The Church of St Mary, Newington

Survey of London: Volume 25, St George's Fields (The Parishes of St. George the Martyr Southwark and St. Mary Newington). Originally published by London County Council, London, 1955.

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'The Church of St Mary, Newington', Survey of London: Volume 25, St George's Fields (The Parishes of St. George the Martyr Southwark and St. Mary Newington), (London, 1955), pp. 91-94. British History Online [accessed 22 June 2024].

. "The Church of St Mary, Newington", in Survey of London: Volume 25, St George's Fields (The Parishes of St. George the Martyr Southwark and St. Mary Newington), (London, 1955) 91-94. British History Online, accessed June 22, 2024,

. "The Church of St Mary, Newington", Survey of London: Volume 25, St George's Fields (The Parishes of St. George the Martyr Southwark and St. Mary Newington), (London, 1955). 91-94. British History Online. Web. 22 June 2024,

In this section


The church of the parish of St. Mary, Newington, has had many vicissitudes, and at the present time only the shell of a building remains, and that not on the old site. Little is known about the mediaeval church, which stood on the west side of Newington Butts, and we cannot even be sure if it can be equated with the church in Walworth which is mentioned in Domesday Book (see p. 81). The list of rectors is, however, almost complete from 1212 onward. (fn. n1) Presentations to the rectory were usually made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and it was Cranmer who in 1546 (fn. 266) granted the advowson to the king, so that the Prior of Christ Church was probably technically correct when he replied to Thomas Cromwell's request for the advowson that it was not his to give (adding unctuously that "were it ours and worth 100l. a year you should have it"). (fn. 81) Nevertheless during the 50 years before 1539 presentations were often made by the priory. In 1536 the rectory was valued at £16 a year. (fn. 267) In 1547 the King granted it to the Bishop of Worcester as one item in quite an extensive exchange of properties. (fn. 268)

John Aubrey's History of Surrey, (fn. 108) published in 1719, states that the church then standing was, except for the north aisle, which had been built by Sir Hugh Brawne in 1600, (fn. 269) about 150 years old, and describes it thus: "very small, built of Brick and Boulder, … a double Roof covered with Tile, and the Walls with a rough Cast; the Windows are of a modern Gothick; the Floor is paved with Stone, the Body being one Step lower than the Chancel. Here are three Iles, and the Roof is supported with wooden Pillars, partly of the Tuscan Order, formed octogonally… . This Church contains 43 Foot in Length, 54 in Breadth, 22 in Heighth, and the Tower (wherein are five Bells) 44 Foot, but to the Top of the Turret near 60 Foot."

In 1704 the parishioners at their own charge put in new pews and "beautified" the chancel (fn. 270) with a "small and neat" altar-piece hung with a crimson velvet curtain edged with gold fringe. Two new galleries were also erected at this time. (fn. 108) The building proved to be only a whited sepulchre, for ten years later during Sunday service "there happened a sudden Rupture in the Wall" which caused the congregation to run out in confusion so that many were bruised and trodden under foot. Upon examination, the structure was found "so much decayed in the Pillars, Walls and Beams, and in the Roof and Foundation: That notwithstanding the Sum of 850l. laid out in Repairs by the Parish, the same could not any longer be supported." (fn. 20) The church was entirely rebuilt, part of the cost being defrayed out of a brief granted for the purpose. Seventy-five years later complaints were again being made about the defective state of the walls and tower and practically the whole building had to be demolished. (fn. 135) When the church was again rebuilt it was extended 25 feet further west and the floor was raised 2 feet. The building was awkwardly sited (see Plate 52a) being, in the words of an early 19th century writer "a protuberance obtruding on the highway," and in 1876 it was pulled down so that a much-needed widening of Newington Butts could be made. (fn. 271) The old burial ground still remains and in 1877, a clock tower, the gift of a churchwarden, R. S. Faulconer, was built there to mark the site of the old church.

The new church, erected on the east side of Kennington Park Road from the designs of James Fowler, (fn. 272) was consecrated in May, 1876. It was built of Kentish rag with Bath stone dressings in the Early English style, but the spire which formed part of the design was never erected. The roofs of the nave and chancel were of hammer beam construction, the height of the nave from floor to ridge being 70 feet, and its length 100 feet.

The church was burnt out in an air raid on 10th May, 1941, and has not yet been rebuilt.

Plate. The church has several pieces of 17th and 18th century plate (Plate 70a). (fn. n2) These include two silver cups and a paten each dated 1675, a silver flagon inscribed "Newington Butts Nov. 2 1681. Deo datum By the Gentlemen of ye Vestry …"; two silver covers, the gift of Elizabeth Yallop circa 1727, and two silver salvers with Paris hall-marks of 1783.


