If you log in, you can comment on buildings, submit new photos or update photos that you've already submitted.
Description: Church of Ss Mary and Thomas a Becket
Date Listed: 21 May 1987
English Heritage Building ID: 155660
OS Grid Reference: SO5042930522
OS Grid Coordinates: 350429, 230522
Latitude/Longitude: 51.9710, -2.7230
MUCH BIRCH CP -
SO 53 SW
5/64 Church of SS Mary and
Thomas a Becket
Parish church. 1837 with later vestry. By Thomas Foster. Early Gothic
Revival style. Squared sandstone and sandstone ashlar with Welsh slate
roofs. West tower, four-bay nave, one-bay chancel and south vestry.
Tower has four stages with advanced embattled parapets on corbel table.
Full-height clasping buttresses and steeply gabled angle buttresses to
north-west and south-west corners. Each face of top stage has three deeply
recessed chamfered lancets with continuous label and stops. Shallow third
stage has clock face in moulded roundel to north side. Second stage has a
tall central lancet with label and stops to north, west and south sides.
West side of ground stage has lancet with label and foliated stops. South
side has similar feature blocked by memorial plaque. North doorway has
continuously chamfered arch with two-centred head, label and foliated stops.
Door has vertical fillets, strap hinges and a second set of central hinges.
Nave has four tall chamfered lancets with moulded labels and foliated stops
to both side walls. Gabled angle buttresses and corbelled eaves cornice.
Kneelers to verges. Chancel is lower but with similar buttresses and eaves
details. Its north side has a deeply moulded niche with trefoiled head and
continuous roll moulding ending in pendants to each jamb below projecting part-
octagonal cill. Roll moulded label is stopped by imposts. East elevation has
three stepped chamfered lancets, the central one wider than the pair. Contin-
uous label and two foliated stops. Low gable runs into horizontal coping above
very large kneelers. To left is two-centred arch of vestry doorway which has
label and head stops. South elevation of vestry has one small chamfered lancet
with label and head stops. Interior of tower has cantilevered stone two-flight
stairs with rectangular-section spindles and hand rail in wrought iron. Cylin-
drical newel post. On east wall of tower are two small stone tablets for Titus
and Thomas Neve, died 1733 and 1736 respectively. Opposite is a donations board
to the poor of Much Birch. Doorway into nave has two-centred head and is
continuously and deeply chamfered. Two-leaved door has semi-circualr head and
fillets continuing into pointed typanum formed by soffit of arch. Chancel has
painted pointed barrel ceiling. Each side of the ceiling has a large painted
quatrefoil containing four cherubs floating amid clouds in a blue sky. Foliated
designs to outsides of main quatrefoils. East window has stained glass in
roundels with The Last Supper, Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane and The
Crucifixion. Inscription reads: BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD/ THIS DO IN REMEMBRANCE
OF ME. Mensa with consecration crosses and five supporting trefoiled ogee-
headed panels in oak. Early C19 seat with straight recessed mouchettes and
gabled back with rosettes. A second chair has scissor legs, twisted stretcher,
arm rests each with three drilled holes and back with nailheads to margins.
Chamfered two-centred chancel arch with continuous chamfers. Nave has plain
plaster ceiling. Fluted corbels with ball-pendants carry will-posts and arch
braces which disappear into the ceiling. Font is sandstone and octagonal.
Moulded base, stem with straight incised mouchettes to each side. Bowl
with curved undersize and rosettes. Frieze of bowl has inscription:
MDCCCXXXVII: DEO et eccles: Birchenis DD: et D John Dec;ber et anno sac
Oak cover in form of crocketted corona with ogeed heads and cross. Several
small wall monuments, mainly C19. In the centre of the north wall, one in
grey and white marble for Sarah Elliott, died 1825, has draped urn, cornice
and apron. Brass plaque on south wall.
Also marble plaque on west wall for the seven who fell in the First World War.
On north wall plaque for William Dyke and Dennis Creed, aged 20 and 17, drowned
in the River Wye in 1911. Pews and choir stalls in oak are largely C19. Quatre-
foil decoration. Benches have open cinquefoil motif. Communion table is C17 with
large turned legs and moulded rails, the side ones with characteristic frieze of
small round-headed niches. Organ, probably late C19, has exposed pipes and pine
ogeed panelling. Early C20 traceried oak pulpit. Chancel painting is said to be
the work, executed in 1942, of Italian prisoners of war. (BoE, p 257; RCHM, Vol I,
Listing NGR: SO5042930522
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.