Building » Brewood – St Mary

Brewood – St Mary

Kiddemore Green Road, Brewood, Staffordshire ST19

A church by A. W. Pugin which is largely unaltered externally and part of a group of buildings erected to Pugin’s designs by the builder George Myers. It retains a number of good original fittings including the high altar, reredos, font, sedile and piscina and brass memorials of high quality. As a group the buildings reflect Pugin’s aspiration to create a small rural Catholic enclave. 

The Giffard family of Chilllington Hall were prominent recusants and patrons of historic Catholic missions at Longbirch and Blackladies. The latter was the site of a Benedictine convent and the former a base for the Vicars Apostolic of the Midlands District. The site at Brewood was chosen for a new church when the two chapels closed. The Giffard family were the patrons. The church was designed by A. W. Pugin and built by George Myers as part of a group with a presbytery, schoolroom and school. The generous site allowed Pugin to build a group in a picturesque arrangement which he felt reflected medieval precedent. He was also able to orientate the church correctly, and wrote to Lord Shrewsbury expressing his excitement at the opportunity of designing for ‘an old Catholic population’. The church cost £1,345 and was consecrated in June 1844. Many original furnishings survive but others, other items including the rood and altar rails were removed during the twentieth century. A forward altar was introduced after the Second Vatican Council. Presumably at the same time the font was moved from the baptistery at the west end of the south aisle to the east end of the aisle. At this time or later a timber panelled confessional was installed in the former baptistery.

The Lady Chapel in the north aisle has been embellished with insertion of alabaster and marble fixtures and surfaces at an unknown date, possibly in the 1920s when other works were executed, such as the introduction of the organ and several of the stained glass windows. Bench seating appears to be of mid-twentieth century date. There is an organ at the west end of the north aisle which was built in 1924 using one belonging to Cardinal Newman.


The church was built in 1843-4 from designs by A. W. Pugin. It is in a late thirteenth century style, and built of coursed rubble with slate roofs. On plan it consists of an aisled nave of five bays, chancel with flanking chapels, sacristy to the north, and a southwest tower with a broach spire. Inside, there are arcades with octagonal piers of exposed red sandstone, and a tall tower arch. The aisles are low with simple lean-to roofs, and the nave has principals rising from stone corbels. The chancel has an elaborate scissor-braced roof. Nave and chancel roofs display stencilled schemes, but it is not clear whether these are original. Small areas of stencilling on the south wall and window jamb of the chancel have been preserved and may reflect an original or early scheme. Pugin’s original high altar has deeply inset quatrefoils and keeps the original reredos also with quatrefoils. There is a single stone sedile with a cusped head linked to a piscina in the south chancel wall. The south chapel has an external door and, unusually for a nineteenth century church, a squint, suggesting it was probably designed as a family chapel. It is now used as a baptistery and the original font is a large bowl of simple design, unusual for the date, probably from the Myers workshop.  Stained glass is largely of early twentieth century date by Hardman, including a First World War memorial west window. Of three windows given to the church by Pugin, to his design, only one light, now in the Lady Chapel window, seems to survive. There are two fine brass memorials in the chancel floor, both designed by Pugin and made by Hardman. They commemorate the priest-founder Robert Richmond who died in 1844 shortly after the church opened, and his successor and nephew, William Richmond, who died in 1848. The brasses both have figures in priests’ robes and black letter inscriptions in Latin. Another brass, also by Hardman, is in the north aisle wall near the Lady Chapel. This also adopts medieval style and is a memorial to the Whitgreave family. Tiled floors in the Lady Chapel and sanctuary are possibly original and probably by Minton. Statuary in the church includes a Crucifix beneath a canopy in the south chapel, said to have come from the Blackladies convent, and a Virgin and Child in the Lady Chapel said to be of seventeenth century date and the gift of Pugin.

List descriptions



Roman Catholic Church, 1843-4 by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin in a late C13 style. Coursed rubble with slate roofs. Nave of 5 bays; aisles; chancel; vestry to north; south porch; south west tower with broach spire. A stone pillar piscina, possibly C12 stands outside the south porch. V.C.H. Staffordshire. Vol.V, 1959.

Listing NGR: SJ8794008886

Church hall


Church Hall now schoolroom, c1833-4. By Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. Rough faced ashlar; slate roof with coped verges. 1 storey; 2 stone mullioned windows to left; pointed arch doorway to right with board door. One of a group of buildings associated with R.C. Church of St. Mary (qv) and designed by Pugin.

Listing NGR: SJ8794808904

Lychgate and churchyard wall


Lychgate and churchyard wall. Early to mid C19. Probably by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. Squared coursed sandstone walls with shaped stone coping; hipped felted roof to lychgate carried on chamfered and stopped ashlar piers; cast iron gates.

Listing NGR: SJ8797108871



Presbytery. Mid C19. By Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. Red brick with ashlar dressings; clay tile roof; brick stacks to rear. 2 storeys; 2:1 windows; projecting gabled wing to right; 2, 3 and 4 light mullioned windows containing glazing bar casements. Central porch with lean to roof and 2 light mullioned window with cambered heads. One of a group of buildings associated with R.C. Church of St. Mary (qv) and designed by Pugin.

Listing NGR: SJ8790108897



School, 1833-4. By Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. Red brick with ashlar dressings; slate roof with raised coped verges; brick stacks. Late C13 style, 1 storey; 1:1:1 windows; 2 light glazing bar casements; central projecting porch with door in left hand side; 2 storey gabled house to right and rear with mullioned casements. One of a group of buildings associated with R.C. Church of St. Mary (qv) and designed by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin.

Listing NGR: SJ8786708958

Heritage Details

Architect: A. W. Pugin

Original Date: 1844

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II