Weaver’s Walk, Swynnerton, Staffordshire ST15
Photo Geoff Pick https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Our_Lady_Of_The_Assumption,_Swynnerton_(geograph_2237490).jpg
A sumptuously-appointed family chapel with many rich original furnishings. The building is notable for the quality of the architecture and fixtures and for its historical associations with the Fitzherbert family and Swynnerton Hall, with which the chapel has group value.
Swynnerton Hall is the seat of the Fitzherbert family, Barons Stafford. The present hall was built to the designs of Francis Smith of Warwick for Thomas Fitzherbert in 1725-9 near the site of a predecessor. The hall had an integral chapel, but it was decided to build a new detached chapel which was started in 1868 and opened in 1869. It was commissioned by Maria Teresa née Gandolfi, widow of Francis Fitzherbert and designed by Gilbert Blount. Maria Teresa’s son Basil erected a side altar in her memory after her death. The building has been cared for by the family since that time and embellished with stained glass and memorials. It is open as a parish Mass centre. Gilbert Blount trained with Brunel and Sidney Smirke before becoming architect to Cardinal Wiseman. He designed a number of Catholic churches including St Mary, Sandwell, St Filomena, Caverswall and St Peter, Bromsgrove (qqv).
The building is briefly described in the listed building description, below.
All orientations given in this description are liturgical. The building adopts a thirteenth century Gothic style, with Geometrical window tracery and stiff leaf type carving. The chapel is attached to Swynnerton Hall by a walkway which gives access to a northeast family chapel. The public entrance is via a northwest porch and there is a southeast sacristy and south aisle. A northwest tower is surmounted by a tall bellcote. The west front has a large traceried window and beneath there are quatrefoil windows lighting the space under the gallery.
Inside, a complex timber roof is supported by full- and half-height wall shafts with carved caps. A west gallery has a traceried parapet with carvings of minstrel angels and is supported by an ornate stone arcade with polished stone shafts. This is similar to the south aisle arcade. The chancel is divided from chapels by similar arcades, on a smaller scale. The columns are of polished stone, the arches have bands of red stone, and the capitals are richly carved. These features are part of an intensification of decoration towards the east end. The elaborate high altar has marble shafts and carved roundels, surmounted by a reredos with carved busts and figures of saints. This is flanked by ornate canopied niches with statuary. There are good decorative floor tiles, possibly by Minton. The south chapel has an ornate altar of later nineteenth century date with shafts of coloured marbles and carved roundels. The chapel has a number of stained glass windows, mostly Fitzherbert memorials, many by Hardman, ranging in date from the late nineteenth to the late twentieth century. There is also a number of fine quality brass memorials to members of the Fitzherbert family also by Hardman. One of these, in memory of Thomas Fitzherbert who died in 1857, was moved from the old chapel in the Hall.
1868-9. Roman Catholic. Architect: Gilbert Blount. Built next to Swynnerton Hall (qv). Late C13 Gothic style much in the manner of Pugin, whose pupil Blount was. Stone with tile roof. Nave with gallery, south arcade (ritually south), chancel with public chapel on west side, and bellcote. Richly decorated interior. Included for architectural interest.
Listing NGR: SJ8516735463
Architect: Gilbert Blount
Original Date: 1869
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Grade II*