Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 91921 73990, ST 91924 73978, ST 91939 73903





Also Known As: CHURCH OF ST PAUL, MALMESBURY ROAD A church of 1853-61 designed in the Early English style, by Sir George Gilbert Scott.

MATERIALS: Limestone ashlar tower, coursed rubblestone with freestone bands and dressings to the rest, stone slate roof with coped gables and finials.

PLAN: six-bay aisled nave; two-bay chancel; north vestry with tall stone stack off-set in three stages; tower to front right (south-east) corner.

EXTERIOR: four-light pointed-arched windows to the east and west ends with off-set gabled buttresses to the centres; off-set buttresses between two-light windows to aisles and clerestory, gabled porch to the north door. The aisles have parapets with 5 dragon gargoyles. The east gable end has a fretted cross finial, that to the west is a fleur-de-lis.

The tower, 57m high, to the south-east end of the south aisle, has an elaborately moulded plinth and serves as a porch. It is in four stages; diagonal buttresses off-set at each stage; pointed-arched entrance to south side, two lancet windows to the second stage, clock to the third stage and paired louvred bell openings to the fourth. Corbel table to the parapet of a broach spire which has gabled two-light openings to compass points.

INTERIOR: virtually unaltered apart from the removal of the organ and the addition of some C20 screens. Diagonally leaded windows with some particularly fine C19 and early C20 stained glass.

The chancel has a close-raftered roof with curved ashlars-pieces and soulaces forming virtually a pointed-arched barrel roof. The reredos to the east wall has C13-style stone panelling flanked by octagonal piers with domed finials. The three-light stained glass window above is 1905, the stained glass window to the south wall of the chancel is late C19. Richly decorated polychromatic floor tiles; oak choir stalls and communion rail which is supported by wrought-iron piers and elaboratedly-panelled reader's stalls.

A winding stone stair to the left leads through an off-set shouldered arch to the stone pulpit in the angle of the north-east corner of the nave. It is octagonal with trefoil-headed openings to each facet and ball-type carving to the hollow-mouldings. The cornice below has foliate bosses at the angles; the plinth is broached onto a square base. The high six-bay nave has king-post trusses with soulaces and ashlars to the rafters.To the walls of the east and west ends are ornamental hammerbeam trusses. The braces rest on stone corbels articulating paired two-light clerestory windows. The cylindrical piers have round bases, broached octagonal plinths on square slabs, round capitals with octagonal abaci supporting pointed arches with head stops to the hoodmoulds. Piers against the east and west walls a half-octagonal with foliate stops. To the south-east angle is a similar off-set over a niche. Trusses to both aisles have pointed-arched bracing on stone corbels on the outer walls and piers. The west wall has C20 oak panelling incorporating 4 figures on columns below C19 paired windows with a circular window above containing 3 trefoils with rich stained-glass. Toward the west ends of the aisles the north and south doors are enclosed with C20 oak panelled lobbies (that to the south is in the porch at the base of the tower).

The vestry, to the north-east corner, is divided from the north aisle by a panelled oak screen and doors bearing a memorial plaque to a curate who died in the First World War.

The south porch at the base of the tower has diagonal red-and-black tiled floor, a panelled timber ceiling and elaborate wrought-iron hinges to the door, planked on the outside and with chamfered panels on the inside. Furnishings include an oak eagle lectern, a hemi-spherical stone font on a round base and octagonal plinth at the east end, both possibly by Gilbert Scott and two late C19 Gothic chairs resembling thrones. The original numbered pine pews remain.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: attached to the south-west corner of the tower, dividing the forecourt from the churchyard, are arrow-headed railings and trellissed cast-iron piers to double gates. To the left, fronting the church to east and north, is a plinth to former railings. To the right a squared rubblestone wall approx 1m high with chamfered capping encloses the churchyard, extending southward for approx 100m, it curves to the east and north for approx 80m. Gate piers at each end and on the curve have gabled caps with trefoil panels.

HISTORY: St Paul's Church was built in 1853-61 to designs by the architect Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811-1878) in the Early English style. As marked on the first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1886, the church stands in the far corner of a rectangular shaped Grave Yard, which is enclosed by a wall. Sir George Gilbert Scott is a nationally and internationally important architect best known for his Victorian church design inspired by Medieval architecture as advocated by A W N Pugin and Benjamin Webb, by whom he was directly influenced and inspired. He is perhaps most famous for his design for the Albert Memorial in London, completed in 1872.

SOURCES: Chamberlain, Joseph A: Chippenham, (1976), 143 B Cherry and N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Wiltshire (1975), 168. First edition Ordnance Survey Map, published 1886.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: St Paul's Church in Chippenham built in 1853-61 to a design by Sir George Gilbert Scott merits listing at grade II* for the following principal reasons: * ARCHITECTURAL INTEREST: the overall design and architectural detailing of this Victorian church designed in the Early English style is of a very high quality. * INTERIOR: Its internal layout and features are equally of a very high quality and have survived remarkably intact. * HISTORIC INTEREST: It is a particularly good example of a church designed by the nationally important architect Sir George Gilbert Scott.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Chamberlain, J A, Chippenham143
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Wiltshire, (1975), 168


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 09 Oct 2003
Reference: IOE01/10353/13
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr David Witherow. Source Historic England Archive
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