Building » Upton-upon-Severn – St Joseph

Upton-upon-Severn – St Joseph

School Lane, Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire WR8

A modest Gothic church of 1850 by Charles Hansom, established by the Redemptorists and paid for in part by John Vincent Hornyold of Blackmore Park, who also financed Hansom’s more ambitious church for the Redemptorists on the edge of his estate. The church and attached presbytery make a modest but positive contribution to the conservation area. 

The church at Upton was established by the Redemptorists, who had been settled at Hanley Swan by John Vincent Hornyold of Blackmore Park. Here the church of Our Blessed Lady and St Alphonsus (qv) was built in 1846, from designs by Charles Hansom. Hornyold also donated £500 towards the building of St Joseph’s, Upton, which was also designed by Hansom. The Upton church was opened on 3 October 1850. A small presbytery was built onto the east end at some time between 1850 and 1855, almost completely filling the cramped site. Various improvements were made in 1907-8 when a high altar by Wall of Cheltenham was installed and a northeast sacristy added. The parishes of Upton and Blackmore Park were united in 1980.


The church is a modest Gothic design, faced with red brick laid in Flemish bond, with dressings and window surrounds of Bath stone and roof coverings of Welsh slate.  The plan comprises a nave and sanctuary under a continuous pitched roof with decorative metal ridge crestings and a brick bellcote (incorporating flues from the presbytery chimneys and containing one bell, cast in 1848 by Taylor of Loughborough). The west end fronting the street has a central pointed doorway with a three-light traceried pointed window over. On either side are crosses in blue brickwork.  The side walls have brick buttresses with stone cappings and rectangular window openings with stone surrounds and three-light timber windows with plain quarry glazing.

The interior has plastered walls, now plainly painted and a plastered or boarded waggon ceiling, also painted. Early photographs show that there have been at least two schemes of painted decoration around the sanctuary arch, but the area is now plain. At the west end of the nave is a timber gallery, now enclosed below to form a vestibule. The sanctuary arch is flanked by pointed niches with statues of Our Lady and St Joseph. Against the blind east wall of the sanctuary is a stone altar and reredos, enriched with marble and alabaster, made by Walls of Cheltenham; this incorporates a carved representation of the Flight into Egypt on the frontal and figures of St John Fisher and St Thomas More in the niches of the reredos. The stone nave altar was installed in 1983. The plain nave benches date from 1923.

Heritage Details

Architect: Charles Hansom

Original Date: 1850

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed