St Paul's Church

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Birmingham, St Paul's Church

ST PAUL'S CHURCH, St Paul's Square.
Open: Fri Sat Sun Mon 1000-1600

The last survivor of the town's 18the century churches. Built in 1777-9 to designs by Roger Eykyn of Wolverhampton, with the upper part of the tower and spireGlossary Term added in 1822-3, designed by Francis Goodwin. Bomb damage was repaired by J.B. Surman, 1949-51; much of the roof was replaced. The site, near the far NW end of the Newhall Estate, was given by Charles Colmore, and undoubtedly chosen to stimulate development. Eykyn's design was altered after criticism by Samuel Wyatt and a James Gibson of London. It is very much a pattern book church of the period, heavily dependent on James Gibbs' St Martin-in-the-Fields and St Peter, Vere Street, London as published in his Book of Architecture (1728). The exterior is a heavy five bayGlossary Term box with projecting pedimented square E chancelGlossary Term and W tower, and slightly recessed W corners enclosing porches. The elevations have rusticated quoinsGlossary Term, and to N and S, two tiers of windows with Gibbs-style blockedGlossary Term surrounds, round-headedGlossary Term above segmental, like T.F. Pritchard's St John, Wolverhampton of 1756-9. Big Venetian E window in a relieving archGlossary Term. Pedimented doorways also with blockedGlossary Term surrounds. CorniceGlossary Term with massive consoles. Goodwin's tower follows Eykyn's intended design in its two diminishing octagonal stages and a spireGlossary Term, but its details are fashionably Greek: the lower octagon with IonicGlossary Term columns set into the diagonals, and the spireGlossary Term delicately divided into four stages, the lowest with angle pilasters and all with tiny windows.

The interior, with IonicGlossary Term arcades and an elliptical plaster tunnel vaultGlossary Term, is equally Gibbsian. The aisles have groined vaults. The arcades stand on square piers which support the galleries, and their top mouldings continue as the baseGlossary Term mouldingGlossary Term of the galleryGlossary Term fronts, Elegant E window surround by Samuel Wyatt, 1791, with Greek IonicGlossary Term half-columns and pilasters, and oval medallions. Its pedimentGlossary Term is by Surman, 1950. Many original C18 fittings. Plain BOX PEWS with fielded panels, H hinges and, a Birmingham touchGlossary Term, enamel numberplates. At the W end, VICAR'S and CHURCHWARDENS' PEWS in elliptical coved recesses. Flanking the door, BEADLES' SEATS. - CHOIRGlossary Term STALLS incorporating C18 panellingGlossary Term. - FONTGlossary Term. C19. White IonicGlossary Term capitalGlossary Term on a pink granite stem. - MONUMENTS. The most delightful is around the E window of the S aisleGlossary Term, by Peter Hollins, 1880, to William Hollins and his family. Carrara marble. Bust in RomanGlossary Term dress, tablets to the family with the 'fruitful vine' and 'olive plants' of Psalm 128, and delightful sculptured surround. Contemporary STAINED GLASS by Ward & Hughes. Next to it going W, Richard Mico Wise d.1826, a tapering grave chest on ornate lions' feet and an earthy cherub in the predellaGlossary Term, by Seaborne. E wall of S galleryGlossary Term, Sarah d.1805, Eleanor d.1807 and John d.1824 Legge, oval tablet with soul ascending to a heavenly crownGlossary Term, by (William) Hollins, E wall of S galleryGlossary Term. In the NW corner several with weeping branches, e.g. William Redfern d.1820 etc. by Peter Hollins. Others by J. Richardson. Small tablets on the pierGlossary Term fronts. - STAINED GLASS. The E window, The Conversion of St Paul, is an important piece of 1791, designed by Benjamin West and made by Francis Eginton. In the BaroqueGlossary Term style West used at Windsor Castle in the 1780s. The technique involves a double thickness of glass painted on inner and outer surfaces. NaveGlossary Term SE by Ward & Hughes c.1880; the rest, mainly patterns, by Pearce, 1900-7. N aisleGlossary Term, 2000, by Rachel Thomas. - ORGAN by George Hollins, 1838, reconstructed by Conacher, Sheffield & Co. in 1927 when it was moved from the W galleryGlossary Term to the NE corner of the naveGlossary Term by Marcus O. Type, with an additional case facing the galleryGlossary Term by H. Ravenscroft Richards. - ROYAL ARMS, W galleryGlossary Term, by John Poole, 1996, but of George III. CHURCHYARD laid out by the city council in 1895-6, retaining some early C19 tombs.



Subsidiary space alongside the body of a building, separated from it by columns, piers or posts. Also (especially Scots) projecting wing of a church, often for special use, e.g. by a guild or by a landed family whose burial place it may contain.


