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Church of Saint Swithin, Barston

Description: Church of Saint Swithin

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 8 September 1961
English Heritage Building ID: 218067

OS Grid Reference: SP2074478011
OS Grid Coordinates: 420744, 278011
Latitude/Longitude: 52.3997, -1.6965

Location: Barston Lane, Solihull B92 0JS

Locality: Barston
County: Solihull
Country: England
Postcode: B92 0JS

Incorrect location/postcode? Submit a correction!

There is also a scheduled monument, Churchyard Cross in St Swithin's Churchyard, at the same location as this building or very close to it. This may be related in some way or possibly a different name for the same structure.

Listing Text


732/17/190 BARSTON LANE
08-SEP-61 (South side)

Village church on the site of a medieval church. Rebuilt 1721 in a classical style, following a severe fire. It was Gothicised in the late 1890s (reopened 1900) including some refenestration, and the vestry and north porch were added. In addition some minor re-ordering in 1980.

MATERIALS: Flemish bond red brick on a low sandstone plinth with stone dressings including rusticated stone quoins and a moulded stone eaves cornice. The roofs are tiled; with concrete tiles to the nave and chancel.

PLAN: It comprises a west tower, nave, chancel, north porch and south east vestry/organ chamber.

EXTERIOR: The 1721 windows and doors are round-headed with keyblocks and moulded jambs. The chancel retains its round-headed east window and a blank bull's eye window above it in the low-pitched gable-head, but the early-C18 side windows are infilled up and replaced by pairs of late-C19 lancet windows. The nave also has circa 1890s windows: two-light with decorated tracery. The C18th north doorway has stone pilastered jambs, square imposts, and a round head with a key-block. The south doorway is infilled by a brick heating chimney stack associated with the heating system. The gabled north porch of the 1890s has angle buttresses with deep set-offs, a tall, chamfered outer doorway and a cross on the gable. The west tower has similar but narrower west and east (internal) doorways, and side windows to the lower storey with moulded architraves, plain imposts, and round heads. It is uninterrupted by string courses or platbands with a tall brick parapet with pilasters. The rusticated quoins extend through the parapet. The upper half of the tower is of later C18 date than the rest. The belfry windows have plain stonework. A stair-vice projects in the north-east angle. Above the west doorway is a stone plaque on the tower carries an inscription which, although now illegible, is recorded as `This church nearly destroyed was rebuilt by the generous help of this county AD 1721. Thomas Fisher'. There is a clock face on the north face of the tower. The 1890s gabled south vestry is of red brick with flush stone quoins and a shouldered west doorway.

INTERIOR: The interior space is simply decorated. There was originally a gallery at the west end of the nave which was removed during the late-C19 restoration. The 1890s chamfered chancel arch rests on carved corbels, decorated with foliage, berries and acorns, with a hoodmould. The nave and chancel roofs are probably 1721; exposed and decorated in the 1890s. The nave roof of five bays divided by king post trusses with a lattice of infill timbers; the chancel roof includes some trefoil-headed arches. The roofs are now boarded behind. The tower has a rounded internal north east stair turret that also gave access to the former west gallery. The belfry stage of the tower is supported on probably C18 timbers including some recycled timber.

FITTINGS: Communion rails with twisted balusters, probably 1721; altar table made up of C17 woodwork with later timber top; 1754 wall monument to the Fisher family with a touching Latin inscription; and box pews with shaped ends and doors. The polygonal timber pulpit and a mid-C19 font are both designed by Dudley Male of Birmingham. The font has a stone bowl decorated with sunk quatrefoils on a stem decorated with trefoil-headed arches. The stained glass includes a good 1869 east window, a 1970 nave window signed E Whitford and A N Y Oxall which includes farming scenes, and a 2000 millennium window with scenes from the parish.

HISTORY: Barston was formerly a chapelry of the ecclesiastical parish of Berkswell. In the early-C18 the original church at Barston, also dedicated to St Swithin, suffered a severe fire and was replaced by the present church, in 1721. It was restored in 1897.

REASON FOR DESIGNATION DECISION: The Church of St Swithin is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* An early-C18 parish church on the site of a medieval church which underwent modest restoration in the last decade of the C19
* It is an unusually intact example of a small church of this period which saw relatively few new churches built.
* It retains significant Georgian fabric in a classical style
* Many good quality fittings including a communion rail of 1721 and Gothic furnishings from the late-C19 restoration
* Strong group value with the other listed buildings in Barston, including a medieval churchyard cross and the C18 vicarage

SOURCES: L. F. Salzman ed., A History of the County of Warwickshire (1947), pp. 21-4
N. Pevsner and A. Wedgewood, Warwickshire - The Buildings of England (1966), pp. 86

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.