CHAPTER XXI - NINETEENTH CENTURY (PART II)
William Panckridge, M.A., Rector 1884–1887.
'On the 24th January, 1884, William Panckridge, clerk, M.A.
(pl. XCVI, p. 374), was instituted to the rectory vacant by the death
of John Abbiss on the presentation of Frederick Parr Phillips, clerk,
M.A., Rector of Stoke d'Abernon, Surrey, the patron.' (fn. 1) He was
inducted on the 25th January 1884, when there were present the
Bishop of St. Albans (T. H. Claughton), the Bishop of Bedford
(Walsham How), Bishop Blomfield, the Rural Dean, the patron, and
Mr. Panckridge was the son of Francis Panckridge, Esq., of
Bradwell, Oxon. He was educated at a private school at Banbury,
whence he went to Jesus College, Cambridge, where he graduated
B.A. in 1864 and M.A. in 1868. He was ordained deacon in 1865, and
priest (by the Bishop of London) in 1866. After leaving college he
was a master at All Saints' School, Bloxham, Oxon., under the
Rev. R. Egerton. He was curate of St. Matthew's, City Road, from
1865 to 1866, when he was appointed head master of St. Thomas's,
Charterhouse, middle-class school. In 1870 he was also evening
lecturer at St. Lawrence Jewry. In 1872 he went back to St. Matthew's, City Road, as vicar, and remained there until he came to
St. Bartholomew's in 1884. He was a member of the London School
Board from 1885 until his death two years later.
His coming to St. Bartholomew's was the occasion of a great
revival of church life in the parish, which had naturally suffered from
the previous rector having been so long incapacitated by his great age.
He instituted a working men's club, a boys' club, a Sunday school
for boys, systematic visiting in the parish, and other parochial
organizations. He introduced a surpliced choir of men and boys, for the
payment of whom and of the organist he made himself responsible.
He preached his first sermon on the 17th February 1884, and from
that time continued to preach regularly. He always had the assistance
of at least one curate, and in addition frequently invited other
preachers to occupy his pulpit; among such were the Bishop of
Bedford, the Bishop of Colchester, Bishop Bromby, Canon Benham,
Canon Elwyn, and Canon Phillips, the patron. Until July 1884 he
was assisted by the Rev. R. F. Hosken, and then by the Rev. H. B.
Bromby, an old college friend, who gave up his appointment as Dean
of Hobart, Tasmania, to come to work with him. Within twelve
months, however, Bromby was appointed vicar of St. John the
Evangelist's, Bethnal Green, and Rural Dean of Spitalfields, and in
1892 he was transferred to All Saints', Clifton, where he remained
until his death on the 21st December 1911. Bromby was succeeded
at St. Bartholomew's by the Rev. N. C. S. Poyntz, but in September
1886 he too had preferment, and was presented to the vicarage of
Dorchester, Oxon., which he held until his death in 1920. Poyntz was
succeeded by the Rev. F. W. J. Daniels and the Rev. Pelham Ogle,
both of whom remained until Mr. Panckridge's death in 1887.
Mr. Panckridge's first appearance at a vestry meeting was on the
4th April 1884, (fn. 2) and at the Easter vestry, on the 17th of the same
month, he nominated Mr. E. A. Webb his warden, the vestry electing
Mr. R. H. Peck of Bartholomew Close as their warden. (fn. 3) There were
41 vestrymen at this time, but the matters with which they had to
deal as a vestry were few and unimportant. In November 1883 they
had to consider an offer from the Butchers' Company of £1,000 for
the parish house, No. 86 Bartholomew Close; (fn. 4) but as this house was
scheduled under Bryce's City of London Parochial Charities Bill, then
passing through Parliament, the vestry did not consider themselves
free to deal with the offer.
In July 1884 the vestry found it necessary to serve a notice upon
the occupiers of the houses abutting on the great churchyard, that
any persons entering the churchyard from such houses or throwing
refuse thereon would be treated as trespassers or offenders. (fn. 5)
In January 1885 the vestry chronicled the information that the
Fishmongers' Company, who claimed the right-of-way over the passage
from Queen's Square to Aldersgate Street, known as Bowman's
Buildings, had removed the bar from the entrance to this passage, (fn. 6)
which greatly facilitated its use by the public.
In April 1886 it was reported to the vestry that the Corporation
had decided to demolish the glebe houses, No. 95 Bartholomew Close
and No. 1 Duke Street, to widen the entrance to the Close. (fn. 7) At the
same time the transfer of the watch-house fund to the trustees of the
parochial schools for building purposes was notified.
The one matter of importance which came before the vestry at this
time was the further restoration of the church.
The Restoration of 1885.
William Panckridge will always be remembered at St. Bartholomew's as the prime mover, with Canon Phillips the patron, of the
second restoration of the church.
At the induction of Rector Panckridge in 1884 the patron had
generously given £1,000 to be applied to the further restoration,
a work which, as we have seen, could not be carried through in 1867
from inability to secure the fringe-maker's premises.
On the 15th September 1884, on the suggestion of Canon Phillips, the
rector called a meeting of the churchwardens and overseers 'to form
a consultative committee to consider the purchase of certain buildings
standing on the site of the ancient church; such committee not to
interfere with the works committee constituted by the vestry on the
20th October 1882, to deal with the repair of the existing fabric'. (fn. 8)
A consultative committee was formed of those present at the meeting
with the addition of the patron. The two churchwardens (E. A.
Webb and R. H. Peck) and the two overseers (Benjamin Turner and
W. T. Wingrove) agreed jointly to purchase No. 10 Cloth Fair,
commonly known as the Blacksmith's Forge, then on the site of the
north transept; and to hold the same as trustees for the parish until
the latter was in a position to take over the property for the benefit
of the restoration of the church (p. 120).
Sir Aston Webb (not knighted at that time) had previously ascertained that the owner, Mr. F. G. Debenham, was willing to part with
the house for the benefit of the church for the sum of £1,250. At the
next meeting (on 11th October) (fn. 9) Sir Aston submitted an offer from
Mr. Debenham to sell for £1,120, which was accepted, and the purchase
was carried through in due course. (fn. 10) Subsequently the four trustees
conveyed the property (fn. 11) at the cost price to the rector, the patron,
Sir William (then Mr. T. W.) Boord, and Mr. E. A. Webb for the
restoration of the north transept.
At the initial meeting, 15th September 1884, the purchase of the
Fringe Factory, occupying the ancient Lady Chapel, and known as
40–42 Bartholomew Close, was considered. The leaseholder at that
time was Mr. Denison, who had succeeded Mr. Stanborough: the
freeholder being Mr. Frederick Hindley. The latter was known
personally to Sir Aston, who undertook the negotiations, and whose
name was added to the committee. (fn. 12) The price asked for the property
was £8,000. The land measure was shown by survey to be 5,300 ft.
super, and the portion projecting into the church 1,289 ft. super, the
value of which together Sir Aston estimated at £6,150. (fn. 13) In March
(1885) he succeeded in obtaining an option of it for a month for
£6,500. (fn. 14)
Thereupon the patron offered to purchase that portion of the
fringe factory which projected into the church at Sir Aston Webb's
valuation, £650; provided that the committee would purchase the
rest, and that the £1,500 already given by him should be expended
on the restoration of the apse. (fn. 15)
The consultative committee, having now obtained the option of the
two important buildings which stood upon the site of the monastic
church, a parish meeting was called, at which it was decided to form
a Restoration (fn. 16) Committee to acquire the properties and to carry out
a restoration. An influential General Committee was soon formed, (fn. 17)
including the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, the
Bishop of Bedford, the Earl of Devon, and Earl Waldegrave; the
Dean of St. Paul's, the Dean of Exeter, the Dean of Windsor, and the
Dean of Manchester; Canon Gregory, Canon Liddon, and Precentor
Venables; Lord Charles Bruce, the Hon. Dudley Fortescue, Lord
Avebury (then Sir John Lubbock), Sir Sydney Waterlow, Sir William
Boord, Sir F. T. Dixon-Hartland, and many others. (fn. 18) An appeal was
issued on the 2nd January 1885, with a coloured plan showing the
secular encroachments on the church, and by the middle of March
£3,700 had been received, which was increased to £6,500 by the end
of the year.
At the first meeting of the Restoration Committee held on the
7th May (1885), (fn. 19) Lord Charles Bruce presiding, it was decided to
enter into a contract for the purchase of the fringe factory, and to
accept the patron's generous offer referred to above. To this gift the
patron subsequently added a further £300 to complete the restoration
of the apse, the whole of his gift, £2,450, to be considered a memorial
to his uncle, the late rector, John Abbiss.
At the meeting on the 4th June, Sir Aston Webb, who had carried
through the negotiations to a successful conclusion, was appointed
architect to the committee, and was requested to prepare a scheme
for the restoration of the church. Exact measured drawings of the
then existing building having been made, the architect was able on the
15th December to present to the committee (fn. 20) his plans and report,
in which he detailed the following works to be carried out as funds
1. The completion of the Apse.
2. The re-roofing of the Church.
3. The removal of the boys' school from the north triforium, and
the re-erection of schools on a portion of the fringe factory site.
4. The removal of the forge and the existing vestry, and the building
of north and south transepts.
5. Repairs to the west end, and the uncovering of the remains of
6. Seating and necessary furniture, and
7. The restoration of the Lady Chapel.
The plans were unanimously approved, and their adoption was
moved by Mr. Hayter Lewis, the architect of the previous restoration,
who had joined the committee six months before, and remained a
member until his death.
An executive committee had been appointed, and on the 29th
January (1886) they laid their report before a meeting of the general
committee, over which Frederick Temple, then Bishop of London,
presided. The report was unanimously adopted, and the churchwardens were requested to apply for a faculty to restore the apse,
the roof, and the transepts; to remove bodies in the graveyard, and
to build a new porch. (fn. 21)
On the 25th March (1886) tenders were laid before the committee
for completing the apse, and re-roofing the church from end to end.
Dove Brothers' tender of £3,130 was the lowest, in the aggregate, and
as they had previously done work in the church it was accepted; (fn. 22)
this sum, however, was reduced on the architect's recommendation to
use blue Bath stone in place of Totternhoe stone for inside work;
Portland stone being specified for the exterior.
The restoration, however, was not allowed to proceed without
a protest from the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings,
who expressed the opinion that to build on the ancient semicircular
arcade a modern apsidal termination would be a great mistake. (fn. 23) The
committee, however, strongly approved the plan of their architect,
and Mr. Beresford Hope wrote 'that the arguments of the Society
did not carry conviction to his mind, that they seemed to exaggerate
archaeological considerations and to be thoroughly impracticable'.
He hoped 'that the architect would persevere and prosper in his wise
and successful plan of restoration'. (fn. 24) The work was then commenced,
and it was so arranged that the church was only closed for three
Sundays from the 15th August; and during that time evening service
was held in the schoolroom.
By the 15th October the rector was able to report to the vestry (fn. 25)
that the apse was nearly finished and the roof completed; on the
2nd November the architect reported to the committee that the
builders had carried out their work to contract time (30th October),
and practically without extras. (fn. 26) An addition of boards and moulded
ribs, however, had had to be made to the apse roof, as on the removal
of the scaffold the effect had not proved sufficiently dignified. (fn. 27) Also
when the upper part of the east wall was removed the pillar at the
south end of it showed signs of weakness; it was therefore strengthened
by pouring into its centre liquid cement, a flying buttress being built
in the triforium to secure the wall over it.
At this time the entrance to the church was moved from the centre
of the west wall to the west end of the south aisle, which necessitated
the removal of the font to a position under the organ gallery; (fn. 28) and
the heating apparatus had to be extended by the insertion of iron
coils in different parts of the church in consequence of the enlargement
of the building.
In April (1886) a strong school building committee was formed
which purchased for £1,100, as a site for the new schools, 1,900 ft
of the fringe factory land south of that building, (fn. 29) at one time the
burial-ground of the canons. This open space was given up to
building purposes with regret, but otherwise the schools would have
been lost, which the rector was especially anxious to avoid.
In May the funds of the Restoration were helped by an official visit
of the Lord Mayor, when Dr. (now Sir) Norman Moore and Sir Aston
Webb both delivered lectures in the church to an audience of about
500 people. (fn. 30) Sir N. Moore, who had previously given 100 copies of
The Book of the Foundation, edited by him from the original manuscript,
had 500 copies printed of The Ordinance of Richard de Ely of the
year 1198, 'edited from the original document' in St. Paul's Cathedral
Library, and these also he presented to the church. (fn. 31)
In the year 1868, when the Bridge's organ of 1731 had been lost
under circumstances already explained, (fn. 32) a small organ by Gray
& Davidson was purchased by Mr. Abbiss, and erected, not in the
former position at the west end of the church, but on the south side
opposite to Rahere's tomb; but this small instrument was quite
inadequate for the building. In May 1886 Mr. Panckridge reported
that the rector and churchwardens of St. Stephen's, Walbrook, being
desirous of having a new organ, had offered their old one to St. Bartholomew's for £300: (fn. 33) the cost of moving was estimated at £125,
and the cost of an organ loft at £175, or £600 in all. He pointed out
that, if the offer were accepted, the organ could only be placed at the
west end, which would materially affect the treatment of that part of
the church, because the rector would then wish the quire stalls to be
moved to the west end and the seats for the congregation to be
arranged facing each other, as in the quire of a cathedral or college
chapel. This arrangement, having the entire approval of the architect,
who said it overcame the difficulty of the treatment of the west end,
was adopted by the committee, (fn. 34) and the organ was purchased: the
rector, Mr. T. W. Boord and Mr. J. Hilton guaranteeing the payment. (fn. 35)
The small organ purchased by Mr. Abbiss was bought by his nephew,
Canon Phillips, for £50, (fn. 36) and presented by him to the Epsom Guardians.
