to St Cecilia under the tower arch. Superb ironwork to the nave door.
Lions in the manner of St Giles, Cheadle, Pugin, of course. Unusual altar with
corner shafts and ceramic inlay. In the vestry are well-made cupboards for
vestments etc. Desk, table, chairs and a piscina. Similar joinery details in
the chaplain's vestry. These amongst others contribute to the overall effect of
lavish piety. This is a church of quality. The patron was the son of the man
who paid for Keble College and its slightly old-fashioned style might be the result
of his mother's influence for she paid for some of it. It is the embodiment of
the high Victorian ideas of medieval religion and is particularly valuable for
being complete and unaltered.