Evesham - St Mary and St Egwin

High Street, Evesham, Worcestershire WR11

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An early twentieth century Gothic church by Pugin & Pugin with many of the characteristic features of that firm (tall steeply-pitched roofs, cross-gabled side aisles, elaborate window tracery, dramatic altar compositions). The interior retains most of its original fittings.

The mission at Evesham was established in 1887 by the Passionists from Broadway (qv), who erected a temporary iron church in Magpie Lane. This opened on 21 April 1887, when Auxiliary Bishop Dr Ilsley preached. In 1897 Evesham was placed under the diocesan clergy and new site was purchased in the High Street, near the railway station, where the iron church was re-erected. A school was built in 1900-01 and a presbytery in 1903. The foundation stone of a new church designed by Pugin & Pugin  was laid in September 1911 and the church was opened on 27 November 1912. The cost of between £5,000 and £6,000 (accounts vary) was met in large part by the rector, the Rev. R. J. Patten. The church was dedicated to St Mary and St Egwin (the latter the eighth century bishop and founder of the Benedictine abbey at Evesham).  The old iron church was re-erected at Pershore (qv). 

From a comparison with early photographs it appears that most of the original fittings of the church survive, including the altar, reredos, communion rails, pulpit and nave benches, although the present rood and rood beam replace a beam suspended above the altar.

The church is in a flamboyant version of the Middle Pointed Gothic style. The walls are faced with rock-faced coursed grey local limestone with dressings of Bath stone and steeply-pitched roofs with coverings of Welsh slate. The plan comprises a nave with shallow aisles, two transepts, a chancel with apsidal sanctuary and southwest tower and a northwest porch.

The steeply-gabled west end towards the High Street has corner buttresses, two small windows at lower level and a triplet of tall two-light traceried windows above framing a central image niche. The short southwest tower is of three stages with corner buttresses and pierced embattled parapet. The northwest porch has a pitched roof and tall pointed entrance doorway. Tower, gable end and porch are combined into a single composition by the raised stone string courses which run across the whole west facade. East of the porch the north side has three tall cross-gables with traceried three-light windows and a taller transepts with a pair of two-light windows divided by a central buttress. The south side is similar, but with a single-storey parish room set in front of the aisle. The chancel has an apsidal end with five two-light traceried windows at high level set under small gables. The chancel is flanked by lower pitch-roofed side chapels with rose windows in their eastern gables.

The interior has a woodblock floor and plain plastered walls with Bath stone dressings.  The nave has an openwork timber west gallery, north and south arcades of four tall pointed stone arches on octagonal stone shafts with moulded capitals and bases and a boarded open timber roof. The eastern bays of the arcades open into the transepts. A baptistery is placed in the base of the southwest tower. The tall processional aisles have stone transverse arches between each bay. The lofty pointed chancel arch is of stone and is flanked by lower stone pointed arches to the side chapels. The sanctuary has an elaborate timber reredos and the windows are all filled with stained glass. The altar, reredos, altar rails, pulpit and nave benches are original.

Diocese: Birmingham

Architect: Pugin & Pugin

Original Date: 1912

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not listed