Former Presbyterian now United Reformed Church, 1862-3 in Romanesque style; attached manse of 1880 in Romanesque and gothic style.
Reason for Listing
Church of St George United Reformed Church (URC) with its attached manse is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: the church reflects the austerity associated with Presbyterianism but never-the-less has an interesting and well-detailed main elevation articulated unusually in a Romanesque style; * Interior: the church interior retains original fixtures and fittings including the gallery; slender, fluted uprights; eight-bay wagon-roof; vestibule screens; a fine war memorial; and original cantilevered stairs; * Intactness: despite the loss of the benches, the church and manse have remained intact without significant alteration; * Group value: the church and its attached manse benefit from a functional and proximal group value which complements each other and the street scene in which they are located.
The foundation stone of this former English Presbyterian Church was laid on the 26th September 1862, and it formally opened on 10th May 1863. The church is depicted on the first edition 1872 1:2500 OS map as ‘English Presbyterian Church’ with the same footprint as today. The attached manse was added in c1880. Presbyterianism in England was transformed in the C19 by the missionary influence of Scottish Presbyterians, culminating in 1876 in the uniting of the English congregations of the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland and the English Presbyterians to form the Presbyterian Church of England. In October 1972 the Presbyterian Church of England joined together with the Congregational Church in England and Wales to form the United Reformed Church in England and Wales. At St. George’s a pipe organ was installed in 1906 by Alex Young of Sheffield (rebuilt in 1938 by Wilkinson of Kendal) and in 1921 a combined First World War memorial and memorial to the long-standing church minister Howie Boyd was unveiled in the church vestibule. Later C20 alterations have included the removal of the organ console and the removal of four spirelets that formerly surmounted the four corners of the tower, and in June 2014 the benches were removed from the nave and gallery.
Former Presbyterian now United Reformed Church, 1862-3 in Romanesque style; attached manse of 1880 in Romanesque and gothic style. MATERIALS: the church is constructed of red sandstone with ashlar dressings and the manse is of orange brick with yellow sandstone dressings; roof coverings are of Welsh slate. PLAN: a rectangular church incorporating a three-stage tower and semi-basement. A rectangular manse is attached to the right with a narrow, projecting rear range. The church’s west front faces true south and this liturgical orientation is used in the following description. The pair of buildings front Warwick Road, where their entrances are located. EXTERIOR Church: double-height and raised up on a basement with a three stage tower; a stone band separates the main body of the building from the semi-basement. Openings are mostly round-headed except those to the semi-basement which are flat-arched and all are fitted with lozenge-shaped leaded glass.
The main (liturgical west) elevation has a gabled right bay with a central entrance with moulded intrados and a hoodmould with decorative stops. Double wooden doors are inset and have ornate strap hinges. To the right is a single light and above is a stepped three-light west window with hoodmould and stops. At the apex there is a three-sided opening fitted with louvres and the semi-basement is lit by flat-arched windows. The left bay comprises a square, buttressed tower of three stages, each separated by a string course. The tower has a single narrow light to its lower stage and smaller paired lights to the central stage with a lozenge above formerly enclosing a clock, now removed and blocked with stone. The upper stage belfry has a recessed square panel containing a three-light louvred window and there is a castellated parapet above; small stones at each corner locate the former positions of spirelets. A set of steps bounded by a low wall with square coping and replaced metal railings, crosses the lower stage of the tower giving access to the main door of the church,
The left return has five bays, four of these lit by narrow, full height lights alternating with buttresses; beneath one of these there is an entrance to the semi-basement, the others having square-headed windows lighting the basement and projecting above street level. The fifth bay comprises the tower, which is similarly detailed to that of the west elevation.
The rear (liturgical east) elevation is gabled and has a stepped three-light window lighting the chancel, and rectangular-headed windows lighting the semi-basement.
Manse: attached to the right of the church the manse has two bays and two storeys plus attic and basement. All windows are fitted with uPVC replacements as is the main entrance. The left gabled bay has a triple-height canted bay window, the upper two windows having chamfered mullions and adorned with decorative stone animal heads; there is also a decorative moulded parapet pierced by various motifs. Paired rectangular windows light the attic, with a pointed-arched dripmould over, infilled with diaper brickwork. There is a large chimney stack to the left gable. The right bay contains a moulded round-headed entrance with narrow red sandstone columns and floriated capitols; it has a pointed-arched stone surround of alternating red and yellow sandstone with a floral boss at the apex and a pointed-arch hoodmould over with floral stops. The inset door has an original fanlight over, and above is a single round-arched window with brick surround and central floral boss with similar hoodmould.
INTERIOR Church: the main entrance opens into a rectangular vestibule with side walls formed by full-height timber and stained glazed screens comprising a Romanesque and a Gothic arcade and an elaborate First World War memorial forming the north wall (described below). To either side is a stair hall housing a cantilevered winder stair to the gallery with a ramped and wreathed handrail and ornate cast-iron balusters. A pair of four-panel doors give access to the body of the church. The four-bay nave has wainscoted walls, plainly painted above with any adornment saved for the east end. The three-light east window is highlighted internally by plasterwork, comprising engaged columns, hood mould and bosses, and below there is a blind arcade with identical detailing. The raised dais remains, and has been extended over the original wooden step preserved beneath. A highly detailed pipe organ stands to the right with an integral narrow stair to the attached manse. The west window has a central floral motif to each of its three lights. An original gallery around three sides is supported on slender cast-iron fluted Tuscan columns with carved geometric gallery fronts and cornice. The slender columns rise through the gallery to support a false triforium of paired Romanesque arches, divided into eight bays by the polygonal ribs of the boarded wagon roof. The gallery walls have simple wainscoting. The semi-basement, accessed by a stone stair, comprises a large wainscoted hall and numerous cast-iron columns supporting the church floor above. Smaller service rooms are reached through original four-panel doors.
War memorial: a square, three-bay structure said to comprise eighteen separate varieties of colourful and polished marble. The upper parts are of a pinkish-grey marble and the lower parts have a geometric pattern of white, pink and mauve marble with a central lozenge; the memorial is flanked by grey marble panels. The left and right hand bays have central marble plaques commemorating the nineteen men of the parish who lost their lives in ‘The Great War’; the plaques have a decorative border and a gold frieze of green leaves and red berries. The slightly projecting centre bay is flanked by green marble columns with floriated capitols supporting a round-headed parapet with a sunburst centre-piece of white, green, red and gold marble pieces. The central marble plaque has similar detailing to the others and commemorates the life of Howie Boyd, long-term Minister of the church.
Manse: entered through the main front door into a vestibule with cornice and through a timber and glazed screen of geometric design into the rectangular stair hall, the latter also with cornice and stair arch on scrolled brackets and original doors and architraves. A pair of reception rooms to the left of the hall have been combined into a single space, but both retain original panel doors, cornices, ceiling roses, deep skirtings and chimneypieces; stairs from the front room lead through the west wall into the church. At the rear of the hall, a straight flight of stairs leads down to a basement front room with fireplace removed, and there are inserted toilet facilities to the rear. Rooms to the rear service range are plain. The lower flight of the dog leg stair, formerly open, has been enclosed by light partitions; the stair has turned balusters and ornate newel posts with foliated finials and the first floor landing has a recessed open cupboard. The four first floor bedrooms have six-panel doors, plain cornices, skirtings and original chimney pieces. The stair continues to the second, attic floor with a geometric balustrade and lit by a large roof light. Three further small bedrooms each have an identical small cast-iron chimneypiece and grate.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.