St Matthew Pell Street (Princes Square) 1848-1891 see also parish registers
Mulberry Garden Chapel was built for the Countess of Huntingdon's
Connexion in 1805 - its story is told here. The
left the area in the 1840s, and the building stood empty for a
time. The Times of 1 March 1847 reported that Messrs Bromley and Son [of 17 Commercial Road] will sell by auction, at
Garraways, on Wednesday, March 17, at 12, by order of the Trustees for
the Sunday Schools and Almshouses belonging to the late Mulberry Garden
Chapel, without any reserve, a valuable LEASEHOLD PROPERTY, comprising a
spacious and lofty brick building of two floors, with extensive vaults
under, and six tenements adjoining, situate on the West side of
Prince's Square, St George's East. Although
it was very close to the parish church, it was bought by the
Church Building Society for £1,300 and initially opened as a
chapel. Bryan King, the Rector, raised some concerns over creating a
new district, but gave his consent. Ewan Christian, architect to the
surveyed the building and insisted that it must be repaired and
before it was fit for purpose. This was done, at a cost of
£400 (provided by Mr Coope of Brentwood),
and it was consecrated on 4 November 1859, with 650 sittings, and
assigned a district by Order in Council on 7 March 1860, with the
London as patron (replacing the previous patrons). The
Commissioners made a grant of £100 towards the
stipend, which the Home Mission Fund matched, but the endowment was
only £40 a year, and there was no house - the first minister lived at
Princes Square, near where St Matthew's National Schools were later
built. His income was made up by a chaplaincy to one of the City
warehouses and by private subscriptions.
|An 1863 Guide to the Church Services in London and its suburbs lists Sunday services at 11am (HC on the first Sunday of the month) and 6.30pm, with a weekday service on Wednesday at 7pm. The 'Churches' section of Charles Dickens Jnr's 1879 Dictionary of London lists the Sunday services as 11am Matins, Litany & Ante-Communion and 6.30pm Evensong, with Evensong on weekdays at 7pm and Matins on holy days at 11am. It does not say when the Holy Communion was celebrated. They used 'Anglican music', and the hymnbook was Ancient & Modern Revised. (This was presumably the second edition of 1875 by William Henry Monk of the 1861 original plus the 1868 appendix.)|
CLERGYClergy prior to the creation of St Matthew's as a district church
Hanna (1840s) - though his name does not appear in any registers.
Sydney Thelwall (1848-50
and 1852-53, alternating with two periods as full-time secretary of the
which he had founded in 1831). Born at Cowes on the Isle of Wight in
1795, he graduated from Trinity College Cambridge in 1818 (18th Wrangler - a mathematical classification, though see here for some student translations of the Odes of Horace). He was ordained the following year, and spent seven years at the
English church in Amsterdam as a missionary to
the Jews (later, in 1847, publishing Old Testament Gospel: or Tracts for the Jews). He returned to become curate of Blackford in Somerset.
He was a prolific writer of tracts and polemical works,
defending the Church of England's position against Roman Catholics
(including opposing the Maynooth grant) and Irvingites (eg A Scriptural Refutation of Mr Irving's Heresy 1834). In 1839 he produced The
iniquities of the opium trade with China: being a development of
the main causes which exclude the merchants of Great Britain from the
advantages of an unrestricted commercial intercourse with that vast
empire; with extracts from authentic documents, drawn up at the request
of several gentlemen connected with
the East-India trade. Examples of other writing include Thoughts in Affliction (1832); Letters to a Friend whose mind had been
long harassed by many objections against the Church of England (1835); The Heidelberg Catechism (1850).
In 1843, when he
was (briefly) minister of Bedford Chapel in Bloomsbury, he arranged a
lecture series which the Protestant
Magazine advertised thus:
As Maintained In The Church Of England.—We rejoice to find that
Rev. A. S. Thelwall, whose name is endeared to every lover of the
truth for which our martyrs bled, through his unwearying zeal in the
sacred cause, has arranged a series of lectures, to be delivered on
the momentous points of our common faith, now assailed by false
brethren on every side. The following is the prospectus of this
excellent plan—we trust many will avail themselves of it:— [details follow of the 14 lectures, 4 of which
Thelwall delivered himself]
While 'certain parties' do not scruple to avow their their object is 'the un-protestantizing of the National Church', does it not behove all those who really love the Church of England, to stand forward in its defence, and to maintain its Protestant principles, with a boldness and zeal proportioned to the energy and subtlety with which those principles are assailed or undermined?
