Description: Church of St John
Date Listed: 26 November 1976
English Heritage Building ID: 314023
OS Grid Reference: ST8425956345
OS Grid Coordinates: 384259, 156345
Latitude/Longitude: 51.3060, -2.2272
970/13/270 FROME ROAD
26-NOV-76 WHITE ROW HILL
CHURCH OF ST JOHN
By William H. Wilkins and C.E. Giles, 1852-4. Transepts and reordering by Terence Hopegood of Wyvern Partnership, Devizes, 1979.
Materials: Victorian parts of limestone ashlar with clay tiled roofs. 1970s transepts of brown brick and bronzed glass with leaded roofs.
Plan: Four-bay nave with south porch, two bay chancel. Big square transeptal additions north and south, covering the west bay of the chancel and the east bay of the nave.
Exterior: The nave has a steeply pitched roof with a bellcote over the west gable. Tall narrow west window of two lights, with a sexfoil rose. Similar two-light side windows, set between stepped buttresses. The chancel is slightly lower, with a three-light Dec east window. The external appearance is dominated by the incongruous transepts with offices etc. to their east, added in 1979. They take no respect of the rest of the church in terms of design or materials. The parapets are flat, the rooflines are steeply sloped and lead-faced for about half the height of the structure.
Interior: Originally a simple two-cell church. However the transepts have transformed the layout to a cruciform one, with seating arranged in four blocks facing the altar which sits beneath the crossing. The south porch has been converted to a small side chapel with the former outer door clear glazed. A new entrance was formed by cutting a door beneath the west window. The nave has white painted walls and a steep open timbered roof. Interior wall surface in the 1970s additions are of brown brick.
Principal Fixtures: Octagonal altar of 1979, formed as if from a solid block of timber. On the chancel east wall, two mid-19th century painted metal Commandment boards. Plain pine bench-pews, arranged in four blocks in the nave, chancel and transepts. The south porch is furnished as a small Lady Chapel. A few windows have patterned stained glass, probably of the same date as the church building. The centre light of the east window depicts the Ascension, and one nave window is a memorial to W.H. Wilkins, 1854.
History: In the 1850s Studley was a rural community separated from Trowbridge by fields. The church building was begun in 1852 and is said to be to a design of W.H. Wilkins of Trowbridge. It was his first and only building, as he died before it was completed. However the plan which is in the ICBS archive is given to the architect Charles E. Giles, born in Frome and with a busy practice in Somerset and London. A memorial window in the nave refers to Wilkins as 'architect of this church', so it seems likely that Giles was engaged to carry through Wilkins's design. The church was largely paid for from an anonymous gift, thought to have been from Miss Waldron of Westcroft, Trowbridge, and was dedicated in September 1854. The schoolroom was built in 1856-7 and the Vicarage by 1859. A new ecclesiastical parish was formed out of Holy Trinity in 1858. The original design included a small projection north of the chancel for vestry and organ; this was replaced by the transepts in 1979. The expansion increased the seating capacity to 300, and was paid for by selling the site of the former schoolroom for housing.
Lambeth Palace Library, Incorporated Church Building Society (ICBS) archive, 04566: plan by C.E. Giles, 1852-3.
Reasons for Designation: The church of St John, Trowbridge, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* A pleasing and competent Decorated Gothic Revival church, on a modest scale and with a bellcote instead of a tower.
* Stained glass and other fittings typical of the 1850s.
* Despite considerable alterations of 1978-9, the Victorian church is still distinguishable, and carries significant historical associations in the local community.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.