Decision to restore the Church and report by John Oldrid Scott, 1883

Buckingham Advertiser, 7 April 1833

W I N S L O W
SUGGESTED RESTORATION OF THE PARISH CHURCH.

On Thursday, March 29, a public meeting to consider the question of restoring Winslow Church, was held in the Iron Room, Winslow.  The following gentlemen were present – Rev. H. A. Douglas Hamilton (vicar) and R. C. Allen, Mr. T. P. Willis, M. S. Lowndes, Esq., Mr. J. St. Thomas Wynter, Dr. Newham, Messrs. H. Bullock, T. F. Vaisey, J. Hawley, Starkey, George, Ingram, C. Colgrove, H. Wigley, G. George, James King, John Grace, Sare, Rand, George Lee, W. Matthews, R. Matthews. H. Ingram, Sharp, Clare, Jennings, Hillyer, Barton, John Varney, John Varney, jun., and E. Abbott.

The chair was taken by the Vicar, who, in opening the meeting, expressed the honor [sic] he felt in being privileged to stand there and propose the restoration of the church.  He was afraid it was a great matter that he was laying before them.  Some people said the church was in a very good state - and times were bad, and money was scarce – but the glory of God should be the first thing they should look to, and His house should be the chief ornament.  People’s homes were now furnished in a more comfortable and luxurious way than formerly.  God’s houses were being built in a better style than they were 100 years ago, and they could not be true Christian if they fell short in the matter.  Letters of apology had been received from the Right Hon. J. G Hubbard, M.P.,H. R. Lambton, Esq., and George R. Greaves, Esq., who were unable to attend;  but were deeply interested.  He had asked Mr. Scott (son of Sir Gilbert Scott) down in a friendly way to look at the church, not that he wished to commit them in any way to having him for an architect, and the following was his report:-

I had much pleasure in making an examination of Winslow Parish Church last week.  It is a building full of interest, and, although it has suffered from the usual neglect of bygone times it has received no irreparable injury, while its structure is in unusually good repair, so far as its stability is concerned.  The church consists of a nave of four bays, a large chancel, a western tower, and north and south aisles.  There is a fine late porch, on the south side of the building, and the church was originally completed by a sacristy to the north of the chancel.  This has now disappeared, but its door remains, and its size is shown by marks on the outside.  Generally speaking the church dates from the end of the 13th century or the beginning of the next – indeed the whole is of this period, with the following exceptions: - the upper stage of the tower, the top of the aisle walls which were raised when the present roof was put on, the south porch, various windows (especially the east window) which were inserted in perpendicular times, the upper part of the clerestory with four out of five windows, and the roof throughout.  The windows at the West-end are all original, as are two others, one in the chancel and one in the north aisle.  One clerestory window also remains on each side.  These are small cusped circles.  The decorated roofs were all of steeper pitch than the present ones, the height of the nave roof is clearly marked by the weathering in the tower wall.   The chancel roof was no doubt of the same angle, though nothing remains to show this.  The angle of the aisle roofs can be ascertained from the fact that the original height of their walls was nearly four feet less than it now is – all the original features, windows, doors, and buttresses, stop below the level, while a change in the masonry can be distinctly seen three or four feet below the present eaves.   The only roof which requires alteration is that over the nave, this is modern and has no character.  I have no doubt the church would be much benefitted in appearance if the ancient pitch of this roof were adopted.  The chancel and aisle roofs are old, and though much out of repair are capable of restoration, they are plain perpendicular roofs of good design.  Externally, the stonework has decayed very seriously, both wrought stone and ashlar, and extensive repairs will be necessary.  Inside the stonework is on the whole in a good state, and will require but little doing to it.  Unhappily none of the ancient fittings remain;  nor any trace of them beyond the marks of the rood screen which are very clear, and of the parcloses which once fitted the nave arches at its eastern end, parting off the chapels which there were at the ends of the two aisles.  The pulpit is Jacobean, and should, of course, be carefully preserved.  It is of very good design.  The altar rails might, perhaps, be retained, and there are some curious gates at the entrance to the chancel.  During my visit the plaster was removed in three places, and the old sacristy door, the piscina in the chancel, and another of somewhat unusual design in the south aisle, were brought to light as well as an aumbrey also in the south aisle.   The beauty of the church is much hidden at present by galleries in the aisles, and at the west end, and there are various enclosures about the tower which cover up all the architectural features.  When these obstructions are cleared away the fine proportions of the church will be seen.  The tower arch, and the side arches of the tower, as well as those in the nave, are all of very similar design.  They are plain in their detail, but full of good character.  All are happily in good preservation, and require but very slight repairs.  Considerable expenditure will be required to put the roofs into a good condition.  As I have said, the nave roof should be renewed, and it will be well to revert to its original high pitch, though without interfering with the present clerestory or parapet.  The aisle roofs only retain a few of their ancient timbers, hardly more than enough to show their design; they will therefore require a large proportion of new wood.  The chancel roof is in better condition, but will also want considerable repair.  I have prepared a plan showing the arrangement of seats which I should propose.  The church is not large, and it will be difficult to get as much accommodation, after the galleries are removed, as there now is.  The present nave pews area too narrow for comfort, and would have to be wider.  I have kept to the minimum width which is now used, on the plan, 2ft. 10in. so as to get as many sittings as possible.   I wish it might be possible to replace the chancel screen which must have existed, if carefully designed it would be no obstruction, while it would add greatly to the beauty of the interior.  The plan shows a new vestry on the position of the ancient one, and also a recess for an organ, which will be necessary.  The church so re-arranged would be admirably adapted for use, while the improvement in effect would be very striking.  Every old feature should be carefully preserved, and all new ones designed so as to harmonise with the building.  The pavements require renewal, but all monumentals should be retained, as far as possible, in the positions which they now occupy.  My examination was not sufficient to enable me to speak with certainty as to the cost of the works I have mentioned, but to do all satisfactorily would amount to nearly £4000.  The church is so very good in itself that it well deserves good treatment.  The materials used should all be the best, and should funds fail for the whole it would be the right course to undertake the most essential parts and to do them in the best manner.

