Roman Catholic Church of St James, Bartestree
Description: Roman Catholic Church of St James
Date Listed: 11 October 1985
English Heritage Building ID: 154864
OS Grid Reference: SO5684540595
OS Grid Coordinates: 356845, 240595
Latitude/Longitude: 52.0620, -2.6309
Location: 41 Frome Park, Bartestree, County of Herefordshire HR1 4DX
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SO 54 SE BARTESTREE
765/2/6 Roman Catholic Church of
Church of a Roman Catholic parish, now disused. 1869-70, but reusing a considerable amount of medieval (c1400) material, see History. Architect not certain, but was probably Edward Welby Pugin, as with the adjoining convent, and built in 1863. Built of squared, coursed, near ashlar, buff and pink sandstone which appears to be mostly reused medieval stonework, tiled roof. Early Perpendicular style with the main windows transitional from Late Decorated. Single cell building oriented north-south with an entrance porch on the north gable. The west wall is attached to the convent proper which is separately listed (qv Convent of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge).
Exterior: The north (entrance) elevation has a lean-to porch with the door facing east. Diagonal corner buttresses. The gable has a 2-light Decorated window with cusped heads to the lights. Quatrefoil in the arched head, dripmould with carved stops over all, this window appears medieval. The east end has a Perpendicular doorway with hollow chamfer surround and a C15 panelled door with studs. The west end facing the convent has a 2-light window with a flat head and cusped heads to the light. This window is repeated in the main gable facing north avobe the entrace where a large window has been constucted of two more such windows making 4-lights with a third 2-light one above them, all appear medieval. Coped gable with gable cross. The east elevation has four taller windows which match each other but are not spaced equally (see History). Taller pointed arched windows each with two cinquefoil headed lights and an elongated sexfoil above. Continuous dripmould. Again all these windows appear to be medieval. The south gable elevation has a 3-light window with cusped head in the gable above. Cross base at gable apex. The west elevation which adjoins the convent is featureless apart from the porch window described above.
Interior: Single cell interior with small chancel and a large arched recess on the west wall which goes into the convent building. The porch has a timber vaulted roof. The chapel has two quite distinct roofs. The chancel has a 3-bay early C15 oak roof with two tiers of cusped windbraces. The north (west) end has a plain, probably C16 roof of fourteen close set arch braced collar trusses. The window reveals nearly all demonstrate a medieval origin. C15 type timber chancel screen now placed on either side of the entrance. A fine stone altar and reredos of 1869 probably by Edward Welby Pugin, with statues under niches of St. Francis de Sales, St. Jean Frances de Chantal, St. Teresa and St. Anne, and one other saint, a six niche reredos with angels, central niche formerly containing the tabernacle currently vandalised, two fixed piscinas in the east wall. Various memorials to the Phillips family including two memorial brasses fixed on the wall probably by Hardman and Co. of Birmingham. There are two standing marble figures, one, a mourning angel with a scroll standing on a bracket beneath a nodding arch stone niche in an elaborate C14 style, and one in a timber one. These are to Robert Biddulph Phillips died 1864, his wife died 1852 and his daughter Mary Anne died 1858, all are buried in the chapel. The glass in the south (east) window is by Hardman and Co. With good figure drawing and bright Victorian colours.
History: The story of this chapel is a complicated one which clearly has been wrongly reported in the past. The building, or parts of it, stood first at Old Longworth where it was the private chapel of the manor house. It is reported to have been built in c1390 and certainly the surviving features suggest a possible date of about then or a bit later. After the Reformation the chapel fell out of use and the manor house moved away, with the old buildings becoming a farm. By the C17 the chapel had been downgraded to agricultural purposes, including cider making. A drawing of 1792 shows it to have been one section of a partly timber framed range, which then survived apparently fairly unchanged until the mid C19. The owner at that time, Robert Biddulph Phillips, converted to Catholicism and decided to restore the chapel, which he did in 1851; and before and after photographs survive of this phase. In 1863 he founded the Convent of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge at Bartestree for his daughter. Phillips died in 1864 and was buried in his hapel at Longworth, but his will expressed a determination to move the chapel next to the convent which was achieved in 1869-70. It is evident, however, from the pictures available that the chapel as reconstructed is very different from its original form. The photographs show the north wall of the old chapel with only two of the 2-light windows. The other two windows must come from the south wall, and this also explains why the early C15 type roof is only over a part of the present church, the second roof presumably being a domestic one from Longworth. The east wall appears in the photographs as now, but the origin of the other apparently medieval windows remains uncertain though they too presumably come from the demolished building at Old Longworth. Today's building is thus clearly not a medieval building carefully dismantled and re-erected on a new site, but a Victorian interpretation of a medieval building using high quality medieval material. This radical re-design, probably by Edward Welby Pugin, which demonstrates very clearly the confidence of the better Victorian architects in their approach both to their own work and to medieval buildings. It merits Grade II* for this very unusual quality, together with its historic interest as a chapel used only for Roman Catholic worship over a period of some six hundred years.
Listing NGR: SO5684540595
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.