The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4

Allen, Thomas

1827

St. George, Hanover-square.

 

This church is of the new churches built by act of parliament. The stone was laid by general Stewart, on the . This stone being placed in the east wall, the general struck it several times with a mallet; then making a libation of wine, pronounced the following short prayer:

The Lord God of Heaven preserve the church of St. George.

It was dedicated to St. George the Martyr, in honour of the reigning monarch; and being situated near , received its additional epithet.

The ground on which it is built was given by general Stewart who some time after bequeathed to this parish the sum of , towards erecting and endowing a charity-school therein.

The church is a rectory, and was consecrated by Edmund, bishop of London, on the .

353

 

This new parish, consisting of the out wards of , was constituted a distinct parish by act of parliament, which gave the perpetual advowson of the rectory to the bishop of London and his successors. The only disbursement, on account of the cure, procuration, which is paid to the bishop rather by compliment than right.

The parish consists of wards, denominated , , , and the out-ward.

The plan of the church shows a parallelogram, with a portico at the west end. The west front consists of a centre and small wings. The former is entirely occupied by the portico, which is hexastyle, of the Corinthian order, and crowned with a pediment, the raking cornice of which is enriched with modillions as well as the horizontal , and in the tympanum is a circular aperture enriched with foliage; on the cornice are square acroteria. The returns of the entablature are received on pilasters, at their entrance into the walls of the church. The wall behind the portico is made by pilasters into divisions, corresponding with the intercolumniations; between every pilaster is a lintelled doorway; over the centre is a square window. The portico has been justly the subject of the highest admiration amongst architectural critics; it is, perhaps, only excelled by the magnificent front of in the fields. The tower rises from the centre of the church, behind the pediment; it is more admired for its proportions than its size; the plan is square: the elevation consists of a plain stylobate, in every face of which is a circular dial, over which the cornice rises in the same form; the upper story has the angles truncated, and fronted by composite columns, in pairs, standing on pedestals; in each aspect is an arched window filled with weather boarding; and the elevation is crowned with an entablature breaking above the columns, over which are vases. The entablature is surmounted by an attic, which is crowned by a spherical dome; on the apex of the latter is a square pedestal, pierced with openings in each face, and ending in a vane. The north side is in divisions: the is the return of the wing of the west front. Each division contains series of windows; the lower slightly arched, and are covered with a bold cornice resting on consoles; the upper are round-headed, and are enclosed in rusticated niches, composed of pilasters, crowned with an entablature and pediment; the horizontal cornice broken to let in the head of the window. The elevation is finished with a modillion cornice continued from the west front, except the division, which is crowned with a low attic and pediment. The east front is in divisions; the lateral ones having doorways surmounted by windows, in accordance with the arrangement of the north front. The centre division is occupied by a Venetian window of the composite order; the entablature is sustained on insulated columns, at the sides and in pairs, in the centre; the

354

whole is crowned with the continued cornice and a pediment. The south side, in the number of windows, resembles the northern; but, being concealed from observation, the dressings of the windows are omitted. The entire building is substantially built with Portland stone, and the roof is covered with lead.

The interior is made into a nave and side aisles by square piers faced with pilasters, which sustain, with the intervention of pedestals of equal height with the breast-work of the galleries, the same number of columns of the Corinthian order; the entablature of the order crowns the whole, from which springs an elliptically vaulted ceiling; the soffits occupied with square moulded pannels; the ceiling of the aisles is made into divisions corresponding with the intercolumniations, by entablatures entering the principal above the columns, and received on corbels formed of the capital of a pilaster of the order attached to the said walls; the divisions so formed are each arched in a segment of a circle, and pannelled; a gallery with a pannelled front extends along the side aisles, and across the west end; it rests on the main piers at the sides and on veined marble columns of the Ionic order at the west end; the organ is contained in an upper gallery erected at the west end. The fronts of the galleries are nearly covered with the names and titles of the various members of the aristocracy of the country, who have served the office of churchwarden. On the western gallery is inscribed,

This Church Was Consecrated the 18th day of March

,

1724

.

The altar is situated in a slight recess in the eastern wall, bounded by piers, and covered with an elliptical arch, with pannelled soffits; the screen occupies the dado of the Venetian window, which, like its exterior front, is decorated with insulated composite columns; the centre of the screen is occupied by a large painting by sir James Thornhill, the subject

the last supper;

it is a crowded design, and possesses but little merit. On each side the picture are pair of Corinthian columns in oak; the screen appears to have sustained some considerable alterations since the construction of the church. The pulpit is hexagonal, and the sides inlaid, and the whole surmounted by a handsome canopy and sounding-board of large dimensions; it is situated on the south side of the nave; the reading and clerk's desks on the opposite side.
The dimensions of the church are as follow:
  ft.in.
Length 750
Breadth 600
Height ofchurch406
 steeple1000
Extentof portico590
Centre intercolumniation 88
Side ditto 61
Projection of portico 167 1/2

355

 

It was built at the expense of the commissioners for building new churches. The architect was John James, of Greenwich- No burials are allowed in this church, although it is built on vaults; there are, in consequence, no monuments.

Among many eminent men who have filled the rectory of this parish may be enumerated Dr. Charles Moss, bishop of St. David's in , and bishop of Bath and Wells in ; and the hon. Dr. Courtenay, afterwards bishop of Exeter.

It was by an indirect attempt to procure this valuable rectory, that the unfortunate Dr. Dodd was ruined in the public estimation.

North of is

 
 
Footnotes:

[] Mal. Lond. iv. p. 232.

[] Mait. Lond. ii. 1337.

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 Title Page
 Dedication
CHAPTER I: Site, local divisions, and government of the City of Westminster; history of the Abbey; Coronation Ceremonies; and lists of the Abbots and Deans
CHAPTER II: Westminster Abbey, and Description of the Tombs and Monuments
CHAPTER III: History and Topography of St. Margaret's Parish
CHAPTER IV: History and Topography of St. John's Parish, Westminster
CHAPTER V: History and Topography of the parish of St. Martin's in the Fields, Westminster
CHAPTER VI: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. James, Westminster
CHAPTER VII: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Anne, Westminster
CHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Paul, Covent Garden
CHAPTER IX: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Mary-le-strand
CHAPTER X: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. Clement Danes
CHAPTER XI: History and Topography of the parish of st. George, Hanover Square
CHAPTER XII: History and Topography of the Precinct of the Savoy
CHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of the Inns of Court
CHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of the Precincts of the Charter-house and Ely Place, and the Liberty of the Rolls
 CHAPTER XV: Historical Notices of the Borough of Southwark
CHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Olave, Southwark
CHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of the parish of St. John, Southwark
CHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Thomas, Southwark
CHAPTER XIX: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. George's, Southwark
CHAPTER XX: History and Topography of St. Saviour's Parish
CHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of the parist of Christ-church in the County of Surrey
 CHAPTER XXII: A List of the Principal Books, &c that have been published in Illustration of the Antiquities, History, Topography, and other subjects treated of in this Work
 Addenda et Corrigienda
 Postscript