Inspiration of the Week: a deconsecrated conversion in Wiltshire that hits the high notes
Designed in the 19th century to mimic medieval precedents, this former church – now on the market – boasts holy trinity of Gothic architecture. Praise be!
Any student of architectural history knows that the master builders of medieval churches worshipped a holy trinity of architecture: height, light and colour. The chapels and cathedrals they constructed, awe-inspiring feats of engineering, were temples to this trifecta. And so, when centuries later the architects of the Victorian age came to creating churches of their own, naturally they looked to the pinnacles of the past. Among those inspired by such splendour is Old Coach Road, which was built in 1896 on the fringes of the Wiltshire village of Ford and is currently for sale.
Designed by Charles Edwin Ponting, a Gothic Revival architect known for his work in the south-west, St John the Evangelist as it was known has undergone extensive and thoughtful conversion in more recent years. In course, those three basic architectural tenets of the past have, thankfully, been preserved. The ceiling heights here, for instance, are magnificent – just look at the chancel-turned-kitchen, a celestial space in more ways than one. Elsewhere, the original – and unusual – barrel vaulting has been retained. While upstairs floors have been added, internal glazing and clever mezzanines mean the sense of soaring spaciousness isn’t compromised.
They also provide this house with that third guiding notion. In the chancel, a stained-glass window casts the ground floor in a kaleidoscope of colour: fiery oranges, sanguine reds and regal blues. It features a panel by Edward Burne-Jones, the important Pre-Raphaelite and, with his friend Williams Morris, one of the founding members of Morris & Co. To see something of such jewel-like beauty is a privilege; to own it would surely be an immeasurable joy. In fact, looking round, we think we may have found the answer to all our prayers…
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