Building » Windsor – St Edward

Windsor – St Edward

Alma Road, Windsor, Berkshire

Charles Alban Buckler (1825-1905) was a London architect who worked extensively for the Catholic Church in a long career beginning in the mid-1850s. In the Diocese of Portsmouth he also designed St Mary, East Hendred, Oxfordshire (1865).

St Edward’s is a large church in a late-thirteenth to early-fourteenth century style which was so popular in the mid-Victorian years. The massing and details are quite conventional but are confidently and well-handled. The interior is spacious and well-lit, and is rich in fittings, furnishings and decoration.

The church forms an important part of a group in a conservation area with the Gothic presbytery of 1883 and the former school (1890s).

The records of Catholic presence in and around Windsor are spasmodic down to the end of the eighteenth century when part of a house at Frogmore was used as a chapel. In 1810 a John Riley turned a room of his house in Windsor into a chapel and his son built a chapel at Clewer Green (enlarged 1844). The ambition to provide a church in Windsor itself was finally realised from 1866 when land for it was purchased for £550 by Count Ramon Cabrera de Morella.

St Edward’s was erected in 1867-8 and then consisted of the nave and aisles, Lady Chapel, Riley Chantry and south porch. The cost was over £4,000 and the builder was E.W. Kelly of Windsor. The consecration took place on 13 October 1868. The sanctuary and sacristy are later and were consecrated on 21 November 1910.

A large, aisled church built of Kentish ragstone with limestone dressings in a late-thirteenth to early-fourteenth century style. The roofs are slated. The nave and aisles have five bays and a clerestory of sexfoiled spherical triangles. There is no tower. The west elevation (facing the road) has a central five-light Geometrical window and in the head gable above a niche with a statue of St Edward the Confessor. South porch. The aisle west windows have two lights with spherical triangles in the tracery. The aisle windows are Geometrical with two lights. The south transept serves as the Riley Chantry and has two large three-light windows in its south wall with a statue of the Virgin and Child above. The sanctuary has a two-light window one each side and two single lights in the east wall with a cusped vesica-shaped window above. The sacristy and organ chamber are located on the north. There is now a link of c.2004 from the north side to the parish centre (former school).

Interior: The nave and aisles are separated by five-bay arcades with quatrefoil piers and double-chamfered arches under a hood-mould. The nave roof is arch-braced and in three tiers, the lower two of which have wind-braces. In the aisles the roofs are lean-tos. Nave floor of thermoplastic tiles – grey under the seats, green elsewhere. The jambs of the chancel arch have pairs of shafts with shaft-rings: the arch itself has two rolls and a head with dog-tooth ornament. In the chancel the roof is one with single hammer-beams.

The reredos in the sanctuary is of stone and depicts the Annunciation with the Virgin in a niche (north) and Gabriel (south). In between are Perpendicular arches above foliage and various emblems (e.g. A and, IHS, Chi-Ro). Between the two single light windows and above the reredos is a carved Crucifixion. The early-twentieth century altar remains at the east end below the reredos and has brown marble shafts and pairs of angels holding the Crown of Thorns (north) and a coronation crown (south). A modern, plainly-treated altar stands in the west part of the sanctuary. The reredos in the Riley Chantry has pairs of saints flanking a central panel above which is an alabaster statue of the Virgin and Child. The floor of this chapel has a tiled floor including blue fleur-de-lys patterns against a white ground. The reredos in the Sacred Heart chapel has a figure of Christ flanked by panels of diapering (below) and cusped arches (above). Either side of the chancel arch are two very ornate, canopied niches with figures of St Edward (north) and (?)St Swithun holding a church (south). On the north wall of the north aisle are a series of seven cusped arches with a figure of St Anthony in the centre holding a child: in the arches flanking this figure emblems of the Evangelists and diaperwork. East of this a further statue in a niche – this one of a young St Edward giving a blessing and holding an orb. The baptistery (now sited in a projection from the east part of the north aisle) has a font with a bowl of eight lobes with dog-tooth between them, and brown marble shafts to the base.

Woodwork: Perpendicular screens on both north and south sides of the sanctuary. The nave seats are plain, very solid work, perhaps of the 1960s or 1970s.

Decoration: There are extensive paintings executed on canvas and fixed to the walls: angels with instruments of the Passion in the spandrels of the nave arches; beside and over the chancel arch angels blowing trumpets, archangels and saints glorifying the Risen Christ who is flanked by censing angels; in the baptistery scenes from the life of St Joseph.

Stained glass: East and sanctuary north and south by Royal Windsor Stained Glass works, c.1900.

Riley Chantry: east, roundel by Hardman, 1868; south wall two windows possibly by O’Connor (?c.1870)

North aisle: northeast window (before baptistery) signed Jon Pace (+1899); two west of this also by Pace (c.1900).

Heritage Details

Architect: C. A. Buckler

Original Date: 1867

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: II