Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Church Buildings in England before Christopher Wren

Henry VIII, House of Tudor: r. 1509-1547

St. Michael le Belfrey, York

St. Michael le Belfrey, York. 1525-1537.    Wiki | Commons | Historic England | Express | Site


Old St. Cuthbert’s, Oborne, Dorset

Old St. Cuthbert’s, Oborne, Dorset. 1533. Photo © Martin Richter (2012).    Britain Express | Historic England | Dorset Camera | Wiki

Visit Churches:

Only the chancel survives of the 1533 church, which must have been one of the last to be built before the Reformation. Interesting inscriptions over the east and north windows testify to its origins. Inside are medieval slip tiles and seventeenth century communion rails, pulpit and monuments; the pillar piscina comes from the redundant church at North Wootton. There are seventeenth-century monuments in the churchyard.


St. George’s, Esher, Surrey

St. George’s, Esher, Surrey, 1540.    Astoft | Visit Churches

Britain Express:

A rare Tudor church, built at the height of the Reformation in 1540, on the site of an early medieval church. In 1725 the south transept was added to form a family pew for the Duke of Newcastle, then resident at the Claremont estate nearby. The designer of this addition was John Vanbrugh, the Baroque architect responsible for Castle Howard and Blenheim Palace. The pew is quite extraordinary, with neo-classical Corinthian columns and a finely carved pediment. The church itself is very simple, composed of a small nave, and an even smaller chancel, with a wooden bell turret at the west end, and the large south chapel. The interior furnishings are primarily Georgian, with an early Victorian west gallery. One of the most obvious internal features is the wooden pulpit, which rises in three tiers.


A rare example of an English church built during the Reformation, the present building was built about 1540 of a jumbled assortment of chequered sandstone, clunch, undressed flint and brick, and roofed with both stone and clay tiles, with a small oaken timber bell- or clock-turret with pyramid spire. Inside, the Tudor open roof remains, with timber tie and collar beams; referring to its vernacular construction, Simon Jenkins says: “. . . St. George’s cannot decide whether it is a barn masquerading as a chapel, or a chapel masquerading as a barn.” The wooden clock-turret houses the original clock mechanism from the early 17th century, the face and hour hand being added in 1783. Various additions made in the 18th and early 19th centuries include the three-decker pulpit and reredos of 1722 with fine carving, the Newcastle Pew (1725-26), and the brick north aisle with crenellated gables (1812).

In 1725–26 a brick extension, with a slate roof and its own entrance, was added to the south side of the church. The extension contains a remarkable family chamber pew built to Sir John Vanbrugh’s design for the 1st Duke of Newcastle, who had purchased Vanbrugh’s nearby country house, Claremont, and therefore worshipped at St. George’s, as did Newcastle’s brother, Henry Pelham of Esher Place. Connected to the body of the church through a bay in the south wall, the pew has a temple front of eight Corinthian columns and pilasters surmounted by a pediment of pine. The Georgian interior of the pew was later divided into two sets of three boxes, the inhabitants of Claremont sitting on the right, and those of Esher Place on the left, each with their own fireplace.[2] Vanbrugh also replaced the Tudor windows of the church with those of Georgian style: the only remaining stained glass window was removed to the Great Hall of Wadham College, Oxford. George II’s royal coat of arms hangs from the chancel beam.

St. Mary Magdalene, Sandringham

St. Mary Magdalene, Sandringham Estate, Norfolk. “16th century.”   Norfolk ChurchesHistoric England | Sandringham Estate


a small building in the Perpendicular style, “nobly lying on raised ground”. The current building dates to the 16th century and was restored by S. S. Teulon in 1855 and Arthur Blomfield in 1890. It is considered to be a noteworthy example of a carrstone building.


the tower of St. Mary Mortlake, 1543


Edward VI, r. 1547-1553

the pulpit of St. Mary’s Beverston

“from the time of Edward VI” [1547-1553]


Mary I, r. 1553-1558

Old St. Leonard’s, Langho, Lancashire

Old St. Leonard’s, Langho, 1557.   Historic England | Britain Express

Visit Churches:

The Old Church at Langho was completed in 1557. It is a rarity, for few churches were built in the reign of Mary I (1516-1558). Much of the stonework, including carvings, windows, plinths, piscina and credence, is of high quality and almost certainly came from the recently dissolved Whalley Abbey nearby, as did the main roof timbers and fragmentary Medieval glass in the chancel. The set of late seventeenth-century bench ends, with carved dates and initials is exceptional.