The most notable monument in the old church was that erected in 1614 to the memory of Sir Hugh Brawne, his two wives, four sons, and five daughters (Plate 55). It stood at the east end of the north aisle which was built at Brawne's expense. (fn. n3) References to other monuments are made by Aubrey, Manning and Bray, etc. In the several rebuildings which the parish church has undergone most of the older monuments have been lost, though some were removed into the churchyard. Many of the memorial stones there are now almost illegible, but a record of the memorials with the initial letters A—I has been preserved in Part I of The monumental inscriptions in the Old Churchyard of St. Mary, Newington privately printed in 1880. (fn. n4)

Sir Hugh Brawne

The altar tomb, of which a drawing is reproduced on Plate 82a, bears the inscription (now almost illegible) on the east side—

"In this vault/are deposited the remains/of Miss LOUISA
BANNISTER/who departed this life Nov. 22 1786/aged
2 years and 9 months/Also the remains of Master RICHD.
THO. BANNISTER/son of the said RICHARD &
Amelia BANNISTER/who departed this life January 3
1790/aged 10 years and 4 months."

One of the more interesting of those which have now disappeared was an altar tomb within iron rails with the inscription on the north side—

"Sacred/to the memory of/WILLIAM ALLEN/An Englishman of unspotted Life and amiable/Disposition/who was inhumanly murdered near St. Georges/Fields on the 10th Day of May 1768 by Scottish/Detachments from the ARMY/ His disconsolate Parents Inhabitants of this/Parish caused this Tomb to be erected to an only Son/Lost to them and to the World in his Twentieth Year/as a Monument of his Virtues and their Affection." (fn. n5)

The Rectory and Glebe

The old rectory (Plate 52b) stood near the church and churchyard on the west side of Newington Butts. The Rectory garden and the glebe were surrounded and intersected by ditches or "moats" (fn. 273) which in wet seasons extended across St. George's Fields to the Dog and Duck (see Plate 53). Early in the 19th century the moats were filled up and the rectory was altered and enlarged, the weather-boarding being replaced by stucco. (fn. 274) It remained in use until the removal of the church. St. Mary Newington Schools, St. Gabriel Street, Parsonage Walk, Churchyard Row, with the Rowton House there, and Dante Road, the latter built up about 1870 by Messrs. Sutton & Dudley, (fn. 275) now cover the glebe.

St. Mary, Newington, Schools, Newington Butts

A charity school for boys was established in Newington in 1710–11, when Richard Cambridge and others subscribed for 20 boys to be taught reading, writing and arithmetic and to be provided with clothing. The school was managed by a committee of the subscribers and the number of boys was subsequently raised to 40. In 1775 the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury gave a piece of copyhold ground at the corner of Cross Street and Walworth Road for the erection of a schoolroom and master's house. A girls' school was added some years later, and in 1816 the schools were united with the Sunday Schools of the parish under the title of "The United Parochial National Charity and Sunday Schools of St. Mary Newington." (fn. 136)

In 1820 the committee acquired an underlease of part of the glebe of the parish just west of Newington Butts and new school buildings, and residences for master and mistress were provided there out of voluntary contributions, a fact which is recorded on a wall tablet. The premises were almost completely rebuilt in 1932, but the schoolkeeper's cottage dates back to 1820.

Rectors of St. Mary, Newington (fn. n6)

Before 1212 Roger de Susexx'. (fn. 226)
Before 1270 Roger de Sancto Albano. (fn. 276)
Before 1276 Peter de Wyntreshull. (fn. 277)
William de Ludeham. (fn. 278)
Before 1307 John Here. (fn. 279)
Thomas de London.
1313 John de Wyndesore.
Before 1320 William de Alingeio (Halingio). (fn. 280)
1324 John de Northampton.
1324 William de Useflete.
1349–50 John Louechild de Stokebruerne.
Thomas de Langeton.
1360 Thomas Meynot.
William de Brynkhill.
1369 John Grymeston.
1370 Richard Kenddle.
William Hauley.
1374 John Wengrave.
John Aston.
1384 William Warwyk.
1397 John Chiselden.
Richard Layty.
1458 William Cornyssh.
1461 Robert Cade.
1462 John Chaumbre.
1476 David William.
1477 William Pope.
Nicholas Morton.
1487 Robert Harsett.
1498 Thomas Rilyng.
1506 John Thorneton, Bishop of Syrynensis.
1507 Thomas Baschurche.
1515 Edward Higyns.
1537–38 John Skippe.
1539 John Morley.
1543 Edmund Weston.
1554 John Grene. (fn. 281)
1558 Griffin Morgan.
1559 Henry Prescote (Prescott).
1568 William Clerke (Clarke).
1569–70 Stephen Bateman, translator, and author of Christiall glass for christian reformation, 1569, and other works. (fn. 25)
1584 Thomas Gatacre.
1593–94. Thomas Puckering.
1619 James Fludd (Lloyd).
1626 George Durant.
1627 Tobias Crispe, antinomian. He was removed within the year because his presentation was simoniacal.
1628 Thomas Stevens.
1634 John Bludworth (Bloudworth).
1640 James Meggs. Meggs was deprived in 1643 and Henry Langley and later Thomas Wadsworth officiated during the Commonwealth. Meggs was restored in 1660.
1673 Nicholas Lloyd, author of the Dictionarium historicum. Wood described him as "an harmless, quiet man" and "an excellent philologist." (fn. 282)
1681 Edward Webster.
1689 Stephen Bordley.
1695 John Wotton (Whooton).
1698 William Taswell.
1731 Nathaniel Hough.
1737 Stephen Light Mott.
1752 John Dubordieu.
1754 John Horsley.
1759 Samuel Horsley (son of his predecessor), Bishop of St. Asaph and author of a number of theological and other works.
1794 Charles de Guiffardiere.
1810 Samuel Picart.
1812 Arthur Cyril Onslow.
1869 William Dalrymple Maclagan, Archbishop of York, 1891–1909.
1875 George Thomas Palmer.
1908 William James Conybeare.
1916 Charles Coleridge Harper.
1922 William James Margetson.
1925 William Houghton Hacksley.
1939–45 Forrest Saxon Lloyd Fitz-George.
1946 Herbert Frank Runacres.


