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Shortly after it was consecrated, an historian and architect wrote a very clear description of the building of St Matthew’s Church. The book is available free as an e-book. See below.
The History and Antiquities of the Parish of Lambeth and Archiepiscopal Palace
by Thomas Allen
This building [St Matthew’s Church] claims precedence, in point of date, over the other churches erected in this parish, in pursuance of the Act of Parliament already cited. The necessary excavations were made, and the foundations began, previous to Christmas 1821; and on the 1st July, in the succeeding year, the ceremony of laying the first stone was performed by his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, who immediately afterwards proceeded to the site of Kennington Church for the same purpose.
The architect is Mr. C. Porden. In the chasteness and simplicity of the design, and the classical correctness of the architecture, the present edifice not only reflects great credit upon the taste of its architect, but is entitled to a superior rank among the many new churches recently erected in the environs of the metropolis. In plan, it differs but little from the usual arrangement, being a parallelogram, with its two longest sides to the north and south, with a portico at the West end, and a tower at the East.
The order is the Greek Doric, which is continued throughout the building. The west front is occupied by a portico, composed of four fluted columns and two antae, raised on a stylobate of five steps. The lateral walls of the Church are continued to the antae of the portico (which is consequently closed at the sides, like the pronaos of a Grecian temple).
The columns, in their bold proportions and massive dimensions, are formed after those fine specimens of temple architecture in the same order, which are the pride of Greece and the admiration of the whole world. The elevation is finished with the entablature of the order and a pediment. The lateral acroteria, in the original design, were to have supported recumbent holy lambs, which, it is to be regretted, have been omitted. The anteo are fronted with large square pedestals, intended to have sustained vases, if the West front had been completed pursuant to the architect’s design.
Within the portico are three grand entrances to the Church. The central is higher than the lateral ones; and each doorway, in its formation, resembles the openings in Grecian buildings, the aperture diminishing in breadth from the base to the lintel. The whole facade displays an air of grandeur, which few of the new churches can claim; and it is to be hoped that the ornamental particulars alluded to will shortly be added, and the design completed in a style appropriate to the excellence displayed in its general features. In the interior of the portico the walls are coloured, in imitation of stone. The north and south fronts are uniformly built of white brick, with stone dressings. Near the west end, on each side, are flights of stairs descending to the catacombs beneath the floor of the Church, the entrances to which have handsome frontispieces, consisting of pediments, supported on antee. In each front is a series of lofty windows, similar in form to the western doorways, and bounded with bold architraves.
The elevation terminates with the entablature, continued from the portico, in which the tryglyphs and mutules are retained; the omission of which, in every other part except the principal front, is a fault too common in modern buildings, and which has been already censured in St. Mark’s church. The eastern front, which differs from the majority of churches in having the steeple attached to it, is made into three principal divisions; the central occupied by the tower, the lateral ones are formed into recesses flanked by antae, and finished at the top with the continued entablature.
The recesses are filled, to about half of their height, with porches formed of antee, supporting an entablature, in which the tryglyphs are omitted, the guttae being continued, without intermission, along the whole of the fillet, which divides the architrave from the frieze. The tower is in three stories: the first is square, and of equal height with the Church. It rests upon three granite steps, and is finished with a frieze and cornice. In the eastern face is a lofty window, crowned with a pediment.
The second story is also square, and contains in each face two fluted Doric columns, with an anta at each angle, sustaining an entablature, and forming an open screen, within which the walls of the tower take an octangular form, having windows in four of the faces.
This story is finished with a parapet, having a break in each side to receive the clock-dials. Above this is a square plinth, which forms the base to an octagon tower, consisting of a plain architrave and cornice, the cymatium enriched with lions’ heads, sustained on eight antee, corresponding with the angles of the octagon, and covered with a pyramidal stone roof, enriched with scroll foliage. On its apex is placed a leaved capital, sustaining a plain cross. The steeple is, on the whole, too small for the edifice to which it is attached.
