Description: Christ Church University Music Centre (Former Church of St Gregory the Great)
Date Listed: 7 September 1973
English Heritage Building ID: 440406
OS Grid Reference: TR1550958157
OS Grid Coordinates: 615509, 158157
Latitude/Longitude: 51.2818, 1.0889
856/10/620 OLD RUTTINGTON LANE
07-SEP-73 CHRIST CHURCH UNIVERSITY MUSIC CENTRE
(FORMER CHURCH OF ST GREGORY THE GREAT)
(Formerly listed as:
OLD RUTTINGTON LANE
CHURCH OF ST GREGORY THE GREAT)
1850-2 by George Gilbert Scott.
MATERIALS: Knapped flint facing with limestone dressings. Red clay tile roofs
PLAN: Nave, chancel, N aisle, S porch, N vestry/organ chamber.
EXTERIOR: The church is built in the Geometrical style of the late 13th century. All the constituent parts are articulated under their own roofs. The two-storey vestry/organ chamber is under its own gabled roof. The nave has four bays and the chancel two. Over the nave/chancel junction there is a tall, two-tier triple bellcote. The W window, unusually, is larger than the E one. It is of four lights with quatrefoils and trefoils in the tracery: the E window only has three lights and has three cusped circles in its tracery. At the W end there is a W doorway, the gable of which breaks into the W window lights. The S side windows of the church have variously treated circles in their heads, while the N aisle N wall has paired lancets.
INTERIOR: The walls are plastered and painted. The four-bay N arcade has arches with one hollow chamfer and one sunk quadrant moulding. The piers are octagonal and have moulded capitals and bases. The chancel arch is richly moulded and its inner order is supported on corbels. The nave and chancel are covered by roofs of scissor-braced construction.
PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: All the fittings from the church have been removed apart from a tripartite wooden War memorial on the S wall of the nave. A mezzanine floor has been introduced into the two W bays of the N aisle following conversion to secular use.
HISTORY: This early Victorian church was closed in 1976, was sold in 1981 and the following April conversion work began to create a theatre for the-then Christ Church College. The building is now the Music Centre for Christ Church University.
The church is said to have been built as a memorial to Archbishop Howley (archbishop 1828-48). Funding was not an easy matter it seems and the church was scaled back from the original intentions and took a long time to build. In 1849 it was estimated to cost £3,425 and was to have a S aisle and a N chancel aisle. In the event the job was pared back to a contracted price of £2,240. The church was consecrated on 23 August 1852.
The architect for the church was George Gilbert Scott (1811-78) who began practice in the mid-1830s and became the most successful church architect of his day. Often criticised for over-restoration, his work was in fact usually very respectful of medieval buildings, while his new churches generally have a harmonious quality which so often derived their character from the architecture of the late C13 or early C14. He also designed a number of very important secular buildings, for example the Albert Memorial and the Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras. He was awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 1859 and was knighted in 1872. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.
Incorporated Church Building Society papers, Lambeth Palace Library, file 4205.
Roger Homan, The Victorian Churches of Kent, 1984, p 42.
John Newman, The Buildings of England: North East and East Kent, 1983, p 239.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
Christ Church University Music Centre (former church of St Gregory the Great).
is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is of special interest as a (former) church built in the style of the late 13th century by one of the leading church architects of the 19th century. As usual with his work, it is an assured, harmonious piece of Gothic Revival church building. Conversion to secular use has done nothing to detract from the exterior appearance while the interior architectural lines are largely preserved.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.