Building » Ramsgate – St Ethelbert and St Gertrude

Ramsgate – St Ethelbert and St Gertrude

Hereson Road, Ramsgate, Kent CT11

Until the end of the 19th  century the Catholic population of Ramsgate was served by A.W.N. Pugin’s St Augustine’s Abbey, on the western edge of the town. Shortly after 1900 the Benedictines at St Augustine’s decided that a new church was required on the eastern side. Money towards the cost of a new building was given by Miss Frances Ellis, who had already given property to the Ramsgate Benedictines and paid towards the building of numerous churches in various parts of the Southwark diocese.   The design was made by Peter Paul Pugin, youngest son of A.W.N. Pugin, who took over the family architectural practice in 1880. The new church opened in 1902.  P.P. Pugin died in 1904 so this must have been one of his last works. The builders were W. W. Martin & Sons of Ramsgate. Apparently the original design provided for both a chancel and a tower, but these features were abandoned after the present church opened.

A substantial early 20th-century church in a personal version of the Middle Pointed style of Gothic habitually favoured by the Pugin family of architects.   On plan, the church comprises an aisleless nave of seven bays with a south porch in the western bay and a small transeptal Lady Chapel in the fifth bay on the south side. Attached to the western bay on the north side is a small modern extension.  The external walls are faced with yellow stock brick, the window tracery and the dressings are of stone and the roof covering is Westmorland slate. The west gable wall is dominated by a large five-light traceried window set slightly forward of the main wall plane.  Below are two smaller segment-headed windows. To the left is a demi-octagonal stair turret with a tented roof, to the right an image niche with the figure of a female saint.  The bays of the nave wall are divided by plain pilaster strips and in each bay is a single large pointed window of three lights with flowing tracery. The brick south porch has a pitched roof, a straight-headed three-light window on the west side and a single window and door on the east side. The Lady Chapel has a round window in the end wall with flowing tracery and an inscription beneath with a decorative moulded surround.  The east end wall shows the outline of the intended chancel arch and now has a modern brick leant-to structure linking the church and presbytery.

Inside the church the most notable architectural feature is the elaborate open timber roof of the main nave space.  The principal trusses have long wall-posts with pierced braces and collars with tracery above.  At the west end of the nave is a timber organ gallery, now glazed in below. At the east end the sanctuary is formed against the outline of the intended chancel arch with steps up to the original altar of Newfoundland  marble,  but  the  Pugin  elaborate  reredos  has  been  removed.    The windows have clear quarry glazing with coloured borders, presumably original.  The original timber pulpit and pine pews also survive.  Under the gallery is an octagonal font with an elaborate timber cover given by Count and Countess Rivarola, local benefactors of Maltese extraction.   The organ in the west gallery is by Griffin & Stroud of Gloucester and was installed in 1904.

Heritage Details

Architect: Peter Paul Pugin

Original Date: 1902

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed