II.—THE CHURCH FITTINGS
The great interest attaching to the old church proceeds in a large
degree from the number and beauty of its monuments to the past inhabitants of the riverside village, and also to its numerous interesting fittings.
These latter will now be described in alphabetical order.
The peal of bells placed in the tower at the rebuilding of 1670 was
recast in 1762, and bore the following inscriptions:
Tenor—Di[vo] Lucæ Medico Evangelico Balduinus Hamey Phil Evangelicus Medicus D.D.D. 1678. Recast in the year 1762. Robert
Yates and Richard Davis C.H. Wardens. Thomas Janaway
of London made us all.
7th.—Robt Yates & Richd Davis C.H. Wardens 1762
T. J. Fecit. Slone Ellsmere Rector D.D.
6th.—Thos Janaway of London made us all 1762.
5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and Treble.—Thomas Janaway of London fecit 1762.
Of these only No. 4 remains; the rest were sold in 1824. A bell given
by the Hon. William Ashburnham, who left money for ringing it every night
at 9 o'clock, is preserved in the ground stage of the tower (Plate 23.) The
ringing was discontinued in 1822. The bell is inscribed:
THE GVIFT OF THE HONORABLE WILLIAM ASHBVRNHAM
ESQVIER COFFERER OF HIS MAIESTIES HOVSHOLD 1679.
In the south aisle is an oak bookcase and desk, to which are chained
the following books—the gift of Sir Hans Sloane: "Vinegar" Bible
(Baskett's Edition of 1717), several pages missing; Fox's Martyrs (Vols.
1 and 3 only) (Ninth Edition, 1684); Homilies (1683). These have the autograph of Sir Jonathan Trelawny, Bishop of Winchester. Prayer Book (1723).
The Registers date from 1559, and are preserved at the Parish church.
The brasses from the monument to Sir Arthur Gorges, and those
attached to the Duchess of Northumberland's tomb are described under
A Purbeck slab in the floor of the chancel (north side) shows the
matrix of the brass of a priest. (See Plate 39.) This is probably for either
Thomas Shalers (died 1451) or William Massenger (died 1470), rectors buried
A Purbeck slab in the floor of the chancel beneath the arch leading
to the Lawrence Chapel shows the matrix of the brass effigy of a man in
armour and that of his wife, with scrolls issuing from their mouths and four
shields of arms. It has been suggested that this marks the grave of Sir Henry
Waver, Sheriff of the City of London in 1465. He was chosen alderman,
during his shrievalty, for Castle Baynard Ward and afterwards of Bishopsgate Ward. He is described as a draper, and was made a Knight of the Bath
on the occasion of the coronation of Elizabeth Woodville, consort to
Edward IV (fn. 1) . He died in 1470, and bequeathed his body to be buried in
the Church of St. Peter, in Cornhill, before the image of St. George there,
but there is a 17th-century record in an Harleian (fn. 2) manuscript of the following inscription in Chelsea Church:
ORATE PRO BONO STATV HENRIE WAVER MILITIS
ET CRISTINE VXORIS EIVS
with the arms given as argent, on a fess sable 3 scallops or, impaled with: 1
and 4, ermine a cheveron sable; 2 and 3, on a fess sable 3 crowns or.
Mr. Robert Chambers (fn. 3) was of opinion that this inscription and
coat-of-arms belonged to some painted glass in the church, and considered
that the matrix (which he describes as having held a whole length figure in
armour with dog at his feet and sword by his side) represented the effigy of
John Shoreditch, sometime lord of the manor of Chelsea, who died c. 1407.
Another matrix is to be seen on the tomb of Edmund Lord Bray.
Two chairs in the chancel have been constructed of old timber and
panelling found in the tower, which were parts of the old pews and furniture
of the church.
A plain rectangular chest with six locks, probably early 17th-century,
is preserved in the vestry.
The clock in the tower is inscribed:
7. Communion Table.
The communion table is of late 17th-century date, and has a moulded
top, with six spiral baluster legs, ball feet, and plain rails. (Plate 23.)
8. Communion Rails.
The communion rails are of good design of late 17th-century date.
The angles of the enclosure are rounded. The balusters are spiral-turned,
with heavily moulded rail and sill. A group of four balusters stand on each
side of the centre portion of the rails, which forms a pair of folding gates.
The early 17th-century door in the north wall of the Lawrence Chapel,
and the heavy entrance door to the tower, are both preserved.
