Mission church - a faithful approach to design

We are excited to be commissioned to develop designs to convert Mission Church into a two bedroom, holiday let. The design and alterations have been informed by a heritage statement and condition survey which we undertook earlier this year. 

The project is unusual as Cotswold Council have determined that the building is a non-designated heritage asset under the NPPF and so sensitively converting the interior is a material consideration.  Whilst non-designated heritage assets do not fall under the listed building act of 1991, the design of the interior has to be made to respect the heritage of the Church and as a result building regulations matters have to be taken into consideration at an early stage.

The project will involve installing a new mezzanine floor which will appear as a pod, and installed toward the west end of the nave to leave as much of the ceiling exposed as possible. At ground floor an open plan kitchen will provide an unobstructed view of the chancel. The space will be heated by a new underfloor heating system and new insulation installed within the roof and the floor. New double glazed metal casement windows will be provided to improve the thermal performance. A sprinkler system will be required to accommodate the open plan arrangement in addition to new escape windows which will be located in the south elevation away from the key views.



‘Mission Church’ was initially constructed as an Infant School for 100. The building was clearly designed in an ecclesiastical style with a Chancel, Nave, trefoil windows and a bell-cote, and indeed was used for Church services very shortly after. In 1886, the building became a National School, spreading the Mission of the Church and promoting education to the poor. A grant of 8 pounds provided room for the extension of the Nave to the west for additional teaching space.

The Church of England erected ‘National Schools’ that taught children reading, writing, arithmetic and religion. The school was built just before the 1870 Act’ of Parliament that required all parts of Britain to provide schools to children aged 5 to 12; in 1880 schooling became mandatory for both boys and girls until the age of 10 years; and in 1891 the school’s ‘pence’ fee was abolished and basic school education became free.

Local people of the hamlet of Paxford were involved in the maintenance of the building. An example of this is in the clock tower attic space where there are handwritten names and dates, from 1881 to 2007. The surname Keytes repeatedly written on the plaster, along with notes such as wheelwright and bellringer. There was a family business of wheelwrights and carpenters, named Keytes in Paxford. It is perhaps not a farfetched thought that these may record when maintenance was carried out on the clock and bell pulley mechanisms. 


The stained-glass window was dedicated to a local resident Mary Elliot, daughter of Mrs Gilbert Elliot who funded the construction of the Infant School building. Mary Elliot died in 1870. Unfortunately, our archival research has not, so far determined the significance of Mary Elliot or Mrs Gilbert Elliot, in the wider context, other than their significance to the building itself.

james mackintosh architects limited


First Floor, 21 The High Street,

Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

01608 692 310 / 07880 727 150