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Church of St Bartholomew, Herne Bay

Description: Church of St Bartholomew

Grade: II
Date Listed: 14 May 1976
English Heritage Building ID: 170722

OS Grid Reference: TR1902567818
OS Grid Coordinates: 619025, 167818
Latitude/Longitude: 51.3672, 1.1451

Location: King Edward Avenue, Canterbury, Kent CT6 6EB

Locality: Herne Bay
Local Authority: Canterbury City Council
County: Kent
Country: England
Postcode: CT6 6EB

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Listing Text


Designed 1908, begun 1913 or 1915, consecrated 1932 but still not completed. Architect: W D Caröe.

MATERIALS: English bond brown brick with tiled arches. Shingled spirelet. Clay-tiled roofs

PLAN: Nave, chancel, four-bay S aisle with SW porch, NE organ chamber and vestries, incomplete W tower. SE Lady Chapel never built.

EXTERIOR: The style of the church is freely-treated Gothic. The S side is the show front and has a buttressed S aisle with a catslide roof continuous with that of the nave: the buttresses project through the roof. Each bay has triple lancet windows with shallow cusped heads, recessed under very flat segmental arches with tiled heads. The S porch has one buttress and a splayed E doorway with an outer and inner segmental tiled arched head. Its S face has a quirky display of a brick quatrefoil frieze and further quatrefoil decoration in the gable along with a built-in cross. At the junction of the nave and chancel a shingled, louvred spirelet which straddles the roof ridge. The yellow brick at the E end of the aisle and the S wall of the chancel indicates the location of the intended Lady Chapel. There are small high-set lancets in the chancel S wall and five grouped lancets to the E window which is in a splayed recess. The N side of the nave is less richly decorated but also has buttresses projecting through the roof and lancet windows in pairs in each bay recessed behind tiled arches. There is a formidable buttressed two-storey organ chamber with a hipped roof with gablet, a brick quatrefoil frieze and a five-light ground-floor window with two glazed slit windows above. Vestries are sited in the angle between the organ chamber and the chancel. At the W end the nave roof extends over the top of the lower parts of what was intended to be the tower. This has a gabled block at the base with a W-end doorway between buttresses and a good two-leaf studded, panelled door. The N and S walls rise above the gabled roof as deep brick cheeks to a belfry that is open on the W face.

INTERIOR: The walls are plastered and have decorative brick friezes in the chancel (below the clerestory) and nave (below the eaves). The nave arcades are tall and rise to the frieze just below the eaves: the arches are turned with buff tiles with a red-brick soffit. The chancel arch, on the other hand is constructed simply of unmoulded red brick. In the nave the roof is of crown-post and tie-beam construction and boarded above. The tie-beams are supported on massive moulded stone corbels which in turn are carried down in wall-shafts to below the springing of the arches. The chancel roof is a boarded timber tunnel-vault with two tie-beams and a panelled ceilure with moulded ribs and carved bosses. On the S side of the chancel are four quatrefoils below the frieze with relief sculptures of the Evangelists. There are blocked arches to the proposed Lady Chapel. On the N wall of the chancel the first floor organ chamber is cantilevered out in the centre over am ashlar recess. The aisle roof is an eccentric design with tie-beams with posts and up-braces to the purlins and down-braces to the ties

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: In the chancel there are stone sedilia, a piscina and aumbry with idiosyncratic decoration. The wooden drum pulpit is a conventional piece with linenfold panels. The font has a plain octagonal bowl and marble shafts to the base, a conventional design which suggests reuse rather than executed in the early C20. The seating in the nave and chancel dates from the late C20.

HISTORY: St Bartholomew's church was built to serve the needs of the expanding population of early C20 eastern Herne Bay. Although the church was designed in 1908, building did not begin for several years. Both Newman and Freeman (probably following Newman) stated this was in 1913 but the foundation stone clearly states All Saints Day [1 November] 1915, which, being well into the First World War, is an unusual date for church-building in this country (but cf Temple Moore¿s St Augustine, Gillingham, also in Kent, of 1915-16). Worked continued until 1931 but the church has never been finished. Freeman described it as 'light-hearted'.
William Douglas Caröe (1857-1938) was a leading church architect at the end of the C19 and in the early C20. He was articled to Edmund Kirby of Liverpool in 1879-80 but transferred his articles in 1881 to the great Gothic revivalist, J L Pearson, until 1883. He travelled extensively on the continent in 1877-82 before setting up in practice in London in 1883 after which he developed a prolific church-building and restoration practice and became architect to the deans and chapters of Southwell, Hereford, Brecon and Exeter. He was architect to the Charity Commission and from 1895 to the Ecclesiastical Commission. Caröe is noted for his freely-treated and often eccentric treatment of the Gothic style. His work at St Bartholomew's certainly fits this category with much highly inventive detail.

John Newman, The Buildings of England: North East and East Kent, 1983, p 349.
Jennifer Freeman, W D Caröe: his Architectural Achievement, 1990, p 66.
Antonia Brodie et al., Directory of British Architects 1834-1914, vol 1, 2001, pp 335-6.

The church of St Bartholomew, Herne Bay, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is a good example of free, inventive Gothic architecture by a leading church architect of the early C20 and showing typical characteristics of his work.
* It has a number of interesting and distinctive fixtures, showing Caroe's exploration of Northern Gothic and folk art motifs.

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.