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Bath Abbey - Bath

Scott was certainly generous towards his friend Benjamin Ferry. Wells Cathedral restoration committee, in an effort to use Scott's name to increase their funds, wanted him to become associated with Ferry's work there, but Scott declined, ‘expressing himself in the most eulogistic terms’ of Ferry's abilities and ‘stating that the work could not be in better hands’. Although the diocese is known as Bath and Wells the bishop's seat is at Wells, while Bath Abbey, one of the finest Perpendicular buildings in England, is merely a grand parish church. In the early years of the nineteenth century considerable dissatisfaction was expressed about the external and internal appearance of the Abbey.

Between 1824 and 1835 so-called ‘incongruous deformities’ were removed from around the building, including a fine classical house which was attached to the north side of the east end and, in 1833, the City Architect, George Phillips Manners (c. 1789-1866) embarked on a restoration of the Abbey. Manners had been appointed by the Corporation in 1823 and retained the post of City Architect until his retirement in 1862. He was, according to Colvin, ‘a prolific architect who appears to have designed nothing of great distinction’. At the Abbey his most conspicuous change was the addition of flying buttresses to the nave but as he was not intending to vault the nave, these had no structural purpose and were purely decorative and hollow.

In 1859, in the midst of his fight to keep the Government Offices, Scott was consulted by the new Rector of Bath, Charles Kemble (1819-1874), who wanted him to restore his church. Again the commencement of the work was conveniently delayed, this time for five years, when it became one of Scott's major restorations lasting over seven years and probably earning him more than £1,000 in fees.

At the time of Kemble's appointment in 1859, the seventy-year-old Manners was still nominally in charge of the Abbey but his ideas about church design had been completely out-moded by the ecclesiastical reforms of the 1840's and it is not surprising that Scott was called in to transform the church into a more appropriate setting for Victorian worship. Bath Abbey had few of the structural problems which had beset so many of Scott's great cathedral restorations and much of his work was in correcting Manners's solecisms. He also recommended that the great screen, which had been placed under the tower in 1835, should be removed and the organ placed in the north transept enabling the whole interior to be opened up. Galleries in the nave would go, a new pulpit would be provided and the old wooden ceiling to the nave would be repaired. The work commenced in 1864 and in the next year Kemble produced more funds so that Scott could extend the work and transform the building into the state that he considered its medieval builders had intended.

His Clerk of Works at Bath was his ‘very painstaking friend and assistant’ J. T. Irvine, who had entered Scott's office in 1858 and came from supervising Scott’s careful restoration of Ludlow Church, which was carried out between 1859 and 1860.

At Bath Abbey it could have been Irvine's scholarly approach which helped Scott to reject Manners's work so completely. When it was decided not to repair the old wooden ceiling to the nave and replace it with a genuine stone fan-vault modelled on that of the choir, Scott and Irvine must have been delighted to have the justification to remove Manners's sham flying buttresses and replace them with solid ones, which could work properly by resisting the thrust of the new heavy vaulting. Scott understood, in way that presumably Manners did not, that lightness and integrity of structure was the essential element of Perpendicular architecture. He replaced Manners's big pointed pinnacles at the east and west ends and at the corners of the tower with lower open-work designs. Those at the west end, where there was a subsidence problem, are light shallow structures resembling the crown over the stair turret at Hillesden Church. This was one of Scott's favourite features and he repeated in 1873 over a corner turret on the Chetwynd building at King's College, Cambridge. He also replaced Manners's open-work parapet over the aisles on the west front with a design based on a drawing of the original, recut the stonework and underpinned the foundations of the west front.

Internally, apart from providing genuine fan-vaulting throughout the building, Scott re-laid the nave floor, which accommodated heating by Haden, and again used his favourite craftsmen to create the appropriate atmosphere in the church. Clayton and Bell provided the fine east window and Skidmore made a magnificent set of gasoliers, including a great central burner of 120 lights under the crossing and two standards in the sanctuary. These have disappeared but his light fittings hanging under the arches of the nave and choir arcades were converted to electricity and are still in place. Farmer and Brindley produced a finely carved set of stalls and a pulpit, and Scott himself designed a plain reredos of blank arcading to fit under the east window.