The organ loft, as designed by the architect, was ordered at a cost of
£215, the payment being guaranteed by twelve members of the committee. (fn. 37) The patron then came forward with the offer to complete
the quire stalls at an outlay of £225 in memory of his father and
mother, (fn. 38) and to provide marble altar steps for the new high altar
which had been given by Miss Overbury, the rector's sister-in-law. (fn. 39)
A brass lectern (fn. 40) was also given at this time by the late Mrs. J. Hilditch
Evans, the widow of a late churchwarden.
On the 19th November (1886) the architect was able to make his
report to the Executive Committee on the completion of this first
section of the work of restoration. In the report he described the
architectural fragments found during the demolition of the east wall,
and of the wall dividing the church from the Lady Chapel. These
fragments, with those found at the previous restoration, had been
laid out on the floor of the late Fringe Factory, and are now partly in
the north triforium and partly in the cloister. The report is printed
in the Appendix. (fn. 41) The matters dealt with have already been described
when dealing with the quire of the church. (fn. 42)
The executive committee, on the 22nd November, made their
report to the General Committee, in which they also set out the various
gifts mentioned above that had been made to the church. These had
very materially added to the beauty of the building, which had been
so much improved by the restoration of the east end.
All was now ready for the opening ceremony, which took place on
St. Andrew's Day, 30th November 1886. The sermon was preached
in the morning by the Bishop of Colchester (to whom at one time
Mr. Panckridge had been curate), and in the evening by the Rev. F.
Parr Phillips, the patron, who, with the rector, had done so much to
bring this important work to a successful issue.
The occasion was celebrated by a largely attended luncheon in the
great hall of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, presided over by Sir James
Paget, (fn. 43) who, in a memorable speech, described the work as one of
piety, sentiment, and utility. The Lord Mayor, Sir Reginald Hanson,
who attended in state both the service and the luncheon, was an old
college friend of the rector.
In the following February (1887) Mr. Panckridge was seized with
a serious illness. He preached for the last time on the 13th of that
month. He was unable to be present at the vestry on the 31st March.
At the Easter vestry, on the 14th April, he wrote an affectionate letter
to the members, in which he appointed Sir William Boord his churchwarden in place of Mr. Webb, who was anxious that the parish should
benefit by Sir William's services, Mr. Benjamin Turner being elected
people's warden. The rector gradually became worse, and, to the
great sorrow of all, died on the 8th June (1887).
At a meeting of the vestry on the 21st July a resolution was passed
recording their 'appreciation of his high qualities, his splendid energy
and zeal', and of his 'constant devotion to the welfare of the church
and parish', and of the good which his efforts had produced in the
welfare of the people. (fn. 44) The London School Board also passed a
resolution of regret at losing his services.
He was buried at Highgate Cemetery, the first part of the burial
office being said at St. Bartholomew's. The inscription on his tombstone is:
William Panckridge, priest, Rector of St. Bartholomew the
Great, West Smithfield. Fell asleep June 8th, 1887, aged 50 years.
'He asked life of Thee, and Thou gavest him a long life: even
for ever and ever.'
His widow was buried in the same grave on 30th July 1921.
The Restoration Fund at the time of his death amounted to £8,700.
Mr. Panckridge resided within the Charterhouse until the spring of
1885, when, the rooms being no longer available, he moved to No. 17
His son, Hugh Rahere, born on the 2nd October 1885, was baptized
in the church by the Bishop of Colchester on the 1st November
following. (fn. 45)
The account of the erection of a quire screen as a memorial to this
rector is given further on; the screen has already been described. (fn. 46)