Building » Gloucester – St Peter

Gloucester – St Peter

London Road, Gloucester, Gloucestershire GL1

A large, impressive mid-Victorian town church in Decorated Gothic style, one of the most notable works of an important Catholic architect, Gilbert R. Blount. It possesses many good fittings and furnishings, and has been carefully adapted to meet modern liturgical needs. With its prominent tower with open belfry and spire and later presbytery by A. J. C. Scoles, the church group makes a prominent and important contribution to the London Road Conservation Area. 

In 1787 Mary Webb of Hatherop Castle left £1,000 for the establishment of a mission in Gloucester. This was established by Abbé Gildart in 1788, and in 1790 the Rev. John Greenway built ‘a very humble and unpretentious chapel at the back of a house in a little hidden garden’ (quoted in Harding) on London Road, dedicated to St Peter ad Vincula. The exact location of the chapel is uncertain but it was probably on the present site.

In 1850 the Rev. Leonard Calderbank, a former Vice-Principal of Prior Park, took charge of the mission and initiated moves to build a church. The cost was met by subscriptions from the parishioners and a gift of £1,000 from Miss Frances Canning (of the recusant Foxcote family). The sanctuary, side chapels and four bays of the nave were erected in 1859-60. The western bays of the nave, tower and spire, baptistery and sacristy were added and the sanctuary redesigned in 1867-8, largely funded by Canon George Case, in charge of the mission from 1864 and a wealthy Anglican convert. The architect throughout was Gilbert Blount of London. The church was consecrated by Bishop Clifford of Clifton on 8 October 1868. The adjoining presbytery was built in 1879-80 to designs by A. J. C. Scoles. Furnishings include a fine triptych by Mayer of Munich, acquired by Canon Case in Paris. Further enrichment took place in stages, including stained glass by the Hardman firm and Clayton & Bell, and Stations of the Cross by A. B. Wall of Cheltenham.

The architecture and some of the furnishings are described in the list entry (below) and repetition is unnecessary. However, some corrections and additions may be made.

  • The sanctuary, side chapels and four bays of the nave were erected in 1859-60 by the Rev. L. Calderbank. The western bays of the nave, tower and spire, baptistery and sacristy were added and the sanctuary redesigned in 1867-8 by Canon G. Case. The architect for both phases of work was G. Blount. 
  • The painting scheme of 1886 by Clayton & Bell in the sanctuary and Lady Chapel was executed by a Senor Dastris of the Academy of Madrid, and was much toned down under J. Linthout of Bruges in 1939 (not Linthont of Bruges in 1979, as stated in the list entry)
  • The richly carved and painted high altar and reredos in the sanctuary mentioned in the list entry is by Blount, with narrow gabled niches with saints (Our Lady, St Joseph, St Gregory the Great, St Augustine of Canterbury, St David and St Wulstan). It was carved by Thomas Farmer, 1860. A stone forward altar is placed in front of it. 
  • The church retains its Gothic communion rails and metal gates, and elaborately carved and arcaded circular stone pulpit, the latter presented by Miss Canning and designed by Blount.
  • The white stone Stations of the Cross in red sandstone ogee frames date from 1886 and are by A. B. Wall of Cheltenham. 
  • The parish history of 1948 refers to a marble and alabaster holy water stoup in the porch, also by A. B. Wall, in memory of Canon Chard (d. 1934, priest here for forty years).  
  • An exquisite triptych now installed in the aisle south of the chancel and depicting the Coronation of the Virgin is dated 1861 and comes from the studio of Mayer of Munich. It was bought by Canon George Case at one of the Paris world fairs. It has had various homes within the church, including the Lady Chapel, but was moved to its present position in September 2015, after conservation by Brian Hames of Chard.
  • The seating in the nave consists of oak benches, installed in 1964.
  • In the gallery, the organ is by the John Compton Organ Co., 1937, its case divided in two on either side of the great west window. It was restored in 2008.
  • Stained glass by Hardman of Birmingham includes the bold east window of 1865 (episodes in the life of St Peter, in memory of Canon Calderbank, builder of the church); the south aisle west window, probably of 1871; the north aisle northeast window of 1899, and three delicate Lady Chapel north windows of 1870-3. The small west rose window is by Clayton & Bell, 1873. There are good Arts and Crafts windows in the south aisle, probably by Sidney Meteyard for H. H. Martyn & Co. of about 1920.

