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Church of St Michael, Winchester

Description: Church of St Michael

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 24 March 1950
English Heritage Building ID: 144788

OS Grid Reference: SU4802728924
OS Grid Coordinates: 448027, 128924
Latitude/Longitude: 51.0577, -1.3161

Locality: Winchester
Local Authority: Winchester City Council
County: Hampshire
Country: England
Postcode: SO23 9JE

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Listing Text


(Formerly listed as:

Former parish church, now serving as a chapel to Winchester College. C15 tower; nave walls appear substantially medieval. Altered and extended 1822 by Martin Filer of Winchester. Further remodelling c.1882 by William Butterfield, including reseating, rebuilding of chancel, addition of SW porch, organ chamber and vestry. Vestry extended 1898 (date on hopper-head).

MATERIALS: Tower and nave in flint and rubble with stone dressings; course of red bricks below eaves of nave; late-C19 additions faced in flint with stone dressings and chequerwork to gables; clay tile roof with ridge cresting.

PLAN: Nave, SE chancel and W tower. The broad proportions of the nave, and odd alignment of the tower and chancel at S side, are explained below. NE organ chamber and vestry. NW organ chamber and vestry. SW porch.

EXTERIOR: Perpendicular tower with heavy offset diagonal buttresses and low pyramidal roof. W window of ground stage has paired uncusped lights set within a broad two-centred arched head. Ringing stage lit by narrow window on W and S sides. Bell chamber has plain square-headed two-light windows in each side. In S wall is a small doorway with a two-centred head.
Nave windows c.1500 but much restored in C19, with paired cinquefoiled lights within square head. E window on N wall has reset head-stops. W window is a C19 insertion. Broad offset buttress between windows on N wall. In centre of S wall is a medieval scratch dial or mass clock. Stone tablet records repair and enlargement of church in 1822. Numerous C18 and C19 memorials are set in nave walls. Shallow porch has lateral buttresses, gable with open sexfoil roundel, a three-centred arch and door with decorative hingework.

Chancel has E window with geometrical tracery, flanked by offset buttresses. S wall has three two-light Decorated-style traceried windows.

INTERIOR: Medieval double-chamfered tower arch. Holy water stoup adjacent to door. Nave has a broad, elliptical-profile plaster ceiling with a central cast-iron ventilation grille. N side of chancel has arch to organ chamber, adjacent to which, at lower level, is the eastern respond and part of the arch-springer of the E bay of a nave arcade, envisaged in the 1882 works by Butterfield but never completed. Chancel has ceiled wagon roof with brattished wallplate; the main transverse ribs are cusped, and doubled above the sanctuary rail. Coloured and patterned tile floor laid in complex design. Vestry also has a elaborate tile floor.

FITTINGS AND MONUMENTS: C15 stone font has octagonal bowl carved with quatrefoils, a cylindrical stem and a moulded octagonal base. Nave bench ends with complex shouldered profile. Polygonal timber pulpit with memorial date of 1909 has traceried panels and carved relief figure of St Michael. Choir stalls have shaped ends and open-traceried frontals. Altar rail with traceried balustrade. Sanctuary has reredos with three cusped and traceried stone-framed panels inset with coloured tile patterns. Central panel has integral white marble cross and inset marble roundels.

There are a number of wall tablets dating from the C17, C18 and C19. Of particular note is a marble memorial on the nave S wall, dated 1675, commemorating seven of the children of Henry and Anne Beeston, six of whom died at the age of seven; it is carved accordingly with seven skulls.

HISTORY: The Church of St Michael-without-Kingsgate is recorded in the register of John of Pontoise, Bishop of Winchester 1282-1304. The church was also known as St Michael-in-the-Soke, the eastern suburb of the medieval city. Some fifty churches and chapels existed in Winchester before 1300; by the C18 eight medieval parish churches remained, of which six still survive. St Michael's became redundant in the 1970s, after which it was acquired by Winchester College.

Plans of 1822 show that the existing church had a N aisle of equal width to the nave. A five-bay arcade bisected the church, and the chancel was located in the SE bay. The sanctuary was interrupted by the eastern bay of the arcade. This suggests that an earlier chancel had been demolished, and that the chancel was relocated into the nave. The nave arcade was demolished in 1822 and the entire space ceiled over, creating a late-Georgian 'preaching box'. A centrally-placed, rectangular chancel was added with vestry on the S side; this plan corresponds with the footprint shown on the 1871 OS map. Although the S wall of the nave is marked on the 1822 plans as 'new' this was evidently not the case, but a central entrance was added while the existing SW doorway was blocked. Butterfield's plan of 1882 shows that a small section of the E end was demolished to accommodate a longer chancel; the 1822 doorway was blocked and the SW entrance reinstated. A new N aisle, narrower than the original, aligned with the N wall of the chancel, was envisaged, but only the eastern pier is shown on the plan; the remainder was never completed.

Lambeth Palace Library, Incorporated Church Building Society, plans dated 1821-7 and 1882-3 showing proposed alterations
Victoria County History: A History of the County of Hampshire: Vol 5 (1912). 69-76
Thompson, P. William Butterfield (1971).

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The former parish church of St Michael, Winchester, is listed Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural: of more than special interest as a church with a significant proportion of medieval fabric, and for additions c.1882 by William Butterfield, a leading architect of the Victorian Gothic Revival
* Fittings: including C15 font, wall tablets dating from the C17-C19, including a distinctive memorial of 1675, and chancel fittings by Butterfield including a good reredos
* Historic interest: as the parish church of the Soke, an early suburb of Winchester, England's second capital city in the Middle Ages.

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.