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Church of St Gabriel, Westminster

Description: Church of St Gabriel

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 24 February 1958
English Heritage Building ID: 207492

OS Grid Reference: TQ2907578389
OS Grid Coordinates: 529075, 178389
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4897, -0.1422

Location: 27 Warwick Square, London SW1V 2AD SW1V 2AQ

Locality: Westminster
County: Greater London
Country: England
Postcode: SW1V 2AQ

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Listing Text

(South side)
Church of St Gabriel

Parish church, 1851-3, architect Thomas Cundy II (with his son, Thomas Cundy III), contractor Messrs John Kelk. Spire rebuilt and choir vestry added 1887 -88, architect J.P. St. Aubyn. Outer aisles, west porch and south-east chapel added 1896-97, architects Baker and Turrill, contractor John Thompson of Peterborough. Kentish Ragstone rubble, originally with Bath stone dressings and spire; dressings replaced and spire rebuilt in 'white' (presumably Portland) stone in 1887 -88. Blue Welsh slated roofs, lead flats over centre of outer aisles. 5-bay nave with clerestory, double aisles, the inner taller as lean-to's, the outer with individual gables bays. Lower, 3-bay chancel, gabled south-east chapel with polygonal apse against south chancel wall, gabled vestry to north, with taller gabled choir vestry beyond. South gabled porch, western gabled porch/narthex, north porch below south-west tower, with spire. Decorated Gothic style. Geometrical tracery to most windows. Simple 2-light clerestory windows with cusped heads and roundels, more elaborate tall 2-light windows in two stages, with flanking lancets, to outer aisles. Large 6-light west window with cusped quatrefoils, and upper circular light filled with cusped trefoils. Elaborate east window with curvilinear tracery, ogees and large roundel. Buttressed ashlar tower, with 2-lightly traceried louvered openings to belfry, octagonal pinnacles and parapet pierced with trefoils. Setback broach spire, with 3 tiers of lucarnes, and iron cross finial.
INTERIOR Generally in Decorated Gothic style, throughout. Arcaded narthex beneath west gallery, a rebuilt vestige of original galleries around 3 sides of nave (removed 1896-7), and occupying the sixth nave bay. Nave arcade tall, supported on slender clustered columns, with roll moulded capitals, and moulded arches. 2-light clerestory windows above centre of each bay. Elaborately carved foliated corbels (attributed to Samuel Cundy, nephew of Thomas Cundy) act as bases for the open timber roof structure above the nave, arch braced, with crown-posts above tie beams, trusses at bay and intermediate bay intervals. Inner and outer aisles separated by a lower version of the nave arcade; aisles roofed with wooden ribbed vaulting with boarded infill. Moulded chancel arch raised on tall, slender clustered columns. 3 bay chancel with painted, moulded-ribbed and panelled roof. South-east chapel, with moulded-ribbed and panelled roof, separated from chancel by broad arched opening.
Moulded arch, raised on corbelled colonettes, to polygonal, rib-vaulted, apse. FURNISHINGS
Chancel substantially reordered and embellished between 1890-97. Altar, designed by J F Bentley (1839-1902), dedicated 1890, mahogany, with carved panelled, painted and gilded frontal. Central panel shows Christ the King, flanked by SS Gabriel and Michael, outer panels three angels, all beneath ogee heads, against a gilded background. Reredos, chancel wall decoration, sedilia, communion rails, sanctuary and chancel paving, all part of a decorative scheme, costing o 1,400, paid for by Lord Edward Pelham-Clinton in memory of his wife, and carried out by James Powell and Company 1897. Reredos flanked by tall carved painted and gilded mahogany pinnacles, has broad panel, painted with the Crucifixion. Flanking panels on east wall, and return walls, in alabaster, with moulded ogee-arched frames, each containing a figure of a prophet, incised, coloured and highlighted with gilding, carried out in opus sectile. Frieze of angel heads, moulded cornice, and decorative parapet of richly carved stone poppy heads. Sedilia, triple seating niches, panelled and elaborately carved mahogany in flamboyant Gothic style with ogee heads and elaborate finials. Panel above arch to south-east chapel