Summary

A Roman Catholic parish church, built in 1911-2 to designs by Sebastian Pugin Powell of Pugin and Pugin, in Middle Pointed Gothic or Decorated style.

Reasons for Designation

The Roman Catholic church of St Mary and St Egwin in Evesham, built in 1911-2 to designs by Sebastian Pugin Powell of Pugin and Pugin, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: the exterior is a pleasing composition with interesting massing and good detailing, by Pugin and Pugin, a firm with a long and distinguished pedigree; * Interior: the internal space is lofty, and complemented by the abundance of high-quality carving and decorative details; * Degree of survival: the church remains almost entirely unaltered since its completion; * Fixtures and fittings: the church has a wealth of fixtures and fittings of quality by good makers, including stained glass, metalwork, timberwork and carved and painted reredoses.

History

The Catholic mission at Evesham was first established by the Passionist community at Broadway, in 1887, when an iron mission church was built in the town. Ten years later, Evesham came under the auspices of the Diocese of Birmingham, which moved the mission church the High Street, on the site of the present church. In 1900-1 a red-brick school was added, and a presbytery in 1903. A permanent church was planned, the established architectural practice of Pugin and Pugin was commissioned. The building was designed by Sebastian Pugin Powell (1866-1949), grandson of A W N Pugin, who was articled to the family firm in 1884 and remained there for the rest of his working life.

The foundation stone of the new church was laid in September 1911, and the building, dedicated to St Mary and St Egwin – the C8 bishop who founded the Benedictine abbey in Evesham – was opened on 27 November 1912. The majority of the cost of the building was funded by the rector, Rev R J Patten. A sacristy was added soon after the church was completed. The church is otherwise little altered; comparison with historic photographs show that the current rood and rood beam have replaced an earlier rood beam over the altar, and stained glass was added to the side chapels and sanctuary in the 1920s and 1930s. The adjacent church school, built in 1900-1, has been converted to a parish hall.

Details

A Roman Catholic parish church, built in 1911-2 to designs by Sebastian Pugin Powell of Pugin and Pugin, in Middle Pointed Gothic or Decorated style.

MATERIALS: rock-faced local limestone with Bath stone dressings and Welsh slate roofs.

PLAN: the church is orientated east-west, and has a nave with narrow aisles to north and south, transepts, chancel with polygonal east end, north and south porches and a tower at the SW corner.

EXTERIOR: the church is characterised by its high roofs and steep gables. It has a high plinth, cill bands and linked hood moulds; raised, coped verges; and varied and elaborate tracery to the windows. The gabled west end has corner buttresses, two single-light windows to the ground floor and three tall, two-light traceried windows above, around a central, canopied image niche with a statue of the Virgin and Child. To the left, unified with the west front by the plinth and cill band, is the side elevation of the NW porch, with two single-light openings. To the right, also with the continuous mouldings, is the short SW tower, in three stages, with corner buttresses, elaborate mouldings and a pierced parapet. The north side has the gabled north porch with pointed-arched doorway; beyond this, moving eastwards, are the three high cross-gables of the aisle, each with a three-light traceried window, separated by buttresses with offsets; then the projecting north transept. Its paired two-light traceried windows are separated by a buttress above which is a canopied image niche. To the east end, the tall chancel is polygonal, each of the five sides gabled, with a two-light traceried window at the upper level. The chancel is flanked by lower, gabled chapels to north and south, each with a circular window with tracery and cusping. The south side is similar, with the addition of a later, single-storey sacristy in matching style and materials, running along the length of the aisle and transept, with a shouldered arched entrance doorway and a large four-light stone-mullioned window.

INTERIOR: the interior has plain plastered walls and Bath stone dressings. The floor is laid with woodblock, and the roof is boarded, with the scissor-braced trusses exposed. The nave has tall, four-bay arcades with of high, pointed arches springing from moulded capitals on octagonal shafts, with high, moulded bases with elaborate stops. The easternmost bays on either side open into the transepts. The narrow aisles have transverse arches articulating the bay structure. To the west is an openwork timber gallery, the central part canted out. The gallery is carried on chamfered and stopped posts, with a shallow arch between them, and cusped arcading to either side. At the base of the tower is the baptistery, its low metal gates with applied symbols; the floor is laid with red tile, and the space has a compartmental timber ceiling. At the east end, the high, pointed chancel arch is flanked by lower arches to the chapels, and is spanned by an elaborate rood beam. The sanctuary is five-sided, with a forward altar. The wall-posts spring from short, attached half-columns. Panelling to the lower parts is topped by the elaborate timber reredos, which is in seven panels, with a traceried arcade and pierced work above; the central panels open to reveal the tabernacle. The chapels each have a stone altar with carved decoration, and timber triptych reredoses.

PRINCIPAL FITTINGS: the fixtures and fittings are contemporary with the church except where mentioned. The FONT is octagonal, with mouldings and cusped relief panels, on an octagonal shaft with moulded base. The cover is suspended above: octagonal timber, with a coronet of metal with applied gilded foliate motifs, matching the COMMUNION RAILS, which remain in situ. The PULPIT is timber, openwork with tracery and cusping. The REREDOS in the sanctuary, elaborately carved timber with painted panels, by Hardman. The chapels each have triptych reredoses, that to the north with gold-ground paintings, that to the south in a late Pre-Raphaelite style, possibly by Hardman or Guild of Handicrafts. The STAINED GLASS to the sanctuary and in the east windows of the north and south chapels is by Paul Woodroffe, circa 1924-5. The glass in the chapels is by Hardman, that to the north dating from 1928, that to the south, 1931. A highly-decorated ROOD BEAM and ROOD over the chancel arch replaces an earlier example over the altar. The nave BENCHES have open backs and shaped ends.

Sources

Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Brooks, A, The Buildings of England: Worcestershire, (2007), 295
Scarisbrick, JJ, History of the Diocese of Birmingham 1850-2000, (2008), 134
Other
The Architectural History Practice Limited: Churches in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham: An Architectural and Historical Review Prepared for English Heritage and the Archdiocese of Birmingham (2015)