Under the conviction that the present circumstances of the church require peculiar and vigorous exertions on the part of all its faithful ministers, it is proposed that a series of lectures should be delivered at Bedford Chapel, Charlotte Street, Bloomsbury, on Protestant Truth As Maintained By The Church Of England, by clergymen who are zealously and affectionately attached to the principles of that church, as set forth in its articles, homilies, and liturgy. To commence, 'if the Lord will', on Wednesday Evening, April 12th; and to be continued regularly every Wednesday evening till the course is concluded. Divine service to commence at seven o'clock precisely.
The countenance and encouragement of all true Protestants, and especially of all faithful clergymen, is earnestly solicited; and, above all things, their earnest prayers that this effort to uphold the truth of the gospel may be accompanied with the blessing of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and be made subservient to the true welfare of the church in these lands.
It is proposed that the sermons should be printed in a volume, as soon as possible after the course is finished.
1850 until his death in 1863 Thelwall was the Lecturer on
Reading at King’s College London. His introductory lecture
was entitled The
importance of Elocution in connexion
with Ministerial Usefulness. Breathing
through the nostrils to avoid fatigue to the vocal organs was the
secret, he claimed. In this, he continued the work of his father John
Thelwall (1764-1834), poet and orator, friend of Wordsworth and Coleridge, who was a pioneer teacher of the new science
of elocution (and who cured his lisp with false teeth - see here for a 'song without sibilants' which he wrote, perhaps to help those similarly afflicted). John Thelwall's
'logopædic' technique was published as Treatment of
Cases of Defective Utterance (see Denyse Rockey 'John Thelwall and the Origins of British Speech Therapy' in Medical History 23 (1979), pages 156–175). However, John Thelwall
was more widely known known as a political
radical (naming his sons Algernon Sydney and John
Hampden after 17th century republicans); he was unsuccessfully
prosecuted in 1794 on a charge of high treason.
In 1828 A.S. Thelwall married Georgiana Tahourdin, from a Huguenot family, one of whom had been a curate at St George-in-the-East 60 years earlier; one of their sons, Sydney, was also a clergyman and scholar - a translator of Tertullian; incumbent of Radford Semele, he died in 1922.
David Brown Moore was curate at St George's from 1851, Lecturer from 1854-59, chaplain of the workhouse, and worked at St Matthew's. He had been a workhouse chaplain in Birmingham, and from 1846 was the first incumbent of the new parish of St Andrew, Watery Street (or Garrison Lane), Bordesley - with a sandstone church in pointed Gothic style - which was carved out of Aston parish, in the diocese of Worcester (before the creation of Birmingham diocese); his stipend was £150 plus pew rents. A school was established there for 120 boys, 120 girls and infants, with an evening school on four evenings for those who worked during the day. Soon after he arrived here, he was plaintiff in an Old Bailey fraud case in 1851 (scroll to case 123) in relation to the house at 18 St Ann's Terrace Hackney of which he was the leaseholder. His own homes were at 15 St George's Place (in 1856), and at 78 Virginia Terrace [now Street], just off The Highway.
The first Vicar (and also Lecturer at the parish church, officiating at a few baptisms and weddings in Bryan King's absence), from 1859-70, was Thomas Richardson. He was born in Lancaster, and as a young clerk in the City became involved with Christ Church Chelsea, whose vicar was an early total abstainer and keen distributor of tracts. Richardson trained at St Bees in Cumbria, since his uncle, the Mayor of Leeds, who financed him, disapproved of the 'Puseyite' universities. He served three curacies, in south London and the City, and preached regularly at the Royal Exchange. He was among the clergy mentioned by Lord Shaftesbury in his speech in a House of Lords debate of 1860, opposing the motion of Lord Dungannon to call attention to the performance of Divine Service at Sadler's Wells and other Theatres by Clergymen of the Church of England on Sunday Evenings; and to move a Resolution, that such Services, being highly irregular and inconsistent with Order, are calculated to injure rather than advance the Progress of sound religious Principles in the Metropolis and throughout the Country.