                                                (Signed)         J. OLDRID SCOTT

In continuation the Vicar said £4,000 was a large sum;  but Mr. Scott had told him that £3,000 would break the back of it, and by substituting chairs for the oak seats and making other temporary arrangements, he thought about £2,500 would be made to suffice for the present.  He had gone carefully through the matter with the leading gentry of the neighbourhood and had consulted the Lay Rector, W. S. Lowndes, Esq., and secured his sanction.  He would now ask Mr. Willis to inform them about a fund which it was hoped might be secured for the restoration.

Mr. T. P. Willis said on the death of a former Vicar a sum of money had been raised and vested in trustees for the benefit of his widow and daughters;  Mrs. Walpole had recently died, the daughters had married and were in excellent positions, and no payments had been made by the trustees since July 1878, there being £550 with nearly 5 years’ interest at 3½ per cent.  The trustees did not know who to pay it to, and the Vicar had been in correspondence with the representatives of the late Mrs. Walpole on the subject, but no answer had yet been received.

The Vicar said while not bound in any way to have Mr. Scott for an architect, yet he might mention that Mr. Scott had succeeded Mr. Street as architect to the diocese, before whom all church restoration plans would have to go, and, if sanctioned by him, they would get 10 per cent. of the cost from the Diocesan Fund.  He was informed that £350 had been offered by someone in the locality for the lead on the chancel roof.  He had secured the support of the Bishop and the Rural Dean, and thought they need not at all despair of success.

Considerable discussion ensued, in which it was suggested that a committee should be formed of subscribers of not less than £20 or £25, payable either in a lump sum or in one, two, or three yearly instalments.   Mr. T. P. Willis thought the subscription should not be less than £50 to entitle them to a voice on the committee.

The Vicar proposed “That it was desirable that the church should be restored, and that steps should be immediately taken to form a committee to receive subscriptions for that purpose.”

