St Mary’s Church listing upgraded

By IW Apr 19, 2022

St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Ryde has had its listed status upgraded from Grade II to Grade II* on the advice of Historic England, ranking it among the top eight per cent of all listed buildings in England.

The upgrade in status will facilitate further work and fund-raising to strengthen and develop community-based opportunities and initiatives.

The Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth, Philip Egan, said: “I am delighted to hear that the Church of St Mary has been given Grade II* listed status. This recognises that it is a site of special interest not just to the church, but to the country too.”

The church is an early example of the work of Joseph Stanislaus Hansom, one of the foremost church architects of the 19th Century. The original layout of the church and the high quality finishings have survived well, enhanced by later side chapels and extensions.

It was built between the 1829 Catholic Emancipation Act and the reinstatement of the Catholic hierarchy in England in 1850, a period of increasing boldness in Catholic church design, and was funded by the generous support of its private patroness, the Countess of Clare.

St Mary’s is located in the Ryde Heritage Action Zone (HAZ), a project aiming to make historic buildings central to the community, whilst preserving the historic features of the parish estate.

Project manager, Sally Thompson, said: “The upgraded listing announcement for St. Mary’s Church is most welcome news for Ryde’s High Street HAZ, as we continue to explore options for the sympathetic regeneration of the former convent school and the estate’s grounds to the rear of the church. We are working with the parish, members of the local community, and our partners from Historic England, Ryde Town Council and the Isle of Wight Council.”