It is to be regretted that the funds would not allow of proportions more compatible with grandeur and magnificence; for, although the design is in itself very neat and chaste, its want of elevation above the roof of the Church gives it an air of meanness. It only remains to be noticed, that the southern porch at the east end contains an entrance to the Church for the accommodation of the inhabitants of the Tulse Hill road, and the other communicates with the vestry and the basement story of the tower, and that the roof of the building is slated.
The western doorway leads into a vestibule, with a panelled ceiling, sustained by antae. In this are the flights of stairs leading to the galleries. From this vestibule a spacious doorway communicates with the interior of the Church, which corresponds, in the simplicity of its decoration, with the outside; and as far as a building in which columns are not applied to sustain the ceiling can be so, is even splendid. There is less of that nakedness and poverty of appearance so observable in many new churches, and which formed a subject of complaint in the interior of St. John’s. In the present instance it is avoided by the ceiling being brought lower, and tastefully ornamented; and it is but just to observe, that if even the allowed funds would have admitted of the display of architectural beauty, it must have given way to convenience of accommodation; as a range of columns on each side of the Church, according in style with the portico, would have shut out half the congregation from either seeing or hearing the officiating minister.
The south, north, and west sides, are occupied by galleries, resting upon antae. At the west end, upper galleries are formed in recesses situated over the staircases, for the accommodation of the Charity children, each of which galleries is bounded outwardly by the walls of the Church, and towards the centre of the building by antae, the organ occupying the space between them. Against the eastern wall is placed the altar, elevated on three steps, and covered with crimson velvet. The rails are executed in imitation of bronze, and formed like Doric columns, supporting an open frieze enriched with gilt crosses and chaplets. Immediately above the altar is a recess flanked by antae, and containing two fluted Doric columns. In the wall at the back of this recess is a window, which receives a false light from the lower story of the tower. Upon these columns rests an architrave and frieze, which is continued entirely round the walls of the Church. The architrave has one face, and is separated from the frieze by an enriched ogee: the same moulding, surmounting a scroll, forms the upper member of the frieze. The cor- nice is not retained. The ceiling is divided longitudinally into three portions by two architraves, ranging from the antae above the western gallery, to those at the altar. The great length of these (artificial) beams, and the only support being applied at the extreme ends, has an unnatural appearance, and too plainly shews that they are themselves sustained by what they profess to support. The absence of the columns is rendered the more apparent, as it must occur to every one, that so long an architrave requires the support of other uprights than the extreme walls of a building. Smaller ribs, placed at angles with the architraves, portion the lateral divisions of the ceiling into long compartments, every one being occupied by two rows of square panels, with a star of sixteen points painted in distemper in the centre of each. The central division is plain, with the exception of four full-blown flowers, inserted at intervals. The eastern window, dispensing only a borrowed light, gives to the altar a dull appearance, which might be effectually removed by the introduction of stained glass; the glowing tints and brilliant colours of that delightful material would be finely mellowed, and even improved, by the partial obscurity occasioned by the transit of the light through the exterior window. The taste of the architect has given to many portions of his building a degree of ornament hardly to be expected in an edifice in which his estimates were necessarily limited. This is observable in the door-cases of the entrances to the galleries, which are tastefully ornamented with the honeysuckle mouldings on their lintels.
The front of the organ-case is formed of two columns, and the same number of antae, supporting an entablature, the frieze charged with gilt chaplets. The intercolumniations are occupied by the pipes of the instrument. The pulpit and reading desk are in conformity to the modern practice; copies of each other, they are stationed on opposite sides, in the area of the Church. The form is a square pedestal, sustaining a circular rostrum, adorned with antae, and finished with a cornice.
