James Piers St Aubyn


James Piers St Aubyn

Infobox Architect


name=James Piers St Aubyn
nationality=English
birth_date=April 6 1815
birth_place=Powick, Worcestershire, England
death_date=May 8 1895
death_place=Chy-au-Eglos, Marazion, Cornwall
practice_name=St. Aubyn & Wadling
significant_buildings=
significant_projects= St Michael's Mount
awards=|

James Piers St Aubyn (1815 – 1895), often referred to simply as J P St Aubyn, was an English architect of the Victorian era, known for his church architecture and confident restorations.

Early life

St Aubyn was born at Powick Vicarage, Worcestershire, in the English Midlands, the home of his maternal grandfather, on 6 April 1815. He was the second son of the Rev. Robert Thomas St Aubyn and his wife, Frances Fleming St John, and a cousin of John St Aubyn, 1st Baron St Levan, of St Michael's Mount, Cornwall. He was known to his family and friends by his second Christian name of Piers. He was educated at Penzance Grammar School before beginning his studies in architecture.

Career

He was articled to Thomas Fulljames (1808-1874) in Gloucester and acted as clerk of works for the latter’s Edwards College, South Cerney (Glos) in 1838-39. He was elected to the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1837, on the nomination of George Basevi, Edward Blore and William Railton, and became a Fellow of the Institute in 1856, proposed by Benjamin Ferrey, Giles Gilbert Scott, and F.C. Penrose. He twice served on the Council of the Institute (in 1858-60 and 1870-72). He was Surveyor to the Middle Temple in London from 1851 until 1885, and practised from Lambe Buildings in the Temple for much of his career. From c.1885 onwards, when he seems to have semi-retired, St. Aubyn worked in partnership with Henry John Wadling (d. 1918), who entered his office as a pupil in 1858 and remained as his assistant and managing clerk. St. Aubyn died on 7 May 1895 at Chy-au-Eglos, Marazion (Cornwall), and is buried on St. Michael’s Mount. H.J. Wadling succeeded to his practice, and continued to trade as “St. Aubyn & Wadling”.

St. Aubyn was undoubtedly assisted in developing his career by his family’s prominence in Devon and Cornwall, and particularly in Devonport, where they were the major landowners. He practised chiefly in London and developed a practice which extended all over southern England, but he also kept an office in Devonport for part of his career, and he was employed particularly extensively in Devon and Cornwall. Apart from this local connection, there are clusters of his work in Gloucestershire (no doubt deriving from his years in Fulljames’ office), Kent, Reading, Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire.

He was primarily a church architect, building a considerable number of new churches and undertaking even more restorations. His church work was firmly in the Gothic revival mainstream of his time, rarely departing from the forms and decoration of the Decorated period, and lacks much originality or flair. His churches at All Saints, Reading and St Mary, Tyndalls Park, Bristol, are notably similar. His restorations often amounted to wholesale or partial rebuilding, and were seen by later generations as unnecessarily brutal; Sir John Betjeman was among St Aubyn's 20th century detractors. St. Aubyn also designed a number of country houses, mostly in a rather cheerless early Gothic style. The one whimsical building he is known to have designed is the clock tower in the grounds of Abberley Hall, c. 1883. His greatest professional disappointment was his failure to secure the commission to build Truro Cathedral, which he lost by one vote to John Loughborough Pearson: his designs for the Cathedral were published in "Building News", Dec 20 1878. His most notable achievement was the restoration of St Michael's Mount, described by Nigel Nicolson as: "among the greatest achievements of 19th century architecture".

List of major works

1840s

*St Illogan's Church, Illogan, Cornwall: 1846
*Old Rectory, Siddington,Gloucestershire: 1847
*St John the Baptist Church, Godolphin Cross, Cornwall: 1849-51
*Holy Trinity Church, Cerney Wick, Gloucestershire: 1847-48
*Old Rectory, Stoke Canon, Devon: 1848-51
*St Paul's Church, Devonport, Devon: 1849; destroyed by enemy action, 1941
*St James the Great Church, Keyham, Devon: 1849-51; damaged by enemy action, 1941; demolished 1958

1850s

*St Michael's Mount, Cornwall: addition to South Court, for Sir J. St. Aubyn, 1850
*St Mary's Church, Devonport, Devon: 1850
*Vicarage, Horsley, Gloucestershire: 1850-52; altered by A.W. Maberly, 1874
*St Stephen's Church, Devonport, Devon: 1852
*Market House, Devonport, Devon: 1852
*Holy Trinity Church, Penponds, Cornwall: 1854
*St James the Less Church, Plymouth, Devon: 1854-61
*St John's Church, Enfield, Middlesex: 1857
*Christ Church, Latchingdon, Essex: 1857
*Delamore House, Devon: for Admiral George Parker, 1859-60 and 1876

1860s

*All Saints Church, Marazion, Cornwall: 1861
*Middle Temple, London: Goldsmith's Building, 1861
*Temple Church, London: restoration, 1862
*St Andrew's Church, Thringstone, Leicestershire: 1862
*St Mary's Church, Widford, Essex: 1862
*Pentre, Pembrokeshire: remodelling for Col. A.H. Saunders-Davies at a cost of £5,000, 1863; mostly dem.; service wing survives
*St Bartholomew's Church, Cross-In-Hand, Sussex: 1863-64; enlarged 1901
*Midelney Place, Somerset: for E.B. Cely-Trevilian, 1863-66
*Haddington Road Bible Christian Chapel, Devonport, Devon: 1864
*St Mark's Church, Gillingham, Kent: 1864-66
*The Abbey, Ditcheat, Somerset: "attributed", refronting and internal alterations for Rev. William Lier, 1864-68
*St Stephen's Church, Redruth, Cornwall: 1865
*St Peter's Church, Selsey, Sussex: 1865
*Holy Innocents Church, Tuck Hill, Shropshire: 1865
*All Saints Church, Reading, Berkshire: 1865-74
*St John the Evangelist Church, St Ives, Cornwall: 1866
*Holy Trinity Church, Barkingside, Middlesex: 1867
*St Clement Church, Kensington, Middlesex: 1867-69

