Name

Robert Jewell Withers

Designation
Architect
Born
1824
Place of Birth
Shepton Mallett
Location
London
Died
1894

  • Birth date            2 February 1824 at Shepton Mallet
  • Marriage              20 April 1854 to Catherine Mary Vaux at Croydon Parish Church
  • Death date          7 October 1894 at Schubert Road Putney London

A London architect and follower of the Ecclesiologists who, it was said, developed a specialty for restoring and rebuilding churches with unpronounceable Welsh names. He established a large practice in West Wales, "where he imparted to many a barn-like structure some semblance of life and feeling." Withers did little in the industrial North, his only known works being the re-ordering of Holy Trinity, Stretford Road, Hulme, Manchester, an early work by G G Scott and a school chapel at Howe Bridge, near Atherton, both demolished.

Robert Jewell Withers was born on 2 February 1824 in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, the eldest of four sons of John Alexander Withers, a solicitor’s clerk and his second wife Maria Jewell of Romsey. He was tutored at home by his mother who had been a private tutor before her marriage but at the age of ten he was sent to Mr Clark's school for boys at Newport on the Isle of Wight. He moved for a brief period to Hossington School near Templecombe but returned to Newport for two years afterwards. In 1839 he was articled to Thomas Hellyer in Ryde, Isle of Wight, a specialist in the design of churches (RIBA) although the Dictionary of American Biography suggests that he received his architectural training in the London office of Thomas Henry Wyatt, as did his brother, Frederick.

According to his obituarist Withers 'built and restored nearly a hundred churches in the United Kingdom' and particularly draws attention to St James, Great Grimsby. He also obtained some work abroad, notably the English churches at Brussels and Wildbad. In 1844 he made a tour of England and the Continent but returned to Sherborne, Dorset where his parents had moved in 1839. Withers commenced practice on his own account in Sherborne in 1846 (or 1848) where he obtained a series of commissions though he does not seem to have been entirely happy, being 'disgusted with the place' according to the notes made on his life by his second youngest daughter Mabel.

He was admitted ARIBA in 1849 and in the following year he moved to London where he worked for the Improvement Commission and with his brother Frederick Clark Withers, also an architect. In 1854 Robert Jewell Withers opened an office at 6 John Street, Adelphi. On 20 April of that year he married at Croydon Parish Church Catherine Mary Vaux (1833- 4-**), the sister of Calvert Vaux, his brother Frederick's partner. They subsequently had nine children, five daughters and four sons. During 1854 the couple lived briefly in Kent but returned to live and work in London thereafter.

R J Withers was elected Associate of the RIBA on 30 April 1849, and, in 1871, became an ordinary member of the RIBA Council, along with Edmund Sharpe of Lancaster. [Building News 5 May 1871 p353]. Withers was elected FRIBA in 1873 but had resigned from the organisation some years before his death. He was a long-standing member of the Cambridge Camden Society, having joined in 1844. In his private life he was a volunteer and rose to the rank of Captain in the Central London Rangers (40th Middlesex RV Gray's Inn). He was also a Freemason.

Withers died of cancer on 7 October 1894 at Schubert Road Putney after a short but painful illness. He was predeceased by his wife but survived his sons and two of his daughters.

Address
1847-1850    Sherborne, Dorset
1850        Robert Jewell Withers, architect, 23, Harrington Street. London. (Graves RA)
1850-1854    3 or 45, Winchester Street, Adelphi, London,    
1854-1855    6, St John Street, Adelphi, London
1855-1868?    51, Doughty Street, London    
1869-1884    11, Adam Street, Adelphi, London

Residence
1881        Streatham
1885        Withers, Westcroft, Putney London SW  [Church Times 20 March 1885 page 229 – classified]
1893        Withers, 40, Schubert Road, Putney, London [ Church Times 20 October 1893 page 1080]

Death Notice    Times 10 October 1874 page 1
Death Notice    Church Times 12 October 1894 page 1063
Obituary          Building News 12 October 1894 page 518