After the full description of the Church which has been given, it is almost needless to add, that the design is formed upon the model of a Grecian temple. The simplicity of the order lias been most happily preserved, and the characteristics of the style rigidly attended to. In proof of this, it is only necessary to remark that, if we except the catacombs, an arch is no where to be seen in the building. Upon the whole, Brixton Church is entitled to .rank among the few specimens of truly classical building in the metropolis. The resemblance between the outline of the West front, and that of the Tuscan Church of St. Paul, Covent-garden, an edifice so often and so justly admired, cannot fail to strike every one who has attentively surveyed the two buildings ; but, with all its intrinsic beauties, it is to be regretted that the present Church is not placed in the most fortunate situation. The edifice just mentioned has the advantage of an open space of great extent in its front. In the present, neither of the principal fronts are seen, in ascending or descending the road in which it is situated; to any one coming to the Church from the north or the south, the fine portico is concealed from view until he arrives in the very front of it. The sides of the Church, which are mere brickwork, with a series of windows, it must be obvious, are not objects of beauty when viewed by themselves. To the circumstance adverted to, St. Paul’s, Covent-garden, owes much of its beauty, and to have been seen to equal advantage, this church requires a similar situation. However, this is a defect not attributable to the architect, but the site, over which he had, of course, no control.
It is, however, to be regretted, that a Grecian design was, under any circumstances, adopted for Brixton. In Regent-street this fine portico would have been a distinguished ornament: it would have there harmonised with the surrounding buildings; but its beauties are not fully appreciated, in a suburb so distant from the metropolis as the present. The country claims the pointed style, as peculiarly its own; and with every feeling of admiration for the building before us, it must be confessed that a Gothic structure would have better harmonised with the surrounding scenery. The Church was consecrated on the 2lst June, 1824. The architect’s estimate, including incidental expenses and commission, was 15,340/. 13s. 7d. and the amount of the contract 15,192/. 9s.
It is calculated to hold 1926 persons, of whom 1022 may be accommodated with free seats. The length of the Church is about 100 feet, breadth about 65 feet. In the tower are two bells and a good clock. The cemetery is enclosed with a tasteful iron railing resting on a granite plinth, and broken at intervals by massive square pedestals of the same material.
The Rev. E. Prodgers, and the Rev. E. B. Vardon, being the first ministers ; the present assistant is the Rev. R. Cattermole.
Though many interments have taken place in the burying ground, no monument or gravestone was set up until the latter end of the present year (1825), when the splendid sepulchral mausoleum was erected, at the north-west angle of the churchyard; and which, from its correspondent character with the Church, and the unusual magnificence of its form and decorations, merits a detailed notice. It is made, in height, into three principal stories, or divisions, raised on. a stylobate, consisting of three steps of granite. The first story consists of four fronts, corresponding with the cardinal points, brought out beyond the line of the elevation, each of which is occupied by a veined marble tablet, flanked by piers of stone, and crowned with a pediment: the recessed angles made by the advance of the fronts, are filled with vases. The second story contains, in each face, a window, giving light to the sepulchral chamber within, and is appropriately adorned with emblematic sculpture in relief. Below the window is a serpent, with its tail in its mouth, the well known symbol of eternity: above is the winged globe, the Egyptian hieroglyphic of the Almighty Creator; and on the piers, at the angles, are carved angels in basso relievo, holding in their hands inverted torches. This story is finished with a cornice, with Grecian tiles on its angles. The third story has on each front a dove, with expanded wings, surrounded with an irradiation, in high relief, and is finished with a pediment formed of the segment of a circle.
The whole design terminates in a square pedestal, highly enriched with mouldings, supporting a knot of honey suckles of the same form. The entrance is on the west side, by a low door formed in the stylobate. Of the sculptures which adorn this monument, the emblems are too well known to require any remark by way of explanation. The whole stands about twenty feet high, and is without doubt the finest sepulchral monument in the open air in the metropolis, and perhaps not equalled by any one in the kingdom. It is erected by H. Budd, esq. to the memory of his deceased father. It is upwards of 30 feet high, and was designed and executed by R. Day.
Let us hail it as the first specimen of a new era in monumental architecture, and view it as a step towards improvement in the decorative branch of that noble science, which, it must be confessed, is much wanted. A beginning is all that was required: it has taken place at Brixton; and there is little fear that so good an example will want imitators.
An Exerpt from The Gentleman’s Magazine, 1829, p580
ST MATTHEW’S BRIXTON. Architect: Porden.
