XCI ST. PANCRAS CHURCH
The first attempt to obtain a new church for the rapidly growing parish
of St. Pancras was made in 1812, when the vicar, Dr. Middleton, and some
others formulated a proposal. At that time the management of the parish
business was vested in a body of 103 directors who, with the exception of the
vicar and two nominees of the lord of the manor, held their appointments
for life. Opposition from a section of this body quashed the proposal. In
July, 1815, however, the matter was again raised, and at a meeting of nearly
200 householders, a committee was formed with instructions to proceed to
obtain an Act of Parliament for building a new church and a new parochial
An Act (ref. 1) was thereupon passed, on 31st May, 1816, and its execution
vested in the Dean of St. Paul's, the vicar and churchwardens and others
named in the Act, among whose general qualifications was their being in
possession of a real or personal estate of the value of £4,000. From the first,
the new church was envisaged as one for the well-to-do classes, and the
trustees were empowered to raise £40,000, to levy rates (not exceeding 4d.
in the £, to appoint architects and other officers, make contracts, purchase
ground not exceeding 3 acres, to fix burial fees and to let pews. The
church was to be called the Parish Church of St. Pancras and to be vested with
the rights of the old church which was to take the name of Parish Chapel.
The additional chapel provided for in the Act was to be called Camden
Chapel and was not to be begun until after the completion of the church.
A proportion of free seats was to be provided, both in church and chapel,
amounting to not less than one-third of the whole seating.
On 6th April, 1821, a further Act (ref. 2) was obtained, altering and
enlarging the powers of the first, authorizing the borrowing of a further
£40,000, and providing for the purchase of ground for two new chapels
instead of one. Since the passing of the first Act, the Commissioners for
Building Additional Churches had come into being (1818) and they had
agreed to defray the cost of building both parish chapels. By this time the
new church was in course of construction.
The site for the new parish church was acquired from the trustees
of Lord Southampton for £6,695 early in 1818. In April, 1818, designs were
advertised for and premiums offered for the three best. On 21st May thirty
designs were submitted and premiums awarded as follows: Messrs. W. &
H. W. Inwood, £100; F. O. Bedford, £50; Thomas Rickman, £30. On
6th June, Messrs. Inwood were appointed architects.
William Inwood (c. 1771–1843) was a local man, his father having
been bailiff to Lord Mansfield at Kenwood. His son, Henry William Inwood
(1794–1843) is said to have been in Athens in 1819. (ref. 3) If that is correct, the
design of the church must have been submitted either in his absence or before
his departure, so that its conception as a near imitation of the Erechtheum
will have been independent of the younger Inwood's first-hand knowledge
of that building. Accurate representations of the Erechtheum were, of
course, available in the work of Stuart and Revett. H. W. Inwood designed,
with his father, three other churches in the parish (All Saints, St. Mary the
Virgin, and St. Peter). He was drowned on a journey to Spain in 1843, when
the ship in which he sailed was lost with all aboard.
The architects' estimates were approved on 3rd May, 1819, the
principal contractor being Isaac Seabrook. There were separate contracts
with Messrs. Brown & Young for the scagliola columns at the east end and
with Messrs. C. and H. Rossi for terra-cotta ornamental work. The total
of the contracts amounted to £50,809 6s. 2d. The ultimate cost of the
church, with all fittings, communion plate, etc., was £76,679 7s. 8d. (ref. 4) It was
thus the most costly church erected in London since the completion of St.
The building was begun on 1st May, 1819, the first stone being laid
by the Duke of York on 1st July. The walls up to the roof had been built
by 1820, and the whole structure was complete in April, 1822. The consecration by the Bishop of London took place on 7th May of that year, the sermon
being preached by the vicar, Dr. James Moore.
Since its completion, the church has undergone little change apart
from two important re-decorations of the interior. In 1880, Messrs. Crace (ref. 5)
painted the walls "Pompeian" red, bright red above the galleries, darker
below. They bronzed the gallery columns, relieving the ornaments with
gilding. In the apse they added "a series of wide horizontal bands of fine
Greek ornament, on gold ground," and painted the plinth below the columns
in rich maroon and gold, framing the existing white marble tablets of the
Decalogue, Prayer, and Creed. Messrs. Crace also decorated the ceiling.
The three eastern windows had already been fitted with stained glass during
the vicariate (1860–1869) of the Rev. W. W. Champneys. All the north and
south windows were re-glazed by Clayton & Bell. The architect in charge
of all this work was a Mr. Salter, who in the 1890's designed the choir
fittings. (ref. 4)
The organ, by Messrs. Gray & Davison, was originally built for the
New Music Hall at Birmingham. The pulpit and reading desk are made
of wood from the "Fairlop Oak" in Hainault Forest, blown down in 1820.
Further re-decorations were carried out in 1914 under Messrs.
Adams & Holden, who designed the present altar and its setting.
The church consists of a large nave, covered by a flat ceiling with an
uninterrupted span of 60 feet, and galleries supported on cast-iron columns;
at the east end there is an apse and at the angles two quasi-detached structures
containing vestries above and entrances to the catacombs below; at the west
end is an octagonal vestibule flanked by the two gallery staircases, with a
tower rising above the vestibule and a hexastyle portico the full width of the
west wall. The exterior is faced throughout with Portland stone, except
certain enrichments and the caryatid figures of the vestries which are in
terra-cotta. The roof is covered with lead.
Although the church is best known as a close imitation of the
Erechtheum at Athens and (as regards the tower) of the Tower of the Winds
in the same city, the general conception derives from Gibbs' church of St.
Martin-in-the-Fields. The relation of tower and portico and the introduction of columns in antis in the north and south walls are clearly derived
from that church. The east end, however, owes to the Erechtheum the
curious placing of the two caryatid porticoes, while the introduction of an
apse is an innovation departing from both models.
Within the main portico are three fully enriched doorways, (ref. 6) that in
the centre leading into the octagonal vestibule, the domed ceiling of which is
supported by dwarf Doric columns, in imitation of the Tower of the Winds.
The upper part of the tower consists of three stages, all octagonal and deriving
their details mostly from the same Athenian structure, though the arrangement of plinths and the overall scheme of proportions are, naturally, peculiar
to the church and of considerable originality and merit. It may be observed,
incidentally, that this was not the first occasion on which an English tower
had derived from this Athenian prototype and that Hawksmoor certainly, and
Wren probably, had had Vitruvius' (somewhat inadequate) description in
mind when designing their church towers. The fanciful reconstructions of
the Tower of the Winds in early editions of Vitruvius were not without
their influence on Wren when he designed, for instance, the steeple of St.
Bride's, Fleet Street.
In the interior of the church, the main architectural feature is the apse,
designed in the form of one-half of a circular temple, with six columns of the
Erechtheum order raised on a marble-faced plinth. The columns are constructed of timber and finished in scagliola to imitate verde antique marble.
Of the two lateral buildings at the east end, that on the north was
designed for the celebration of marriages, christenings, and other ceremonies.
It has a finely-designed oval ceiling supported by four columns in the angles
of the room. The windows contain ground glass of a kind with which the
whole church was originally glazed. The corresponding building on the
south, now the choir vestry, was intended as a robing room for the clergy
and is plainer in character.
Externally, both these structures are identical and designed in
imitation of the famous caryatid portico of the Erechtheum. The caryatids,
modelled by J. C. F. Rossi, R.A., (ref. 7) are adapted from those at Athens but
carry water ewers and inverted torches to symbolize their function as presiding
over the entries to burial vaults. They are of terra-cotta, formed in pieces
and cemented together round pillars of cast iron which take the weight of the
The church is at present closed for repairs, on account of extensive
dry-rot in the roof timbers.
Church Plate. The pieces of plate dating from 1822, the year when
the church was opened, were presented by the Duke of York; they consist.
of two cups, three patens, two flagons, three alms-dishes and two spoons, all
silver-gilt. Two cups of larger size from the original service were converted
by Hunt & Roskell into four silver-gilt cups in 1853. There is also a silver
cup with a pair of silver patens (as covers) made by Keith & Co.
