St Paul's Church - Friars Street, Warwick, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 52° 16.785 W 001° 35.629
30U E 595929 N 5793084
Quick Description: This Anglican church is on the north side of Friars Street just to the east of Warwick Racecourse. The church is surrounded by a well maintained graveyard with some headstones moved to the perimeter.
Location: West Midlands, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 7/29/2013 10:56:15 AM
Waymark Code: WMHP1W
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Lat34North
Views: 1

Long Description:

One feature of the churchyard is the clarity of the carving on the gravestones. Some of these are 150 years old but look as though they could have been carved recently. It is assumed that this is down to a combination of the material used and the skill of the mason but more so probably due to the absence of 19th and 20th century pollution from factories and traffic.

The church's website tells us:

The population of Warwick grew rapidly in the early 1800s when the opening of the canal enabled many new industries to develop in the local area. The workforce was housed in the newly-erected streets in the western parts of the town, such as Crompton Street, Woodhouse Street, and Queen\'s Square. As the population grew, the churchyards of St Mary and St Nicholas became full, and in 1823 both churches petitioned the Bishop of Worcester for extra burial space.

As a result, on 23rd July 1824, ground was consecrated in Friars Street, and later in the same year a cemetery chapel was built. This was known as St Mary\'s Episcopal Chapel, being served by St Mary\'s, and was used exclusively for burials.

Then, in 1842, it was proposed that a new Free Church should be built. Two years later, the Parish of St Paul\'s was formed out of the western part of St Mary\'s Parish. The church was completed in the same year and consecrated on 26th July 1844 by the Bishop of Worcester*. The completed church embraced the original Cemetery Chapel, which became the south transept.

More about the Building

The church has been reordered a couple of times in its history. In 1978, the interior was converted from an east/west orientation to north/south and the nave was partitioned to form the hall. The south transept became part of the nave. Then, in 2001, the east/west orientation was reinstated. The roof remains untouched and is of hammer-beam construction.

There are shields on the end of the roof-beams bearing the arms of English dioceses and, on those flanking the east window, angels.

There are also a number of lovely stained glass windows. The main east window features schemes from the life of Christ.

On the north side of the church are three windows, the central one being in memory of Capt. Wilfred Hensley who was killed in action at St Quentin, France, in 1918 aged 23. He was the only son of the Revd H G Hensley, sometime vicar of the parish. The windows either side were created by Jane Gray of Shrawardine, Shrewsbury, who later assisted Lawrence Lee, the chief designer of the Coventry Cathedral nave windows. These feature various designs, including Christian symbols, the Warwick Borough and Coventry Diocese coats of arms, and representations of local features: the racecourse, Warwick Castle, the Market Hall, St John\\\'s House, part of the County Museum, a local school, the Westgate clock face, and the Seven Stars sign from the pub next door.

The south side windows feature more scenes from Christian life, and memorials to the Revd W F McMichael (d. 1883), Frances Smith wife of the first vicar (d. 1859) and Catherine their third daughter (d. 1863), Charlotte Sabin Lucan who served the church for 30 years (d. 1865), and William Shepherd who for 30 years was superintendent of St Paul\'s Sunday School (d. 1888).

Finally, the church has an unusual square bell turret with a pyramid-shaped roof.

The church is Grade II listed with the entry at the English Heritage website telling us:

Begun 1824 as a cemetery chapel (now the south transept). Nave and chancel added 1842-4 by R.C. Hussey of Birmingham.

MATERIALS: Limestone ashlar, slate roofs.

PLAN: T-shaped plan, the down-stroke (now the south transept and main entrance) formed from the cemetery chapel of 1824. Nave with apsidal chancel forming the cross-stroke. The four bays of the nave west of the south transept are now partitioned off as a hall.

EXTERIOR: The south transept gable end faces the road. This is in the Tudor Gothic style popular in the 1820s, and has a solid parapet with moulded strings, and diagonal buttresses at the angles. The entrance door has a four-centred arch with hoodmould, and above it a two-light window with Y-tracery. Over this again is a datestone, 1824, with a turreted gatehouse, the emblem of the town of Warwick. The east and west sides of the transept have three-light Tudor windows with one transom and a little cusping in the heads of the lights. Hussey's nave addition of 1842-4 is in the Early English style, with uncusped lancets, buttresses with shallow set-offs, and no parapet. The roofs are low, giving a chapel-like appearance. The north side is of seven uninterrupted bays, the south has four bays west of the south transept. In the return east of the transept is an unusual square bell-turret with pyramidal spirelet. The east end is a three-sided apse, unusually broad, with three grouped lancets in the centre bay.

INTERIOR: The surprisingly spacious interior was reordered in 2000 to the designs of John Bowen of Kelly & Surman, architects of Birmingham. It is generally plain, the wall surfaces painted and rendered. The south transept serves as the main entrance, with internal partitions to create two vestries flanking a central entrance corridor (all of 2000). The corridor opens out into a vestibule behind a triple arcade (Hussey, 1842-4) linking the transept with the nave. The piers are of quatrefoil section, supporting steeply pointed chamfered arches. The nave is dominated by the dark-stained timber open roof, with hammerbeam trusses. The spandrels in the trusses framing the sanctuary are infilled with open arcading, and the ends of the hammerbeams have gilded and painted shields, except over the sanctuary where the shields are replaced by gilded angels. The west end of the nave was partitioned to form a hall in the late C20, using light stud partitions backed by storage cupboards. A balcony was created against the west wall.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: Three-light east window with attractive and richly-coloured glass signed by Holland of Warwick, 1849. Good late C19 glass in the west gable rose window, and some smaller panels of similar glass in the hall. In the nave (north side) a First World War memorial light, and two lights by Jane Gray, 1992. Some ex-situ fittings retained: oak pulpit with rich Perp decoration, perhaps c. 1900-30. Plain octagonal font with quatrefoil panels, probably of 1842-4. The reordering of 2000 introduced upholstered chairs and carpeted floors.

HISTORY: By the early C19 there was significant population growth around the industries that grew on the western fringe of the town, and the churchyards of both St Mary and St Nicholas were full. To meet this need, the Revd. Thomas Cattell gave land for a new burial ground north of Friar Street in 1824. The ground was consecrated on July 23, 1824 and a chapel (unusually large for such buildings in the 1880s) completed later in the same year. The cost of walling the area and building the chapel was over £2,000, paid for by the Corporation. In 1842, a new Anglican church was proposed, to be achieved by enlarging the cemetery chapel. Hussey began work on November 8, 1842 and the completed church was consecrated on July 26, 1844 by the Bishop of Worcester. The parish of St Paul was formed out of the western part of St Mary's parish. Alterations were reportedly made in 1889. The architect R.C. Hussey (1802-87) was in partnership with Thomas Rickman from 1835, and took over the practice in 1838 as Rickman's health failed.

Name of church or churchyard: St Paul's Church

Approximate Size: Large (100+)

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