Christ Church

Survey of London: Volume 22, Bankside (The Parishes of St. Saviour and Christchurch Southwark). Originally published by London County Council, London, 1950.

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, 'Christ Church', in Survey of London: Volume 22, Bankside (The Parishes of St. Saviour and Christchurch Southwark), (London, 1950) pp. 101-107. British History Online [accessed 29 May 2024].

. "Christ Church", in Survey of London: Volume 22, Bankside (The Parishes of St. Saviour and Christchurch Southwark), (London, 1950) 101-107. British History Online, accessed May 29, 2024,

. "Christ Church", Survey of London: Volume 22, Bankside (The Parishes of St. Saviour and Christchurch Southwark), (London, 1950). 101-107. British History Online. Web. 29 May 2024,

In this section


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. (fn. 56)


John Marshall was the son of John Marshall, white baker and citizen and tallow chandler of London, (fn. 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." (fn. 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 (fn. 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, (fn. 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 (fn. 229) was obtained for the purpose. John Aubrey described (fn. 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
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). (fn. 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." (fn. 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 (fn. 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." (fn. 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. (fn. 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 (fn. 55)

William Gearing 1671
Thomas Felstead 1689
George Vannam 1711
James Finlay 1713
Edward Jackson 1751
John Burrows 1770
Thomas Ackland 1787
James Henry Mapleton 1808
George Lewis 1848
Joseph Brown 1849
Henry Desborough 1867
Alfred de Fontaine 1876
Edgar James Baker 1900
Reginald Samuel Vosper-Thomas 1919
Thomas Smylie 1935
Allan James Weaver 1948

Architectural Description

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.

Figure 41:

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. n1)

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.

Figure 42:

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—

East face
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. n2)
Wife of Mr George Vaughan,
Son Of The Above
Who Departed This Life, Novr 11th 1786,
Aged 31 Years.

South Face
In Memory Of
Isaac Vaughan, Esqre
Who Departed This Life
Novr 18th 1825,
Aged 76 Years.

North face
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.

West face
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. n3) Died 2nd November 1865

George Vaughan—Died 7th October 1874

Henry Vaughan—Died

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 worn.)

(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 inscription.)

(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 slab.)

(8) Captain Thomas Eyre Hinton R.N. (1829) and his wife Phoebe (1832) and grandson Charles Petty Hinton (1843). (Marble slab covering vault.)

(9) Ann Cooper (1784) and John Cooper (1800). (Upright stone badly worn.)

(10) Lucy Ann Thorn (1822), her daughter Louisa Ann Thorn (1824) and her husband Joseph Thorn "of the Parish of Lambeth" (1827). (Marble slab.)

(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.)


  • n1. In 1895 it was found that the heat from the boiler had melted the lead of coffins which had been placed in the crypt some thirty-five years previously. 652 bodies had to be removed to Woking.
  • n2. This was the daughter of Henry Bunn (see p. 97 n.)
  • n3. Mary Sancton by her will dated 6th June, 1863, bequeathed £25,000 in trust to pay a weekly allowance to 24 poor women of 60 years and over dwelling in the parish of Christ Church; the gift to be known as "Mrs. Vaughan's Charity" in memory of her mother. Henry Vaughan, who was appointed one of the first trustees, subsequently founded almshouses in Gravel Lane for the recipients of Mrs. Vaughan's charity. The almswomen were removed circa 1907 to Feltham Hill Road, Ashford, Middlesex. The original building is now known as Nelson House. It is owned by British Railways and let in flats.
  • 55. Information given by John Marshall's Trustees.
  • 56. Returns of Endowed Charities, vol. II, 1899.
  • 203. Court Rolls of the Manor of Paris Garden. (The Court roll books from 1721 onwards are in the custody of the L.C.C.; the earlier ones are at the Minet Library.)
  • 226. P.C.C., 83 Clarke.
  • 227. P.R.O., CP 25(2)/732. Trin. 22 Chas. II Surr.
  • 228. John Aubrey, The Natural History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey, 1719, vol. V.
  • 229. Private Act, 7 Wm. III, cap. 26.
  • 230. House of Commons Journals.
  • 231. History of Surrey, by Manning & Bray, vol. III.
  • 232. History and Antiquities of London, by Thomas Allen, 1827–9, vol. IV.
  • 233. Marshalls Charity Trustees Minute Books.