btsarnia

A tribute to the life and work of Brian Torode

Our Lady and St Alphege, Bath

OUR LADY AND ST ALPHEGE, BATH 

Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s “Little Gem of a Church”

 

A HISTORY BY CAROLINE SHAW

With a foreward by the Late Gavin Stamp

Former Professor, Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow School of Art

 


Cover of St Alphege Book


 

Sir Giles Gilbert Scott described the Catholic church of Our Lady and St. Alphege as one of his favourite works, and it is not hard to see why. This small Romanesque building of golden stone, surrounded by a bank of dark pine trees, brings to a quiet suburb of Bath a vision of the early Christian basilicas of Rome. The church is a notable example of Scott’s versatility and attention to detail: he designed everything from the roof beams to the entrance doors, and from the patterned flooring to the decorative light fittings. The genius of Scott’s scheme gives the church a wonderful completeness and harmony.

This history of St Alphege’s tells the story of how a suburb of Bath, built largely for railway and factory workers in the late nineteenth century, came to have a Catholic church built by one of the greatest architects of the twentieth century. It draws upon previously unpublished documents, most notably Scott’s correspondence and that of the Benedictines of Downside who commissioned the building. The book contains numerous illustrations, including many of Scott’s plans and drawings dating from the church’s inception in 1927 to its completion in 1956.


 

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The Launch 9th March 2012 Caroline Shaw with Richard Barton and Teresa Monachino

 


 

This history of Our Lady and St Alphege in Oldfield Park, Bath, was officially launched at the Bath Literary Festival on March 9th 2012. Author and parishioner Caroline Shaw said:

‘At first, we thought it would be a simple matter of updating the existing 8-page booklet with a few new photographs and some refreshed text. However, when I started researching the history of this beautiful church, I realised that there was so much more to say about it.

Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who designed the church in an early Christian style in the 1920s, was one of the most celebrated architects of the twentieth century. He designed everything from Battersea Power Station and Bankside (now Tate Modern), to the nave of Downside Abbey and the K2 telephone box. The fact that we have a church built by him in the suburbs of Bath – and a building that he always claimed was one of his favourites – is really something to celebrate’.

For the history, I looked at original correspondence,drawings and plans of Scott’s held at the Royal Institute of British Architects, together with letters, photographs and other documents held at the diocesan archive in Bristol and in St Alphege’s itself.

The book explores, among other things, the strong connection with the Benedictines at Downside who commissioned the church, and the links with the basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome, which provided much of the inspiration for Scott’s design.

The book is richly illustrated: we have had working on it a very talented team of designer and photographer – sisters Teresa and Alfonsina Monachino who grew up in the Oldfield Park area of Bath, and who have fond memories of the church.

2012 marks the millenium of the martyrdom of this local saint and it is wonderful to be able to celebrate it with a publication that finally does justice to the church that was named in his honour.”

 


 

This history of St Alphege’s tells the story of how a suburb of Bath, built largely for railway and factory workers in the late nineteenth century, came to have a Catholic church built by one of the greatest architects of the twentieth century. It draws upon previously unpublished documents, most notably Scott’s correspondence and that of the Benedictines of Downside who commissioned the building. The book contains numerous illustrations, including many of Scott’s plans and drawings dating from the church’s inception in 1927 to its completion in 1956.

The book contains 120 pages , with 200 photos , drawings and plans,
and costs £9.99, plus £2.80 for delivery in the U.K.

Copies can be obtained from St Alphege’s Parish, 
St Alphege’s Presbytery, Oldfield Lane, Bath, BA2   3NR

 Email: bath.stalphege@parish.cliftondiocese.com

Telephone: 01225  424894
(Cheques payable to St Alphege’s Parish) 

The book is also available from
The Oldfield Park Bookshop,

43 Moorland Road, Bath, tel: 01225 427722.

The book can also be bought online from Amazon.
On the Amazon site you will see two sellers: Amazon Direct and St Alphege’s Books. If you buy from St Alphege’s Books much more of the money goes to the church towards the upkeep of the fabric of the building.  


 

See the Parish Website for more details:

http://www.saintalphege.org.uk/history.htm


 

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St Alpheges Edited (11)

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St Alpheges Edited (2)

 


 

Parish Priests of Our Lady and St Alphege, Bath with St Joseph, Southdown

 Our Lady and St Alphege –land purchased 1925, foundation stone laid 6th October 1927, opened on 13th July 1929 and consecrated on 7th October 1954. St Joseph’s opened on 20th November 1969.

 

Prior of St John’s Bath:

 

Dom Claude Anselm Rutherford, OSB MA    1923-1932

 

Parish Priest of St John’s Bath:

 

Canon Patrick V. Hackett BA                          1932-

 

Parish created 1937

 

Resident Parish Priests:

 

Canon Joseph Dolan                                        1937

Canon James J. Kelly                                        1949

Francis J. O’Leary STL PHL                             1962

Monsignor Louis Farrow STL JCL                  1970

Canon William Roche                                       1987

Canon Michael English                                     1998

Richard John Barton STB AKC                         2008 – 2012

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