Beachfield Road, Sandown, Isle of Wight
Church by W.C. Mangan, unusual in being closely modelled on the important Irish Arts & Crafts chapel at Honan, Cork. It is not an exact copy, but is executed with lavishness and great attention to detail and is a valuable work of art in its own right. High quality stained glass by the studio of one of the most important Irish stained glass artists of the twentieth century.
In the mid-nineteenth century there were always large numbers of soldiers garrisoned at the Granite Fort, many of whom were Catholics and Mass was regularly said there. In 1907 Fr de Mainvilliers became Sandown’s first resident priest, saying Mass at Albert Lodge Chapel. In 1914 Fr Flynn proposed the building of a permanent church. Delayed by war and fundraising, the foundation stone was not laid until May 1928 and St Patrick’s was opened on 25 June 1929. The architect was W. C. Mangan of Preston, and the Romanesque design was closely modelled on the Honan Church at Cork (1916 by James McMullen, a major work of the Irish Arts & Crafts movement, inspired by the nationalist taste for Irish architecture and design of the Romanesque period). The dedication and architectural style may well have been influenced by the bishop at the time, William Cotter; he was a native of County Cork and would doubtless have been familiar with McMullen’s church.
St Patrick’s consists of a long nave and sanctuary raised over a deep undercroft hall, unbroken externally, with shallow unequal transeptal projections (much larger on the north side), tripartite west porch and slender cylindrical tower projecting at the southwest corner. Following the early Romanesque style, the windows are narrow and tall and the walls unrelieved except by flat buttresses linked by an arched corbel table. Steeply pitched roof with Celtic crosses on the gables. The entrance has shafts and mouldings of three orders and elaborately carved cushion capitals.
The interior is undivided and tunnel vaulted with transverse arches. A decorative arched corbel table links the heads of the windows. The sanctuary arch and sanctuary are richly decorated with carving, mostly nailhead and dogtooth but with some more Celtic forms, a vocabulary picked up in the altar, font and ambo. An immensely tall arch breaking into the tunnel vault opens into the shallow south chapel and a similar two arches open into a north chapel with a lower arch on its east wall opening into the chapel sanctuary. Original altars in both chapels. The west wall of the nave has a five-bay arcade, the larger central arch opening to the porch. Two smaller arches on the right for the confessional and two open arches to the left. Even the built in stoups have little Romanesque arches. The pews are plain with open backs. Excellent stained glass throughout the church by the Harry Clarke Studios of Dublin. The proportions of the windows lend themselves to the long sinuous figures familiar in the work of Clarke and his studio, combining ‘Byzantine dignity with Beardsley-esque decadence’. The windows have an intense jewel-like quality which remain in the minds eye long after leaving the building.
List description (church and attached steps and railings listed June 2020)
The Roman Catholic Church of St Patrick,along with the attached steps and railings, built between 1928 and 1929 to designs by WC Mangan of Preston in Sandown, Isle of Wight, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: Architectural interest: * it is an accomplished Hiberno-Romanesque design by the well-regarded church architect WC Mangan; * internally, it is well-detailed with a good variety of carved motifs and a vibrant set of stained-glass window by the noted Irish firm Harry Clarke Studios.
History: In 1907 Father de Manivellers became Sandown’s first resident priest, saying Mass at Albert Lodge Chapel. In 1914 Father John Flynn proposed the building of a permanent church on the site of a pair of semi-detached houses. The construction of the church was delayed by the First World War and the need for fundraising. The foundation stone was laid in May 1928 and the Church of St Patrick was opened on 25 June 1929. The Romanesque design with Celtic influences appears to have been closely modelled on Honan Chapel at Cork University, Ireland, built in 1916 and designed by James McMullen. William Cotter, Bishop of Portsmouth from 1910 to 1940, was born in County Cork and it is believed that his likely familiarity with Honan Chapel may have influenced the design of St Patrick’s. The round tower, however, is closer in form to that at Glendalough, County Wicklow. The church architect was Wilfred Clarence Mangan (1884-1968). Born and based in Preston, he also had an office in Southampton Street, London. He was in partnership with his brother James Henry Mangan from around 1920 until 1926. Wilfred was amongst the most prolific inter-war and post-war Roman-Catholic church architects in the country. His other works include the Church of English Martyrs Tilehurst, Reading (1915-1926, Grade II), the Chapel of St Margaret, Canning Town, London (1929-1930, Grade II) and the Church of Our Lady of Willesden, Brent, London (1930, Grade II). The church contains stained glass windows by Harry Clarke Studios of Dublin. Harry Patrick Clarke (1889-1931) was an Irish stained-glass artist, book illustrator, and an important figure in the Irish Arts and Crafts movement. He was responsible for several notable stained glass commissions including nine windows in Honan Chapel in the 1910s. Harry was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1930 and died in January 1931. His business continued after his death as Harry Clarke Studios. It was likely due to this work at Honan Chapel that his studio was asked to create windows for St Patrick’s.