This was seconded by Mr. M. S Lowndes.  Dr. Newham suggested that it would be better to form a general representative committee, who would thoroughly ventilate the question, and issue a printed appeal for subscriptions.

Mr. T. P. Willis proposed that the Vicar and Churchwardens should issue a circular stating that it has been decided to restore the church, and inviting subscriptions to be paid into the Bucks and Oxon Bank.  The committee could be an after arrangement.

This was seconded by Dr. Newham, and was adopted by the meeting.

In reply to a question from Mr. Hillyer, the Vicar said that the Bishop of Oxford had ruled that, in reseating, all rights of sitting were abolished.

A vote of thanks to the Vicar for presiding was then moved by Mr. Sare, and the meeting concluded.


Faculty for the restoration of Winslow Church 1883

Oxford Diocesan Papers c 1670\1

Architect: John Oldrid Scott of No 31 Spring Gardens, London

To remove the roofs of the nave and the south aisle

To take down the wall of the chancel and north aisle

To erect a new buttress on the south side of the chancel

To put new roofs to the nave, north and south aisles, chancel
and chancel aisle

To provide a communion table to the chancel and new rails and seats to same

To take down and remove the present sittings, and provide new sittings throughout

To restore the porch, the inner doorway and the door

To take up the present floors and paving and lay down new ones

To repair the tower

To restore and repair such other portions of the fabric of the church (both internal and external) requiring restoration and repair and generally to do and perform all such other works and operations about the church as might be fairly implied in fully carrying out the plans and specifications of the architect aforesaid


Drawing of the restored churchClick on the image for one of John Oldrid Scott's drawings of his plans for the restoration, 1884. All the drawings are available here (©English Heritage):


Reopening of the church, December 1884

Bucks Herald, 3 Jan 1885

RE-OPENING OF THE PARISH CHURCH
OF ST. LAWRENCE [sic], WINSLOW.

The Parish Church of St. Lawrence [sic], Winslow, which had been closed since the 11th February last, was re-opened on Tuesday last, Dec. 30th, amid much local rejoicing, after undergoing a thorough restoration both internally and externally.  The Church consists of a nave of four bays, a large chancel, a western tower and north and south aisles.  There is a fine late porch on the south side.  Generally speaking the Church dates from the end of the 13th century or beginning of the next though some additions were made in perpendicular times.  The whole of the cumbersome galleries have been cleared away.  The ancient windows have been restored in the south and west fronts, where modern doorways have existed for many years past (one leading up to a private gallery, and the other to the belfry stair).  The ancient doorway on the north side is opened out and fills the place of a modern window, and a thorough clearance has been made of all the high-backed pews throughout the Church.  The window-dressings, doorways, arcading, arches, piers and every portion of the wrought stone work in a mutilated and decayed condition, has been most carefully restored to its original design, great care being taken to retain as much of the original work as possible by innumerable piecings. 

A new archway has been inserted at the east end of north aisle, also a pair of arches in the north side of chancel, forming an arcading preparatory to the erection of a chancel aisle with vestry and organ chamber, which is essential to the full completion of the work, but which cannot at present be erected for the want of funds.  In the meantime a powerful two manual harmonium, lent by Major Verney, is placed in the chancel. 

An elaborate sedilia has been erected in a line with and under the easternmost window on the south side of chancel, having three seats canopied and beautifully carved with the emblems of the four evangelists at the terminations of the label mouldings.  A piscina was found built up and plastered over in the south wall of the chancel, mutilated by having its quaint carved spandrils chopped off.  Fortunately the fragments were built up within the piscina, from which the architect has been enabled to reproduce the original quaint design.  The brick and cement parapets have been replaced by wrought stone work, the plaster and cement has been removed from the faces of the exterior, and the walling repaved and neatly pointed. 

