Saint George’s Church is a fine example of Sir Aston Webb’s work and is an important part of the Barbourne ‘streetscape’.
For more information on the upkeep of the church building, read more about the work of the Friends of Saint George’s, who do a wonderful job of fundraising and obtaining grants to ensure the building is in excellent condition and is well maintained.
History of the Church building
The current church is built on the site of a slightly earlier building. The first church was originally built as a chapel-of-ease to what was the main parish church at Claines, about 2 miles away. The land was acquired on 30th January 1828, with work on the chapel starting on the 11th March 1829, when the foundation stone was laid by the Bishop of Worcester, and it was consecrated on 27th October 1830.
In 1862 it finally because a parish church in its own right to serve the increasing population of Barbourne. However, by 1893 the decision had been made to replace the building with a larger one on the same site. The original building had been intended merely to serve as a chapel-of-ease when the whole population of Claines was only 5,000, but by 1892 the Parish of St. George’s alone had 4,000 people living in it. It seems that the 1829 structure was fairly unloved as evidenced by the following description in Littlebury’s Directory of Worcester, 1879:
“St. George’s, in St. George’s Square, north of the city was erected in 1829-30 at a cost of £3,500, defrayed by subscription and a grant from the Incorporated Church Building Society. It has no architectual feature of importance, but has recently been made as neat and ecclesiastical as such a building is capable of, under the direction of Mr. W. J. Hopkins, architect….”
Futhermore a letter from the Vicar at the time seeking contributions towards the costs of the new church wrote:
“[the old church] was built at the most debased period of church architecture, and in it all the worst features of a Georgian Church are combined. There are three galleries, no proper Chancel, and a Sanctuary of such mean dimensions that there is only room at the Altar rail for seven communicants…”
The architect selected for the new building was Mr Aston Webb (later Sir Aston Webb).
The last service at the old church was held on 20th August. Until the new church was ready services were held at a temporary church at the Old Militia Barracks next door (on the site now occupied by Homenash House).
The foundation stone for the new church took place at a ceremony held on Wednesday 11th October, 1893 and the building was finally consecrated on Tuesday 23rd April (St. George’s Day) 1895.