The work had proceeded slowly because of the lack of funds, but the church was eventually reopened in 1871. Even then certain items, such as the font, were not added until 1874. In the end the total cost of Scott's restoration came to over £21,000.

According to a letter that Ferrey wrote to The Builder, XXXVI, 13 April 1878, immediately after Scott's death, this was Scott's only connection with Wells Cathedral.
It may well be that Scott had so much confidence in Irvine's abilities, that he gave only minimal attention to the restoration, with Irvine taking any necessary design decisions as they arose, as well as supervising the work. While it was being carried out Scott was at his busiest with great cathedral restorations, and with Bath in safe hands, he perhaps allowed himself the rare pleasure of putting it to the back of his mind, so that he could concentrate on other works.
Pevsner, N., North Somerset and Bristol, Buildings of England (Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1958), pp. 99, 101.
Cobb, G., English Cathedrals, The Forgotten Centuries, Restoration and Change from 1530 to the Present Day (Thames and Hudson, London, 1980), pp. 24, 28, 31.
Colvin, H., A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840 (Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1995), p. 638.
Cole, D., The Work of Sir Gilbert Scott (The Architectural Press, London, 1980), pp. 87, 92, 196.
The Builder, 16 June 1900, I, p. 593.
Scott, G. G., Gleanings from Westminster Abbey (John Henry and James Parker, London and Oxford, 1861, 1st edition), p. 47.
Jackson, Sir T. G., Bt. R. A., Recollections, The Life and Travels of a Victorian Architect (Unicorn Press, London, 2003), p. 61.
Pevsner, N., Cambridgeshire, Buildings of England (Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1970), p. 96.

St Andrew's, Church Street - Bath

In 1870 Scott replaced a small chapel on a triangular site, behind the fashionable Royal Crescent at Bath. Here he erected St. Andrew's Church, which was a sumptuous design in the Middle Pointed style, with Irvine also acting as the Clerk of Works. The foundation stone was laid in May 1870 and the church was consecrated in September 1873. A tower with a broach spire was added to the west end in 1878, by which time Irvine was at Rochester. The plain rows of terrace houses, so much admired today were, of course, deeply repugnant to the Gothic Revivalists and Scott clearly felt no need to acknowledge them in his design for St. Andrews. However, the tall spire of the church appearing over the roofs of the Royal Crescent, perhaps the finest terrace in the city was, as Pevsner comments, ‘unacceptable even from the picturesque mixer's point of view’, but it was ‘happily bombed’ in the Second World War. All traces of Scott's church have been erased and its site is nothing more than triangular piece of grass surrounded by busy roads.

Bladwell was the building contractor as with Bath Abbey.
Pevsner, N., North Somerset and Bristol, Buildings of England (Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1958), p. 105.
Fisher, G., Stamp, G. and Heseltine, J., (eds), The Scott Family, Catalogue of the Drawings Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Avebury Publishing, Amersham, 1981), 21 [b].

Partis College Chapel, Newbridge Hill, Weston - Bath

Scott carried out another work close to Bath in Weston, just to the west of the city centre. This was at Partis College, which is a group of thirty almshouses built between 1825 and 1827, by the architect brothers, Philip and Samuel Flood Page. It is an amazingly imposing classical composition, considering that its purpose was to provide homes for women members of the Church of England. The centrepiece, which is flanked by the residents’ houses, is a six-column Ionic portico leading to a chapel at the rear. In about 1862 Scott completely reorganised the chapel by changing its orientation and adding a small apse. As with his similar works at the Camden Chapel in London and Hawkstone, he chose an Italian Romanesque style for his alterations to the classical building. Here he inserted a short three-bay nave with an arcade of neo-Corinthian columns supporting round arches with alternating voussoirs. Two light tracery windows were inserted on the east wall of the aisles. He also provided a varnished oak pulpit. Although he omits Bath Abbey, Scott was sufficiently pleased with Partis College to mention it in his Recollections, as he does with his limited work on Durham Cathedral.