Types include: Basket arch or Anse de Panier (French, lit. basket handle): three-centred and depressed, or with a flat centre. Chancel: dividing chancel from nave or crossing in a church. Crossing: spanning piers at a crossing in a church. Depressed or three-centred: with a rounded top, but curving inward more at the sides. Four-centred: with four arcs, the lower two curving inward more than the upper, with a blunt central point; typical of late medieval English architecture. Jack arch: shallow segmental vault springing from beams, used for fireproof floors, bridge decks, etc. Ogee (adjective ogival): a pointed arch with a double reverse curve, especially popular in the 14th century; a nodding ogee curves forward from the wall face at the top. Parabolic: shaped like a chain suspended from two level points, but inverted. Relieving or discharging: incorporated in a wall to relieve superimposed weight. Shouldered: with arcs in each corner and a flat centre or lintel. Skew: spanning responds not diametrically opposed. Stilted: with a vertical section above the impost i.e. the horizontal moulding at the springing. Strainer: inserted in an opening to resist inward pressure. Three-centred: see Depressed, above. Transverse: spanning a main axis (e.g. of a vaulted space). Triumphal arch: influential type of Imperial Roman monument, free-standing, with a square attic or top section and broad sections to either side of the main opening, often with lesser openings or columns. Tudor: with arcs in each corner joining straight lines to the central point. Two-centred: the simplest kind of pointed arch.


The term, originally derogatory, for a style at its peak in 17th- and early 18th-century Europe, which developed the classical architecture of the Renaissance towards greater extravagance and drama. Its innovations included greater freedom from the conventions of the orders, much interplay of concave and convex forms, and a preference for the single visual sweep. The revival of the style in early 20th-century Britain, often termed Edwardian Baroque or Neo-Baroque, drew more on English prototypes than on the more expansive variants of the Continent.


Moulded foot of a column or pilaster. An Attic base is the form used on an Ionic column, with two large convex rings joined by a spreading convex moulding.


Division of an elevation or interior space as defined by regular vertical features such as arches, columns, windows etc.


Interrupted by regular projecting blocks (blocking), as on a Gibbs surround.


Head or crowning feature of a column or pilaster.


The eastern part or end of a church, where the altar is placed; usually set apart for the clergy.


The part of a cathedral, monastic church or collegiate church where services are sung.


Flat-topped ledge with moulded underside, projecting along the top of a building or feature, especially as the highest member of the classical entablature. Also the decorative moulding in the angle between wall and ceiling. An eaves cornice overhangs the edge of a roof.


The upper part of an arch or vault.


Vessel in a church or chapel for baptismal water, usually of stone or lead.


A long room or passage; an upper storey above the aisles of a church, looking through arches to the nave; a balcony or mezzanine overlooking the main interior space of a building; or an external walkway.


One of the orders of classical architecture, distinguished in particular by downward- and inward-curling spirals (called volutes) on the capital of the column.


Shaped ornamental strip of continuous section, e.g. the classical cavetto, cyma or ovolo.


The body of a church west of the crossing or chancel, often flanked by aisles.


Wooden lining to interior walls, made up of vertical members (muntins) and horizontals (rails) framing panels; also called wainscot. Raised and fielded: with the central area of the panel (field) raised up. Also used for stonework treated with sunk or raised panels.


A formalized gable derived from that of a classical temple; also used over doors, windows etc. A broken pediment has its apex omitted. An open pediment has the centre of the base omitted. A broken pediment with double-curved sides is called a swan-neck pediment.


Large masonry or brick support, often for an arch. A compound pier is composed of grouped shafts, or a solid core surrounded by shafts.


In an altarpiece, the horizontal strip below the main representation, often used for subsidiary representations.


Dressed or otherwise emphasized stones at the angles of a building, or their imitation in brick or other materials.


The architecture of the Roman Empire, to which most of Britain belonged from 43 to c. 410 A.D. Our knowledge of Romano-British architecture depends mostly on archaeological reconstructions from foundations and fragments, though some notable fortifications and other military works survive above ground level in recognizable form.


(Scots): A rounded bartizan or turret, usually roofless. An angle round is set at a corner.


Tall pyramidal or conical feature crowning a tower or turret. Broach: starting from a square base, then carried into an octagonal section by means of triangular faces. Splayed-foot: variation of the broach form, found in England principally in the south-east, in which the four cardinal faces are splayed out near their bases, to cover the corners, while oblique (or intermediate) faces taper away to a point. Needle spire: thin spire rising from the centre of a tower roof, well inside the parapet.


Soft black marble quarried near Tournai in Belgium.

Tunnel vault

The simplest kind of vault, in the form of a continuous semicircular or pointed arch; also called a barrel vault.