CHAPTER 19: CHRIST CHURCH
In 1627 John Marshall, gentleman, of Axe Yard (see p. 31), made
his will leaving his tenements in Axe Yard and Borough High Street, and his
lands in Newington and St. George's Fields and elsewhere to trustees for
various charitable purposes. Among other things they were to raise from his
property the sum of £700 and use it for the erection of a new church to be
called "Christ Church" with a convenient churchyard in some part of St.
Saviour's parish or wherever else they should think fit. He desired that the
cost of procuring an Act of Parliament for its erection should be defrayed
out of his property and that "the choice of the minister to be placed in the
said church should be and continue in his said trustees, their heirs and assigns,
for ever, and in no other." Lands and tenements to the value of £60 a year
should be purchased to endow the church. (ref. 56)
John Marshall was the son of John Marshall, white baker and citizen
and tallow chandler of London, (ref. 226) a vestryman of St. Saviour's Church in
1601 and subsequent years. John Marshall senior died in 1625. In his will
he left forty shillings each to his co-governors of the free school of St. Saviour's
for rings, and the bulk of his property to his wife Elizabeth and his children
and grandchildren. John Marshall junior died in 1631 and was buried in
St. Saviour's Church. No immediate action was taken to carry out his wishes
concerning the new church. The times were unsettled and the puritans were
in the ascendant. It was not until 1663 that any further move was made in
the matter. In that year an inquisition was taken under a commission of
charitable uses by which it was found that John Marshall died without male
issue and that all the executors and trustees named in his will were dead with
the exception of Sir Samuel Brown, one of the judges of the Common Pleas
"who was grown aged, and not at leisure to attend to the trusts; that many
of the tenants were in arrear, and that many of them had paid no rent at all;
. . . that many of the houses had fallen down, or were not inhabited." (ref. 56)
It was decreed that Sir Samuel Brown should convey the premises left by
John Marshall to Edward Bromfield and twelve others as trustees to the uses
of his will and it was further provided that when six of the feoffees should
die the remaining seven should execute a new conveyance to the use of
themselves and six other persons, upon the same trusts.
Prior to the dissolution of the monasteries, the inhabitants of the
manor of Paris Garden were, like their neighbours in the Clink Liberty,
parishioners of St. Margaret's Church. From 1540 onwards they were
included in St. Saviour's parish but by the middle of the 17th century the
population had increased sufficiently to justify the erection of a separate
church. William Angell, the lord of the manor, who was developing the
neighbourhood, offered to give the necessary. ground if the trustees
would build the new church in the manor. In spite of the objections
raised by the authorities of St. Saviour's, this was agreed and in 1671 (ref. 227) the
land was conveyed and the building started. By an Act of Parliament of
22 and 23 Charles II, cap. 28 (private), the manor of Paris Garden was made
into a separate parish to be called Christ Church.
The church was consecrated on 17th December, 1671, by John
Dolben, (ref. 228) Bishop of Rochester, William Gearing being the first incumbent.
The vaults under the chancel, built by William Angell, were reserved to the
use of him and his heirs for ever.
The steeple and spire were not completed until 1695, when a special
Act (ref. 229) was obtained for the purpose. John Aubrey described (ref. 228) the church as
being "a strong well-built Brick Pile" 75 feet long, 51 feet broad and
26 feet high. "The Steeple (wherein are eight very tunable Bells, given by
so many Gentlemen of this Parish) is one hundred and twenty five Foot high."
"The Roof is supported by Tuscan Pillars, and the Nave is wainscoated round about six Foot and a half high with Deal, and pewed partly
with that, and partly with Oak. . . . The Chancel is four Steps higher than
the Nave of the Church, and at the East End is a fair Altar-Piece finished in
1696, where are the Decalogue, Lord's Prayer and Creed, in Gold Letters on
a blue Ground. . . .
On a Gallery at the West End is this Inscription:
This Gallery was built
at the Charge of
Sir RICHARD HOW, Knight
and Alderman of the Citty
of London, in the Year 1670
In the South Ile, over the Fount, on a black Tablet, is this Inscription:
This Font and Pew, and
the Communion Plate was
the Gift of James Reading,
The provision made under Marshall's will for the endowment of the
church proved insufficient for the payment of £60 a year to a minister and
the Act of 1695 contained a clause enabling the inhabitants to make rates for
this purpose. Other gifts to the parish include £40 and a piece of ground on
which to build a house, given by Sir John Shorter in 1688, and £50 each
from Sir Barnett Degome (in 1685) and from Mr. Augustus Martin (in
1701). (ref. 56)
The ground on which the church was built was, like most of the
manor, very marshy. Apparently insufficient care was given to the drainage
of the site and the laying of the foundations of the buildings for in 1721
Mr. Lade reported that the church, though only fifty years old, was "in a
very decaying Condition, both withinside and without"; that the Churchyard was too small for the "Increase of the Inhabitants" and "that the
Ground lies now almost as high as the Windows of the said Church, [and]
. . . the Graves both within and without the said Church are filled with
Water as soon as they are dug." (ref. 230) Nothing was done for several years, but
in 1738 the Marshall trustees obtained a further Act to enable them to pull
down and rebuild the church and to enclose a piece of ground which they had
recently purchased for an additional burial ground.