apse, Christ with the Doctors, coloured and gilded opus sectile, in moulded and carved alabaster frame, set in lower part of second window in south chancel wall. Sanctuary and chancel paving, marble altar steps, top white, inlaid with patterns, lower step red veined marble, paving red and white with patterns of squares and diamonds; similar paving throughout chancel. Communion rails, moulded hardwood top rail, on gilded metal railings with central gates. Scrollwork and modelled motifs representing the fruits of the earth and the vine, with pierced panels of lettering. Organ case, on north chancel wall immediately within chancel arch, 1892-3 attributed to Arthur Bloomfield, carried out by organ builder, James Binns. Elaborate carved and moulded hardwood, framing 2 stages of display pipes, mixed Gothic and Baroque motifs. Choir stalls, 1897, carved and moulded hardwood, with pierced arched frontals, and bench ends with carved poppy heads. Vicar's stall, 1897, by Bridgeman of Lichfield, moulded, panelled and pierced frontal, moulded and carved ends, with inset panel and elaborate poppy head finial. East window, 1896 by C.E. Kempe, S-light, 2 stages of figures, Christ in Majesty centre, surrounded by angels, apostles and Kings. South chancel window, 1896, b~ C. E. Kempe, 2-light nativity scene. (Chancel screen, 1898, low, scrolled ironwork, temporarily dismounted at time of inspection). South-east chapel, former flanking panels from east chancel wall reset against south wall, 1869, stone and mosaic, by Salvati. Four-arched arcade, originally set in pairs either side of original reredos. Niches with mosaic patternwork within gilded trellises, with figures of the apostles on a gold mosaic background above, arches raised on marble colonettes, carved cusped heads, with modelled-angels between, richly carved foliage above, and mosaic scrollwork between outer arch heads. Chapel screen, c.1897, iron with scrollwork, twists, central gates, ogee scrollwork traceried heads, and castellated scrollwork cornice. Pulpit, adjoining north reveal of chancel arch 1875, designed by J.P. St.Aubyn, moulded cream superstructure of brass posts and scrollwork, stone steps and brass handrail. Font, north bay of outer south aisle, c.1853 by Samuel Cundy, carved cream Bath stone, octagonal bowl with Celtic and fleur-de-lys motifs in relief, raised on central shaft with 8 colonettes with carved foliated capitals. HISTORY
In the early C19, Pimlico was part of the Parish of St George, Hanover Square, formed in 1725. The development of Belgravia, and subsequently Pimlico, by Thomas Cubitt, employed by the Grosvenor Family began in the 1820s and gathered momentum. In 1827, the Parish of St Peter, Pimlico, was created out of which St Gabriel, Warwick Square was carved in 1850. Private legislation, passed in 1850, provided that the new parish church would generate sufficient revenue from pew-rents to provide a repair fund, administrative expenses of the new parish, and a stipend of o600 for the incumbent. The cost of construction of the new church was partly raised by subscription, to which the Second Marquess of Westminster added o5000, of the total cost of o9360, and gave the freehold of the site. The church, which originally had galleries on three sides around the nave, initially seated 1150, and was consecrated on 12 May 1852, by Dr Blomfield, Bishop of London.
The architect, Thomas Cundy II (with his son Thomas Cundy III), designed five churches on the Belgravia and Pimlico estates of the Grosvenor Family, of which St Gabriel's was the third. They also designed many secular buildings on the estates; Thomas Cundy II was surveyor to the Grosvenor Estate for 41 years.
St Gabriel's was altered and embellished between 1890-97, reflecting the influence and patronage of leading parishioners. The new aisles were dedicated by the Bishop of London, Mr Frederick Temple, on 1 March 1897, and the newly decorated chancel furnishings were dedicated on Shrove Tuesday 1898. Little alteration has subsequently taken place, although the church suffered damage from a WWII flying bomb on 29 July 1944.
[N. Pevsner, rev. B. Cherry, 'London I' (1973) p 487;
A Saint, 'HBAC Churches Sub-Committee, Case Report' (November 1991); Rev. T.F. Shirley, 'The Story of St Gabriel's, Pimlico 1853-1953]

Listing NGR: TQ2907578389

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.