Christ Church with St Ewen, All Saints  & St George

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The 18th Century

The Gothic church proceeded slowly towards ruin for over 200 years after the Reformation; we can read of purchases and refurbishments. But by 1786 the fabric was so decayed that only demolition and rebuilding would serve.

 

The period had produced some handsome furnishings, which survive: on the outside of the tower, the popular quarterjacks, (James Paty's Roman soldiers of 1728, who ring their quarter-hour bells with hammers), and Daniel Sutton's splendid seven-foot gilded copper dragon vane also of 1728.  Within, the chief survivor is the late 17th -Century organ case housing the great Renatus Harris's 1708 organ, an instrument much rebuilt,  but retaining some of his original pipework.  The frieze of cherubs' heads supporting the organ gallery is of about the same date.


The humble little stone font is from the destroyed church of Saint Ewen on the opposite side of Broad Street; so is the banner, now  in a case over the North East vestry door, well embroidered c. 1740 but now restored, of the Guild of Merchant Taylors, with their device of Saint John Baptist's head in the middle. And the small bell from the tower of Saint Ewen’s church, caste by Abraham Rudhall of Gloucestershire in 1698, and formerly hung in Portland Wesleyan chapel.  













Four hatchments (those rather glum diamond - shaped funerary armorials) of the Tyndall and Schimmelpennick families and now restored are on the West wall and date from both before and after the rebuilding. The Mayor's wrought iron sword-rest includes the arms of Charles II, and there is one excellent memorial of 1681, the brass plaque to the right of the north east door into the vestry; it commemorates the Reverend Richard Standfast, M.A., incumbent of Christ Church, who died in 1681 in his 78th year. He was of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and Chaplain in Ordinary to King Charles I, and "for his loyalty to ye King and steadfastnesse in the established religion suffered fourteene yeares sequestration". It is not mentioned that while Roundhead malice thus left him for fourteen years without a livelihood, his congregation faithfully provided for him - no doubt for his secret ministry to them. At the Restoration (1660), he was appointed to a Cathedral prebend, and, despite blindness, went on for over twenty years as a good priest and "an able orthodox and diligent preacher" .  Two days before his death he dictated the ten lines of verse which conclude this inscription. Another parishioner “faithful unto death to the king” was Robert Yeamans, Sheriff in 1641-1642, who was hanged by the Roundheads in 1643 and secretly buried by night in Christ Church.







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