The first subject in the accompanying engraving represents the west front and south side of this Church, the first in point of seniority of the five built in the parish of Lambeth.
The present building is one of the few chaste specimens of classical architecture to be found amongst the various new Churches in the environs of the Metropolis. The favourite style of modern architects is indeed a spurious imitation of Grecian architecture, but as far removed from the original, as the works of Wyatt and his followers, in another style, are behind our own Cathedrals. Brixton Church is, however, of a better class. The architect has closely adhered to his authorities, and the result has consequently been excellence in his imitation. With the new Church at St. Pancras, and the Portico of the Unitarian Chapel in Stamford street, this structure may, therefore, be entitled to rank as one of the best specimens of Grecian architecture in the Metropolis.
The order is Doric, which is continued throughout the entire building; the ground plan a parallelogram, having a portico and lobbies at the west end, and a square tower, flanked with porches, at the eastern extremity. The materials are brick, with dressings of stone. The principal front commences with a flight of steps, bounded at each side by a square pedestal, originally intended to receive urns, but now surmounted by lamps. These steps lead to the floor of the portico, or pronaos, situated within the walls of the Church, which are finished in antis. The portico is formed by four fluted columns of massy proportions, ranging in a line with the antae; the whole being surmounted by an entablature, and crowned with a pediment. The lateral acroteria were intended to sustain recumbent holy lambs, which have been omitted in the completion of the design. The ceiling of the portico is panelled, and in the wall behind are three lofty entrances; the openings of which are in the form of a truncated pyramid, and are bounded by architraves. The flanks of the Church commence with a low stylobate; the wall above is pierced with five large windows, similar in form to the doorways, and an entablature, continued from the western front, forms a crowning member. Near the west end are entrances to the catacombs; they are approached by descending flights of steps; the openings are lintelled, and crowned with pediments sustained on anise.
The eastern front is made into three portions. The centre consists of a square tower, in three principal stories; the first rises to the entablature, and corresponds in its arrangement with the main building; it is crowned with a frieze and cornice. In the eastern front is a window surmounted with a pediment which lights the restry, occupying the ground floor of the tower. The second story rises above the Church.
The design shows a square temple formed of eight Doric columns, two in each face, the angles occupied by square anta.1. insulated; the whole is crowned with an entablature, in which the tryglyphs and modules are not retained. The cella is octagonal, and pierced with windows in the four faces, which correspond with the elevations of the lower. The cornice of this story is surmounted by an attic, which breaks in the centre of each front, to let in the clock dials. The third story is rectangular in plan, representing an elegant little temple, a pleasing variation from the octagon tower of Andronicus Cyrhestes at Athens, which it greatly resembles. The elevation commences with a stylobate, above which are anise situated at the angles of the plan; the whole is crowned by an architrave and cornice, the cymalium charged with lions’ heads. 1’he roof is covered with stone tiles, forming a dwarf pyramid of eight sides, on the summit of which is placed a capital decorated with plain leaves, which is crowned with a plain cross. The lateral divisions on each side of the tower form recesses bounded by the antz which finish the eastern extremities of the flanks, and by corresponding ones towards the tower; the recessed portions are filled to about half their height by porches formed on the model of the Choragic monument of Thrasj’llus at Athens, the central anta being omitted.
It is to be regretted that the roof of the building has not been covered with metal. The slated roof, which is seen above the flanks, in consequence of the cornice not being surmounted by a blocking course, is an unsightly object, and what appears a glaring defect, its ridge having been allowed to interfere with the columns in the second story of the tower, a portion of which are concealed by it. This defect is conspicuously shown in the engraving. Taken, however, as a whole, the exterior has more to be commended than the majority of the new Churches which it has fallen to our lot to survey. The architect has displayed an originality of genius in the design far surpassing most of his contemporaries.
