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Church of St Matthew, Cainscross

Description: Church of St Matthew

Grade: II
Date Listed: 1 May 1951
English Heritage Building ID: 131396

OS Grid Reference: SO8310804924
OS Grid Coordinates: 383108, 204924
Latitude/Longitude: 51.7428, -2.2460

Location: Church Road, Cainscross, Gloucestershire GL5 4LH

Locality: Cainscross
Local Authority: Stroud District Council
County: Gloucestershire
Country: England
Postcode: GL5 4LH

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Explore more of the area around Cainscross, Gloucestershire at Explore Britain.

Listing Text


882/17/26 CHURCH ROAD

Dates of main phases, name of architect: Nave, aisles and west tower by Charles Baker of Painswick, 1835-7. East end rebuilt by Walter Planck, 1897-8.

Materials: Ashlar limestone. Slate roofs. Structural cast-iron nave arcades.

Plan: West tower, six-bay nave. Lean-to aisles with porches at their east and west ends. Long chancel with an organ loft to its north, and a south chapel.

Exterior : The tower and west end show clearly the thin detailing and unarchaeological treatment typical of 1830s Gothic. Narrow Y-traceried windows in the ends of the aisle, the porches and the belfry lights. The two-stage tower has diagonal buttresses, embattled parapet and slim pinnacles. Three-light west window with reticulated Perp tracery. Embattled aisles, with most of the aisle windows replaced in Perp style, 1897-8. They match the east end, which was entirely rebuilt by Planck after a plan to rebuild the whole church was abandoned. He employed a respectable Arts and Crafts Perp style with nicely detailed canted corners to the chancel. The broad east window is set high in the wall. Twinned east windows to the south chapel, with a buttress between them.

Interior: Four-centred nave arcades on slim shafted piers of cast iron, raised on octagonal plinths. On the back of each pier is a bracket carrying the former galleries. The shafts facing into the nave continue as very thin wall shafts, carrying the ribs to a segmental plaster tunnel vault. The aisles have flat ceilings with a thin moulded rib at each bay. A stone respond and chamfered arch (both of the 1890s) at the west end of the south aisle perhaps indicate the abandonment of more ambitious plans to replace the 1830s nave and aisles. The 1890s chancel is Perpendicular freely treated. Broad east window with rich tracery, three windows set very high at the sides. Timber roof with arch-braced collars, each with a demi-angel in the centre. Three-seat sedilia with blind Perp tracery, and matching piscina, in moulded frames. The junctions between 1830s and 1890s work are awkward and have an unfinished look, especially the low and high chancel arches seen from the east.

Principal Fixtures: Altar rail and choir stalls, of oak, with Perp Gothic motifs, probably 1898. Caen stone pulpit, 1892, with shallow trefoil-headed panels carved with foliage and inscriptions. Octagonal Perp panelled font, probably 1897-8; of the same date, plain oak benches with squared bench-ends. St Matthew has good stained glass: east window 1897, and three in the north aisle (1912-22) by James Powell & Sons; three in the south aisle by Burlison & Grylls, c. 1897-1906, sandwiching one by Joseph Bell & Son, 1898; west window by Belham & Co., 1895.

Subsidiary Features: Large churchyard to the west. C19 cast-iron railings and gates south-east of the church. Attached at the north-west is an angular hall by David Barnes of the Ronald Edwards Partnership, 1995-6. The hall is excluded from this listing.

History: The parish church of Cainscross lies c. 1½ miles west of Stroud. A new ecclesiastical parish was created in 1837 from parts of Stroud, Stonehouse and Randwick. The area's growth from c. 1800 was stimulated by the Stroudwater Canal, opened 1779, which eased the supply of coal to the Stroud valley, by the last flourishing of the woollen cloth industry before its mid-19th century decline, and by a new road to Stroud (1825), bypassing the Stroud to Paganhill turnpike.

Charles Baker (1791-1861), architect, engineer and surveyor of Painswick, was a prolific local designer. His firm of Baker & Shellard designed Neo-Gothic churches, e.g. Slad (1831-4), a noble classical chapel at Bedford Street, Stroud (1835-7), and respectable Late Georgian housing, notably on the Bayshill estate, Cheltenham, from c. 1838.

Sources: Howard Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, (1995); p. 93. : Gray & E. Ralph, Guide to the Parish Records of the City of Bristol and the County of Gloucester; 1963. : N.M. Herbert, R.B. Pugh (eds.), Victoria County History of Gloucestershire; volume 11, Bisley and Longtree Hundreds (1976); pp. 99-104. : D. Verey and A. Brooks, The Buildings of England, Gloucestershire I: The Cotswolds (1999); p. 651. : Incorporated Church Building Society archive (; file 10025.

Reasons for Designation: The church of St Matthew, Caincross, Stroud, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* The 1830s fabric, while not outstanding, is a good representation of a middling-quality church of that date, especially for its characteristic structural use of cast iron. Being regarded in the later 19th century as unsatisfactory aesthetically and liturgically, the survival of such fabric is not very common.

* The interior possess considerable spatial interest, its slender columns and height endowing it with an elegance associated with later Georgian church building.

* St Matthew forms a representative example of the work of Charles Baker, a Gloucestershire architect of some ability.

* The 1890s work by Walter Planck is carefully considered and of good quality.

* The church represents a key element in the historic development of the Cainscross district.

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.