References
Directory of British Architects 1834-1914
Dictionary of Scottish Architects

 

 

Buildings and Designs

Building Name District Town/City County Country
Re-ordering: Holy Trinity, Stretford Road, Hulme, Manchester Hulme  Manchester  GMCA  England
Church of St John, Penrhyn-Coch, near Bow Street, Cardiganshire   Penryhncoch  Cardiganshire  Wales
St Llwchaiarn, Llanllwchaiarn, Montgomeryshire. Llanllwchaiarn  Newtown  Mintgomeryshire (Powys)  Wales
Lavers and Barraud’s Glass Manufactory Bloomsbury  London WC2  GLC  England
Restoration: St. Germain's, (St Germanus) Wiggenhall, near Lynn, Norfolk Wiggenhall  near Lynn  Norfolk  England
School House, Poyntington, Somerset Poyntington  near Sherborne  Somerset  England
Restoration: Church of St. Nicholas, Hilfield, Dorset Hilfield    Dorset  England
Church of St Martin, Lillington, Dorset Lillington    Dorset  England
Church of St. Andrew, Leigh, Dorset   Leigh  Dorset  England
Church of St Mary. Melbury Bubb, Dorset Melbury Bubb    Dorset  England
Vicarage, Dilton Marsh, Wiltshire Dilton Marsh    Wiltshire  England
Church of St. James, Buttermere, Wiltshire Buttermere    Wiltshire  England
Church, Heptonstall, Yorkshire (Architectural Competition)   Heptonstall  Yorkshire  England
St. Cynfil, Aberporth, Cardiganshire   Aberporth  Cardiganshire  Wales
Church Cottage, Llandygwydd, Cardiganshire (atrib) Llandygwydd,    Cardiganshire  Wales
Schools, Llandygwydd, Cardiganshire Llandygwydd,    Cardiganshire  Wales
Church of St Mary, Llanfair-Nant-Gwyn, Pembrokeshire Llanfair-Nant-Gwyn    Pembrokeshire  Wales
Church House Llanfair-Nant-Gwyn, Pembrokeshire Llanfair-Nant-Gwyn    Pembrokeshire  Wales
All Saints Church, Church Road, Warlingham, Surrey Walmingham    Surrey  England
St. Peter's Chapel School, Westmancote, Worcestershire     Worcestershire  England
Church of St Andrew Moylgrove, Pembrokeshire   Moylgrove  Pembrokeshire  Wales
Church of St. Cynllo, Llangoedmor, Cardiganshire Llangoedmor    Cardiganshire  Wales
Church of St. Dogfael, Meline, Pembrokeshire Meline    Pembrokeshire  Wales
Guildhall, High Street, Cardigan   Cardigan  Cardiganshire  Wales
Schools, King’s Cross Road, Clerkenwell, London Clerkenwell  London  GLC  England
Vicarage House, Nantcwnlle, near Talsarn Nantcwnlle  near Talsarn  Cardiganshire  Wales
School Chapel, Eckersley Fold Lane, Howe Bridge, Atherton Howe Bridge, Atherton  Wigan  GMCA  England
Brass Lectern: Church of St James, Louth, Lincolnshire.   Louth  Lincolnshire  England
Church of St John (Church of Ireland), Newport, County Tipperary   Newport  County Tipperary  Ireland
Holy Trinity Church, (English Church), Bad Wildbad near Wurtemburg (Werttemburg) Wildbad  Wurtemburg  Baden-Württemberg  Germany
Vicarage House Llanbadarn Fawr Cardiganshire Llanbadarn Fawr  Aberystwyth  Cardiganshire  Wales
Vicarage House Llanfihangel-y-Creuddyn, Cardiganshire     Cardiganshire  Wales
Dolcoed Parsonage House Tremain, Y Ferwig, Cardiganshire Tremain  Y Ferwig  Cardiganshire  Wales
Henfynyw Vicarage, Aberaeron   Aberaeron  Cardiganshire  Wales
Henfynyw Vicarage, Vicarage Hill, Lampeter Road, Aberaeron Henfynyw  Aberaeron  Cardiganshire  Wales
Vicarage Llanarth Llanarth    Cardiganshire  Wales
Restoration: Church of St. Brynach, Nevern, Pembrokeshire Nevern  near Newport  Pembrokeshire  Wales