The church possesses a silver pyx of classical design, of circular shape
surmounted by a cross on a Corinthian column, modelled from the finial
of the church tower; a silver ciborium presented in 1946 in memory of
Samuel Beighton; a wafer-box of hand-beaten silver in memory of Percy
Henry Chambers, churchwarden, who died 1946, and a silver-gilt knife
with a steel blade.
Preserved with the plate are four churchwarden's staves, dated
1774 (2), 1812, and 1826. They have statuettes of St. Pancras in brass and
are mounted on bamboo poles. One is inscribed "Kempe Brydges, William
Mitchell, churchwardens . . . 1774," and another: "1812 . . . John
Christmas, Charles Sewell, churchwardens." There is also a verger's wand
of silver, the cross on which was made in 1822.
Vicars. The list of vicars is given in Appendix I to the first volume of the Survey of St.
Pancras (Survey of London, XIX, p. 125). The last vicar named is the Rt. Rev. Horace Crotty, who
was instituted in 1936, and was succeeded by—
|1944||Frank Edwin Jones|
|1949||William Pye Baddeley|
Below the Galleries
East Wall, North Section
1. The Revd. JAMES MOORE, LL.D., 1846. For 32 years vicar of
the parish. Tablet erected by his widow. "The whole church, which was
erected through his exertions, and beneath which his remains have been
deposited, is his best and noblest monument."
Shield of arms: ( ) on a chevron ( ) between three Moors' heads,
( ) two swords point to point ( ).
2. Captain HUGH REID, 1832, and his wife ELEANOR, 1853.
3. WALTER CONINGHAM, 1832, "of St. Mary Hall in the University
Shield of arms: argent, a shakefork between three molets sable.
4. JOHN MANSON GOOD, M.D., F.R.S., 1827, and his son JOHN,
1803. On an additional stone: Susanna, his wife, 1834.
Shield of arms: gules, a chevron between three lions regardant ( ),
impaling ( ) within a border invected azure, a fess ( ) charged with
three escallops ( ).
5. JAMES PATTISON, 1831, "a merchant of the City of London and
an Honourable Director of the East India Company." Also MARGARET,
his wife, 1854.
Shield of arms: quarterly, 1 & 4, azure on a chevron or between three
hearts, or, three escallops ( ), a crescent for difference, 2 & 3 gules, a
fess ermine between three talbots' heads erased, impaling ( ) three boars'
heads muzzled ( ).
6. SARAH LANE BLIZARD, 1837, and her husband THOMAS
BLIZARD, F.R.S., 1838, of Cumberland Terrace, "formerly surgeon to
the London Hospital."
Shield of arms: or between two flanches, sable, each charged with a lion
addorsed ( ) three fleurs-de-lis, in chief ( ), impaling (? argent) a fess
sable and three lozenges in chief sable.
7. WILLIAM SMYTHIES, 1835, formerly of Colchester, and his wife
8. ELIZABETH PEARSE, 1836, of Camden Town; JOSEPH
HEMMING, 1830; HARRY PEARSE, 1854, and another member of
the Pearse family.
9. JOHN LECKIE, 1837, of Manchester Square.
10. MARTHA PERKINS, 1837, relict of Thomas Perkins, late of
11. JOHN BEARDSLY BRSMWELL COBB, 1832, "upwards of forty
years in the Treasury and Bullion Office under the Honble. the East India
Company"; and his wife ELIZABETH, 1856, and their eldest daughter
12. FANNY JONES, 1837, and her mother MARIA, 1851, wife of
Charles Jones of 27 Cumberland Terrace.
13. GEORGE FOURNIER, 1841, formerly of Staines and late of
14. EDWARD RICHARD COMYN, 1841.
15. ELIZABETH WIGG, 1844, and her husband GEORGE WIGG,
1874, late of 131 Piccadilly. (Interred at Brompton cemetery.)
