At the bottom of Cotham Brow stands the next-to-impossible-to-photograph-outside church of St Nathanael. It is surrounded by other buildings to the north and west, and by many trees to the south and east. If you have the time stich pictures one and two together for a full view of the outside and then count yourself lucky not to have to clamber up an overgrown bank and stand precariously balanced to get the west end!
The church was built 1873-5 by John Bevan, and is a sizeable well-detailed building. The tower, planned to have stood at the south east angle of the church, only just managed to rise above aisle roof level before money ran out. The long six-bayed nave has a row of twelve circular clerestory windows. The careful detailing can be seen on the apse buttress.
The south porch is especially ornate and if you wondered what St Nathanael looked like, he stands in this rather oppulent niche over the outer entrance.
The church closed in c1988 and is now used as the Elmgrove Community Centre. It is often open during the day.
The interior is lofty and the nave rather wide. Short rather thin circular piers carry early-French gothic capitals and arches with a minor roll-moulding. The clerestory has internal shafting and short shafts seperate each pair and support the steeply-pitched roof. The chancel is slightly lower and narrower, with small two-light windows.
The fittings have largely been removed, but the bulky stone pulpit survives. It has odd trefoil headed arches with head corbels.
In its new role, rooms have been created in the west ends of the aisles and most of the south aisle space is given over to offices. These alterations do not detract from the spacial feel and integrity of the church, although the chancel arch's curtains (jazzy floral below and net above) do when closed!
(If anyone can help with some accurate dates in the recent history of the church please get in touch.)
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