The church was built in 1557, soon after the Reformation, at a time when few new churches were being built. It is thought that much of the stonework and some of the fittings came from nearby Whalley Abbey following the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The church was restored in 1879, when a vestry was added. St Leonard’s is constructed in sandstone with a stone slate roof. Its plan is simple, consisting of a nave with a continuous chancel, a north vestry and a south porch. On the gable at the west end is a bell cote and on the east gable is a cross. The west window has four lights with Perpendicular tracery. In the north and south walls are two three-light windows, and the east window, which dates from the 19th century, also has three lights.


Elizabeth I r. 1558-1603

Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge, 1554-1567

Church of St. Wilfrid, Standish, 1582-1584

Culpepers Monument, 1599-1608


James I, House of Stuart r. 1603-1625

Oxhey Chapel, Oxhey, Hertfordshire

Oxhey Chapel, Oxhey, Hertfordshire. Photo © John Salmon.   Hertfordshire Churches | Zoothorn | Our Oxhey | Llinos Thomas

Visit Churches:

Oxhey Chapel was built on an early monastic site in 1612 by Sir James Altham as the chapel to his new home, Oxhey Place….Its superb font, reredos, west doorway, roof, communion rails, chancel paving and the Altham monument are all from the seventeenth century. The seating arrangement and other furnishings date from a restoration in 1897, but complement the earlier work, maintaining its Jacobean atmosphere.


Charles I r. 1625-1649

George Herbert’s reconstruction of St. Mary’s Leighton Bromswold, 1626 | Wikipedia


Peterhouse Chapel, Cambridge

Peterhouse Chapel, Cambridge, 1628-33. Photo © Mark Kirby.

Ecclesiastical Society:

The chapel at Peterhouse, Cambridge was built and furnished by successive Masters of the college, Matthew Wren and John Cosin and was consecrated in 1633. Both were supporters of Archbishop William Laud and his Beauty of Holiness movement and the chapel was intended to be an exemplar of Laudian best practice. The identity of the architect is still debated….

Internally, the original canopied stalls against the walls are still in place, though additional choir seating in front of these has narrowed what was originally a wide aisle. There is the usual Laudian emphasis on the sanctity of the sanctuary, which is raised on steps and paved with black and white marble square slabs.

Unsurprisingly, the chapel and its style of worship attracted the attention of the Parliamentary iconoclast William Dowsing, who made it the first place he visited on his inspection of Cambridge in 1643. He took down the statues of the four evangelists and St Peter from the external niches and, inside, the winged cherub-heads which were in each of the panels in the ceiling, surrounded by a Glory. The fellows of the college had already removed and hidden the magnificent east window, a representation of Rubens’ Le Coup de Lance and they re-instated it after the Restoration.


The Chapel was built in 1628 when the Master of the time Matthew Wren (Christopher Wren’s uncle) demolished the college’s original hostels. Previously the college had employed the adjacent Church of St Mary the Less as its chapel. The Chapel was consecrated on 17 March 1632 by Dr Francis White, Bishop of Ely. The building’s style reflects the contemporary religious trend towards Arminianism. The Laudian Gothic style of the Chapel mixes Renaissance details but incorporated them into a traditional Gothic building. The Chapel’s Renaissance architecture contains a Pietà altarpiece and a striking ceiling of golden suns. Its placement in the centre of one side of a court, between open colonnades is unusual, being copied for a single other college (Emmanuel) by Christopher Wren. The original stained glass was destroyed by Parliamentarians in 1643, with only the east window’s crucifixion scene (based on Rubens’s Le Coup de Lance) surviving.


St. Katharine Cree, Aldgate, City of London

St. Katharine Cree, Aldgate, City of London, 1628-30.     Photo © David Iliff       Exterior | Interior


The present church was built in 1628–30, retaining the Tudor tower of its predecessor. It is larger than the previous church, incorporating a piece of ground previously occupied by a cloister on the north side, and the floor level is considerably higher. The rebuilt church was consecrated by William Laud, Bishop of London on 31 January 1631. His vestments and the form of service that he used for the consecration were later held against him in his trial and conviction for heresy, when Puritans accused him of having displayed Catholic sympathies through his “bowings and cringings.” He is commemorated by a chapel in the church.

St Katharine Cree is a significant church of the Jacobean period, a time when few new churches were built. It is the only Jacobean church to have survived in London. The identity of its architect is unknown. It has a high nave, linked with the narrow aisles by arcades supported on Corinthian columns.