The porch has been carefully restored by the completion of its buttresses, pinnacles, new shafts and bases, with an entirely new niche and canopy, surmounted with a cross, a true copy of the ancient one, which was in a very decayed state.  In the niche is placed a fine sculptured figure of St. Lawrence [sic], the patron saint, holding in his hands the emblems of his martyrdom (a gridiron and money-bag).  The figure is the gift of Mrs. T. P. Willis.  All the windows have been reglazed with tinted cathedral glass of an oblong shape, with narrow margins – the old saddle-bars and staunchions being re-used. 

The lath and plaster ceiling and the modern deal cornices to chancel roof have been swept away, and the ancient beams, rafters, plates, &c., cleaned and repaired, and the roof thereby restored to its original design.  The modern flat roof over the nave has been replaced by a massive new one of oak, of the original high pitch, as evidenced by the ancient weather course on the east wall of the tower.  The design of the roof is quite unique, of a semi-hammerbeam character, with moulded and carved king-posts.  The south aisle roof is also new and of oak, copied from the ancient one in the north aisle, which has been faithfully restored, as also the porch roof, which has all its ancient carvings replaced at the intersection of the mouldings, &c.  The tower ceiling is new with massive oak beams, forming deep panels with mouldings, and carved boss in centre panel.  The roofs of the nave and chancel are covered with Brosely tiles, and those of the north and south aisles, porch and tower, with lead.  

The chancel fittings, forming a double row of seats for choristers, with prayer desk on each side, are new, of English oak, and of handsome design.  The reredos is entirely of oak, beautifully wrought in panels, with gilded cresting and carved pinnacles;  the three centre panels are at present filled with cartoons only, illustrating the subjects that are intended to be sculptured hereafter.  This piece of work has been prepared by Messrs. Farmer and Brindley, of London, the decoration and cartoons by Messrs. Burlisen and Grylls, of London.  Great care has been taken to re-use as much as possible of the old reredos in the present new one.  The old altar table, as well as the old pulpit, have also received due care and adapted to present requirements. 

All the doors are new, of English oak, of massive appearance, with elaborate wrought iron hinges partially covering each door with ornamental scrolls, &c.  The wrought iron work was executed by Mr. Skidmore, of Coventry.  The floor of the chancel is laid with Godwin’s encaustic tiles, of a very rich pattern and design.  The altar table is approached by five steps from the nave, those at and within the altar-rail being of Plymouth marble, black with white veins.  The floors of the nave and aisles, where occupied by seats, are laid with patent wood blocks arranged in patterns; the passages and other spaces with Godwin’s red and black tiles.  The floor of the porch is laid with the Danish marble squares that were formerly in the floor of the altar space.  The font is entirely new, handsomely designed in Caen stone, with Purbeck marble shafts, executed by Mr. H. Terry, of London, and the cost of it has been contributed by the children of the parish.  The space around the font is laid with encaustic tiles, and occupies a central position in the tower at the western entrance.

The chancel is ornamented by two beautiful gas pendants of polished brass, especially designed by the architect and the gift of Mrs. Lambton, of Winslow Hall; also by two sanctuary standards of brass and iron of imposing appearance, the gift of the Rev. M. A. West, vicar of Ullenhall.  Two other gas pendants of similar design, in brass and iron, are placed at the east end of the nave, the gift of Mrs. Dudley and Mrs. Lowndes, of Bromley.  The gas pendants and standards are the work of Messrs. Barratt, of Birmingham.   A massive and elaborate brass eagle lectern is placed at the foot of the chancel steps, also designed by the architect, and the gift of Mrs. Lambourne, the makers being Messrs. Paltens, of London.  The Church is most successfully warmed by hot water in pipes running through the entire length of the building on each side of the centre passage under the floor line, and above the floor line along the north and south walls, terminating in coils above ground.  The heating chamber is built so as to be immediately under the vestry when that portion of the work is completed.

For want of funds the body of the Church is temporarily seated with chairs only.  The oak benches, as suggested by the architect, will vastly improve the appearance of this handsome edifice, and it is greatly to be hoped that this want will be supplied at an early date.

Mr. John Oldrid Scott, son and successor of the late Sir Gilbert Scott, is the architect, and Mr. Geo. Cooper, of Aylesbury, the builder, who has given great satisfaction in carrying out the work under the superintendence of Mr. G. Hannaford, clerk of the works.