The new burial ground was formed from a piece of copyhold land
which had previously been used as a garden. It was surrendered (ref. 203) in December, 1735, by John Morris of Christ Church, gentleman, and was described
as being "late in the occupation of . . . William Oliver lying on the North
side of the parish Church. . . . And on the South side of Garden ground
. . . of Adam Cane Gardiner And extending westward from the stakes and
markes driven into the ground at the East end thereof to the Street there
called Bennet Street." Its measurements were given as 74 feet 4 inches from
east to west and 167 feet on the south side.
The new church was built between 1738 and 1741. It was described
by Manning and Bray in 1814 as being built of brick and consisting "of a
Nave and two Ailes; the Chancel elevated two steps above the floor of the
Church. The length is 72 feet, breadth 51. At the East [sic] end is a Tower,
in which are eight bells. The whole is very plain, but neat. . . . At the
West end is a Gallery, in which is an Organ given to the Parish in 1789 by
Mr. William Boyse a Surgeon in the Royal Navy, who also gave 500 l. Stock
in the Three per Cent Consols for a salary to the Organist. The roof of the
Church not being high enough to admit the top of the Organ, an aperture
was made in the cieling to receive it. In the East window are the Arms of
England . . . of the See of Winchester; and of Mr. Marshall the founder." (ref. 231)
In 1816 the powers of trustees to make rates were further increased
by Act of Parliament and in the following year an Act was obtained for
enlarging the churchyard. The preamble stated that "there is a public
Footway over and through the said Church Yard, leading from Great Surrey
Street . . . to the South End of Bennet Street, and over the Graves in the
said Church Yard, whereby . . . [it] is exposed to Inroads and Depredations, and the Graves therein routed up, trampled upon, and injured by idle
and disorderly Persons, and by Dogs and Swine." Authority was given for
the purchase of certain grounds and buildings, the transfer of the footpath
and the enclosure of the churchyard with a brick wall and fence.
By the removal of the houses Nos. 27–31 Great Surrey Street, the
church was laid open to that street (now Blackfriars Road). Previously the
regular approach to the church had been by Bennett Street. (ref. 232) The surrender
of the extra ground to the trustees of the Burial Ground Act was made in the
manor court held in October, 1819.
List of Rectors (ref. 55)
|James Henry Mapleton||1808|
|Alfred de Fontaine||1876|
|Edgar James Baker||1900|
|Reginald Samuel Vosper-Thomas||1919|
|Allan James Weaver||1948|
As a result of incendiary bombing in April, 1941, the church was
completely gutted by fire and is now merely a shell.
The nave has walls of stock brickwork with a stone modillioned
cornice surmounted by a low brick parapet, rusticated stone quoins and
pedimented brick gable ends. The side windows are in two tiers, the upper
with semicircular arches and the lower segmental, both with stone moulded
architraves with spaced projecting blocking stones and keystones.
The west tower is of brick with rusticated stone quoins at the angles
and is of three stages separated by plain stone bands; the belfry windows to
the upper stages are round-headed with plain stone surrounds, imposts and
keystones. The tower was surmounted by an octagonal clock turret and cupola
in wood which were destroyed in the fire.
Three Plans of Christ Church 1757, 1873, and 1890
A thorough restoration of the church was carried out in 1870–1.
The interior was remodelled, the galleries were altered and the old highbacked pews were replaced by low ones. Even more extensive alterations
were made in 1890–1.
A square-ended chancel of two bays was added by C. R. Baker King
in place of a shallow triple apse erected some twenty years earlier. It is
in a Romanesque manner, of brick with stone dressings, and has a twostorey organ chamber on the north side, and one-storey vestries on the south.
The latter have been repaired and are in use. The east end of the church has
three round-headed windows surmounted by a pediment containing a niche
with a statue of Christ; in the spandrils of the windows are four carved stone
medallions symbolizing the Evangelists.
