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Church of St Paul Including Attached Former Sunday Schoolroom, Spalding

Description: Church of St Paul Including Attached Former Sunday Schoolroom

Grade: I
Date Listed: 20 November 1975
English Heritage Building ID: 197312

OS Grid Reference: TF2614423802
OS Grid Coordinates: 526144, 323802
Latitude/Longitude: 52.7970, -0.1305

Location: Holbeach Road, Spalding, Lincolnshire PE11 2HT

Locality: Spalding
Local Authority: South Holland District Council
County: Lincolnshire
Country: England
Postcode: PE11 2HT

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Listing Text


20-NOV-1975 (North side)

(Formerly listed as:


Church with attached former Sunday schoolroom. 1877-1879 to the designs of Sir George Gilbert Scott, the building completed after Scott's death, in 1878, by his son John Oldrid Scott. Early English style. English bond red brick in various shades with Ancaster stone dressings, banding and a stone spire to the tower; lead roofs to the church, tiled roof to the former schoolroom. Plan of clerestoried nave with N and S aisles; NE organ chamber and vestry; SE chapel; SW porch and freestanding W tower connected to the nave by an arcaded walk. At the NE there is a corridor and loggia which forms the link between the church and a small schoolroom (now a kitchen), roofed on an EW axis.

EXTERIOR: This is very grand, both in scale and richness of architectural detail. Corbel tables to the eaves. Chancel with angle buttresses, a triple lancet E window and a quatrefoil in the gable; paired N and S lancets. Off the N side of the chancel a 2-storey transeptal organ chamber-cum-vestry block with a single storey N end lean-to. The nave has pilaster buttresses with stone set-offs and paired lancet windows to the clerestory. Triple lancet W window with two-tier shafts with arch rings and a pair of roundels over. Aisles with buttresses with canted corners and double-chamfered lancet windows. Big gabled S porch with clasping buttresses and a richly moulded arched outer doorway with orders of toothed, dogtooth and stiff-leaf carving, on shafts with moulded capitals. Lancets within shafted arcading to the sides. The inner doorway is more elaborately moulded with marble shafts and a good door with curly strap hinges. The W end of the nave is linked to the tower by a 3-bay arcaded walk with sprocketted eaves, moulded round-headed arches on clustered shafts and pointed sub-arches on a low brick and stone wall. The windows are similar in miniature to the nave arcades inside. Massive 4-stage W tower with big angle buttresses terminating in quatrefoil pinnacles with finials. The tower has lancet windows throughout, becoming more elaborately decorated to each stage, with a frieze of trefoil-headed arcading at the clock stage. The belfry windows are within richly moulded arcading with clustered shafts. Lombardic frieze below the spire, which is very tall with 3 tiers of lucarnes. On the N side a single-storey block links the organ chamber-cum vestry to a former schoolroom. The link block is open-fronted on the E side with timber posts on stone pads. The gabled schoolroom is roofed W/E and has three square-headed stepped W end windows and a gabled W end bellcote. Attached to the choir vestry at the north-east end of the church is the link corridor which leads to the school. This is a single-storey structure and is of similar red brick to the church but has a tiled roof. Access from the church is gained externally through a three bay loggia supported on simple square section timber piers with angled struts. The first bay is enclosed with an open iron screen of plain design. Behind the loggia, there are two rooms, now used as toilets, a kitchen and the single schoolroom. This is expressed externally as a gabled wing at right angles to the link block with a bellcote on the west gable. The gabled wing has a triple flat-headed window to the east and west elevations, the central part of greater height, and the whole of that to west still with diamond shaped small panes. The box section cast iron gutters have a swirling vine pattern. C20 prefabricated extension on the end of the schoolroom.

