Christ Church with St Ewen, All Saints  & St George

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The Furniture and Decoration

The furniture designed with the church is wholly worthy of it, and a testimony to local craftsmen. The lovely demi-lunate communion table, of mahogany but painted white and gilded, was made by William and Charles Court in 1791; in the same year Walter Swayne of Wine Street made the fine wrought iron communion rail. The light portable font is of wood, with crisp fern-leaf carving by William Paty. Peter Fry's 1816 wooden "tester" (or sounding-board) of the pulpit remains in place, sitting over  William Paty's cherub panels of the designed pulpit of 1790. The near-Corinthian columns supporting the organ gallery are also of 1790.

The more modern furnishings and decoration are of less interest. The windows contain  figures, mainly in gold drapery, with a surround of untinted glass, so that they exclude little light; the North side has, from West to East. the Four Evangelists with their symbols of man, lion, ox and eagle: the South side (all replaced after war damage) has, from East to West, Saint Michael, Saint Peter, Saint Katherine and Saint Margaret: and the East wall shows Saint Thomas the Apostle, the Risen Christ and Saint Ewen: the more colourful little window lights the domed baptistry were added in 1898.  

The statues on the Victorian reredos, by Henry Williams, are of the Crucifixion and Saint John Baptist and Saint Ewen (EwenlOuen/Owenl Audoen), Bishop of Rouen, and the four heads that surround it are of the four Latin Fathers. Saint Ambrose, Saint Augustine, Saint Gregory and  Saint Jerome.

The pictures on the walls are an indifferent lot - copies of Old Masters with a couple of good frames, and a poor 20th-Century Madonna which ought to be removed along with its brown box: the church would be barer but better without them, but the big openwork plaque of St Michael, by a former curate, the Reverend Reginald Jeffcoat, carved in the 1920’s, and incorporating older woodwork, is a good archaizing piece.

The nineteen wall monuments, mostly under the tower, from the old and new churches and Saint Ewen, are interesting for their coloured heraldry and many recall members of the great Tyndall family of Royal Fort House, but the only distinguished one is James Paty's monument of 1772 to Thomas Holmes, of a woman seated and holding an urn.

Two excellent watercolours by A. C. Fare R.W.A., of 1927 and 1928, on the West wall, showing South-West and West views of the Gothic church as it may well have been in its last century were stolen in 1987.

The greatest single treasure of the church, now in the vestry, is an importation from a less fortunate building, the bombed Saint Mary-le-Port. It is a mediaeval stone crucifix of about 1300, and three feet high, crocketed, coloured and gilded. The torso and legs of Christ remain in slight part~ but the head (backed by red paint) and arms are missing. It was discovered hidden (presumably from 16th -Century reformers) in St Mary-le-Port during alterations c.1870, whereupon the very Low Church Rector, Reverend Samuel Abraham Walker, broke it up (or so the story goes); it reached the High Church St Mary, Tyndall's Park, and ultimately came here in 1931.  We hope one day to place it in the church.

Adapted By Dr. Martin J Crossley Evansfrom the original work of Dr. Arthur Basil Cottle F.S.A (1917-1994) Church Warden of Saint Ewen.

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