Slindon - St Richard

Top Road, Slindon

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An attractive village church and satisfying essay in English gothic of c1300.  

Roman Catholic Church. 1865, designed by C A Buckler, endowed by the Countess of Newburgh. Gothic style. Built of stone rubble with ashlar dressing and slate roof. Four bay nave, lower two bay chancel, south aisle and north porch. Traceried windows with leaded lights divided by buttresses.

EXTERIOR: Liturgical west front has cross-shaped saddlestone, large arched west window with five trefoil-headed lancets surmounted by three circular openings and smaller south aisle window with two trefoil-headed lights and trefoil above. Arched west door with recessed colonnettes. Liturgical south side has paired lancets with trefoil heads and quatrefoils above. Liturgical north side has windows with three trefoil-headed lancets and two circular lights. Gabled porch has trefoil-headed arch with sexfoil stone plaque above with the shield and mitre of St Richard of Chichester. Liturgical east front has arched window with three trefoil-headed lancets and above a central circular window flanked by trefoils.

INTERIOR: Nave roof has purlins and arched braces, supported on stone corbels. Original Buckler fittings survive including the carved stone altar with marble colonnettes to the chancel, carved stone altar with marble colonnettes to the Lady Chapel incorporating a statue of the Virgin and Child under a trefoil-headed canopy, an octagonal stone font with marble shafts to the columns, a stone pulpit with trefoil-headed cutouts and original pews. The west window has stained glass by Hardman, dated 1865, depicting the Virgin and Child to the centre and St Richard and St Anthony of Padua to the sides. A particularly fine marble Neo-Classical wall monument signed by Bertel Thorwaldsen and commemorating Anthony Earl of Newburgh (d. 1814) depicts a kneeling woman and grieving angel either side of a central column. This is one of only three monuments by Thorwaldsen.

 St Richard’s Presbytery.  Early C19.  Two storeys.  Three windows.  Grey headers on a brick base with red brick dressings, quoins, flush stringcourse and modillion eaves cornice.  Slate roof.  Glazing bars intact.  Doorway with pilasters, pediment, semi-circular famlight and door of six fielded panels.

Charles Alban Buckler (1824-1905) was the son of the antiquarian writer and church restorer John Chessell Buckler (1793-1894).  Like his father he was a keen student of medieval art and architecture, building many churches in the Gothic manner.  His obituary in Building News states “His first and last love in architecture was for the Early English style, as his numerous works testify, notably at Arundel Castle and the Dominican church at Haverstock Hill.”  He converted to the Catholic faith in 1844, and became one of the most distinguished of the early to mid Victorian Roman Catholic architects.  He is buried in the churchyard at Sutton Park.

In the Arundel & Brighton Diocese he also designed St Thomas of Assissi, Midhurst (1869), St Peter’s Shoreham (1875), St Edward Sutton Park (1876) and St Thomas of Canterbury at St Leonards on Sea (1889).  Those at Midhurst and Shoreham are no longer in use by the Diocese.  Buckler worked on the substantial rebuilding of Arundel Castle for the Duke of Norfolk, between 1890 and 1903.  

The family at Slindon House had continued Catholic worship after the Reformation.  The Earl of Newburgh, who died in 1814, left money for the construction of a Catholic church in the village but his widow preferred to continue worshipping in the family chapel and it was not until after her death that St Richard’s was built.

Diocese: Arundel and Brighton

Architect: C A Buckler

Original Date: 1865

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II