List description


Roman Catholic church. 1860-8. By Gilbert Robert Blount, on site of earlier chapel, for the parish priest, Canon Calderbank. Dressed stone in courses with ashlar details, slate roof. Decorated Gothic Style. Church not orientated, the ritual east end to the north; nave with aisles, chancel with side chapels; a tall tower and spire at the south-east corner with entrance lobby through the base of the tower.

EXTERIOR: plinth with moulded offsets to all parts of the church, at the west end the tower of five stages has angle buttresses with offsets at each stage, doorway to lobby on the west side of the bottom stage has richly moulded jambs and arch, in the second stage a pair of lancet windows in the west and north faces with a tracery trefoil in the head of each window, between the windows on both faces an elaborately carved corbel supports a shaft with a foliated capital which in the third stage forms the base of a niche with a nodding ogee-arched head below a crocketed gablet; a clock face in the fourth stage on the west side in a moulded stone frame; the upper stage is an open arcaded belfry with a pair of arched openings on each side, the moulded arches are supported on circular columns with foliated capitals, above the crowning corbel table a broach spire with two-light lucarnes in each cardinal face of the spire. Gabled front to the nave with a buttress with offsets at the south-west corner, three lancet windows with hoodmoulds above which are two canopied niches containing the statues of saints supported on corbels carved with the busts of angels, above a string course the gable has a large rose window with foiled geometrical tracery and a vesica light in the apex. Gabled end to the south aisle with a two light traceried window. The chancel has gablets above the clerestory windows.

INTERIOR: four-bay nave arcades with clerestory windows placed above the piers, timber arch braced roof, the gallery at the west end is supported on a three-bay arcade with marble columns on stone bases and has a parapet pierced with quatrefoils; chancel arch is supported on short marble shafts set on carved corbels; three-bay chancel, the arcades with marble columns and boldly carved and gilded foliage capitals, panelled timber vault with cross vaults to the three-light clerestory windows; south chapel has a timber double pitched panelled ceiling and the north chapel a similar segmental ceiling.

FITTINGS: include an elaborately carved and arcaded pulpit and richly carved and painted reredos at the east end of the chancel. Lady Chapel and Sanctuary painting by Clayton and Bell, later modified by Linthont of Bruges in 1979.

STAINED GLASS: by Clayton and Bell.

HISTORY: the building of the church was funded by subscriptions from the parishioners with a gift of £1,000 from Frances Canning. A distinctive composition in Gothic Revival style, one of the most notable of Blount’s commissions and dating from the middle part of his career.

(BOE: Verey D: Gloucestershire: The Vale and the Forest of Dean: London: 1976-: 243).

Listing NGR: SO 83512 18781



Roman Catholic presbytery. c1880. Squared stone in course, ashlar details, end-gabled slate roof with gabled dormers, brick stacks. Double-depth block adjoining the west side of the Roman Catholic Church of St Peter (qv).

EXTERIOR: two storeys, attic, and cellar; an imposing asymmetrical front in a Gothic Revival domestic style; the front of four bays, on ground floor to left a recessed porch framed by nook shafts with moulded bases and capitals, and segmental-arched head with roll moulding; within the porch stone steps to door threshold, panelled door, to right of porch in the second and in the fourth bay a two-light window with segmental-arched head, upper transom, and trefoiled heads in the upper lights; in the third bay, between the two-light windows, a small, single light window; across the front, between the porch and the two-light windows, a continuous moulded, string course raised as a hoodmould above each arch; at intermediate level in the third bay, lighting the stairwell, a similar two-light window with cusped tracery in the head and hoodmould with carved stops; on the first floor, in each of the first, second and fourth bays, a two-light window with shallow segmental-arched head and arched lights, each light with a casement; the attic above the first, second and third bays lit by two dormers with coped gables and shaped kneelers, above the second bay the larger dormer with a two-light, mullioned window and the smaller dormer above the third bay with a single light window, all the lights with casements; at each end of roof coped gables with shaped kneelers crowned by gablets.

INTERIOR: not inspected. A significant contribution to of the overall design with Church of St Peter (qv).

Listing NGR: SO8352718772

Heritage Details

Architect: Gilbert R. Blount

Original Date: 1960

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Grade II*