CPAT Regional Sites & Monuments Record

PRN 30644 (part of 16971 ) - Welshpool Church (Christ Church)
Listed Building 7778 (II* )

NGR :- SJ2212307489 (SJ20NW)
Unitary authority :- Powys
Community :- Welshpool
Prefered site type :- Post Medieval - Church (Building - Damaged )

1839-44, by Thomas Penson. Nave, aisles, apse, South porch and NW tower. Welshpool granite. Heavy conical turrets and buttresses. Interior has flat ceiling. Terra cotta detail to arcades, E arch, and apsidal rib-vault. Stained glass in 3 apse windows by David Evans, 1844.

(Former listing description)

Built 1839-44 of grey stone from Welshpool Quarry in monumental (elsewhere described as 'elephantine') neo-Norman style (cf. St Agatha, Llan-ymynech, PRN 16378). Notable for extensive, and early, use of terracotta for internal decoration (and for font) Penson's interest in terracotta no doubt connected with proximity of his practice and home to Ruabon (Anthony, C R, 1995, 175).

Building suffering from severe dry rot and sufficient funds not found for repair. Due for closure June 1999 (County Times, 1999, Shropshire Star, 1999).

The following is from Cadw's Listed Buildings database

On the edge of Powis Castle Park, prominently sited above the town.

Built 1839-44, to designs of Thomas Penson; the laying of the foundation stone commemorated the coming of age of Edward James, Viscount Clive.

Well coursed and squared Welshpool limestone with ashlar dressings and slate roof. Nave with W tower offset to N, lean-to aisles and apse. W gable of nave has wide doorway of triple arches with chevron moulding and stepped voussoirs; studded plank doors with wrought-iron strap hinges; triple window above, with moulded cornice band. Tower set to W of N aisle: massive pilaster buttresses clasp it and a circular stair turret forms NW angle: 4 stages, with paired splayed windows to lower stage, single window with chevron moulding above, and circular window in diamond panel (intended to house a clock?) above. Paired bell-chamber lights with chevron moulding. Moulded corbels to parapet. 7-bay nave articulated at clerestory by plain pilasters, and with heavy pilaster-turrets flanking W gable. Impost bands to round arched windows in splayed architraves with heavy chevron moulding and voussoir heads. Unmoulded blocks to eaves cornice. Similar windows in W-most bay of nave, and in the 3 W bays of the lean-to S aisle. Long transeptual porch has steep gable between turret pilasters at angles, with shallow pyramidal heads, and stressed voussoirs to outer arch of doorway. Studded plank doors with wrought-iron hinges. 2 easternmost bays of S aisle (housing the Powis family pew) are stressed by the use of red sandstone for windows, which have roll moulded arches with incised chevron decoration in an outer band, and engaged shafts as pilasters. N aisle is similarly detailed, and has transeptual organ chamber balancing the S porch. Apsidal chancel articulated as 3 bays by heavy pilasters with chevron moulding to windows which are on 2 levels. E gable of nave is clasped by pilaster turrets with conical spirelets.

Nave arcade of 6 bays: cylindrical shafts with scallop capitals, supporting heavily ornamented terracotta arches. Terracotta W tower arch sprung from corbels, and further enriched with rosettes, shells etc. on the underside of the arch. West gallery with blind arcaded panelling. In the clerestory, simple round-arched windows alternate with blind round-arched panels. Flat panelled ceiling over nave and aisles. SE end of S aisle houses Powis family pew, emphasised by a richer architectural scheme: windows have engaged shafts and chevron moulding over cushion capitals. Chancel arch has clustered shafts with Celtic knotwork designs in capitals: the terracotta arch is enriched like the W tower arch. Single wall-shafts carry the billet moulded terracotta ribs of the apse vaulting. Apse has wall arcade and triforium of stone: chevron moulding and knotwork capitals to wall-arcading; enriched interlace arcading to triforium. Clerestory windows of apse have free-standing shafts, knot-work capitals and chevron and billet moulding to arches. Encaustic tiled floor in apse.

Furnishings: contemporary fittings including all benches, with stylised poppy-head bench ends, the choir stall bench ends further enriched with Powis family emblems, Evangelist symbols etc. Pulpit to N of chancel arch: stone with round-arched arcading. Font at W end of nave, mounted on coloured tiles: cast-stone, a heavily ornamented scallop basin, on cylindrical shaft enriched with chevron moulding etc.

Stained glass: Apse windows have highly coloured pictorial glass by David Evans, 1844; Neo-classical pictorial windows in Powis pew, S. aisle (commemoration dates, 1916 and 1931); emblematic glass in W end, some S aisle and clerestory windows. 2 windows to W of N aisle, dated 1892.

The church with its contemporary fittings is a remarkably thorough-going exercise in Romanesque revival architecture, of particular historical interest for its association with Powis Castle.

Richard Haslam, Powys, Buildings of Wales series, 1979, pp.208-9.

Sources:-
Anthony, C R , 1995 , "Penson's Progress: the work of a nineteenth-century county surveyor ", The Montgomeryshire Collections 83 , 175 .
Cadw , 1981 , Powys: List No. 16 (Welshpool) , 19
Cadw Listing database , 2000 , ,
County Times , 1999 , , 1
Haslam, R , 1979 , Buildings Of Wales: Powys ,
Montgomeryshire Genealogical Society survey , 1997 , ,
Roberts, Lorna , 2003 , David Evans. The Forgotten Pioneer , Building Conservation Directory Special Report Magazine. Historic Churches 10 , 35 .
Shropshire Star , 1999 , , 1

record created 31/12/89 CM89 - copyright CPAT , last updated 20/10/00
The above data are supplied by CPAT in partnership with its Local Authorities and the partners of END, CPAT SMR partnership, 2004 (and in part Crown, 2004 - as indicated)



JS - 22/04/04 ( 13:06:00 ) - HTML file produced from CPAT's Regional SMR
Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, Curatorial Section, 7a Church Street, Welshpool, Powys SY21 7DL.
tel (01938) 553670 , fax (01938) 552179, email trust@cpat.org.uk , website www.cpat.org.uk