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Rodborough mausoleum amongst Historic England’s ‘listed gems’


As 2022 draws to a close, Historic England has highlighted listed gems from across the South West which have been added to the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) over the past year.

Amongst them is an Arts and Crafts mausoleum for the Apperly family at St Mary Magdalene Church in Rodborough. The Apperly family mausoleum is unusual – despite being small and located in a quiet country church yard, it’s exquisitely designed by the talented architect Percy Morley Horder and designer John Houghton Maurice Bonnor.

It was constructed in about 1913, to house the remains of Sir Alfred Apperly, a member of a prominent local family which became wealthy through the woollen trade. Sir Alfred was an important figure in the local community; he was a benefactor of local causes, a councillor and Justice of the Peace.

Apperly mausoleum2 | Rodborough mausoleum amongst Historic England’s 'listed gems'
The Apperly Family Mausoleum designed in an Arts and Crafts style, built in about 1913 for Sir Alfred Apperly.

It was designed by the distinguished architect Morley Horder, who also designed the Grade II listed London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He collaborated with John Houghton Maurice Bonnor – who is best known for his Arts and Crafts influenced jewellery. Bonnor made the carved angel semi-circular decoration – or tympanum – which adorns the mausoleum.

Sir Alfred died on 7 September 1913, aged 74. According to his obituary in the London Evening Mail, he was laid to rest in a ‘newly constructed vault in Rodborough Churchyard’. Over the years, the names of other family members were added to the inscription, including his grandson 2nd Lieutenant Arthur Lancelot Apperly, who died during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

Historic England manages the National Heritage List for England on behalf of the government and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

It identifies buildings, monuments, sites and landscapes for ‘listing’, which means they receive special protection, so they can be enjoyed by people now and in the future.

Rebecca Barrett, Regional Director at Historic England said:“The variety of listings this year illustrates the rich diversity of our shared heritage and the importance of everyday places – from a Georgian folly to an Arts and Crafts family mausoleum to a striking 1960s church – that make up the fascinating fabric of our past. Places like this help to make us proud of where we live. Listing recognises their value so they are protected for the future and everyone can continue to enjoy them.”

“As the challenges from the climate crisis grow, listing helps to encourage keeping historic buildings in use, which avoids the massive amounts of extra carbon emissions associated with building new.”

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