Details: Roman Catholic church with church hall and vestry below, with attached steps and railings, built between 1928 and 1929, designed by WC Mangan of Preston. MATERIALS: faced in coursed-ashlar, concrete-based reconstructed stone with a slate roof. PLAN: the church has a cruciform plan which is orientated to the cardinal north-west to south-east; the following description of the building is made using the liturgical points. The building has a long nave, sanctuary and unequal north and south transepts; the church is at street level raised above a deep undercroft which extends under the pavement along Beachfield Road, and which incorporates a church hall, vestry and other facilities. EXTERIOR: the two-storey building is built in a Hiberno-Romanesque style. The tripartite west porch faces onto Beachfield Road and contains the main entrance which is accessed via a set of steps that sail over the church hall below. The double-leaf door is surrounded by a carved arch with mouldings of three orders and elaborately carved cushion capitals, and flanked by carved square pilasters. The porch is topped by an effigy of St Patrick and a block of trefoil-detail carving within the gable. Above the porch is the west end gable which includes a single-light round-headed window with a carved surround and a block of stonework carved with a Celtic motif. To the right of the porch is a tall, slender cylindrical bell tower with louvres at the top and a conical roof. At the corners of the building are flat buttresses linked by an arched corbel table. To the side elevations and east end are tall narrow windows on both levels; the lower windows are paired. There is a plat band between the two floors and a drip mould that runs between and around the tops of the upper windows. To the north and south are the pitched-roof transepts; the north transept is double-pile and includes a shallow porch which incorporates a double-leaf side entrance at its lower level and is topped by a stepped roof. On the transepts left return is two-storey projecting bay with a pitched roof. The building retains several metal drain goods, although some sections of pipe and guttering have been replaced with plastic. The building is topped by a steeply pitched roof with Celtic crosses above the gables. The undercroft projects beyond the church’s west end where it is topped by a flat felt-covered roof and partly extends under the pavement; this part of the building is of lesser interest. INTERIOR: the undivided church interior is topped by tunnel vaulted ceiling with transverse arches supported by pilasters with alternating carved capitals. The nave and transept have a parquet floor; the sanctuary is carpeted and the original tiles may survive beneath. A decorative arched corbel table links the heads of the windows. The west wall of the nave has a five-bay arcade including the larger central arch opening to the porch which is flanked by a pair of stone stoops. There are two smaller arches on the right for the confessional and two open arches to the left (formerly the baptistery). The sanctuary arch and sanctuary are decorated with mainly nailhead and dogtooth carvings, as well as some more Celtic forms. The high altar, font, ambo and arcading behind the altar have similar carved detailing. To the right of the sanctuary is the shallow south chapel under a tall arch and to the left are two similar arches which open into the north transept which includes a further chapel with a lower arch on its east return wall opening into the chapel sanctuary. The original altars are in both chapels and there are further inbuilt stoops with carved arches. The stained glass throughout the church is by the Harry Clarke Studios of Dublin, and incorporate slender figures designed in a Byzantine-influenced style. The pews are plain with open backs, and are later replacements. Through a door in the north transept is a stairwell; it includes a bell with decorative metal bracket and pull, and a flight of stone steps with a timber handrail which lead down to the undercroft. At the bottom of the stairs is a kitchen area and entrance lobby to the north transept. Under the sanctuary is the vestry which includes an inbuilt stone stoop. There are parquets floors throughout this lower level as well as panelled doors. Under the nave is the church hall with a stage at one end. A set of partially glazed doors lead into a corridor providing access to the service area and toilets which are located beyond the west end of the church and extend under the pavement; a further set of partially glazed doors provide access to the yard to the north. SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the church is bounded to the west and north by a wall topped by painted metal railings with ichthys detailing. The front elevation is flanked by two set of steps lead from the pavements down to the undercroft; one has an angled banister.
A late-C20 ramp* (with a matching style of railing) added to the side of the west porch and oversailing part of the lower storey is not included in the listing.
* Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the attached ramp and its railings are not of special architectural or historic interest, however any works which have the potential to affect the character of the listed building as a building of special architectural or historic interest may still require LBC and this is a matter for the LPA to determine.
Books and journals: Antram, Nicholas, Taking Stock report: St Patrick, Sandown, (2007); Lloyd, D, Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, (2006); Websites: Harry Clarke , accessed 17 January 2020 from https://www.dia.ie/architects/view/1062/CLARKE%2C+HARRY+%2A; Wilfred Clarence Mangan, accessed 17 January 2020 from https://manchestervictorianarchitects.org.uk/architects/wilfred-clarence-mangan Other: Isle of Wight County Archaeology and Historic Environment Service Monument Full Report : 6171 – MIW7494 St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church.
Architect: W. C. Mangan
Original Date: 1928
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Grade II