The whole of the carvings, both internally and externally, of wood and stone, as also the statue of St. Lawrence [sic], have been most satisfactorily executed by Mr. Harry Hems, of Exeter. 

The completion of the work, so far as it has been at present possible to carry it, must be very gratifying to the parishioners generally, and the energetic committee, (composed of Dr. Newham, Messrs. Bullock, M. S. Lowndes, C. Clare, C. Colgrove, and G. George), who have had the work in hand;  but especially to the Vicar, the Rev. H. A. Douglas-Hamilton, who, on his induction into the living, found the immediate restoration of the fabric of the Church a pressing necessity, and who has given his whole heart an energy to the task of carrying it into effect, and has now the happiness of seeing his wishes well nigh fully realised.  The total cost of the work which has been done is about £3,500, of which some £800 remained still to be raised on the day of the re-opening.  This amount was, however, as will be seen further on, considerably reduced by the collections made during the day.  The Vicar and committee have been assisted by some liberal subscribers, among the principal being – Messrs. Willis and Willis, £500; Mr. G. R. Greaves, £200;  Mr. E. W. S. Lowndes, £100;  Mr. H. R. Lambton, £100;  the Diocesan Society, £250; the Vicar, £50;  the Misses Dockray, £50;  Right Hon. J. G. Hubbard, M.P., £50;  Bucks and Oxon Union Bank, £25;  Archdeacon of Buckingham, £25;  Mr. A. E.. Preston, £25;  Lord Cottesloe, £25;  Mr. G. D. E. Wigley, £21;  Mrs. Lambton, £40;  Rev. T. H. Greene, £20;  Mr. J King, £20;  Mr. J. G. Hawley, £20;  Mr. Sare, £20;  Mrs. Lowndes, of Bromley, £20;  Mr. R. W. Jones, £25;  Incorporated Church Building Society, £40;  the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, General Hamilton, Sir H. Verney, Bart., M.P., Sir Samuel Wilson, Hon. T. F. Fremantle, M.P., Mr. Egerton Hubbard, &c., &c.  Gifts of Church furniture have also been made as follows:- The Altar cloth and super frontal, by Mrs Hamilton;  frontal for ditto, Miss Dockray;  fair linen, Mrs. Wynter;  communicants’ kneeler, Mrs. L. Maydon;  pede mats, Mrs. Greaves and Miss L. Selby Lowndes;  kneelers, the Misses Dockray and Miss Lloyd;  set of new books, Misses Maydon;  set of festal book markers, Mrs.. Vaisey; festal voluntary bags, Miss Newham.

THE RE-OPENING CEREMONIES

Commenced with full morning service in the newly-restored Church at 11.30 am., when the building was crowded in every part.  The Lord Bishop of Oxford, attended by the Rev. C. C. Mackarness, vicar of Aylesbury, as chaplain, and preceded by the surpliced choir and a very large number of the clergy of the neighbourhood; the churchwardens (Messrs. C. Colgrove and G. George), and the vicar, Rev. A. Douglas-Hamilton, bearing his Lordship’s crozier, entered the Church by the south porch, the choir and clergy having robed in the girl’s schoolroom.  The Old Hundredth hymn was sung as a processional.  The opening prayers were said by the curate, the Rev. F. Pinhorn, the Bishop pronouncing the Absolution.  The service was choral, the prayers being intoned by the Rev. F. Pinborn.  The first lesson was read by the Rev. E. M Holmes, rural dean, of Marsh Gibbon, and the second by the Ven. Archdeacon Randall.  The Te Deum was well sung to Hopkins in G, and the Benedictus to “St. Laurence.”  The hymn commencing “When morning gilds the skies” was sung before the communion service, which was said by the Bishop; and the hymn before the sermon was “Lift the strain of high thanksgiving.”

THE SERMON

Was preached by the Lord Bishop of Oxford, who [details omitted]

Copyright 28 June, 2020