Church of St Peter, Lampeter, Cardiganshire   Lampeter  Cardiganshire  Wales
Church of St. Gabriel, Bromley-by-Bow Poplar  Tower Hamlets  GLC  England
Christ Church Ivegill Cumberland   Ivegill  Cumbria  England
Christ Church Vicarage, Ivegill, Cumberland   Ivegill  Cumbria  England
Parochial (National) School, Shouldham, Norfolk Shouldham  near King's Lynn  Norfolk  England
Parsonage, Barton Bendish, Norfolk Barton Bendish    Norfolk  England
Parsonage, West Torrington, Lincolnshire West Torrington    Lincolnshire  England
Church of St John Evangelist, Alloa, Scotland   Alloa  Clackmannanshire  Scotland
Church of All Saints, West Barkwith, Lincolnshire West Barkwith  East Lindsey  Lincolnshire  England
Reredos: Church of All Saints, Holton, Lincolnshire. Holton-cum-Beckering  West Lindsy  Lincolnshire  England
Rectory House Elmswell Suffolk Elmswell    Suffolk  England
Church of St. Paul, Cassop Cum Quarrington, Durham     County Durham  England
Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Coxhoe, County Durham     County Durham  England
Alterations: Longdon Vicarage, Worcestershire     Worcestershire  England
Improvements: Church of St. Paul, Bunhill Row, Finsbury Finsbury    GLC  England
All Saints, Harmston, Lincolnshire     Lincolnshire  England
Church of St. Andrew, Westgate-in-Weardale, County Durham     County Durham  England
Restoration: Church of St. Mary-le-Strand, Westminster Westminster  London  GLC  England
Church of St. Margaret, Habrough, Lincolnshire     Lincolnshire  England
Church of St Sulien, Sulvan, near Lampiter Silian  near Lampeter  Cardiganshire  Wales
Church of St. Mary and St. Leonard, Warwick-on-Eden, Cumberland Warwick-on-Eden  Carlisle  Cumbria  England
Church of St. Philip, Clerkenwell, Clerkenwell  London  GLC  England
New Parsonage, St Philip Clerkenwell Clerkenwell  London  GLC  England
St. Cain (also known as St Gain), Llangain, Carmarthenshire Llangain    Carmarthenshire  Wales
St. Teilo and St. Llawddog, West Cilrhedyn, Pembrokeshire West Cilrhedyn  near Newcastle Emlyn  Pembrokeshire  wales
Church of St. David, Llanarth, Cardiganshire Llanarth  Aberaeron  Cardiganshire  Wales
Church of St Michael, Whitechurch by Cardigan, (or Eglwyswen), Pembrokeshire Whitechurch by Cardigan    Pembrokeshire  Wales
Restoration: Parish Church, Shouldham, Norfolk Shouldham  near King's Lynn  Norfolk  England
Church of St Michael Llanfihangel Abergwesyn, Breconshire Llanfihangel Abergwesyn    Breconshire  Wales
Restoration Church Llanfihangel-y-Creuddyn, Llanfihangel-y-Creuddyn,    Cardiganshire  Wales
Lampeter Town Hall, High Street, Lampeter   Lampeter  Cardiganshire  Wales
St. John the Baptist. Ysbyty Ystwyth, Cardiganshire Ysbyty Ystwyth    Cardiganshire  Wales
Church of St John the Evangelist, Elmswell Elmswell    Norfolk  England
Restoration and refitting of the parish church, Wetheral, Cumberland     Cumbria  England
Vicarage, Buckingham Palace Road, London S.W   London SW  GLC  England
Church of All Saints, Boughton, Norfolk Boughton  Downham Market (near)  Norfolk  England
Church of St. James, Great Saling, Essex Great Saling  Braintree  Essex  England
Vicarage, Great Saling Essex. Great Saling  Braintree  Essex  England
National School & house, Penbryn, Cardiganshire Penbryn  Aberporth  Cardiganshire  Wales
St. Llwchairn, New Quay, Cardiganshire   New Quay  Cardiganshire  Wales