Pevsner, N., North Somerset and Bristol, Buildings of England (Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1958), p. 335.
Colvin, H., A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840 (Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1995), p. 720.
Cole, D., The Work of Sir Gilbert Scott (The Architectural Press, London, 1980), p. 60.
Scott’s Recollections, II 82.

Holy Trinity - Chantry

This church was built with Moffatt between 1844-6 and consecrated in 1848. It is in Decorated style.

Bedminster Union Workhouse, Farleigh Hospital - Flax Bourton

This workhouse was built in Classical style, between 1837-9, to a Scott and Moffatt design in local grey stone with an ashlar entrance range, with coursed rubble on the three and four storey ranges. It had a stone barrel vault and good iron gates to the entrance. Its cost was £6600 and it was to accommodate 300 inmates. The site is now used for office space.

St John the Baptist's - Glastonbury

Scott restored this church between 1856-60, at a cost of £3000, including a general reseating and repairs, new floor with new tiles and thorough restoration of roof, walls, windows, arcade. He also provided a new font carved by Merrick. He also restored the bellcote which had been destroyed earlier that century.


Pulpit, St John the Baptist's Church - Glastonbury

Scott provided a pulpit for this church in 1877, carved by Merrick.

St John the Baptist's School - Glastonbury

This school was completed in 1862-4 after the restoration of the church, which it matched in Perpendicular style. As at the church, the clerk of works and contractor, was Frederick Merrick.


St John the Baptist's - Hatch Beauchamp

Scott restored this church in 1867, extending the nave and aisles by one bay eastwards. He built a new north chapel which incorporated the old east window and inserted new north and south chapel windows. The coat of rough-cast which covered the whole of the walls was taken off and repaired using Langport stone and repointed. The buttresses of the tower were removed and rebuilt, and the parapets and pinnacles taken down and refixed. A new chancel arch was positioned to the east of the old arch and the gallery was removed. This cost £1500 which was raised by the parish, subscription and from W. H. P. Gore Langton esq.


St Mary's - Hemington

The restoration work at this church is attributed to Scott’s office, in particular, the porch which dates to around 1856.

Christ Church and Vicarage - Nailsea

This church was designed by Scott and Moffatt in 1841-3, for the Rev. Frederick Brown, and built from coursed grey local stone rubble with ashlar dressings and a Welsh slate roof. The builder was Robert Newton of Nailsea. It is in ‘lancet’ style with triple lancets in the east and west end and paired lancets in the nave. Presumably at the same time, they designed the associated two storey vicarage also in local rubble stone with ashlar dressings and a Welsh slate roof, in a Tudor style with gables.


St Philip's - Norton St Philip

Scott restored this church in 1847-50 for the Rev. Richard Palairet. This included rebuilding the old tower and part of the south aisle, reorganising monumental slabs and tombs and possibly renewing the hammer beam roof in the nave.

St Mary's - Orchardleigh

This church was one of Scott’s last restorations, commenced in 1878 for the Rev. W. A. Duckworth and completed by his sons John Oldrid and George Gilbert after his death. The Duckworth family owned the estate where the church is sited.

Sketchbook 46, Drawing Collection, 83 (RIBA).

Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Shapwick

Scott restored this church in 1861, where he appears to have worked on the ceilings in the tower and chancel, and also renewed windows and replaced fittings including pews, choir stalls, lectern, alter rail and ornamental oil lamps on sconces.