is approached by three vestibules at the western end, corresponding with the entrances in the portico, and communicating laterally with each other; the side ones containing flights of stairs to the galleries. The body of the Church shows an open area unbroken by columns; a gallery resting on square auuc occupies the two longest sides and the western end. The walls are finished by a handsome entablature’, composed of an architrave, surmounted by an enriched echinus and a frieze, crowned by similar moulding over a scroll. It is questionable whether the substitution of the present for the proper entablature of the order is any improvement. The east end consists nf a stylobate, above which is a recess flanked by piers sloping inwards, having an. anta on each side. The recess contains two fluted Doric columns, reaching to the soflite of the principal entablature; in the back of the recess is a window, which admits a false from the lower story of the tower. The western end of the Church has a larger recess above the gallery, in which are placed two insulated antae. The ceiling is horizontal, and is made in breadth into three divisions by flying cornices, which enter the cornice of the entablature, above the antennae of the east and west extremities. Of the three divisions thus formed, the centre is plain, and ornamented with expanded flowers at intervals; the lateral portions are subdivided by other cornices at right angles with the former into ten divisions, including two rows of sunk panels, having in each a star of eight points painted in distemper. The altar is placed against the dado of the eastern window, and above it are uncouth looking boards inscribed with the Decalogue, Ne. which have the appearance at least, of forming no part of the original design. The altar rails of iron are painted to imitate bronze, and represent a colonnade of the Doric order; the frieze charged with chaplets and crosses, and in the centre doors of the same material.
The font is a bronze tripod; it stands in the central aisle at a short distance from the altar-rails and between the two pulpits, which, in defiance of ancient usage, are seen in so many new Churches. The designs of both these structures are uniform, and consist of a lofty square pedestal sustaining a circular rostrum surrounded by anise.
In the recess at the western end is the organ, in an appropriately carved case of oak, composed of two columns and two ante, surmounted by an entablature, the frieze charged with gilt chaplets. On each side of the organ are seats for the charity children. The small doorways communicating between the galleries and the staircases, are surmounted by handsome honey suckle friezes.
From the foregoing description our readers will conclude that Brixton Church is entitled to rank high as a Grecian building; but in the adoption of such a design for the situation in which the building stands, little taste and less judgment were displayed. In approaching the Church by the high road in either direction, the portico is lost, in consequence of the sides being closed; until the spectator arrives opposite to the building, he can only imagine there may be a portico; in consequence, the best view of the Church is but little seen. The west front, not unlike, in point of arrangement, to St. Paul’s, Covent-garden, would appear to great advantage, if it had enjoyed an equally good situation with that building; and if the flanks had been partially concealed, the appearance of the building would have suffered no- thing. The propriety of Grecian architecture for Churches has justly been questioned; the present affords a strong argument against it. The spire or pinnacled tower of our national architecture would have appeared to far greater advantage than the present, which, beautiful as it is in itself, looks at a distance amidst the trees, in connexion with which it is viewed, little better than a pigeon house. In short, Grecian architecture is not the style for Churches, and the most classical building, if misapplied, will show at most but a splendid failure.
The first stone was laid on the 1st July, 1823, by I IK- late Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. Manners Sutton), and it was consecrated bv the late Bishop of Winchester (Dr. Tomline), on the 21st June, 1824. The architect’s estimate, including incidental expenses and commission, was 15.340/. 13s. ‘rd, and the amount of the contract 1:”>,1<)’J/. W. It is calculated to hold HTJO persons, and one of the greatest merits of the building is, that it is well constructed
for hearing in every part of the interior.
The cemetery is enclosed with a handsome iron railing on a granite C Until. In the northern angle, formed by the junction of the two roads, was erected in 1825, a sepulchral monument of the most splendid description, which is shown in the engraving. It is square in plan, and is made in elevation into four stories, the whole being twenty feet in height. It rests on three steps of granite, which are broken in the northern face by an entrance covered with a pediment. The first story is an union of four sarcophagi, the ends crowned with pediments, forming the several sides of the monument; on one is a white marble tablet bearing an inscription, stating that it was erected by H. Budd, Esq. to the memory of his father. In the angles are urns. The second story is square.
Each front has a window, below which is a relief, representing a serpent with its tail in its mouth, the well-known emblem of eternity. Above the window is the winged globe, an Egyptian hieroglyphic, understood to typify the Creator. The antsc at the angles have angels in basso relievo, holding inverted torches, the symbols of death.
