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Bramley, Hampshire: St James' Church, new chapel for Mrs Brocas, 1801-3 (9)

Harriet Brocas was a sister of Samuel Bosanquet. Soane may have first met her in Naples in 1779 (Stroud, op. cit., p.35). In 1801 she commissioned Soane to design a new chapel at St James' Church, Bramley, for the memory of her deceased husband, Sir Bernard Brocas (d. 1777), 'as a testimony of his merit and her affection'. Soane's chapel replaced a thirteenth-century chapel on the south side of the church. It has a plain exterior with a large, pointed window in the south wall that was designed with the assistance of John Carter and made by Coade and Sealy (restored 1889). Pevsner describes 'a separate space with a marquee-like pointed rib-vault of plaster with crisp, exquisitely moulded ribs of Soane's invention, built up with the same standard applied plaster rolls seen in his classical buildings' (Pevsner, op. cit., p. 193).

Soane also made alterations and additions for Mrs Brocas at Wokefield Park, Berkshire (q.v.).

Literature:
C. Woodward, Bramley (Hampshire): Brocas Aisle, Church of St James, typescript catalogue, 1996; D. Stroud, Sir John Soane, Architect, 1996, pp. 35 & 265; M. Peover, 'Stained glass in the Brocas Chapel of St James's Church, Bramley, and the Farebrother sales catalogues of 1802', Journal of Stained Glass, 2003, pp. 90-106; M. Bullen, J. Crook, R. Hubbuck and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Hampshire: Winchester and the North, 2010, pp. 192-4.

Tom Drysdale, March 2015
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