16. Tablet removed from All Saints' Church, Gordon Square, "upon the
union of that benefice with St. Pancras" in 1909. The Revd. HENRY
HUGHES, M.A., 1852, "the founder and first minister of this Church"
West Wall, North Section
17. SARAH SYDENHAM, 1844, "relict of the late Humphrey Sydenham
Esqre. whom she survived 37 years and 4 months." She died in her
92nd year. The tablet was erected by her surviving daughters Catharine
Hilton and Sarah Clarke.
18. THOMAS WILLIAMS, 1835, of 96 Guilford Street, and his wife
Sophia, 1844. Tablet erected by Edward Chamberlain Faithfull.
19. SARAH FOYSTER, 1838, wife of the Revd. Henry Samuel Foyster,
A.M. (died at Harrow Weald).
20. SAMUEL FOYSTER, 1805, and his wife ANN, 1825 ("J. Bacon
21. Captain DANIEL STEPHENSON, 1846, an elder brother of Trinity
House, and ELIZABETH RUTHERFORD STEPHENSON, (no date)
his wife, second daughter of John Sims of Walthamstow. (She was interred
in the catacombs, Highgate Cemetery.)
Shield of arms: gules on a chevron ( ) three leopards' heads ( )
impaling ermine, three increscents ( ), with a chief, the charge on which
has not been identified.
22. GABRIEL GILLETT, 1848.
East Wall, South Section
23. MARY FRANCES WESTOBY, 1842, wife of William A. S. Westoby
of Lincoln's Inn; and her father EDWARD HOLMES BALDOCK, 1845,
of Hyde Park Place and Buxted, Sussex, and her mother MARY BALDOCK, 1861, and only brother EDWARD HOLMES BALDOCK,
1875, of 8 Grosvenor Place. (The last two were interred at Buxted.)
24. WILLIAM KITCHINER, M.D., 1827. He "was deeply conversant
with medical science which his fortune rendered it unnecessary for him to
pursue as a profession; an accomplished musical theorist and composer;
an improver of the telescope." (Erected by his son William Brown Kitchiner.)
Dr. Kitchiner lived at 43 Warren Street (see Survey of London, XXI, p. 65)
where he was famous for his culinary skill. For further information see his
notice in Dict. Nat. Biog. (He was interred at St. Clement Danes.)
Shield of arms: ( ) a fess ( ) between three escutcheons sable, each
charged with a lion ( ).
25. WILLIAM PAGE, 1825. "In the Honble. East India Company's
Civil Service, on the Bombay Establishment." (Interred in the Burial Ground
of St. James, Hampstead Road.)
26. The Revd. EDWARD BALM, A.M., R.S.S., A.S.S., 1822. Fellow
of Magdalen College, Cambridge. (Inscription in Latin.)
27. HARDIN BURNLEY, 1823, of Brunswick Square; his daughters
Ann Eliza, 1803, and CATHERINE MAITLAND, 1804 (interred
at St. Michael, Bridgetown, Barbadoes), and his wife CATHERINE, 1827.
Shield of arms: ermine, a ship in full sail ( ) on a chief engrailed ( )
a cornucopia ( ) between two bees ( ). (Carved by Henry
28. HENRY BROWN, 1830; his mother TREACY ANN, 1838, and
father HENRY BROWN, 1838; also his sister MATILDA, 1847.
29. RICHARD CRACRAFT, 1824, of Montagu Square, and formerly of
Shield of arms: vert, on a bend dancetty argent three martlets sable, impaling
(? argent) a chevron azure between three pears ( ).
30. BENJAMIN FINCH, 1840, of Albany Street and formerly of Brentwood (Essex) and his wife Ann, 1848.
31. JOHN CANCELLOR, 1831, and his brother STEPHEN SAMUEL,
32. BARBARA DESMOND, 1902, brass plate erected by members of her
Bible Class. (Interred at Highgate Cemetery.)
33. ROBERT GALLOWAY MACKINTOSH, 1824 (tablet erected by
his widow Mary), inscription in Latin.
34. JESSY EMILY SHORE, 1829, and her sister ELLEN, 1829; their
father John Shore, 1842, of Guilford Street, and their mother
LÆTITIA, 1843, fourth daughter of Henry Thwaites of Hamsell (Sussex).
