James Piers St Aubyn : biography

April 6, 1815 - May 8, 1895

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


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


  • 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


  • 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
  • Trevince House, Cornwall: rebuilt for Henry Beauchamp Tucker, 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 Leir, 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, Ashby-de-la-Zouch: addition of chancel, 1866
  • Holy Trinity Church, Barkingside, Middlesex: 1867
  • St Clement Church, Kensington, Middlesex: 1867-69


  • 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 south-east wing for Sir J. St. Aubyn, 1874–80; further extended ca. 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
  • St Andrew's Church, Ampthill, Bedfordshire: alterations, 1877
  • Vicarage, Clare, Suffolk: 1878
  • St Helen's Church, Ashby-de-la-Zouch: rebuilt, 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


  • Essex Street; no. 33, Westminster, Middlesex: 1880, built in imitation of a house of ca. 1720
  • St Peter's Church, Noss Mayo, Devon: 1880-82, as replacement for Revelstoke church
  • St Andrew’s Church, Eakring 1880 - 1881, restoration
  • 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 north side of Brick Court, 1882, Tudor; altered ca. 1950 after bomb damage
  • St Luke's Church, Reading, Berkshire: 1882
  • Church, St Gluvias, 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
  • Oakhampton House, Worcestershire: remodelling for John Henry Crane, 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 Henry 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 Barnabas Church, Devonport, Devon
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