Building » Wappenbury – St Anne

Wappenbury – St Anne

Wappenbury, Warwickshire CV33

A small and plain mid-nineteenth Gothic structure of some charm, possibly incorporating fabric from the predecessor church. The church has a large burial ground, adjoining the medieval church and churchyard, which forms part of the setting of the Iron Age hill fort of Wappenbury Camp.

In 1795 the Wappenbury estate came into the hands of the Lord Clifford of Chudleigh in Devon. The Cliffords built a priest’s house with a small chapel. The present small brick church was built by Dom Richard Austin Marsh OSB, a monk of Douai (then still in France), who came to Wappenbury in 1831, and remained until 1856. The new church, dedicated to St Anne, was opened by Bishop (later Cardinal) Wiseman in October 1849. The architect is not recorded; there is no basis for the attribution in some sources (e.g. the Shell Guideto Warwickshire) to A. W. Pugin. It is possible that part of the old chapel survives in the sanctuary. The site and buildings were sold by Baron Clifford to the Archdiocese in 1927. In 2014 the timber west porch of the church was replaced by a modern cubical glass porch (Peter Bones, Building Consultant).

The church was built in 1849 in a simplified Gothic style and consists of a short aisleless nave and small lower sanctuary, the latter attached to the presbytery and maybe slightly earlier (c1830) in date. Both presbytery and church are built of red brick laid in English bond with Welsh slate roofs. The church has stone dressings and window surrounds. The gabled west end has diagonal buttresses and a central west door in a chamfered pointed arch with prominent label stops. Above the door is a niche with a statue of St Anne. Across the whole front is a glazed porch, added in 2014. The north and south sides of the nave have three lancet windows with cusped heads. The sanctuary has one window on the south side with a roundel over a single trefoiled light. The east and north sides of the sanctuary directly abut the presbytery.

The interior has plain plastered walls, a red and black tiled floor and a rafter roof with the principal trusses supported on timber wall posts. The pointed chancel arch has clustered shafts with moulded capitals and bases and elaborate painted decoration, recently renewed. It is flanked by lower blind arches. There is a single window in the south wall of the sanctuary and a door to the presbytery in the north wall. The east wall is blind. The ceiling has plaster ribbing of a kind typical of the 1820s (cf Hampton on the Hill), although the structure otherwise appears contemporary with the rest of the church. The fittings include a timber altar and pews, both of mid-late nineteenth century appearance. The nave windows have clear glazing with coloured borders. The sanctuary window is dated 1853 and has a figure of St Anne; it is signed FB, probably for the artist Frederick Burrow of Westmorland. A memorial brass to Fr Marsh looks to be by Hardman.

Heritage Details

Architect: Not known

Original Date: 1849

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed