Winchcombe - St Nicholas

Chandos Street, Winchcombe, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL54

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The main body of the church is a modest but pleasing building formed out of a small former grammar school of the 1870s. It was tastefully extended with a sanctuary and Lady Chapel in 1955. 

St Nicholas’s church reputedly occupies the site of a medieval church, also dedicated to St Nicholas. The present building dates from 1875-6 when it was built from designs by Thomas Collins of Tewkesbury as the Chandos Street Grammar School. This closed in 1907 and was converted to a church for the Winchcombe mission in 1915, opening on 18 April. This mission was the last to be established in the diocese before the end of missionary status. It was restored and enlarged under architect Peter Falconer in 1955 with the present sanctuary, Lady Chapel, and sacristy connected to a new presbytery. Although its design is handsome enough, the building of the latter unforgivably involved the demolition of the earlier presbytery, a fine medieval timber-framed building (illustrated in Harding, p. 221).

In 2015, to commemorate the centenary of the opening, a new altar, and lectern were installed, redecoration took place, and the church was consecrated.

The church was originally built as a school and is built of local ashlar stone under a stone slated roof. It has two pairs of mullioned windows on each side of the nave and a three-light, stepped mullioned window at the west end. The 1955 addition at the east end is in a fairly seamless contextual style.

The interior is plain in character, with the nave covered by a simple three-sided roof with struts to a collar beam. A pointed arch leads to the sanctuary of 1955 which is covered by a four-sided panelled ceiling. A similar but smaller arch leads to the Lady Chapel. Evidently a corresponding chapel was intended on the opposite side; the arch for it was created but never opened up. The fittings and furnishing require no special mention apart from the mid-Victorian stained glass in the nave, which is said to have been reused from a convent in Ireland and has figures of saints under triangular canopies.

Diocese: Clifton

Architect: Thomas Collins; Peter Falconer

Original Date: 1876

Conservation Area: No

Modifications: 1955

Listed Grade: Not listed