35. WILLIAM PHILLIPS, 1826; his infant daughter ELIZABETH,
1825, and his wife JANE, 1834.
36. PIERRE FOURNIE, "clerc tonsuré," 1825.
37. Lieut-General THOMAS TRENT, 1825. "A highly distinguished
officer in the Honble. East India Company's service," and Mary, 1851,
his widow, and wife of George Francis Travers.
38. HENRY THWAITES, 1830 (eldest son of Henry Thwaites of
Euston Square) and his wife ELIZABETH, 1823. Tablet erected by their
39. HOPE OXLEY, 1831, daughter of John Stewart and wife of William
Oxley (both of Liverpool). Tablet erected by her two surviving sisters.
40. JOHN MORICE, F.S.A., 1844, of Upper Gower Street and West
Wickham (Kent)— also THOMAS EDWARD BIRCH, 1826, and his
sisters CAROLINE FRANCES BIRCH, 1829, and ELIZABETH
MARY MORICE, 1831, children of Jonathan Birch of Upper Gower Street
and Pudlicote (Oxon.) and his wife Mary Elizabeth, only sister of John
Shield of arms: azure on a fess or between three boys' heads couped at the
shoulders, environed round the neck with a snake ( ), a cock gules beaked
and legged or between two pheons ( ).
41. HENRY SMART, Hon. F.R.C.O., 1879. "Organist of this church,
1865 to 1879."
West Wall, South Section
42. FRANCIS SHORE, 1834, "of Regent Street, late of Bengal in the
43. WILLIAM SCOTT PECKHAM, 1847, of the Inner Temple, and his
wife Mary Anne, 1848. Also their only son WILLIAM HENRY
PECKHAM, 1808, a student of the Inner Temple.
Shield of arms: ermine, a chief quarterly or and gules impaling ermine, on
a chief azure three lions argent.
44. MATTHEW CONSETT, 1831, of Guilford Street; his son
MATTHEW MILLER SOUTHGATE CONSETT, 1824, and his
mother-in-law SARAH SOUTHGATE, 1825. (She was aged 91.)
Gallery, South Side
45. DANIEL BEALE, 1842, of Fitzroy Square and of Edmonton (Middx.)
formerly of Canton and Macao, "a most zealous promoter of the building of
this Church and one of the original trustees." Also his wife ELIZABETH
46. MARTHA NORTHAGE, 1843, wife of William Northage of Upper
Gower Street, her daughter MARTHA, 1800, and her son WILLIAM,
1837. Also WILLIAM NORTHAGE, father of the elder William, 1800.
47. GEORGE PALMER, 1847, of Upper Woburn Place and Boyne
House, Tunbridge Wells, and his wife ELIZABETH, 1852.
48. ARCHIBALD BERTRAM CROOT, Parish Clerk, 1936–1941.
The tablet records the renewal of the clock in the tower in 1950 from a
bequest of his widow Florence Julia Croot.
49. ELIZABETH FANNY MCCAUL, 1894, wife of John Clarke
Crosthwaite Mccaul and daughter of John Curteis of Tenterden, Kent.
Also her son JOHN CURTEIS McCAUL, 1895, who died at Melbourne,
50. HENRY HORACE BAKER, Lieut. R.E. and his wife REBECCA,
daughter of James Taylor of Mayfield, Sussex, and their children, lost
at sea in the City of Boston, 1870. (Brass.)
51. HENRY BAKER, F.R.I.B.A., 1878, district surveyor of St. Pancras
for 53 years. (Brass.)
52. BENJAMIN STEPHENSON, 1882, and his wife MARTHA,
53. ALFRED FREDERICK CLEAVE, died in South African War.
54. EDWIN WARD SCADDING, 1870, Clerk to the Trustees of St.
Pancras for nearly 50 years. (Brass.)
There are, in addition to the above, brass tablets to fourteen parishioners
and another to four, all of whom died in the South African War. Also a
brass tablet commemorating the completion of the peal of eight bells in 1882,
and one recording their restoration by Alexander George Napier, churchwarden, in memory of his wife Lilian Ruth (d.1926).