The incumbent of St Matthew’s, St
young minister, who has been very zealous in going about the poorer
classes, and has acquired much experience of their character, states:
‘I have preached at the Obelisk in Southwark, in Ratcliff
Highway; I have preached for two seasons on the steps of the Royal
Exchange; and last Sunday I preached at the Garrick Theatre. The place
was densely crowded by persons of a class I never before got
Mark these words, my Lords, ‘never before got at',
person so conversant with these classes. ‘I have carefully
inquired', he adds, ‘from the city missionaries,
and I find
that their meetings are better attended, a deeper religious feeling
pervades them, and their access to the homes of the people is much more
Later in his speech he quotes Richardson as saying My congregations have increased ever since I preached at the Garrick, and the increase has been from the lowest orders. Similar comments are quoted from R.H. Baynes of St Paul's - These
services have in no way affected my evening congregation, though my
church is nor more than three or four hundred yards from the theatre; from Charles Stovel - If anything, the evening attendance has improved; and from Hugh Allen, by then Rector of St George Southwark - None
of my church services have been at all diminished, either in number or
interest; and I have no hesitation in saying that these special
services at the theatres, so far as they have come under my notice,
were attended principally by the class of persons for whom they were
instituted, and the attention given to my preaching there was as solemn
and as marked as ever I witnessed in any church.
The Church Pastoral Aid Society provided curates, financed to the tune of £100 annually by William Wainwright, owner of a local sugar refinery. Many German sugar workers came to St Matthew's for weddings, because the fees at the German Church were high, and Richardson learnt German in order to conduct the services. This pattern continued in his successor's time - see here for more details. He established a branch of the Band of Hope (a temperance organisation for working class children, founded in 1847 and continuing as Hope UK helping children to make drug-free choices). He continued to preach around the country for the Home Mission Union, and throughout his life remained a keen distributor of tracts, both through organised congregational visiting and in the streets. (On one occasion he walked from Bournemouth to London distributing them.) From 1870 to his death in 1901 he was the first vicar of St Benet Stepney; there he wrote a series of tracts under the title Faithful Boughs, and in 1876 founded a Bible and Prayer Union which claimed 30,000 members worldwide by the end of the century. I was awakened, he said, but did not find Christ till I read my Bible personally. Richardson’s wife Anna (whom he married during his time at St Matthew's) wrote a memoir of her husband under the title Forty Years' Ministry in East London (Hodder & Stoughton 1903). Here are some extracts from his notebooks from his time at St Matthew's, plus a paper read at a meeting of the Rural Deanery of Limehouse in 1864, advocating parochial temperance societies (he was secretary of the Church of England and Ireland Temperance Reformation Society, and listed among the 500 Anglican clergy who were 'total abstainers'), and his address to the 1870 Church Congress - note his comments on poverty relief and emigration.
John Mortier Fidler [left] was the next Vicar (1870-89). Born in Grenada in 1831, where his father William (1796-1866) was a Methodist missionary, he worked as a chemist in the Midlands from 1846 to 1863 before training at King’s College London, serving curacies in Battersea and Spitalfields, and a short spell with the London Diocesan Home Mission; his wife Mary Ann (née Garton) - they married in Bridlington in 1855 - died in 1865, aged 39; they had no children. At first he lodged with the Roberts family at 62 Philpot Street (near the London Hospital), and later moved to Prince's Square. He died of nephritis, aged 58, and was buried by C.H. Brooke, the curate.
Davies - who may have served for a time in this parish, and whose story
is told here
- included this description, in his 1873 book Orthodox
London, of the Midnight Meeting
for street workers held at St Matthew's Schoolroom, one of the various
attempts to address these issues. His journalistic style is the clue to
the popularity of his works!