Church of St John the Baptist, Great Amwell, Hertfordshire Great Amwell  Ware  Hertfordshire  England
Church at Saling Magna Saling Magna    Essex  England
Parsonage Saling Magna, Essex Saling Magna    Essex  England
Church of St Mary and St Christopher, Panfield, Essex Panfield  Braintree  Essex  England
Public Slaughterhouse, Bath House Road, Cardigan   Cardigan  Cardiganshire  Wales
Church of St. David, Llanllawer, Pembrokeshire Llanllawer  near Fishguard  Pembrokeshire  Wales
St. Michael, Llanvihangel-Penbedw, Pembrokeshire     Pembrokeshire  Wales
Rectory House, Newcastle, Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada Newcastle  Miramichi  New Brunswick  Canada
Anglican Church of the Resurrection, Brussels   Brussels    Belgium
Park Town Estate, Battersea, London (original layout) Battersea  London  GLC  England
Sotheby & Wilkinson offices, 21 Wellington Street, Strand, London Strand  London  GLC  England
Church of St. David, Blaenporth, Cardiganshire Blaenporth    Cardiganshire  Wales
Chancel: St John’s church, Bedford Hill, Balham, London Balham  London Borough of Wandsworth  GLC  England
Church of St. Anselm, Streatham, Surrey Streathsm    GLC  England
Church of St. Gabriel, Notting Hill, London Notting Hill  London  GLC  England
Church of St James, Norlands   London W11  GLC  England
Church of St Oswald, Church Lane, Rand Lincolnshire Rand    Lincolnshire  England
Coped Tomb Church of St Swithin, Baumber, Lincolnshire Baumber    Lincolnshire  England
Parish Church of St Nicholas, Monington, Pembrokeshire Monington  near Cardigan  Pembrokeshire  Wales
Cardigan Gas Works   Cardigan  Cardiganshire  Wales
18 High Street Cardigan   Cardigan  Cardiganshire  Wales
23 High Street Cardigan   Cardigan  Cardiganshire  Wales
Restoration: Belton Church, Lincolnshire Belton  South Kesteven  Lincolnshire  England
Church of St Mary Magdalene, Coatham Mandeville, Houghton-le Skerne, County Durham Coatham Mandeville    County Durham  England
Church of St. David, Henfynyw, Aberaeron, Cardiganshire   Aberaeron  Cardiganshire  Wales
St. Llwchaiarn, Llanllwchaiarn, (New Quay) Cardiganshire   Llanllwchaiarn, (New Quay)  Cardiganshire  Wales
National Schools and School House, Abergwili, Carmarthenshire Abergwili  near Carmarthen  Carmarthenshire  Wales
Master’s house, Abergwili National School, Abergwili  near Carmarthen  Carmarthenshire  Wales
Church of St Patrick, Pencarreg Carmarthenshire Pencarreg  near Lampeter  Carmarthenshire  Wales
Proposed Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Hull, Yorkshire East Riding   Hull  Yorkshire  England
Fittings: Temporary church of St Michael and All Angels, Hull, Yorkshire East Riding   Hull  Yorkshire  England
Church of St. Edith, Church Lane, North Reston, Lincolnshire North Reston  East Lindsey  Lincolnshire  England
Schools, King’s Cross Road, Clerkenwell, London Clerkenwell  London  GLC  England
Fittings: Bishop Tozer's chapel, Zanzibar     Zanzibar  Tanzania
Church of St. Bartholomew, Wiggington, Hertfordshire     Hertfordshire  England
St. Mary Northchurch, Hertfordshire     Hertfordshie  England
Repairs: Barton Bendish, Norfolk Barton Bendish    Norfolk  England
Alterations: St. Paul's Church, Wilton Place, Knightsbridge Knightsbridge  City of Westminster, London  GLC  England
