Churches of Stanmore

Churches of Stanmore

The foundation stone of ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST was laid in 1849 by Queen Adelaide at her last public appearance. The church, consecrated in 1850, was built on near-by land given by Col. Tovey-Tennent of the Pynnacles, at a cost of 7,855, of which 3,000 was raised by a church-rate and a similar sum given by the earl of Aberdeen and his son, the Hon. Douglas Gordon, who was rector from 1848 until 1857. Henry Clutton, the architect, used Kentish rag and Bath stone in the Decorated style to build a church comprising a wide chancel with a chapel to the south, nave, north and south aisles, and north-west tower. The organ was later moved to the chapel from near the south door. Vestries on the north side of the chancel were converted into the chapel of St. George by E. B. Glanfield in 1955, and a new vestry was built further north. Alterations to lighten the chancel and emphasize the altar were completed in 1961; they included whitening the walls, removing the brass communion rails and much woodwork, including the choirscreen, and lowering and re-tiling the sanctuary floor. The central light of Thomas Willement's east window, erected in memory of Queen Adelaide, was redesigned in 1950. Despite such changes there are many fittings, among them a font given by Queen Adelaide and a stained glass window in the south aisle attributable to William Morris & Co.,to recall the wealth of Victorian Stanmore.

In 1632 William Laud, as bishop of London, consecrated the church of St. John, whose ruins still stand at the western end of the churchyard. The building was paid for by Sir John Wolstenholme and so later denounced by the Puritans as a private chapel. Its roofless walls and threestage battlemented tower are of brick with stone dressings; the body forms a plain rectangle with no separate chancel, although one 18th-century annexe to the north remains and there are traces of another. The south doorway, attributed to Nicholas Stone, and most of the windows are round-headed; the east window is venetian, an early occurrence of this feature. (The table-tomb of Sir John Wolstenholme, his father, and two grandsons, dated 1639, stands within the ruins, together with the ornate mausoleum of the Hollond family, dated 1866; there are several tablets of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, but most of the more elaborate monuments have been moved to the new church.

Visitors, particularly school groups, are welcome to the Ruin, described by Pevsner as one of the finest in Middlesex, alongside the present church. The ruin is open for viewing each April to September every Saturday from 2.30 to 4.30 PM - FREE.

The stanmore War memorial is situated at the junction of Old Church Lane, Uxbridge Road and Church Road within the churchyard of St John the Evangelist Church. It is in the form of a Celtic Cross on a square plinth, the whole mounted on a three-step base. The dedication and names are on cast plates fixed to the plinth. There are 57 names for World War 1 only. The memorial was dedicated by Rev. S F L Bernays and unveiled by Brigadier general J H Abbot Anderson on 22nd July 1920. The site cost 700.

Grave of W S Gilbert to South West of Church of St John, Stanmore

St Lawrence, Little Stanmore

The medieval St Lawrence Church was reconstructed by James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos in the baroque style. The architect was John James, who also worked on the Duke of Chandos' nearby house called Cannons (which was demolished in 1747). It is possible that James Gibbs oversaw the finishing touches to the church when he replaced John James as the Duke's architect in 1715. The interior retains early eighteenth-century paintings by artists such as Louis Laguerre and there is an organ played by Handel and restored in the 1990s to its original condition. In the churchyard is a tombstone to William Powell, supposedly "The Harmonious Blacksmith" who inspired one of Handel's keyboard works.

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