St Mary Magdalene's tower - Taunton

Scott had always proclaimed that his favourite period of architecture was that which was produced in England around 1300, the so-called Middle Pointed, and certainly his new churches usually show an allegiance to that style. But there is no doubt about his affection for Hillesden, which was built some two hundred years later in the Perpendicular style, and although Grimthorpe had forced him to modify Doncaster, his work on other late Perpendicular buildings, such as Boston, Ludlow and Newark churches and later Kings College Chapel at Cambridge, reveal that Scott had an amazing affinity with the later style. This was so much so that today his work on Perpendicular buildings often goes unrecognised.

A very spectacular Perpendicular work was his rebuilding of the great 163 foot high west tower of Taunton Church, which he started with Benjamin Ferry, the Diocesan Architect, in 1858. The original construction took place between 1488 and 1514, and he and Ferry lovingly replaced the characteristic features of the style such as delicate filigree battlements and parapets, panelled wall surfaces and fan-vaulting internally. Scott seems to have enjoyed studying and working in the style, and in a lecture at the Royal Academy in 1869, he discusses fan-vaulting at length, emphasising its beauty and special Englishness. But it was considered decadent by the ecclesiologically correct and by the 1860's, nobody would publically admit to liking the style of the Houses of Parliament. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that Scott tends to be rather coy about his involvement with Perpendicular buildings.

The tower of Taunton was dismantled in three months, the reconstruction started on 3 August 1858 with Henry Davis of Taunton as builder and the work was completed ‘amid great rejoicing’ on 8 September 1862. During the whole of this period, apart from the first few months, Scott was deeply involved with the Foreign Office and must have relied on Ferry to shoulder most of the work.

Pevsner, N., South and West Somerset, Buildings of England (Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1958), p. 310.
Scott, G., Sir, Lectures on the Rise and Development of Medieval Architecture delivered at the Royal Academy (John Murray, London, 1879), vol. II, pp. 217-27.
Morey, D., A Pictorial Guide to St. Mary Magdalen, Taunton (n.d.), p. 18.

St John the Evangelist's, Park Street - Taunton

By 1863, when the Foreign Office was at last rising from the ground, Scott designed a new church in Taunton. This was St. John the Evangelist in Park Street, opposite Moffatt's Shire Hall, which was carried out in a particularly rugged version of Early English. It is built of pink coloured rubble with ashlar dressings, with plate tracery and lancets at the east and west ends with circular windows over. The spire over the tower, which stands on the south side of the chancel, is a sophisticated design with bands of different coloured stone and statues under pyramidical canopies in each corner. The interior is particularly sumptuous with marble shafts to the windows and a fine set of foliated capitals in the nave arcade.

Pevsner, N., South and West Somerset, Buildings of England (Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1958), pp. 313, 315.

St Mary the Virgin's - Timsbury

In 1850-3 Scott restored and enlarged this church, his work including a new chancel, the road being moved to accommodate this. He also added the east end and west tower, with a new chapel and transepts. Side aisles were added in 1852, when benches and side galleries were taken away and the interior reorganised.


Pauper Lunatic Asylum - Wells

The partners were successful in a competition, held in 1844, for the Somerset Pauper Lunatic Asylum at Wells. Scott and Moffatt were announced the winners in 1845, and it was built by 1848. The buildings have been converted into housing from 1994.

Harper, R. H., Victorian Architectural Competitions, An Index to British and Irish Architectural Competitions in The Builder 1843-1900 (Mansell, London, 1983), p. 168. http://www.grahambuildinganddevelopments.com/grahambuildinganddevelopments_006.htm

Union Workhouse, Long Street - Williton

Scott and Moffatt designed the plan for this workhouse in 1836, a new layout of their Classical style plan, which was to become standard. It had three storied wings with a four storied central block, to house 200 inmates. It cost around £4000 and was built by the Hooper family. The building was finally completed in 1840. It is now a residential site.

All Saints - Castle Carey

In 1852, Scott drew up the initial plans for enlarging and rebuilding this church before these were taken over by Charles Davis and then Scott’s friend, Benjamin Ferrey.


St John the Baptist - Hinton Charterhouse

In 1849-50, Scott carried out general repairs and a reseating to this church.