Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Wokingham All Saints Church

Whilst I was down in Wokingham visiting my family we walked through the local Church, Wokingham All Saints. In order to find out more about it I emailed the Church Website and asked who the Architect of the Church was ? I received a quick reply. Thus:- A restoration was put in place in 1860-61 to the plans of Mr H Woodyer of Grafham which recommended the rebuilding of the Chancel and side aisles together with a new Chancel aisle.

Wokingham All Saints Church
  So I dug deeper and found this on
Sussex Parish Churches http://www.sussexparishchurches.org/content/view/322/40/
Henry Woodyer (1816-96) was the son of a prosperous Guildford apothecary, who could afford to have his son educated at Eton.  He was an associate and possibly pupil of W Butterfield and practised in Guildford before moving to a rural retreat at Grafham, Surrey.  His practice covered the South and the Midlands and he was active in Sussex, close by.  His restorations could be heavy-handed, but he had a compensating gift for the picturesque.  His own churches reveal an eye for detail and great care over fittings.

Wokingham All Saints Church
  And this on Wikipedia
Woodyer has about 300 commissions to his name, most within easy reach of Guildford by train. Religion dominated his practice, with innumerable churches and church restorations to his name, as well as parsonages and village schools. He also designed or extended country houses, made additions to Eton College, built Cranleigh School and was responsible for a series of religious institutions, including the Convent at Clewer in Berkshire for the "fallen women" of Windsor.

His work is predominantly muscular Gothic Revival architecture, in the spirit of Pugin, with whom he may have had early practical experience. Like Pugin, his style stems from his religious bent. At times he could verge on the pedestrian, as at the New Schools at Eton and Cranleigh, and his restorations can seem wilfully insensitive. But at its best, there is an energetic vigour to his religious and secular work.
Woodyer's was a convincing vision of the Middle Ages, rich with colour and decoration. He was closely connected to Hardman & Co., the Birmingham firm of stained glass manufacturers, where Pugin was the first art director.
His churches, such as Holy Innocents, Highnam, Gloucestershire have bold spires and impressive chancels. His domestic buildings, whether small - such as the sexton's cottage at Highnam - or of the ambition of St. Andrew's Convent at Clewer, or St. Michael's College at Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire ripple with gables and towers and sharply pitched roofs.
Woodyer's style of architecture soon fell out of fashion but it neatly encapsulates an era of moral certainties and confident prosperity.


Wokingham All Saints Church
  I’ll look out for more of his work.


Wokingham All Saints Church

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