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date: 20 September 2019

Mountfort, Benjamin Woolfieldlocked

(b Wolverhampton, March 13, 1825; d Christchurch, March 15, 1898).
  • Ian J. Lochhead

Extract

(b Wolverhampton, March 13, 1825; d Christchurch, March 15, 1898).

New Zealand architect of English birth. The pre-eminent Gothic Revival architect of 19th-century New Zealand, he was articled to R. C. Carpenter in 1844. From Carpenter he gained a sound knowledge of Gothic design and an understanding of ecclesiological principles, to which he adhered throughout his career. By 1848 he was practising in London. A devout Anglo-Catholic, Mountfort emigrated in 1850 to Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand, a colony promoted by the Church of England. He practised in Christchurch for the rest of his career. Mountfort’s first major commission, Holy Trinity (1852; destr. 1857), Lyttelton, was an over-ambitious, timber-framed church, which quickly deteriorated through the shrinkage of unseasoned timber. Despite this setback, he continued to design churches for the predominantly Anglican colonists, including St Bartholomew’s (1855), Kaiapoi, and St Mary’s (1863), Halswell. St Mary’s, a small, ecclesiologically correct parish church, Early English in style, picturesque in composition, with a timber frame and vertical board-and-batten sidings, became the model for Mountfort’s subsequent wooden churches. Although derived from Carpenter’s design for a timber church in the Ecclesiological Society’s ...

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