Lacy Kingsmill (1864-67)
was an Irishman, born in Kilkenny in 1830 (later drawing some income
from a family estate there), and a graduate of King's College
Cambridge. Ordained to serve at St Matthew's, after three further
London curacies he went, with a wife
and five young
children, to be chaplain of the British Church at Batavia in the Dutch
Indies [left], also teaching
at the gymnasium in Salemba; but he did not feel
sufficiently stretched there - complaining of compulsory idleness - so moved to New South Wales in 1879 where he was
rector of a succession of five parishes and became a Canon of St
Saviour’s Cathedral, Golbourn. He was a popular preacher on a range of public issues, with a keen interest in European
military history: the
history of European warfare he knew as his alphabet, and while he was
essentially a man of peace his voice and pen often warned Australia
against the perils of the future. In a sermon in 1899 at the start of the Boer
War he said war often saves more war,
there are worse things than war, and he challenged the Boers' biblical claim of racial supremacy: if you choose to piece together bits of the Bible ... you can prove anything you like. He died in 1910 at Manly,
his leg trying to stop a bolting horse. See Peter Edwards Arthur Tange: Last of the
Mandarins (Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2006, pages 7-8).
Richard Hitchman (1869),
like the vicar Thomas Richardson, was listed by the Church of England
and Ireland Temperance Reformation Society as a 'total abstainer', and
curate of the parish, though was only here briefly. He had trained at St Aidan's College
Birkenhead, served curacies at St Peter's Derby (where he lectured on The History of the United Church of England and Ireland), Willington in Staffordshire (publishing a well-reviewed lecture on The Bible and Teetotalism) and Kent before coming to
London. He joined the Victoria Institute,
or Philosophical Society of Great Britain (founded in 1865 as a
response to Darwinism - although not formally opposed to evolutionary
theory - and the publication of the 'broad church' Essays and Reviews, to defend the great truths revealed in Holy Scripture ... against the opposition of Science falsely so called). Hitchman produced several other books and pamphlets, including Miracles (pamphlet of 1866), The Protestantism of the Church of England, Essays on the Christian Church and The Christian Priesthood (1867), and Rise & Progress of the Papal Power (1869, condensed from Ecclesiastical History by Johann Mosheim (1694-1755)). He became committed to the
cause of Canadian emigration, through the East End
Relief Society, while curate of the new district church of St
Clerkenwell - see here
for details of the proposed 'New Clerkenwell' settlement there.
Although aspects of the scheme were altered, it was broadly successful,
and the Clerkenwell Emigration Society was renamed the 'Royal Canadian
Emigration Club', with the motto 'piety, sobriety, industry'.
Frederick Haslock (or Hasluck)
was born in Arnee, Madras in the East Indies; he married Hannah Ladbury
in Stourbridge in 1863 (they had four children) and was ordained to St
Matthew's in 1872. The following year he proposed the creation of a
Total Abstinence Society at his masonic lodge, St John's (of which he was chaplain). After a stint
at St Luke, Millwall he became curate-in-charge of the new Grove
mission district at All Saints, Grays Thurrock - with an iron church, a
mission hall and an institute - until his death in 1906 in Southend, survived by his second wife Louisa. (A permanent
church, designed by Sir Charles Nicholson, was consecrated in 1927.) He
involved with poor law schools, and was chaplain of the ship Exmouth,
built in 1840 and taken over by the Metropolitan Asylums Board
in 1876, moored off Grays and providing training for poor boys for the
regular and merchant navies [right in 1893]. In 1881
fourteen of the boys (aged 12-15) were from St George-in-the-East
district. It was replaced by a newer vessel in 1905 [far right in 1917] which served until 1939.
