St Paul’s, Truro.

The Cornish Buildings Group strongly objects to the demolition of this ‘highly accomplished’, richly ornamented grade 2 listed church by J.D. Sedding. We believe that a new use should be sought for such a significant heritage asset within a conservation area.

St Paul’s from the Tregolls Road.
Interior of St Paul’s

Sign our petition to save this unique church https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-st-paul-s-church-truro

Why is this important?

The basis for demolition rests on the poor structural condition of the church, particularly the tower. The Historic Environment comments accompanying last year’s pre-application for demolition confirmed that the building has some cracking but, a recommendation by the structural engineers to monitor the cracks had not been carried out. While stone work, in particular the east end shows some sign of delineation, the Historic England Stone Expert, regarded it not to be the worst case he has seen. The Council’s response was that a proposal to demolish the listed church would not be supported on the basis of the incomplete nature of the information and evidence pertaining to its structural condition and the nature and extent of any processes that have or are occurring on site and within the structure.

As no additional information has been submitted with the current pre-application we conclude that insufficient information and evidence has been provided to outweigh the substantial harm that would result from the loss of the designated heritage asset and, as such, the demolition cannot be supported.

St Paul’s church (1848) was extended by J D Sedding in the 1880s in the Perpendicular style using dressed coursed local stone with granite and Polyphant stone dressings; scantle slate and dry Delabole slate roofs with coped gable ends.

The church has a six bay aisled nave, south porch at west end. Two bay chancel with organ chamber north of choir, chapel north of sanctuary, tower south of choir, vestry south of sanctuary, brick vaulted crypt underneath the east end. The three-stage embattled tower with angle buttresses has corner statues of Sir Richard Grenville, Sir John Elliott and Bishop Trelawney; three niches (with two carved statues surviving of Christ and St George, St Paul has been removed) to second-stage.

Peter Beacham says in the new Pevsner guide (2014) ‘the exterior is highly accomplished’.

The interior is more modest with six-bay aisles having granite piers with four-centred arches to the north side and round arches to the south. There is some good detailing. The fixtures includes works by the workshops of Robinson of London, and stained glass by Laver, Barraud & Westlake which includes a seven light ‘Te Deum’ east window in memory of the Mayor of Truro, Sir Philip Protheroe Smith, who died in 1882. It is believed that the stone pulpit to the south side beneath the tower arch came from St Clement’s Church and is C15. The oak pulpit has blind ogee tracery and was given to the church in 1901 in memory of Lady Protheroe Smith.

Plan of original church

The building has a rich history. William Mansell Tweedy, a local banker, paid for the building of St Paul’s Church circa 1848 as an overflow church for the parish of St Clements. The architect for the original church is unknown but it consisted of a nave, chancel, south aisle and south porch. In 1864 the church was consecrated and acquired its own parish. In the early 1880s a major programme of extension was undertaken by J. D. Sedding. He replaced the single bay chancel with a much larger structure which included an organ chamber and a chapel, dedicated top St Clement, to the north and a chapel (now the vestry) and the tower to the south. The new work by J. D. Sedding was consecrated in 1884 by Bishop Wilkinson. In 1889 the north aisle, which was probably by Sedding, was completed and the church was re-opened on 27th June 1889. The battlemented tower was completed in 1910 by the architect’s nephew E. H. Sedding.

Published by buildingsatrisk

Since 1969 the aims of the Cornish Buildings Group have been to stimulate interest, appreciation and knowledge of good building in Cornwall, and to encourage the erection, protection, repair and recording of such buildings. Like any amenities group, we depend on numbers, strength and support of our membership, who provide the force and knowledge that have made us effective for over fifty years. We encourage the protection and repair of historic buildings whether these are listed buildings or simply good examples of traditional building. We aim to encourage good architecture and to raise the general standard of building throughout the county. We hope that our generation may leave behind it buildings which will be looked back on with that same pleasure and enjoyment that we experience when we look at the architecture of past ages.

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