Coughton, Warwickshire B49
The Throckmorton family has been at Coughton Court since the fifteenth century, and the house was a Catholic recusant centre from the 1570s. In 1851-3 the family built this substantial church and presbytery on the edge of the estate, from designs by Charles Hansom. The Gothic exterior has a curious thin tower, possibly inspired by Irish models. The interior has been little altered since the 1850s.
The Throckmorton family has lived at Coughton Court since the fifteenth century. The medieval parish church of St Peter, built by Sir Robert Throckmorton, stands close by and contains family monuments. After the Reformation the family remained loyal to the Catholic faith and the house became a recusant centre. The original secret chapel, with a priest hide, is on the upper floor of the gatehouse. A large part of the north wing of the house (now the saloon) was used as a chapel in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries until a new Catholic church was commissioned by Sir Robert Throckmorton, eighth baronet. Again, this was built near the house. The architect was Charles Hansom, the builder George Taylor. The church was built between 1851 and 1853, but was not formally opened until 1857. Hansom’s drawings for the church and presbytery, dated 1851, are among the Throckmorton papers in the Warwickshire Record Office.
Since 1946 the house has been in the care of the National Trust. A family trust remains responsible for the church, which is served from the Douai parish of Alcester (qv).
The stone was presumably quarried on the Coughton estate, like the stone for Alcester Catholic church. The rocket-like octagonal southwest tower may derive from Irish examples. Unusually, the northeast chapel also serves as the family pew, with a separate entrance, and contains original prie-dieux. The carved stone pulpit and font date from the mid-1850s. The east window and most of the other stained glass is by Hardman, 1855-1862 (the exception is the west window, 1902, by F. Holt & Co.). The organ in the west gallery was built by Henry Bevington of London c1855, but incorporates material from an organ of c. 1800 (and is in the BIOS National Pipe Organ Register).
Roman Catholic Church. Built for Throckmorton family 1853. Designed by Charles Hansom 1851. Regular coursed limestone. Tile roof with crested ridge tiles and coped gables. Wide nave, chancel and north chapel, south-west turret and south porch. Gothic Revival. Decorated style. 5-bay nave, 2-bay chancel and chapel. West front has arched double-leaf doors with hood mould and stops. 3-light traceried east and west windows, with hood mould and head stops. Tall thin south-west turret starts square but turns octagonal. Top has trefoil openings and gargoyles and pyramidal roof. Double-chamfered arched south doorway with double-leaf doors. South porch has coped gables and buttresses flush with front. Arch with hood mould and head stops. Nave has 2-light traceried windows throughout. North chapel has diagonal and single buttresses with 2-light traceried windows. North porch in angle of stone, timber and glass. Single-storey link to priest’s house has tall central gable, shouldered door and casements.
Interior: plastered walls throughout. Nave has scissor brace roof. West gallery. Chancel arch without imposts. Chancel has panelled wagon roof with good painted and stencilled decoration. Carved stone altar and reredos. 2-bay arcade to chapel has round shaft. Chapel has plain panelled wagon roof. Fittings: Piscina and seat. Stone pulpit and font with relief carvings; font rests on 5 colonettes. Stained glass: Some original glass in nave, chapel east window, and chancel east window attributed to Hardman (Buildings of England). A good, little altered example of a C19 Catholic Church.
(V.C.H.: Warwickshire, Vol. III, p.74; Kelly’s Directory of Birmingham, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, 1884, p.737).
Listing NGR: SP0836360403
Priest’s house. Built for the Throckmorton family c,1853. Designed by Charles Hansom. Regular coursed stone. Tile roof with crested ridge tiles; renewed brick stacks. L-plan. Gothic Revival style. 2 storeys; 3-window range. Gabled wing on right has small adjacent gable above entrance. Double chamfered 2-centred arched doorway and recessed arched plank door. Diagonal buttress. Triangular stone oriel above has 2 small trefoiled lancets and stone roof. Stone mullioned windows with glazing bars and relieving arches. On left 4-light staircase window with transom on ground floor, 2-light mullion on first floor. Right return side has canted bay and slightly projecting gabled wing with C20 casements. Interior not inspected. Single-storey C20 addition. Attached to Roman Catholic church (q.v,).
(V.C.H.: Warwickshire, Vol.III, p.74; Building of England: Warwickshire, p.245).
Listing NGR: SP0837660385
Last updated: 29.11.17.
Architect: Charles Hansom
Original Date: 1853
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Grade II*