The north and south galleries, which had been added in 1811233 were
removed in 1891, and side aisles were formed by the construction of stone
arcades of five bays supported on Corinthian columns. The earlier singlespan ceiling was replaced by a barrel vault. The rear gallery extending the
full width of the church was retained at the west end.
Further repairs including the underpinning of the walls, were carried
out in 1908. (fn. a)
As a temporary measure a wall has recently been inserted between the
chancel and the nave, and the chancel has been restored so that it can be used
for services. An old iron chest stands in the church.
Plan of Christ Church in 1939
The parish watch-house, built in 1819, stood in the churchyard until
its demolition in 1932. It was a plain brick building of two storeys divided
by a slightly projecting stone string course and with a simple stone cornice.
The building had three bays, the centre one being slightly recessed. The
two end bays had flat stone pediments. A stone tablet inscribed "ChristChurch Watch-House. MDCCCXIX," formerly over the central doorway,
has been preserved and stands in the garden adjoining the present rectory.
There are a number of tombstones in the churchyard, some flat, some
upright. Many have become so defaced by weathering and soot that they are
illegible. The most imposing is a large table tomb of the Vaughan family,
the inscriptions on which are as follows—
In Memory Of
George Vaughan, Esqre
Who Departed This Life Novr 27th 1780,
Aged 64 Years.
Likewise Mrs Elizabeth Vaughan,
Wife Of The Above, Who Departed This Life
Janry 6th 1789, Aged 71 Years.
Also Mrs Mary Vaughan, (fn. a)
Wife of Mr George Vaughan,
Son Of The Above
Who Departed This Life, Novr 11th 1786,
Aged 31 Years.
In Memory Of
Isaac Vaughan, Esqre
Who Departed This Life
Novr 18th 1825,
Aged 76 Years.
In Memory Of
George Vaughan Esqre
Who Departed This Life
Febry 7th 1828,
In The 73rd Year Of His Age.
Also To The Memory Of
Mrs Elizabeth Vaughan,
Relict Of The Above,
Who Departed This Life
May 2nd 1852, Aged 80 Years.
In Memory Of
|Elizabeth Vaughan||Born||Janry 6th 1798||Died||Janry 25th 1803|
|Isaac||Octr 7th 1801||July 11th 1802|
|Isaac John||June 16th 1803||Febry 7th 1804|
|Catharine||Octr 28th 1806||Augst 9th 1808|
|Children of George and Elizabeth Vaughan.|
Mary Sancton—Born Mary Vaughan Foundress
Of Mrs- Vaughan's Charity (fn. a)
Died 2nd November 1865
George Vaughan—Died 7th October 1874
The Children of George and Elizabeth Vaughan
Among the other legible stones are the following—
(1) Isaac Kelso ?, younger son of Humphrey and Ann Kelso ? "of this parish,
late of Goodman's Fields, gunstock maker." (Upright stone, much
(2) Thomas Preston "of this parish," 1788, and his 2 wives Sibbella (d. 1783)
and Elizabeth (d. 1812). (Upright stone, much worn.)
(3) Joseph Boyd (1845). (Upright stone with a draped urn in relief over the
(4) Thomas Fort, son of Thomas and Martha Ann Fort (1822) "aged
11 years and 12 days," also Alfred Fort his brother (1826), John
Fort (1837) and William Fort (1842). (Flat marble slab.)
(5) Mrs. Catherine Thorn (1824) and her husband Thomas Thorn (1844).
(6) "Mr. John Hunt's Family Vault."
(7) Martha Smith (1832) and her husband James Smith (1833). (Stone
(8) Captain Thomas Eyre Hinton R.N. (1829) and his wife Phoebe (1832)
and grandson Charles Petty Hinton (1843). (Marble slab covering
(9) Ann Cooper (1784) and John Cooper (1800). (Upright stone badly
(10) Lucy Ann Thorn (1822), her daughter Louisa Ann Thorn (1824) and
her husband Joseph Thorn "of the Parish of Lambeth" (1827).
(11) Samuel Rust (1826). (Flat yellow brick box tomb.)
(12) Sarah Burton (1785) and her husband Joseph Burton (1817) and their
children Thomas Hancock Burton (1818) and Jane (1819) and two
sons who died in infancy. (Slab.)
(13) Thomas Snuggs Sharp "of this parish" (1837) and Barbara Sutton his
niece (1844). (Stone slab.)
(14) John Lloyd "of this parish, Millwright and Engineer" (1836) and
Charlotte Elizabeth Lloyd (1842). (Flat marble slab.)