The iron standards for four flags project from the east wall
of the nave, but two of the colours have disappeared. The remainder
are the survivors of a number of flags that were deposited in the
church on two separate occasions, the first being the gift of the Ladies
of Chelsea (in 1800), and the second by Queen Charlotte (in 1804) to the
The flag belonging to the earlier group appears to have been originally
6 ft. square, but now measures 6 ft.X4 ft. 6 in. It is a red Ensign (with the
Jack composed of the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew), and in the
centre is a figure of St. Luke embroidered within sprays of foliage
bearing roses and thistles. On a scroll beneath are the words:
ST. LUKE CHELSEA.
The other flag, presented by Queen Charlotte, is a Union Jack,
6 ft.X5 ft., with the Royal arms in the centre, and on a scroll the
QUEENS ROYAL VOLUNTEERS.
The font is a beautiful octagonal fluted bowl of white marble on a
baluster stem (Plates 25 26), and retains its original oak cover, which is octagonal
on plan, each side being curved in ogee form to the summit. Enriched gilt
ribs mark the angles of the sides, and the whole is surmounted by a dove,
and is hung to a carved boss which originally supported one of two chandeliers
given by Thomas Frankling and Ester his wife in 1693. The other carved
boss is now fixed to the ceiling of the vestibule under the tower. The date
of the font is fixed by the following entry in the Parish Register of 1763:
"Luke the son of Thomas Gough was baptised the 22d of December, and
was the First that was baptised in the new Font given by Mr. Edward
Bringhurst." The baluster is fractured and the bowl may have been
The present gallery, which is supported on six wooden Doric columns,
extends across the whole width of the western end of the nave, and bears
the following inscription on the east face:
THE LOWER PART OF THIS CHURCH WAS REPEWED
AND REPAIRED BY THE CHURCH TRUSTEES, £200 OF
THE COST BEING SUBSCRIBED BY THE CONGREGATION A.D. 1858 THE REVD C. KINGSLEY LL.B RECTOR.
THE REVD R. H. DAVIES B.A. INCUMBENT. JOHN
FIELDER AND JOHN HURSTWAITE LEET ESQRS
CHURCHWARDENS. THOMAS TOMBLESON AND
EDWARD RICHARDS ESQRES SIDESMEN.
In the middle panel is a clock with the date 1857. The original structure
was much smaller, and its plan is shown by a small wooden template which
forms part of the following inscription on the western face:
Plan of the original gallery.
This gallery was erected by the Church Trustees a.d. 1857. REVD.
C. KINGSLEY, LL.B., Rector; REVD. R. H. DAVIES, B.A., Incumbent; J. FIELDER & J. PERRY, ESQRS Church Wardens: it replaced
a former one planned thus
and bearing the Inscription: THIS GALLERY WAS BEAUTIFIED
IN THE YEARE OF OUR LORDE 1677
Against the tower are two heavy oak posts (12 in.X9 in.), cased
at the gallery level by fluted pilasters with moulded capitals, above
which they project in boldly carved cherubs' heads with folded wings over
shaped panels. These posts evidently support the roof, and formed part
of the original gallery of 1677.
During restorations in the last century some fragments of 14th or
15th-century glass were found bricked up in the windows of the Lawrence
Chapel, and have recently been incorporated in the glass presented by Capt.
Clifford J. W. Hoskin and fixed in the window over the vestry door. The
work has been carried out by Captain Maurice Drake of Exeter, and a key
plan showing the old glass is preserved in the Committee's collection.
(1) Cadogan.—On the east wall of the nave (towards the
north) are the arms of Cadogan: Quarterly 1 & 4, gules a lion looking
back or; 2 & 3, argent 3 boars' heads cut off at the neck sable (Cadogan)
impaling argent, a fret gules, for Blake, with crest and supporters.
Motto: Qui Invidet Minor est (1864).
(2) Hatchett.—On the east wall of the nave (towards the south)
are the arms of Charles Hatchett: Quarterly 1 & 4, argent, 2 bars, the
upper one indented, gules; 2 & 3, gules between 2 flaunches argent 6
crosslets or, on an inescutcheon party palewise or and azure 3 cheverons
counter-coloured. Motto: in cœlo quies.
(3) Cadogan.—On the north wall of the nave (towards the east)
are the arms of the Rev. the Honourable William Bromley Cadogan.
Motto: Christ the Hope of Glory.
