St Barnabas - some history

Some extracts relating to the building of St.Barnabas from 1884-6


The Incorporated Church Building Society (ICBS) grant £150 to Gorse Hill in diocese of Gloucester and Bristol. There has been a sudden increase in the population, all of which is working class/labourers. Estimated cost of the new church is £3190. There are to be 408 sittings, all free. [Church Builder N.S. vol 5, 1884, p 36]

A memorial stone of new church at Gorse Hill, Swindon, was laid Oct 4 1884. Gothic Style, to replace a temporary iron church. The new church will have a nave, N and S aisles, and vestries for the clergy and choir. [Building News VOL 47, Oct 31, 1884, p xvii]

Further note on St.Barnabas, Gorse Hill, by Seddon. Transitional Norman style. Aisles will not be built at present, but arches are left for them.  The nave and chancel (being built now) will be 100 ft x 25 ft, and provide 250 seats. [Building News vol 47, Nov 7, 1884, p 768]

Note (and illustration of Swindon church) which is now partly finished. Nave 60’, chancel 30’ Aisles not yet built. Both nave and chancel are 20’ wide, and it is 45’ to ridge of the ceiling. “The ceiling is arranged with a series of angular vaulting, as a cornice on each side below the hammer beams, from the ends of which is a curved panel ceiling, the beams, from the ends of which is a curved panel ceiling, the effect of which treatment is exceedingly picturesque in perspective” Local stone has been used, with Bath stone dressings and Bath stone interior. The roof is covered with Whitland Abbey slates (greenish in colour) with a tiled ridge crest.  Total cost estimated to be £4000. £2500 spent to date. [British Architect vol 23, Apr 24, 1885, p 108]











Note on St.Barnabas, Gorse Hill, Opened Feb 21,1885, style is Early English. The portions which are now complete are the 5-bay nave 64’ x 25’ and the chancel 34’ x 20’ The nave roof is vaulted in pitch pine. Exterior is of dressed Swindon stone, while the interior is of Bath stone. The windows are in “cathedral glass” by Belham and Co. The chancel is not as tall as the nave, and divided from it by a breastwork in freestone. There are 6 steps to the altar. The floor is in mosaic by Belham’s.  There are sedilia, piscine and credence on the S side of chancel, which have pillars of Pennant stone. The walls throughout are pointed in pink mortar “materially brightening the Bath-stone work.” The nave floor is of wooden blocks on cement foundation. The roof is in green slates. There is a bell turret at the intersection of the nave and chancel. Cost to date is £2250 excluding fittings. [Building News vol 48, Feb 27, 1885, p 345]

More recent history to follow!