Building » Chipping Campden – St Catharine

Chipping Campden – St Catharine

Lower High Street, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, GL55

A fine late-Victorian Gothic Revival church in a pleasing free Perpendicular style and with a distinctive saddleback tower. Its interior is little-altered and holds many furnishings of note, several by artists associated with the Chipping Campden Guild of Handicrafts (including F. L. Griggs, who co-designed the presbytery). These with the former school buildings occupy a prominent position in the historic townscape of this stone-built Cotswold town. 

The mission was inaugurated in 1854, founded by Charles Gordon Noel, Viscount Campden and Earl of Gainsborough, who had converted to Catholicism while at Cambridge. Services had been held from 1851 in a private chapel in Campden House. With the appointment as chaplain of the former Anglican priest, the Rev. William Henry Anderton, Campden House became a well-known local Catholic centre. A chapel built in the town served for twenty years. In 1889 the Noels provided the present site, which was adjacent to the school, and met most of the cost of building the church as well as providing stone from a demolished barn and chapel. The family arms are above the entrance to the church, along with the papal arms. The architect was William Lunn of Malvern, who also designed the earlier churches of Corpus Christi, Bournemouth (1891) and St Edmund, Southampton (1889), and the later one of Our Lady of the Annunciation, King’s Lynn (1896-97). The builder was T. Collins of Tewkesbury and the cost was £2,500. It opened in 1891 and in 1928 the Noel family handed it to the diocese.

The first presbytery was in a building in the High Street. In 1935 a new one was built to the north of the church, from designs by Frederick Landseer Griggs and Guy Pemberton. This is said to incorporate the stone from the demolished seventeenth-century Angel Inn, Broad Campden, and incorporates a sculptured relief panel of the Angel Gabriel by Eric Gill.

The church was consecrated on 10 May 1954. Famous parishioners have included J.R.R. Tolkien and Graham Greene.


All directions mentioned here are ritual. The list description (below) gives much detail, which can be augmented as follows. The church has a nave, lean-to aisles, a short sanctuary and a saddleback tower placed in the middle of the south side, east of which is a transept-like organ chamber. The Lady Chapel and sacristy flank the sanctuary on the north and south respectively. The Sacred Heart Chapel is located in the south aisle. The building material is local stone from the Earl of Gainsborough’s quarries at Westington, and roofing is with stone slates. The tracery is of various freely treated Perpendicular designs ranging from one to four lights. Over the west window, the Bath stone statue of the Virgin Mary is by A. B. Wall of Cheltenham. Of particular note is the tower with a transverse saddleback capping and inventive detail. The clerestory has eight two-light windows, two per internal bay.

Inside the walls are of bare ashlar. There are four arches to the aisles with octagonal piers and capitals and a hoodmould. At the west end a three-quarter-sized bay has a small, four-centred arch on each side. Between the nave and sanctuary is an arch carried on bold corbels.

The fittings and furnishings include good quality items. The stone reredos forms an arresting termination, carved by A. B. Wall of Cheltenham, having an abundance of crocketted tabernacle work and two small carved scenes. The wooden linenfold pulpit, organ case and hanging rood were designed by F. L. Griggs and date from 1914-15: the rood was carved by the noted local craftsman Alec Miller. The organ by Walker & Sons was blessed on 12 January 1915 and cost £400. A seventeenth-century painting, The Adoration of the Shepherds, hangs in the sanctuary. The Guild of Handicrafts in Chipping Campden supplied the chalice, ciborium and processional cross. There is good stained glass in five windows by the local artist Paul Woodroffe (1857-1944) in the south ‘transept’ (1909) and the aisles (1920s). The chancel and chapel windows are by Lavers & Westlake and are original to the 1891 work. 

List description


1891 in a Perp. style by W Lunn of Malvern. Cut and dressed rubble with Cotswold stone roof. Aisled cruciform plan with small saddleback bell tower in north-west angle of south transept. Stepped buttresses. Moulded copings. Four clerestory windows and aisle west windows with traceried transoms. Other windows more conventional Perpendicular style. Complex 5 light west window with low transoms, stilted label over 4 centre arch headed doorway with carvings within hollow- chamfered inner order and decorative iron-work to door. In gable a tripartite heavily traceried niche with statue of Virgin with crocketted canopy over. Belfry stage of tower has another variety of tracery to flat headed openings. Circular chimney to south of chancel.

Interior: 4 bay aisled nave with narrow chapels in east ends of aisles. Chancel arch with 3 heavy ribs on corbels to soffit. Rere-arches and inner windows. Contemporary screens to transepts. Altar-railing and possibly reredos, also contemporary. Window in south transept by Paul Woodroffe 1909. Churchyard enclosed to south and west by cast-iron railings with fleur-de-lys stanchions on dwarf rubble walls; ashlar gate piers to west with crested capping and wrought-iron gates.

Listing NGR: SP1486039027

School and playground railings


After 1891 in local style; possibly by W Lunn of Malvern. One and 3 storeys. Rubble. Cotswold stone roof. Ashlar chimney to right. Large school room gable with 3 stepped trefoil headed windows under single label to left. Four dormer gables to right with 2 light Tudor arch headed windows. Ledged door off centre left with similar transom light. Lean-to to left with stone mullioned window with cornice. Included for group value. Railings extend to south and are returned to west up to the church; rubble dwarf walls and ashlar dividing piers, short railings with fleur-de-lys stanchions.

Listing NGR: SP1491239028

The Old Presbytery


Mid C19. Two storeys rubble with Cotswold stone roof and end chimneys. Three windows, 2 and 3 light casements with cambered heads. Central 6 panel door with flat hood on heavily chamfered pilasters. Included only for group value.

Listing NGR: SP1492439044

Heritage Details

Architect: William Lunn of Malvern

Original Date: 1891

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II