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Church of the Holy Saviour, Westbury

Description: Church of the Holy Saviour

Grade: II
Date Listed: 29 December 1950
English Heritage Building ID: 313183

OS Grid Reference: ST8633450160
OS Grid Coordinates: 386334, 150160
Latitude/Longitude: 51.2504, -2.1972

Location: 1 Church Lane, Westbury BA13 3SF

Locality: Westbury
County: Wiltshire
Country: England
Postcode: BA13 3SF

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Listing Text


29-DEC-50 (Northwest side)

Dates of main phases, name of architect: Nave and chancel 1876-7; south aisle, 1888-9; tower 1890; all to designs by William White. Interior conversion by Peter Swann, 1999-2000.

Materials: Honey coloured limestone (rubble stone without, ashlar-faced within), tiled roofs.

Plan: Nave, two-bay chancel with narrow vestry and organ chamber (north), two-bay south aisle with tower at its west end. The south aisle is now partitioned off with kitchen etc., below and meeting room above.

Exterior: A small country church with short nave and south aisle, chancel slightly lower, and south porch. The tower is short with low buttresses south and west, and the upper parts unbutressed. It has louvred two-light bell openings, and a small pyramidal cap roof behind a solid parapet. The window tracery throughout the church is in mixed styles, some Perp but not following medieval precedent.

Interior: The open timber roof of the nave is a complex and a carefully considered variation on a tie-beam and scissor-brace design. The nave, which now serves as a community hall, is straightforward, with bare stone walls, and a two-arched arcade to the south aisle. Here, the arches die into the walls at the outside, and at the centre into a square pier resting in turn on a sturdy circular column with foliate capital. The mouldings and transitions are highly individual, and carefully managed. The moulded chancel arch springs from corbels. A new timber floor was laid in 1999-2000.

Principal Fixtures: Reredos (probably early 20th century) depicting the Crucifixion, in a gilded rectangular frame with arched centre. The chancel seating consists of Victorian open benches, shortened from the original nave pews. 19th century stained glass in the east window and nave, maker unknown. The reordering removed the wooden pulpit, stone font, nave and aisle seating. Two simple war memorial tablets on the nave north wall, one of marble, c. 1919, one of cut stone, c. 1945. Stained and painted partitions and folding doors divide the south aisle and chancel from the nave.

History: Until the 1850s Westbury Leigh was served by two Baptist chapels, while Anglicans travelled either to Westbury parish church or to Dilton Marsh. From 1855 church services were held in a schoolroom. By 1875 plans were drawn up by William H. White (though Pevsner and Cherry say that White made plans as early as 1851, citing P. Joyce) and fundraising began in 1876. The church cost £2,584 and was opened on Advent Sunday 1877 as a chapel of ease to Westbury parish church. The chancel and nave were completed first. The south aisle was added in 1888-9; White¿s plans submitted to the Incorporated Church Building Society at that time are dated April 1875, proving that the aisle was intended from the first, and showing the outline of a north aisle that was never built. The tower was added in 1890 by Mrs Phipps as a memorial to her husband, Leckonby Hathersall Phipps. By the 1990s the church was cold, damp and underused. A community-led millennium project converted the nave, aisle and tower to a community centre, with the chancel retained as a place of worship. The plans were by Peter Swann, a retired local architect.

William White (1825-1900) was a leading architect of the Victorian
Gothic Revival. Born in Northamptonshire, he was a great-nephew of the
naturalist Gilbert White of Selborne. He trained in Leamington Spa
under D.G. Squirhill and in 1845-7 was an assistant to George Gilbert Scott. He then set up independently in Truro and became highly successful as a church architect in the south-west. He returned to London in 1852 on the strength of the commission for All Saints, Notting Hill. White was a friend of the pioneering Gothic revivalists, G.E. Street and G.F. Bodley, and an exponent of High Victorian Gothic which he helped develop in the1850s and 1860s, making much use of brick and polychrome. He was also interested in technical innovation and experimented with concrete in the early 1870s. He was closely involved with the Ecclesiological Society, developing his own theories of design proportion and a general concern for the proper arrangement of churches. He also built schools, parsonages and country houses.

Pevsner, N and Cherry, B., The Buildings of England: Wiltshire (1975)
Victoria County History: A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 8: Warminster, Westbury and Whorwellsdown Hundreds (1965), 176-181.
URL: Date accessed: 07 July 2009.

Reasons for Designation: The church of Holy Saviour, Westbury Leigh, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* A Victorian country church by William White, a significant architect of the Gothic Revival.

* Simple and harmonious treatment of Gothic motifs, with considered touches of individuality that set it well above the run of the mill.

* In spite of recent sub-division, the interior retains its spatial quality and interest.

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.