He also gave weekly religious instruction on the training ship Shaftesbury, established in 1878 by the London School Board
for 350 boys of whom 70 might be Roman Catholics (increased to 500 /
100 in 1881), occasioning this letter to Henry Gover of the LSB and
printed in the church weekly Guardian in 1893:
|It is with considerable reluctance that I am induced to write to you in reference to the various newspaper reports of what you said at the meeting of the London School Board of May 4 on the subject of 'Rules and Regulations for the Shaftesbury'. In the Guardian, of May 10, and several other papers, you are reported as having said: The Church clergyman would not seem to care so much for the welfare of the people as did the Roman Catholic priest, for the Catholic priest was ready to give religious instruction freely, while the Church clergyman treated the matter in a mercenary spirit. Mr. Sinclair, who preceded you, is reported to have said he thought it contemptibly mean that any clergyman should want remuneration for giving religious instruction to children. Now I feel quite sure neither of you gentlemen would have made a statement in such strong terms had you been acquainted with the following facts:—For more thani two years last past I have personally and regularly visited the training-ship Shaftesbury once a week (Wednesday mornings) to give religious instruction to the Protestant boys, and this instruction is purely religious, not dogmatic nor doctrinal. Once in each year, so soon as I receive notice from the Bishop of the diocese that he purposes a confirmation either in my own or a near church, with the sanction of the captain and head schoolmaster, I mention the subject to the boys on board, explain carefully the nature and object of confirmation, then I tell the boys if any of them wish to he conflrmed, they may give in their names to the head master; no pressure whatever is put upon them. When I receive the list I arrange to meet these boys alone, weekly, for about six weeks, in order to give them the special instructions required. On a convenient day after they are confirmed they all attend All Saints' Church to make their first Communion; and if you will kindly give me the pleasure of meeting you at your City office, I will show to you the books, memorial cards, &c., which I give to each boy at my own cost. In two years not less than 106 boys have been thus prepared by me and presented to the Bishop, and have won from him the highest commendation for their reverence and good behaviour. I have done this without any hope or thought of payment, only from pure love of the boys, and I have certainly never asked to be paid for it. But, curiously enough, the first and only intimation I had of the question of payment being raised was from the Roman priest whom I meet weekly. My only reply then was, If the Board offer it I shall accept it, but will never ask for it, and to this I still adhere and am still doing the work. I have not written this with any desire or wish for publicity, but solely that you should know that there is a clergyman not quite so mercenary as some would imagine|
Gover withdrew his charge against Haslock, but maintained that his criticism of the Church of England, in view of the facts then before the Board, had been just.
(1876-77), born 1846 in Cumbria and trained at St Bees; St Matthew's
fourth of seven curacies, after York, Hertfordshire and St Thomas
Bethnal Green, going on to Colwich (Staffordshire), Homerton and
Cheswardine (Shropshire), before be became in 1881 vicar of
St Bartholomew Tosside (also known as Tossett, or Haughton), a small
the Forest of Bowland, in the diocese of Ripon. He retired in 1912
(with a £50 pension granted by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners) to
Sherwood in Nottinghamshire.
George Rogers (1881-82)
trained at St Bees and was ordained in Edinburgh in 1878, coming here
(and then to St Paul Shadwell) three years later; seven further
curacies, in Hampshire and Essex but mostly in London, followed -
chaplain at St Katharine's, then based in Regent's Park.
John Jones (1883-85), formerly a Baptist minister, was ordained
by the Bishop Robertson of
Missouri in 1872 at the behest of the Ecclesiastical Authority of
Illinois; he officiated at many baptisms during his time here.
THE END OF THE LINE
Stanton Gray was
the final curate (1895-97) and left, explained Turner, because of the reduction of
clerical staff to normal limits. Ironically
in view of the
first vicar's ardent teetotalism, Gray's family were major brewers,
maltsters and corn merchants in Essex. In 1828 his grandfather had
founded a brewery
in Springfield Road, Chelmsford [left] - eventually
sold in 1974 to
cover death duties, and the site redeveloped. His father had acquired
another family brewery in Halstead, where the family lived at The Red
House, but sold it in 1876 to Thomas Francis Adams and retired, with
his wife and five children, to Hastings at the age of 40. There, in
1886, aged 22, Charles Stanton Gray junior set up business briefly as a
photographer, at St Andrew's Studio, 104 Queen's Road and then at 25
White Rock (on the seafront) - carte de visite right.
He then studied at Emmanuel College Cambridge and was ordained in 1888,
serving curacies at Kingston-on-Thames, Acton and St Barnabas
Kensington before coming to St Matthew's; a variety of further curacies
followed at Esher, Gedling, St John's Drury Lane and back in Kingston
before he became incumbent of Hasleton (with Long Melton and
Yanworth) in rural
Gloucestershire - a Lord Chancellor parish with a population of 190. He
retired to Bournemouth and died in 1938, aged 73, leaving a
to his college, Emmanuel Cambridge, for those intending to seek
ordination (now used to help fund research students).
In 1937 the officials of the boys' club asked the
Ecclesiastical Commissioners if they might buy the building. The
Commissioners were surprised to hear that it was still standing as the
Order for closure specified that it should have been demolished. The
club was ejected, and the building duly pulled down! The site was sold
for £400 which was given, after the War, to the building fund
St Mark’s South Ruislip.
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