Scott and Moffat, architects
Messrs. Webb, builder
Source: 1844 Illustrated London News
“The old parish church having been destroyed by fire early in 1842, designs were received for the new erection by public competition, and that of Messrs. Scott and Moffatt selected.” [continued below[
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Accompanying article in Illustrated London News continued
A rate for £20,000, in addition to the amount received from the insurance of the late church, was voted for the work; and the tender of Mssrs. Webb, the builders, was accepted by the committee. At this time, the church was intended to accommodate 2000 persons, and an addition was to have been made to the churchyard to render it capable of receiving it. The church, if executed according to this design, would hare been one of the most highly decorated churches of the present day — the spire, which was to have been very richly ornamented, would have been above 225 feet high, and the whole carried out in a style which modern funds rarely admit of — indeed, the architects had made it their study in preparing the voluminous working drawings to render it, so far as they could, the most perfect parish church of modern time.
Unfortunately, however, when every preliminary was completed and every thing ready for the commencement, a protest was entered against the rate by a malcontent parishioner, founded on some alleged want of technicality in taking the rates at the vestry; and the objection being in some measure confirmed by legal opinion, it was thought most prudent to appeal again to the vestry, when, to avoid needless disputes, a compromise was agreed to, reducing the rate to £12,000 and the accommodation to 15,000 persons [sic]. Though the first design was thus relinquished, the same architects were appointed: and a new design having been prepared, and the work being offered to Messrs Webb, whose tender for the first design had received the preference, it was undertaken by them at the architect's estimate of £13,000, exclusive of the spire. The present design style of of the latter half of the thirteenth century, being the transition between the “Early English” and the “Decorated Style.” The plan is cruciform, having a central tower and spire. This plan has been adopted, partly as the most suitable to the present site, in which a western tower would be much hidden by surrounding buildings, and partly as being the usual form in ancient times for the Mother Church of a large district containing other subordinate churches.
The reduced funds have rendered it necessary to make the details very plain and simple; but it has been the main object of the architects to obtain as much as possible of that substantial and genuine appearance in which the ancient churches, however plain, so far surpass those of the present day.
The mass of the walls is built of rubble work of Kentish rag stone, mixed with the materials from the old church; and which has the advantage of giving great thickness at a moderate expense. The exterior is faced with hammer-dressed stone from Yorkshire, with dressings of the Caen stone. The relief produced by the two descriptions ot stone gives a pleasing and antique effect to the whole, and in a great measure compensates for the simplicity of the details. The buttresses and other projections are bold and massive; and throughout, solidity, reality of construction, and boldness of outline and proportion have been studied rather than highly ornamented finish.
The roof, which is of a high pitch, is covered with slab slates, which have the same general effect with lead. Though the details are in themselves simple, they have considerable variety; and the windows to the east end and to the transepts are of large size, and possess considerable ornamental character. The capitals and other features display much excellent carving, which has been executed by Mr. Cox, who was employed by the same architects for executing the principal parts of the carving to the Martyrs Memorial at Oxford. The entrance through the north porch is also rattier richly ornamented, and the porch is groined with stone, the carved boss nearing the arms of the present vicar. The nave is supported on each side by five arches, resting on alternately round and octagonal pillars, with carved capitals. The tower is supported by four massive clustered columns of the hardest and most solid stonework, and the space below the tower is groined with stone. The remainder is covered with high pitched open roofs—plain in their design, but of massive construction. The doors, windows, stringcourses, corbels, pillars, &c., are all finished internally with stone. The fittings of the nave will be low open seats or pews, cniefly of oak. The pulpit will be of oak, and considerably ornamented; the panels containing paintings on porcelain slabs of Our Saviour and the Four Evangelists, which, with the splendid encaustic floor of the chancel, are presented by Thomas Garrett, Esq., of Herne Hill. The chancel will be fitted up with oak stalls in the sides. The altar table will be of stone, on pillars of the same, behind which will tie an altar-of stone, containing the commandments in illuminated letters. The west window will contain tieaiitifal Stained glass, chiefly ancient, but restored by Messrs ^ ard and Nixon, and prenentrd by the Vicar. It is probable that the east and transept windows will also be of stained glass.
A Very fine organ is being built by Mr. Bishop. The spire, which was a part of the first design, but deferred from the uncertainty about funds, has now happily been completed at a cost of about £1400, and is about 207 feet in height. The extreme length outside is above 153 feet; the nave about 80 feet by 65 feet; extreme width across the transepts about 87 feet; the chancel about 42 feet by 28 feet 6 its ties; the tower 30 feet square.
“Churches of the Metropolis — No. XXXVIII.” Illustrated London News 4 (20 January 1844): 48. Hathi Trust Digital Library version of a copy in the University of Michigan Library. Web. 4 December 2015. The text above was created from the web version with ABBYY FineReader.
Last modified 7 February 2008