(4) Cadogan.—Below the foregoing is another of Cadogan
without motto: Impaling quarterly 1 & 4, gules, a cross or between
5 besants on each quarter; 2 & 3, argent a lion gules.
(5) Cremorne.—On the north wall of the nave (towards the
west) is a hatchment bearing the arms of Viscount Cremorne (1813):
Quarterly 1 & 4, azure, on a bend engrailed or 3 martlets gules;
2 & 3, azure, 3 torches; over all an inescutcheon or, charged with
a cheveron and in chief a bar engrailed sable.
(6) Edwards.—Below the foregoing is a hatchment bearing the
following arms: Party bendwise sinister ermine and ermines, a lion
or (Edwards) impaling gules, a cheveron between 2 molets in chief
and a crescent in base or, on a chief azure 3 molets or. Crest: a man's
head in profile, helmeted. Motto: A vinno dew Derwid.
(7) Hatchett.—On the south wall of the nave (towards the
east) the arms of Hatchett, as in (2).
(8) Cadogan.—Below the foregoing the arms of Cadogan as
in (4), but with motto.
(9) Browne.—On the south wall of the nave (towards the
west) a hatchment bearing the arms of Browne. Sable, 3 lions passant
in bend between 2 cotises argent, in chief a griffon's head erased
argent. Impaling sable (or azure), a fess ermine. Motto: resurgam.
Two 18th-century hatstands of wrought iron are fixed to the back
pews beneath the gallery.
A funeral helm, with an eagle's head as crest, is supported on a bracket
on the east wall of the More Chapel. The committee have been favoured
with a report from Major Victor Farquharson, F.S.A., and Mr. Mill Stephenson, F.S.A., who inspected the helm on 9th October, 1915. They state that
it is an original armet of c. 1530, or possibly a little earlier, to which has
been added (at the time of the funeral) a beevor and the gorget plate. The
armet vizor appears to have had the lower portion cut away, perhaps for
vertical bars, which would have been fastened from its lower edge to the chin
piece. There is little doubt that it was used at the funeral of Lord Dacre,
and belongs to his monument. The helmet is painted and gilt. (Plate 27.)
A figure of St. Luke in oak, gilt (about 12 in. high), holding a book,
is now fixed to the south pier of the chancel arch (west face). It is of late
17th-century date, and formerly stood on the sounding-board of the pulpit.
Ralph Palmer, in his memoir of Dr. Baldwin Hamey, states that "out of
respect to St. Luke and Dr. Hamey, one Fletcher, a favourite servant of
the doctor's, gave the little figure of St. Luke which stands upon the rising
roof of the pulpit."
Charitable bequests painted on wood and hung in church.
1. West Wall of gallery. South side:
|1798||Samuel Hunton Esqr gave by will
One Hundred Pounds, the Interest
Arising therefrom, to be Annually|
|Distributed in Bread and Coals
To the Poor of this Parish
the Week before Christmas||£100|
2. On West Wall of Gallery. North side:
|1766||Mr. Charles Larchin gave by
will to each of the Charity Schools
of this Parish, Ten Pounds||20|
|1771||Mr. Henry Hewitt gave by
will to each of the Charity Schools
of this Parish, Twenty Five Pounds||50|
|1782||William Jousselin Esqr gave by
Will to each of the Charity Schools
of this Parish, Fifteen Pounds||30|
|1791||Mrs Sarah Coggs gave
by will, to each of the
Charity-Schools of this
Parish, Twenty Pounds||40|
On the North Wall of Tower by the entrance is a grey stone tablet
with enriched border and eight bells carved in low relief. (Plate 28.)
This Society Rung February the 18th 1785
5040 bob Major in 3 hours & 15 Mints
being the 1st true PEAL Ever Rung on
Jas Worster treb
Edwd Simmons 2d
Geo Plowman 3d
Jsrl Johnson 4th
Wm Hallet 5th
Richd Millard 6th
Thos Verren 7th
Wm Faulkner tenr
Calld by James Worster
MR GEORGE HARRISON
MR ROBERT MARRIOT
The churchwarden's mace of silver with shaped top surmounted by
a figure of St. Luke is preserved at the Old Church and is inscribed:
A replica, silver gilt, at the Parish Church (date mark 1797–8, maker's
mark I T), is inscribed:
J. J. Wheeler
and on the lower part:
John Fielder Esqr
Repaired & parcel gilt by
G. R. Craney ex Churchwarden
18 October 1884
A second replica, silver gilt, also at the Parish Church, bears the
names of Thomas Hoblyn and William Deacon, Churchwardens 1829, and
repeats the subsequent inscriptions on the above.