On the angles of the cornice are Greek tiles; the third story, a square altar, has a dove on each face in an irradiation surmounted by a cornice of acanthines, and crowned by a segmental pediment. On this story is placed a square pedestal,sustaining a beautiful finial composed of honeysuckles. This splendid composition was designed and executed by Mr. Day of Camberwell, so well known by his excellent models of buildings.
St. Matthew’s Church, Brixton Survey of London: volume 26 -Lambeth: Southern area, 1956, F. H. W. Sheppard (Ed), pp131-136.
By their Award of 1810 the Lambeth Manor Enclosure Commissioners allotted three parcels at the northern end of Rush Common to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rector of Lambeth and Robert Stone. After the establishment of the Church Building Commissioners in 1818 the Lambeth Church Building Committee decided that these three plots would form a fine site for a church and burial ground. (ref. 204) The building restrictions contained in the Enclosure Act of 1806 had to be modified by an amending Act of 1821 to permit the erection of the church. (ref. 194) The land belonging to the Rector was then conveyed to the Commissioners gratuitously for the site of the church. (ref. 205) The Archbishop’s land was made into a burial ground (ref. 206) and £88 was paid to Robert Stone’s Trustees for their piece. (ref. 205)
The architect of the church was C. F. Porden. (ref. 205) The first stone was laid by the Archbishop of Canterbury on July 1, 1822, (ref. 207) but work on the foundations was started in the previous autumn by Mr Mercer of Millbank. The soil proved looser than the architect expected, and extra foundations were needed. Mercer then became insolvent and his contract was completed by Messrs Thomas Want and John Richardson. J and H Lee of Chiswell Street, who were well known “as builders of the greatest respectability”, (ref. 204) shared in the completion of the church, whose total cost was £16,150, of which the Church Building Commissioners contributed £7,917; the remainder was raised by the parish of Lambeth. (ref. 208) The church (Plates 5, , , , 11b, 12) was consecrated on June 21, 1824 by the Bishop of Winchester. (ref. 207) There were 904 rented sittings and 1,022 free seats. By an Order in Council gazetted on March 29, 1825, a District Parish was assigned. (ref. 205)
In 1829 the Gentleman’s Magazine described St. Matthew’s as “ one of the few chaste specimens of classical architecture to be found amongst the various new Churches in the environs of the Metropolis”. The writer went on, however, to deplore the use of the Grecian style for churches, and criticised the siting of the church, whereby “the portico is lost, in consequence of the sides being closed; until the spectator arrives opposite to the building, he can only imagine there may be a portico”. (ref. 207) Nevertheless, St. Matthew’s is the finest early 19th century church in the area under review.
In plan St. Matthew’s is a simple rectangle, with a portico fronting the vestibule and flanking staircase-lobbies at the west end, and a tower projecting centrally from the east. By so disposing his portico and steeple, Porden gave architectural interest to both the important road frontages. Furthermore, he forestalled the adverse criticism usually levelled against any attempt to combine these two essentially disparate elements.
The severe Doric exterior, impressive in scale, is built of grey brick dressed generally with Bath stone. Pedestals flank the wide steps that ascend to the portico, tetra-style in antis, where Portland stone columns are combined with Bath stone antae, entablature and pediment. The entablature continues as a unifying motif right round the building. The rear wall of the portico is a plain brick face containing three doorways with tapered jambs and straight heads, the middle opening being slightly higher and wider than the others, which are not centred with the intercolumniations. Framed by an eared architrave of Bath stone, each door has two wooden leaves, with three tall panels within a running band of ivy-leaf ornament.
The portico, being in antis, is not expressed on the side elevations, hence the criticisms made in the Gentleman’s Magazine. Here the only ornament is provided by the entablature, the narrow antae at each end, and the single tier of five equally spaced windows, which have architraves of similar form and detail to those of the portico doorways. Centred beneath the westernmost window on each side is a low pedimented porch, projecting and approached by steps descending to the crypt.