1870s

*Puddleduck Hall, Hardwicke, Gloucestershire: formerly known as Glebe House, 1870
*St Mary's Church, Tyndalls Park, Bristol: 1870-81, notably similar to All Saints, Reading
*Chapel, Maristow, Devon: 1871
*Greenhurst, Surrey: for Thomas Lambert, 1871-74
*Chalcot House, Dilton Marsh, Wiltshire, alterations and extensions, 1872-76
*Loggia, Mersham-Le-Hatch, Kent: 1872
*St Michael and All Angels Church, Galleywood Common, Essex: 1873
*St Giles' Church, Reading, Berkshire: rebuilding, 1873
*St Michael's Mount, Cornwall: addition of SE wing for Sir J. St. Aubyn, 1874-80; further extended c.1930
*St Peter's Church, Belsize Park, Middlesex: addition of chancel and tower, 1875
*St Luke's Church, Southampton, Hampshire: chancel, 1875
*St Giles' Church, Marston Montgomery, Derbyshire: nave, 1875-77
*Vicarage, Clare, Suffolk: 1878
*Truro Cathedral, Truro, Cornwall: surveys of former St. Mary’s church and competition designs (unexecuted), 1878-80
*Pentre, Pembrokeshire: private chapel as memorial to A.H. Saunders-Davies, 1879; the font and pulpit now at Manordeifi church
*Rousham House, Oxfordshire: extension and restoration for Clement Upton-Cottrell-Dormer, 1870s

1880s

*33 Essex Street, Westminster, Middlesex: 1880, built in imitation of a house of c.1720
*St Peter's Church, Noss Mayo, Devon: 1880-82, as replacement for Revelstoke church
*Theological College, Ely, Cambridgeshire: 1881, now part of King’s School
*Pencalenick House, Truro, Cornwall: 1881
*St John's Church, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire: 1881-83
*Middle Temple, London: new chambers on N. side of Brick Court, 1882, Tudor; altered c.1950 after bomb damage
*St Luke's Church, Reading, Berkshire: 1882
*Church, St Gluvais, Cornwall: 1882-83
*St Peter's Church, Rose Ash, Devon: 1882-92 (with Wadling)
*Abberley Hall, Worcestershire: alterations and clock tower for John Joseph Jones, c.1883
*St Michael's Church, Silverstone, Northamptonshire: 1884
*Middle Temple, London: Garden Court, 1884-85, neo-Jacobean
*Church, Gamlingay Heath, Cambridgeshire: 1885
*Mission Church of All Saints, Gulval, Cornwall: 1885

After 1885 in partnership with H.J. Wadling

*St Sylvester's Church, Tetworth, Huntingdonshire: 1886
*Muntham, Itchingfield, Sussex: for Marquess of Bath, 1887
*St Peter's Church, Ely, Cambridgeshire: 1890
*St Peter's Church, Sheringham, Norfolk: 1895, completed by Henry Wadling after his death

Date Unknown

*Anstie House, Cornwall
*St Barnabus Church, Devonport, Devon

Church restorations

BEDFORDSHIRE: Ampthill, 1877

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE: Weston Turville, 1879; Marsh Gibbon, 1879-80; Maids Moreton, 1882-87; Stone, 1883-90

CAMBRIDGESHIRE: Soham, 1879-80; Gamlingay, 1880-81; Castle Camps, 1882; Little Abington, 1885; Little Gransden, 1885-88; Teversham, 1888-92

CORNWALL: Sennen, 1847; St. Agnes, 1848; Godolphin, 1849-51; Mawgan-in-Meneage, 1855; Kenwyn, 1860-62; Lesnewth, 1862-65; Lanivet, 1865; St. Keyne, 1868-77; Minster, 1869-71; Tintagel, 1870; Hessenford, 1870-71; St. Minver, 1870-75; St. Breock, 1880-82; Perranarworthal, 1884; Ludgvan, 1887-88; Mevagissey, 1887-88; Werrington, 1891; St. Germans, 1891-93; Gulval, 1892; Callington, date unknown; St. Issey, date unknown; Mabe date unknown (after 1866)

DERBYSHIRE: Duffield, 1846; Cubley, 1872-74

DEVON: Stoke Fleming, 1871; Dawlish, 1874; St. Giles-on-the-Heath, 1878

GLOUCESTERSHIRE: Daglingworth, 1845-51; South Cerney, 1861-62; Standish, 1867; Owlpen, 1874-75; Dursley, 1888-89

HAMPSHIRE: Sherborne St. John, 1854, 1866-84

HEREFORDSHIRE: Cusop, date unknown

KENT: Cliffe, 1864; Boughton-under-Blean, 1871; Lympne, 1878-80; Harbledown, 1880; Sheldwich, 1888

LEICESTERSHIRE: Whitwick, 1848-50; Holy Trinity, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, 1866; Ashby Parva, 1866; Appleby Magna, 1870-72; St. Helen, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, 1878-80

LINCOLNSHIRE: Theddlethorpe All Saints, 1885

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE: Maidwell, 1891

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE: Eakring, 1880-81

SUFFOLK: Little Glemham, 1857-58; Woolverstone, 1888-89; Sternfield, date unknown

SURREY: Addington, 1876

References

"The Builder", 18 May 1895, p.380

"Building News", 31 Jan 1890, p.186

"RIBA Journal", vol.2, pp.653-4 (1895)


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