  • n1. The registers, which have now been deposited in the London County Record Office, date from 1561. Newington in Surrey has frequently been confused with other Newingtons, particularly with Stoke Newington, Middlesex. St. Mary, Newington, was in the Archdeaconry of Croydon in the Diocese of Winchester, but it remained a peculiar of the Archbishop of Canterbury even after the Reformation when the advowson was no longer in the Archbishop's gift. The first vestry minute book begins with a note about the glazing of the chancel windows in 1493–96. It gives the arms, which presumably formed part of the windows, of the then cardinal (John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1486–1500) and bishop (Thomas Savage, Bishop of Rochester in 1493–96). Below these arms are drawn four other coats which may also have been included in the window glass. They are stated to be "for the knowledge of the foundation of the Churche of Newington." One is of the royal arms prior to Edward III's claim to the throne of France; one is of the family of Warenne, Earls of Surrey. The other two have not been identified, though one is almost certainly of a branch of the family of Lucy. Godfrey de Lucy was Bishop of Winchester in 1189–1204 and the family owned considerable property in Kent. As a piece of evidence this is by no means conclusive, but it suggests that the church in Newington was founded at the end of the 12th century or the beginning of the 13th.
  • n2. For a complete list of the plate see Surr. Arch. Coll. XIV.
  • n3. Sir Hugh Brawne owned land in St. George's Fields.
  • n4. Part II was not printed.
  • n5. William Allen was shot during the disturbances when John Wilkes was imprisoned in the King's Bench Prison in Borough Road (see p. 13).
  • n6. With the exception of those for whom a special reference is given the names have been ascertained from the Bishops' Registers or from Crockford.
  • 20. J. Strype's ed. of Stow's Survey of London, 1720.
  • 25. Dict. of Nat. Biog.
  • 81. Cal. of L. and P. Henry VIII.
  • 108. J. Aubrey, The Natural History and Antiquities of Surrey, 1719, Vol. V.
  • 135. L.C.C.R.O., Vestry Min. of St. Mary, Newington.
  • 136. Endowed Charities (London), Vol. IV, 1901.
  • 226. Book of Fees, 1920, Vol. I.
  • 266. Lambeth Palace Library, Register Sancroft, ff. 391d, 392.
  • 267. Record Commission, Valor Ecclesiasticus, ed. J. Hunter, 1814, Vol. II, p. 65.
  • 268. P.R.O., E 305/E93.
  • 269. P.C.C., 35 Rudd.
  • 270. Lambeth Palace Library, Return of parish churches, 1705.
  • 271. South London Press, 6th May 1876.
  • 272. Building News, 24th Sept., 1875.
  • 273. L.C.C.R.O., Terrier of St. Mary, Newington.
  • 274. E. W. Brayley, History of Surrey, 1844, Vol. III, Part III.
  • 275. Church Commrs., Plan of the Glebe of St. Mary, Newington.
  • 276. Chapter Library, Canterbury, Carta Antiqua W. 70.
  • 277. Ibid., Carta Antiqua W. 131.
  • 278. P.R.O., CP 25(1)/227/21.
  • 279. Canterbury and York Society, Registrum Henrici Woodlock, ed. A. W. Goodman, 1935–40.
  • 280. Cal. of Close Rolls.
  • 281. Canterbury and York Society, Registra Stephani Gardiner et Johannis Poynet, ed. H. Chitty, 1930.
  • 282. A. à Wood, Athenae Oxonienses, ed. P. Bliss, 1813–20, Vol. III.