There is a silver mounted staff of cane at both churches for the maces.
A silver staff (date 1824) 2 ft. 11 in. long, with knob at one end and
moulded head at the other, banded in the centre, is preserved at the Parish
There is a niche in the east wall of the Lawrence Chapel, to the north
of the east window, with cinquefoil cusping beneath a two-centred moulded
arch. It is of late 14th-century date, and was probably repeated on the south
side of the window.
A plain two-centred arched niche or locker is in the east wall of the
chancel north of the altar. It appears to be formed of stones of a lancet
window reset. (Plate 33.)
The eastern half of the piscina remains in the south wall of the
chancel, and has a chamfered four-centred arch and jamb of the 15th
century. A groove has been cut for a shelf. The western part was removed
to insert the adjacent doorway.
1. (fn. 4) Flagon, silver gilt, height 11 in., diameter (mouth) 4½ in.,
(base) 7 in.; date mark 1680–1; maker's mark, I.B. Inscribed under
Anna Morgan Aprill 3 Anno Domini 1681.
and on the side: I H S within a sun in splendour.
2. (fn. 4) Flagon similar to No. 1, with the same inscription.
3. (fn. 4) Alms-dish with moulded rim and foot, silver gilt, diameter 12
ins.; date mark, 1676–7; maker's mark F.S. Inscribed:
to ye use of the
Communion Table in Chelsey
Church in memory of Mrs Elizabeth
Bateman who dyed in yt Parish
the 2d of August
1675 Etat sue
The inscription is in a lozenge, and in another are the arms: Three crescents,
each having a star (molet) between the horns. The dish is further ornamented
with feathered scrollwork and a small skull beneath the inscription.
4. (fn. 4) Chalice with baluster stem, silver gilt, height 73/16 in.; diameter
of lip 3¾ in.; date mark, 1778–9; maker's mark W.B., inscribed with
I H S within the sun's rays.
5. Chalice similar to No. 4.
6. (fn. 4) Paten, with foot and incised rim, silver gilt; date mark, 1624–5;
maker's mark F.G.
7. (fn. 5) Spoon, rat-tail pattern, silver gilt, length 73/8 in.; date mark,
The gift of the Revd Charles Sturges 1797.
8. (fn. 5) Alms-dish, pewter with deep scolloped rim, diameter 10¼ in.,
engraved with the seated figure of St. Luke and bull within a circle.
9 and 10. Two alms-dishes, pewter, similar to No. 8, but without
figure of St. Luke, and inscribed:
St. Lukes Chelsea 1754
11 (fn. 5) and 12. (fn. 5) Two alms-dishes, pewter, similar to the last, but dated 1764.
13 and 14. Two similar dishes dated 1784.
The hexagonal pulpit is of late 17th-century date, with rectangular
raised panels and bolection mouldings enriched with leaf ornament. Festoons of carved leaf and fruit adorn the angles. The cornice and base are
moulded, and it is supported by a trumpet-shaped stem. The stair is modern.
It originally possessed a sounding-board on which stood the figure of St.
Luke already described. (Plates 29 30.)
24. Royal Arms.
An entry in the Parish Books records the putting up of the King's
Arms in 1678. They are painted on wood, and originally formed the centre
panel of a gallery in the chancel. They are now hung above the chancel
arch in the nave.
25. Seating, etc.
The seating of the church dates from 1858, but a few of the old
panelled oak pews remain in the Lawrence Chapel. On one of these is painted
a circular medallion with an achievement of arms: Or a lion passant between
three tassels gules (? Chestor) impaling azure a bend between 3 birds or. Crest:
A hand holding a sword.
Various carved panels are incorporated in the modern seats, and in
the chancel are two carved panels showing a mitre in the foliage, which
formerly belonged to the pew of the Bishops of Winchester (1718).
A small cabinet (triangular in plan) of marquetry work (c. 1700) has
been converted into a prayer desk.
The stone sundial built into the southern face of the eastern buttress
of the tower is of simple rectangular form, with a plain metal rod and stay
as gnomon. It bears the date 1692, and the motto:
UT VITA FINIS ITA.
The vane, surmounted by a crown, dates from 1704, as recorded on
the inscription stone on the tower (vide ante). (Plate 31.)