Salter’s Lane, Newport, Shropshire, TF10
The Newport mission dates back to pre-Reformation times, centred on the Longford Hall, home of the Talbot family. The present church was funded by John Talbot, sixteenth Earl of Shrewsbury, and is a typically thin Gothic design of the 1830s, with later enrichments. The architect was Joseph Potter of Lichfield. The church forms a good group with the adjoining presbytery, parts of which date from the seventeenth century. The interior has high quality sanctuary fittings, possibly by Pugin, and good stained glass by Margaret Rope.
The Newport mission traces its roots back to the mission established in the sixteenth century at Longford Hall, home of the Talbot family. With the sale of the Hall and departure of the Earl of Shrewsbury in 1789, the family chaplain was provided with a new residence at the seventeenth century Salter’s Hall in Newport. This house was significantly enlarged, and a church built alongside it, by the Rev. G. Howe (chaplain from 1806-37), the church opening in July 1832. Its construction was funded by John Talbot, sixteenth Earl of Shrewsbury and friend and patron of A.W.N. Pugin. The list description gives the architect as Pugin, but the design is by the Lichfield architect Joseph Potter (although Pugin had form in supplanting Potter for other commissions, i.e. at Oscott). In his seventies by 1832, Potter had worked with James Wyatt on various cathedral restorations and would not have been regarded by Pugin as a serious Gothic architect. Although he did not design the church, Pugin is recorded as having carried out (unspecified) alterations and repairs in 1838 and 1840 (Hill, p.512), doubtless to make it more archaeologically correct. These alterations may have included the sanctuary furnishings
The first Bishop of Shrewsbury, James Brown, lived at the presbytery until moving to Shrewsbury in 1868. A school, funded by the Bishop, was built in that year, and an infant school added in 1878; the schools are today used as a parish hall. The church was renovated in 1902 under Rev. C. Giles, and consecrated in 1906. A new porch and baptistery was opened in 1913 and the west rose window added in 1920.
The list description (below) provides a brief summary of the main external features of the church and presbytery. However, it is inaccurately attributed to A.W.N. Pugin, and says nothing about the interior. The west front faces roughly north east but, as in the list description, liturgical compass points are used.
Designed by Joseph Potter of Lichfield, and funded by the Earl of Shrewsbury, SS Peter and Paul was opened in 1832. Constructed of red brick in Flemish bond with stone dressings, the church has a pitched roof laid with slate, with a single storey porch (added 1913) of three bays below a large rose window on the west elevation (added 1920). Above the rose window is a statue in a niche and the gable is surmounted by a simple bellcote. The porch is also constructed of red brick, with a central pointed doorway flanked by four-light cusped-headed windows with leaded glazing; statues of St Peter and St Paul flank the doorway in niches. It has substantial cast iron decorative rainwater gutters supported on brackets. The south elevation comprises five large lancet windows between slender buttresses. The north elevation links to the presbytery, and the east elevation is plain except for a small louvered lancet opening.
Internally, the church is lofty and light, due to a wide nave with a Tudor-arched ceiling of five bays and in part to its recent redecoration. The ceiling is divided into square recessed panels with stencilled gold decoration on red and green, and pierced louvres in the central bay. At the west end there is a choir gallery with an open timber screen supported by square timber king posts, above which the rose window has Decorated tracery and plain glazing. To the south side of the central double entrance doors is a small baptistery with a sandstone font and leaded cusped window arcades to the south and west walls. The north elevation is blind except for one small internal window and one lancet lighting the sanctuary, and provides access to the sacristy, confessionals and toilets, located within the presbytery. The south elevation contains five large lancet windows, filled with stained glass by Margaret Rope depicting Saints Peter and Paul, St Winefride and a scene of ‘Help for Christians’, made between 1912 and 1918. Walls are finished with plain painted plaster and the floor has polished parquet. The oak bench seating possibly dates from the 1913 renovation.
The sanctuary displays several elements of Gothic decoration, possibly the work of, and certainly inspired by Pugin. Central on the east wall is a large pointed blind arch with gilding, painting and stencilling, within which is a large painting of the Crucifixion in an elaborate gilt frame. Flanking the sanctuary arch are two smaller arches with statues, again richly decorated and gilded. The altar is on a stepped dais, with original geometric tiles with crests and Gothic motifs in gold and red. The plainer timber lectern is similarly styled but may be a later addition. The lower portions of the sanctuary walls are decorated with painted stencilling, recently restored following investigation into the original decorative scheme. The sanctuary has been sensitively reordered at an unknown date. There are several commemorative plaques throughout the church, including an attractive carved timber relief to Ann Morgan; the hymn board has gilded decorative panels depicting Biblical scenes in typical late-nineteenth century style.
List description (church, presbytery and Salter’s Hall)
1832. Designed by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin for Lord Shrewsbury. Gothic style. Red brick with stone dressings. The church has an aisleless nave and circular window in west wall with Decorated tracery. Porch added circa 1920. The presbytery is of 2 storeys with 4 stone mullioned windows with square headed drip moulds, and parapet gables above. The south end of the Presbytery incorporates the remains of the C17 Salter’s Hall but the interior is much altered and visible evidence is confined to exposed ceiling beams. Listing NGR: SJ7422419208
Architect: Joseph Potter
Original Date: 1832
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Grade II