The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4
St. George's Church.
The church which formerly stood in this place was of ancient foundation, and pertained to the abbey of , by the gift of benefactors, Thomas Arderne (father and son), in the year ; having undergone many repairs, and being ruinous, and on account of its great age, the parishioners applied to parliament, and obtained an act to have another erected; in consequence of which the present edifice was begun in , and completely finished in .
The architect was John Price. The expense of the building was defrayed by a grant of l, by act of parliament, George II. chapter , A. D. , out of the funds appropriated for building new churches in the metropolis and vicinity.
The New View of London, published in , describes the old church as a handsome building, the pillars, arches, and windows, being of modern Gothic, having a handsome window about the middle of the north side of the church, whereon was painted the arms of the companies of London, who contributed to the repair of this church in , with the names of the donors, the sums respectively given by them, amounting in all to This edifice was feet long to the altar rails, feet wide, and feet high. The tower, in which were bells, was feet high.
The foundation stone of the present fabric was laid in the beginning of , and it was completed in . It was inscribed as follows:--
This church is in length feet, and in breadth . It was repaired in , at the cost of It is situated on the east side of , at the south-west corner of , and on the very confines of the parish. The plan is a parallellogram, with a square tower at the west, and a chancel at the east end, respectively flanked by vestibules or vestries; the basement being occupied by extensive catacombs a superior height is given to the floor of the church. The walls are built with a dark red brick, with stone dressings, in a heavy Dutch style, and the whole building, notwithstanding its size, has a tasteless aspect. The west front is approached by a lofty flight of steps; the elevation is made in breadth into divisions. The centre is faced with stone, and bounded by -quarter columns of the Ionic order; the intercolumniation is occupied by a large arch resting on piers, the keystone carved with a cherubic head; within the arch a lintelled doorway, and over it a half circular window. The side divisions have also lintelled doorways, and over them lofty round-headed windows; the whole is crowned with the entablature of the order; over the centre is an elliptical pediment, and, above the side divisions, a ballustrade. The tower rises from behind the centre of this front; it is entirely built with stone, and commences with a square tower, having a round-headed window in every aspect, and crowned with a cornice, on the angles of which are vases: to this succeeds a story, the plan an irregular octagon; the larger faces have dials surmounted by pedimental cornices; this portion serves as a basement to an octagon temple of the Ionic order, having open arches in the faces, which correspond with the sides of the square tower, and every angle is guarded by an attached column; to this succeeds a low pedestal of the same form, with portholes in every alternate face, and crowned by an octangular obelisk; the latter is pierced with portholes, and finished with a ball and vane. The flanks of the church are uniform; the elevation commences with a plinth of Portland stone, and the upright is made by a string course into stories; in the lower are segmental arched windows, enclosed in stone architraves, and on the upper the like number of lofty roundheaded windows, with similar dressings, the dados having stone pannels; the elevation is finished with a cornice, and the angles are rusticated; the division from the west is divided from the remainder by a succession of rustic quoins, and is crowned with a ballustrade, the remainder of the design with a parapet. The east end has a chancel in the centre, which projects from the main building; in the extreme wall is a Venetian window, the piers of which are square, with capitals of the Ionic order; above the
|window is a shield, and the elevation is finished with a pediment; the angles between the chancel and the church on each side are occupied by vestibules; these appendages are uniform; the elevation is made into stories; in the eastern front is a lintelled doorway, with a window above, and in the flanks a window alone; the upright of the walls is finished with a fascia. The southern vestibule forms a porch to the church, and contains the staircase to the gallery on that side; the opposite is a vestry. The interior is very plain and naked; the ceiling is perfectly horizontal without relief, its face is painted in distemper to imitate the handsome pannelling with which the churches of Wren's building are enriched; in the centre are concentric circles, the smaller containing an expanded flower, the larger, whose periphery is a wreath of flowers, is inscribed in a square; the angles are filled with chaplets: other long pannels are added to complete the length of the building; they are divided into minor pannels filled with scrolls of foliage: the whole is encircled with a tolerable imitation of a block cornice. The chancel is separated from the church by an arch, the key-stone carved with a shield, inscribed with the monagram I. H. S.; it springs from square piers with moulded caps, surmounted by architraves and cornices, all of which are painted to imitate yellow marble, and the shafts of the piers are made to appear to be fluted; the cornice alone is applied as a finish to the walls of the chancel; the ceiling is a semicircular vault, to which the cornice acts as an impost; the soffite has pannels; the centre painted with the Hebrew name of the Deity in an irradiation, and the side ones with angels; the side walls of the chancel are pannelled, and below the east window are the usual inscriptions. The floor of the chancel is elevated on steps. So far has the love of painting been extended, that a monument in marble has been imitated on the north wall of the chancel. On the opposite side is a counterpart in marble. A gallery crosses the west end of the building; the front is pannelled and rests on fluted Ionic pillars of oak. A continuation of the gallery occupies each side; it is sustained on square pilasters of oak, to each of which, on the side facing the area of the church, is attached a console serving as a bracket to support the gallery fronts. The organ stands in the centre of the western gallery, and on each side of it are additional galleries for the charity children. The pulpit and desks are situated in group in the centre of the church at a short distance from the altar rails; the former is sustained on Ionic columns surmounted by their entablature; it is an irregular octagon, and at the smaller sides are fluted columns; the whole is executed in oak and has no sounding board. The font is situated in the south-west angle of the church; it is a circular basin of white marble on a pillar of the same form, and is chastely ornamented. The basement story of the tower forms a porch to the church, and the northern attached vestibule contains a staircase to|
|the gallery on that side of the church; the opposite vestibule is a vestry room.|
There are several monuments in this church to private individuals, among the most conspicuous are in the south gallery. The is a handsome slab of veined marble to William Toulmin, esq. a magistrate and deputy lieutenant of the county of Surrey. He died , aged .
The is to the memory of Henry Pigeon, esq. a magistrate and deputy lieutenant of the county of Surrey. He died , aged : also of his wife Susan, who died , aged . In the north aisle is a plain tablet to Mr. J. Meymott, who died , aged .
The advowson of the living is in the gift of the crown.
In the old church was contained the unhallowed remains of the cruel bishop Bonner, who had for many years been confined in the Marshalsea, where he died miserably, unpitied, and unlamented. Here also was interred John Rushworth, the author of Historical Collections, relating to proceedings in parliament, from to .
Opposite formerly stood the magnificent mansion built by Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk, in the reign of Henry the , called