Building » Studley – St Mary

Studley – St Mary

Alcester Road, Studley, Warwickshire B80

A well-detailed Victorian Gothic Revival church built for a Benedictine mission, with assistance from the Throckmorton family of Coughton Court. Although altered, the church retains a number of original and early fixtures and fittings of note. With the adjoining slightly later presbytery, it has a fine presence on a large site beside the main road leading south out of Studley. 

The resolution to build a church at Studley was made as early as 1847 by a small group of local Catholics encouraged by missioners from Coughton and Redditch. Sir Robert Throckmorton of nearby Coughton Court was contacted. Plans for a Catholic chapel within the grounds of Coughton Court were also in train, but Sir Robert agreed to support a separate church for Studley. Lady Mary Throckmorton gave a legacy of £1,000 and funds were also raised from Catholic families in Studley, Staffordshire and Worcestershire. Sir Francis Lyttleton Hollyoake Goodrich sold land for the church, presbytery and garden to Sir Robert Throckmorton who then presented it to the Church.

The present church, designed by Charles F. Hansom of Clifton, was begun in 1851 and opened on 27 January 1853; it was therefore built at the same time as Hansom’s church at Coughton (qv). The builder was George Taylor of Coventry. The presbytery was completed in 1865. In 1882, the chancel was redecorated and furnished with a new altar and reredos, at the expense of an anonymous donor. The reredos was carved by A. B. Wall of Cheltenham, while the wall paintings were by R. J. Hopkins of Abergavenny. This was followed in 1885 by statues of the Sacred Heart, St Mary and St Joseph by A. B. Wall. The parish has always been served by Benedictines – from Downside until 1878 and since then from Douai Abbey.

The list entry (see below) provides a fairly detailed and, for the most part, accurate description of the building. Additional information:

  • The stone reredos, with large figures of saints under canopies, is by A. B. Wall of Cheltenham, 1882. Wall paintings by R. J. Hopkins executed at the same time have been overpainted or lost.

Inaccuracies are:

  • It credits Joseph Hansom with the design, while the account in The Builder and other sources make it clear that his younger brother Charles was responsible;
  • C. J. Pickford’s research points to 1870, rather than, 1860, for the Hardman east window;
  • The list entry for the presbytery states that it pre-dates the church and gives it an early-mid nineteenth century date; it was actually built in 1864, from Charles Hansom’s designs.

List descriptions



Roman Catholic Church. 1853. Designed by Joseph Hansom. Regular coursed lias with moulded limestone cornice and dressings. Old tile roofs with moulded stone coped gables and kneelers. Nave, chancel and south porch. Gothic Revival style. 4-bay nave, 2-bay chancel. 2-storey porch has angle buttresses flush with front wall. Arched doorway of 2 chamfered orders with hood mould. 2-light window above. Moulded south doorway inside has hood mould with head stops and plank door. Chancel has diagonal buttresses and 2 buttresses to north side, 3-light east window. All other windows of 2 lights. Plate tracery with quatrefoils throughout. Nave has buttresses and diagonal buttresses. North side has protecting gabled north-west bay. 2-light window with transom and shouldered lower lights. West front has trim 2-light windows with hood moulds, and lancets below. Central buttress against canted sides of stair turret. Gable has moulded trefoil window. Bellcote with altered top; bell removed. On south side is a single storey link to the Presbytery. 2 small casements. Interior: chancel has piscina recess, with shelf in place of basin. Painted and stencilled panelled wagon roof. Richly carved Decorated style stone altar with arched niches, statues and ogee canopies. 2 carved reliefs. Carved stone altar. Chancel arch of 2 chamfered orders without imposts. Hood mould with foliage stops. Elaborate image niche to each side with richly carved ogee canopies and angel corbels, with statues, of the Virgin and Child to left and St. Joseph to right. Nave has panelled west gallery. Late C20 glazed screens below. Arched scissor braced roof, supported on painted colonnettes and corbels. Small side chapel below gallery. Shouldered doorway to stair turret with winder stairs. Fittings: altar of 4 Early English style stone shafts. Original pews. Stained glass east window 1860 by Hardman. Forms part of a group with attached Presbytery (q.v). (Buildings of England: Warwickshire, p.423).

Listing NGR: SP0743163469 



Presbytery. Early/mid C19. Rendered. Slate roof; rendered stacks. L-plan. Gothic Revival style. 2 storeys; 3-window range. Slightly projecting gabled wing on right, with adjacent gabled 2-storey porch. Gothic arched plank door with elaborate iron hinges. Rendered Gothic hood moulds with carved stops to door and windows. Right wing has bay window with plate glass sashes and crenellated parapet. To left 3-liqht wood mullioned and transomed window with coloured glass. First floor has sashes. Sables have openwork bargeboards. Right return side is 2-window range. Late C19 bay window on left. Interior not inspected. Now attached to the Church of St. Mary (q.v.) and forming a group with it, but the house pre-dates the church.

Listing NGR: SP0744263453

Heritage Details

Architect: Charles F. Hansom

Original Date: 1853

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II