The east front is by far the most original feature of the whole design. The steeple, consisting of a square two-stage tower surmounted by an octagonal lantern, projects well forward from the flanking two-storeyed porches, framed by antae that support the continued entablature. The first stage of the tower, of equal height with the body of the church, rises from a steeply stepped podium of granite and contains in its east face a tall window. This has a tabernacle frame with its flattened pediment superimposed on the architrave of the main entablature which here is without triglyphs. The second stage, housing the belfry, is raised on a stepped plinth. Each face is identical in having a tall louvred opening recessed between Doric columns which are coupled with the antae at the angles. The plain entablature of this stage is surmounted by a pedestal parapet broken by a clock dial on each face. From a small square plinth rises the octagonal open lantern, a charming feature reminiscent of both the Lysicrates Monument and the Tower of the Winds. Its pyramidal roof has stone ornamental ribs that converge in an acanthus crown supporting the cross.
The middle doorway in the west portico opens to an aisled vestibule leading to the floor of the church. Each side doorway gives access to a lobby with an open staircase to the gallery. The very spacious and airy interior has a gallery on three sides, and a flat single-span ceiling. The minimum of ornament has been used to considerable effect, and architectural interest is rightly focused on the setting for the altar, where the plain wall faces of the gallery are terminated by pilasters, framing a recess containing a tall rectangular window flanked by Doric columns. A simple cornice adorns the gallery fronts and the supporting square piers have delicately moulded caps. Moulded ribs intersect to form a pattern of alternating wide and narrow panels on the ceiling.
Most of the box pews survive, together with some of the original furnishings. The simple Doric organ-case in the western gallery, and the communion rail of iron, with tall Doric column balusters and an open frieze of laurel-wreaths, are well worthy of notice. A series of chaste Grecian memorial tablets, in white and grey marble, relieves the severity of the plain wall surfaces.
At the north end of the churchyard, which has recently been converted into a public open space, is a remarkable monument (Plate 71a) erected by Henry Budd in memory of his father Richard Budd (1748–1824). It was designed and executed by R. Day in 1825, and was described by Thomas Allen, the historian of Lambeth, as “without doubt the finest sepulchral monument in the open air in the metropolis, and perhaps not equalled by any one in the kingdom”. (ref. 209) It is of Greek derivation in its parts, with some Egyptian features, and shows the influence of Soane. Square in plan, it is built apparently of Portland stone, in three main stages, on a stepped granite base. The four faces are identical except for a low sunk doorway with a projecting pedimented lintel, which cuts into the base on the west side. The lowest step has vermiculated rustication on its face. The main stage consists of four broad pedimented stele projecting from the central block, with classical urns set in the reentrant angles thus formed. The stele are ornamented with paterae and egg and dart moulding, and contain white marble slabs carrying inscriptions to members of the Budd family. The pediments are surmounted by acroteria at the corners. The second stage has a cornice of considerable projection with scrolled acroteria, the square panels below containing openings with fretted iron grilles and carvings of the serpent with its tail in its mouth, symbol of eternity, and the winged globe, the Egyptian hieroglyph for the Almighty Creator. Flanking these panels are low relief carvings of angels in side panels which are returned on to the adjoining face. The top stage is stepped back and has carvings of the Holy Dove in its four panels. The acanthus-leaved cornice supports segmental pediments topped by two blocking courses and a large anthemion finial.
- C.C., File 18135.
206. Inclosure Map (copy in the custody of the Town Clerk).
207. The Gentleman’s Magazine, 1829, part 1, pp. 577–579.
208. C.C., File 18135. The Gentleman’s Magazine gives the architect’s estimate as £15,340. [see above]
209. Allen, p. 414. [see above]
210. All the information for the history of these houses is derived from deeds in the custody of the Southwark Diocesan Registrar.
211. N.S. File.
212. Ch.C., vol. IV, p.594.
213. The Builder, 1870, p. 934.
214. The Times, March 6, 1893.
215. Local history collection in Tate Central Library
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Mechanics Magazine September 1st 1827
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