Clergy House: St. Paul's Church, Wilton Place, Knightsbridge Knightsbridge  City of Westminster, London  GLC  England
Church of St. Anselm, Streatham, Surrey Streatham  London Borough of Lambeth  GLC  England
New Chancel: St. Mary the Virgin North Stainley, near Ripon, Yorkshire North Stainley  near Ripon  Yorkshire  England
New Parochial Institution,, Notting Hill, London Notting Hill  London, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea  GLC  England
Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Graham-street, Eaton Square, Pimlico   London  GLC  England
All Hallows Village Hospital, Ditchingham, Norfolk Ditchingham    Norfolk  England
Parish church of Llanddewi Brefi, Cardiganshire (Restoration of Nave) Llanddewi Brefi,    Cardiganshire  Wales
Parish church of Llanddewi Brefi, Cardiganshire (Restoration of Chancel) Llanddewi Brefi    Cardiganshire  Wales
Restoration: Church of St. Petroc, Bodmin, Cornwall   Bodmin  Cornwall  England
Restoration: St. Illtyd Pembrey, Carmarthenshire Pembrey    Carmarthenshire  Wales
Restoration: Church of St. Barnabas, Homerton, Middlesex Homerton  London Borough of Hackney  GLC  England
Parish Church, Llanlleonfel, Breconshire Llanlleonfel,    Breconshire  Wales
Church of St. Mary and St. James, Grimsby, Lincolnshire   Grimsby  Lincolnshire  England
Restoration: Church of St. Lucia, Llanwnen, Cardiganshire Llanwnen  near Lampeter  Cardiganshire  Wales
Church of St Mary the Virgin, Edlesborough, Buckinghamshire Edlesborough    Buckinghamshire  England
Restoration: Parish Church of SS. Mary and Nicholas, Beaumaris, Anglesey   Beaumaris  Anglesey  Wales
Vicarage, Littlehampton Sussex   Littlehampton  Sussex  England
Chancel: Parish Church, Littlehampton Sussex   Littlehampton  Sussex  England
Church of St. James, Norlands, Kensington, Norlands  London, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea  GLC  England
Proposed Restoration: Church of St. Cadog and St. David, Llangadog, (Llangadock) Carmarthenshire Llangadog    Carmarthenshire  Wales
Restoration: Church of St Martin, Denton with Wootton, Kent Denton with Wooton  Dover  Kent  England
Church of St. Peter, High Street, Shipton Bellinger, Hampshire Shipton Bellinger  near Andover  Hampshire  England
Church of St James, Avebury   Avebury  Wiltshire  England
Middle Class School, Salisbury   Salisbury  Wiltshire  England
Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Upton Noble, Somerset Upper Noble  Shepton Mallet  Somerset  England
School, Upton Noble, Somerset Upper Noble  Shepton Mallet  Somerset  England
Proposed New Church, Weelsby, Lincolnshire Weelsby  Grimsby  Lincolnshire  England
Church of John the Baptist, Spalding, Lincolnshire   Spalding  Lincolnshire  England
Repairs: Church of St Peter and St Paul, Watlington Norfolk Watlington  near King's Lynn  Norfolk  England
Church of St. Paul, West Marsh, Grimsby, Lincolnshire West Marsh  Grimsby  Lincolnshire  England
All Saints Church, Saltfleetby, Lincolnshire Saltfleetby    Lincolnshire  England
Church of St. Laurence, Orchard Gardens West Challow, Berkshire     Berkshire  England
Extension Church of St Simon and St Jude, (Holy Trinity) Charlton, Wantage Charlton  Wantage  Berkshire  England
Chancel Church of St John, Sidcup, Kent       England
Organ Case: All Saints, Holbeach, Lincolnshire Holbeach  South Holland  Lincolnshire  England