INTERIOR: The interior is plastered and has banded white and red Ancaster stone dressings. Instead of strong red brick, there is a subtle colour scheme, the alternating bands of Ancaster stone complementing each other in a way that achieves a polychromatic effect without the harshness of much C19 constructional polychromy. The two shades of stone of the arcade and other arches are placed irregularly, thus subtly avoiding the effect of a dead pattern, the horizontal bands within the arcade arches being the only element of fixed banding. The six-bay nave is divided with three principal semicircular arches which are then subdivided into six smaller pointed arches. The piers of the principal arches are in the form of Greek crosses with detached shafts within the curved angle of the cross while the latter are round piers. The spandrel between each pair of arches is pierced with a quatrefoil opening. The broad and richly decorated triple chamfered chancel arch has roll mouldings and carved label stops, that on the north side depicting Bishop Christopher Wordsworth who dedicated the church. There are bell capitals to the nave piers and there is extensive stiff leaf carving by Farmer & Brindley to those of the chancel arch and the shafts of the roof struts. Deep splayed jambs to the nave windows have shafts attached by a fine fillet of stone. The paired clerestory windows are set back in deep splayed jambs with a detached arcade forming the internal arch. The east and west windows too have attached shafts. Although the nave is tall, it is saved from being barn-like by the rich design of the roof where the combination of crown posts, tie-beams and twin curved struts visibly hold the composition together. These struts spring from wall posts rising from stone shafts supported on carved stone corbels. The crown posts have 4-way bracing. The chancel roof has one crown post truss with tracery infill between the tie and brace. The roof is ceiled with a keeled boarded wagon divided into panels by moulded ribs. Wallplate with an arcaded frieze. The E and W windows have tiered internal shafts with arch rings and the N and S chancel windows have detached inner shafts. A piscina and sedilia are set in the south wall of the chancel. The altar table is of oak topped with a slab of Mansfield Woodhouse stone and raised seven steps above the nave, the steps within the sanctuary being of polished grey fossil marble. The remainder of the sanctuary floor is of patterned encaustic tiles. The organ by Forster & Andrews of Hull is located on the north side of the chancel. Choir stalls with shaped ends and buttressed bookrests with trefoil-headed arcading. Polygonal timber pulpit by Farmer & Brindley on a carved polygonal stone base. The sides of the pulpit have octagonal timber shafts to recessed panels with pierced decoration and carved panels below. There are flower motifs in the lower panels and circular laurel devices in the upper. The pulpit has a fine iron stair balustrade with curly brackets and a brass handrail. The ironwork of the high quality low chancel screen and gates with cresting as well as the pulpit handrail is by Skidmore. The font is square with panels containing foliage motifs, and is of Mansfield Woodhouse stone on Purbeck marble shafts and is similar in form to that in Lincoln Cathedral. The pews and choir stalls are in oak, and are open-backed. As befits the decorative scheme of the church, the pews are more elaborate than those in many of Scott's churches and have richly shaped ends.

Tinted 'cathedral' glass is fitted throughout other than in the east windows which were reglazed in 1968 with clear glass and in the east Lady Chapel, furnished in 1948, where there is a stained glass east window of the Virgin Mary and stained glass in the three side windows.
The vestry and choir vestry retain their original cupboards and lockers and stone fireplaces and the schoolroom a stone fireplace.

This church together with its attached and integral Sunday schoolroom was built in 1877-9 as part of a single large project together with the vicarage, which is some 10 metres away across the vicarage garden. All were designed by one of the foremost architects of the C19, Sir George Gilbert Scott, and they are one of his last works as he died in 1878 as they were being built. The construction was completed by his son, John Oldrid Scott, himself a distinguished architect. The buildings were paid for by a local lady, Miss Charinton, but a major player was the Vicar of Spalding, Canon Edward Moore, who had earlier commissioned from Scott not only the restoration of the parish church and the Church of St Peter (demolished 1968) in Spalding but also the restoration of Crowland Abbey. Canon Moore was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and had joined the Spalding Gentlemen's Club, one of the oldest antiquarian societies in the country in 1834, becoming its President in 1872. He was an enthusiast for architecture particularly, it seems, the Early English style. It is reported that Miss Charinton paid for the work (total cost £30,000 together with an endowment of £300 a year)with an eye to her nephew becoming the first Vicar. He did so, and as well as being Vicar was a distinguished scholar. The Rev. Richard Guy Ash (1848-1935) was appointed Vicar of St. Paul's in 1878, became Professor of English History at Aberystwyth in 1879, and remained at St. Paul's until his death (a tenure of 55 years from the date of opening of the church).


*This church together with its integral Sunday schoolroom, and the vicarage, were designed by one of the foremost architects of the C19, Sir George Gilbert Scott. They are one of his last works and display his mastery of design.

* The architectural design and execution of both the fabric and the fittings are to an extremely high and exceptional standard.

* There have been no significant changes to the church since its construction and it is in a remarkably original condition.

*St Paul's should be seen within the context of a complete group of high quality buildings by Scott, each carefully designed to relate to each other, which is an exceptional feature of the architectural effect.

John Minnis, Report on St Paul's and its vicarage for English Heritage, April 2007.
Pevsner, Lincolnshire, 1989 edn., 673.

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.