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Description: Church of the Ascension
Date Listed: 4 December 1987
English Heritage Building ID: 135267
OS Grid Reference: SO9698125557
OS Grid Coordinates: 396981, 225557
Latitude/Longitude: 51.9285, -2.0453
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SO 92 NE SOUTHAM SOUTHAM LANE
8/172 Church of the Ascension
(formerly listed as Southam Church)
Anglican chapel. C12, restored mid-late C19 in neo-Norman style by
Edward Earl of Ellenborough 1861 in memory of his first wife
Octavia, died 1819. The early church appears to have been of
rubble construction with large squared and dressed quoins, Cl9
rebuilding on coursed squared and dressed limestone. Nave and
chancel with vestry/organ chamber at right angles to the south wall
of the nave. C19 buttress to the chancel. Chancel north wall:
with early studded plank door within a C12 opening with megalithic
jambs, imposts and single stone lintel. Single-light window cut
from a single stone to the right, now blocked. One single-light
and two 3-light neo-Norman windows with jamb shafts and stylized
scalloped capitals; Lombard frieze below the eaves. West gable
end with 3 neo-Norman windows with jamb shafts with billeted and
chevroned arches. Single similar window towards the apex of the
gable. Nave south wall: 3-light, single-light and neo-Norman
windows; Lombard frieze and C19 two-light roof dormer with engaged
wooden jamb shafts with scalloped capitals and buttressing to the
chancel. Chancel north wall with small C12 slit window with lintel
with four small square recessed panels arranged in the form of a
square. Single-light neo-Norman east window with hood. Two-light
Perpendicular window to the south wall, reputed to come from Hailes
Abbey. C19 vestry with neo-Norman single-light window with engaged
jamb shafts to the gable end. C19 plank door with decorative
hinges within a neo-Norman doorway matching the north doorway.
Stepped gable-end coping-with upright cross finials to chancel,
vestry and nave. Bellcote with single bell hanging to the gable
end of the nave.
Plastered church interior with 3-bay nave with braced principal
rafters resting on corbels. Single-bay chancel. Flagged floor.
C12 round-headed chancel arch, probably rebuilt with megalithic
jambs and simple chamfered imposts; similar arch to vestry. C17
oak panelled dado to nave and chancel. C19 free-standing pews.
Rectangular neo-Norman pulpit with blind arcading and chevroned
ornament. Octagonal white marble font with ornate lotus flower
decoration in relief (matching central feature within the monument
to Lord Ellenborough's aides at The De la Bere Hotel q.v.).
Renaissance choir stalls with mannerist 'terms', carved lions'
heads and carved misericords; linenfold panelling incorporating
the unicorn crest above. C19 lectern with cusped decoration. Neo-
Norman stone communion rail in the form of interlocking arcading.
Neo-Norman stone altar table with 3 arches and chevroned
decoration. Limestone reredos with free-standing narrow stone
columns. Two C19 chairs with carved oak panels either side.
Ornate bronze hanging bowl within the chancel. Monuments: two
neo-Norman niches one containing a bust of Countess Octavia, first
wife of Lord Ellenborough, the other a bust of Lord Ellenborough in
the south wall of the chancel. Shield and sword probably of Indian
origin hang from the right-hand jamb of the chancel arch; brass
plaque to Sir Charles Napier below. Six other Cl9 brass plaques
commemorating Lord Ellenborough's relatives and associates on the
south side of the nave. Chancel south wall: brass tablet
recording the restoration of the chapel by Lord Ellenborough in
1861; memorial plaque to Octavia Lady Ellenborough, died 1819 and
brass plaque to Lord Ellenborough died 1871 erected 'by his
tenentry' to the right. Two brattished corbels in the corners at
the west end, one with a small equestrian bronze memorial to the
Duke of Wellington; bust of man on the other corbel. Brightly
coloured heraldic and decorative glass memorials to Lord
Ellenborough's friends and relations, e.g. one window commemorates
'the brave who fell at Sinde and in Givalio, 1843'. Two Flemish
paintings over chancel arch.
(David Verey, The Buildings of England: The Vale and the Forest of
Listing NGR: SO9701925579
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.