Building » Hampton-on-the-Hill – St Charles Borromeo

Hampton-on-the-Hill – St Charles Borromeo

Hampton Road, Hampton-on-the Hill CV35

An early example of a Catholic chapel, built at the expense of Lord Dormer, who also paid for the building to be extended and elaborated in 1830. The building is in a pre-archaeological Gothic Revival style. The most striking feature of the interior is the sanctuary recess with its elaborate marble altar, probably also a gift of Lord Dormer.

Until 1819, Catholics in the vicinity of Hampton-on-the-Hill worshipped at Grove Park, the ancestral seat of the Lords Dormer. In that year, Charles, Lord Dormer built a chapel at Hampton-on-the-Hill, and handed it over to the Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District. The original church was a single rectangular space orientated north/south with the altar at the south end. The architect is unknown. In 1830 Lord Dormer commissioned John Russell of Leamington Spa to add a new nave at right angles to the old church on the west side, making a T-shaped building, with transepts.  A shallow sanctuary recess was formed in the centre of the east wall of the original building. It seems likely that Russell was also responsible for some ‘improvements’ to the older building, most obviously the stone pinnacles which enliven the roofline and the elaborate window in the gable wall of the south transept;  he may also have added the presbytery, which is joined to the north end of the church.


The church is a small building in pre-archaeological Perpendicular Gothic style and of similar size to the presbytery, to which it is linked. It is T-shaped in plan, with a nave, north and south transepts and a shallow sanctuary projection on the east side. The walls are built of red brick, faced with stucco on the west and south sides which are the public faces of the church, but left bare on the north side. The dressings, pinnacles, door and window surrounds are of stone, apart from two early windows which appear to be metal-framed. The pitched roof is covered with Welsh slate. The west front has a shallow gable and diagonal corner buttresses topped by pinnacles.  The central doorway has a four-centred arched head with the date 1830 in the spandrels and immediately above the door is a three-light traceried Perpendicular window. The side walls of the nave each have a two light-traceried window. The north transept which abuts the presbytery has a doorway next to the nave and a single tall pointed window with metal quarries. The south transept has angle buttresses with pinnacles and an elaborate five-light traceried Perpendicular window in the south end wall.

Internally the short nave has a tiled floor, plain plastered walls and a four-centred plaster ceiling with ornamental ribs. A wide arch opens into the transepts, the original nave. This also has plain plastered and a four-centred plaster ceiling with transverse plaster ribs carried down onto plaster wall shafts. At the end of the north transept is a gallery or tribune (apparently intended for the use of Lord Dormer and his family) with a wrought-iron balustrade.  The ceiling of the south transept has ornamental ribbing, denoting that this was originally the sanctuary. The present sanctuary is a broad recess in the centre of the east side with plaster panelling and ribbing and richly coloured painted decoration, possibly by T. F. Norman of Warwick. In the sanctuary is a handsome white marble altar with gilded ornament. Its provenance is unknown.  Pevsner called it a ‘late Empire piece’ and suggested that it may have been made in Rome. Behind the altar is a painted reredos with four saints. The nave has three 1960s stained glass windows by Hardman. The large south transept window has patterned glass, possibly dating from the 1880s.

List description


1819 Gothick church with perpendicular style addition of 1830. Rendered and with slate roof. The 1819 church had a north/south aisle. The present nave was built in 1830 at the centre of the west side forming a T-shaped plan with two transepts, the chancel being only a shallow recess on the east side. 1830 nave with gabled west end with pinnacles, diagonal buttresses and three-light perpendicular traceried window with moulded four-centred arch window below. Interior: four-centred arch altar recess with panelled walls and white marble late Empire altar.

Listing NGR: SP2524564320

Heritage Details

Architect: Not known

Original Date: 1819

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II*