The chancel has a rose window, reputedly modelled on the much larger one in Old St Paul’s Cathedral (destroyed in the Great Fire). The window and its stained glass are original, dating from 1630. The baptismal font dates from around 1640. The vaulted ceiling bears bosses of the arms of the City’s livery companies; this dates mostly from the restoration of 1962.


St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, London

Photo © Stephen Richards    Exterior | Interior

Survey of London 1970, in British History Online


Completed in 1633, St Paul’s was the first entirely new church to be built in London since the Reformation. Its design and the layout of the square have been attributed to Inigo Jones since the 17th century, although firm documentary evidence is lacking. According to an often repeated story, recorded by Horace Walpole, Lord Bedford asked Jones to design a simple church “not much better than a barn”, to which the architect replied “Then you shall have the handsomest barn in England”.

The building is described by Sir John Summerson as “a study in the strictly Vitruvian Tuscan Order” and “almost an archaeological exercise”. The description of a Tuscan or Etruscan-style temple by Vitruvius, which Jones closely follows in this building, reflects the early forms of Roman temple, which essentially continued Etruscan architecture, though quite what Vitruvius intended by his account has divided modern scholars. It has been seen as a work of deliberate primitivism: the Tuscan order is associated by Palladio with agricultural buildings.

In 1630, the 4th Earl of Bedford was given permission to demolish buildings on an area of land he owned north of the Strand, and redevelop it. The result was the Covent Garden Piazza, the first formal square in London. The new buildings were classical in character. At the west end was a church, linked to two identical houses. The south side was left open.

Work on the church was completed in 1633, at a cost to the Bedford estate of £4,886, but it was not consecrated until 1638 due to a dispute between the earl and the vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields. It remained a chapel within the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields until 1645, when Covent Garden was made a separate parish and the church dedicated to St. Paul.

The east end, facing the piazza, is faced in stone, with a massive portico, its boldly-projecting pediment supported by two columns and two piers. There were originally three doorways behind the portico; the middle one, which survives, was built as a false door as the interior wall behind it is occupied by the altar. The other two were blocked up in the 19th century, when the chancel floor was raised. The main entrance to the church is through the plainer west front, which has a pediment, but no portico. William Prynne, writing in 1638 said that it was originally intended to have the altar at the west end, but pressure from the church hierarchy led to the imposition of the traditional orientation.

There were originally six or seven steps leading up to the portico, but these disappeared as the level of the Piazza was raised gradually over the years.

The interior is a single space, undivided by piers or columns. The eastern third was originally marked out as a chancel by means of the floor being raised by one step.


St. John the Evangelist, Leeds

St. John the Evangelist, Leeds, 1632-34.   Photo © Mtaylor848    Wikipedia | Exterior | Interior

Visit Churches:

St John’s is the oldest church in Leeds city centre. It was built in 1632-34, a turbulent time in England when very few new churches were constructed. The glory of the church lies in its magnificent Jacobean (Carolean) fittings, particularly the superb carved wooden screen. Every part of the screen is richly decorated with flowers (including tulips), hearts, twisting vines, and grotesque heads of humans and animals.There is more lovely carving on the wall panels, pews and pulpit. Brightly painted angels play instruments in the roof and look down on wonderful carved pews below.

The church building was entirely funded by wealthy merchant and Royalist John Harrison who also paid for the grammar school and almshouses nearby. Harrison”s benevolent spirit still pervades the church – he is buried near the altar, and a series of stained-glass windows depicts his good works. One of the windows shows an apocryphal tale in which Harrison presents King Charles, imprisoned in Leeds, with a tankard of gold coins disguised as a draught of ale.

Above the original communion table – decorated with carved heads said to resemble Charles I – the reredos at St John’s contain mosaics from the 1860s by Salviati, in an 1880s setting by Temple Moore.

The screen at St John’s is a marvellous example of 17th century craftsmanship with its finely carved griffins, hearts, flowers and carved grotesque heads. It is surmounted by two coats of arms, above the north aisle (pictured) is the coat of arms of James I and to the south, Charles I.

The fine Carolian strap-work ceiling at St John’s contains panels with flowers, birds and male dryads playing pipes. The decoration is domestic in nature and illustrates the type of ornate plasterwork that would have graced the ceilings in wealthy merchants’ principal rooms.

Britain Express:

A rare Jacobean town church, built between 1632 and 1634, St John’s is the oldest church still standing in central Leeds. It is rare to find any churches built during the immediate pre-Civil War era. The entire cost of the church was financed by John Harrison, a local wool merchant. Harrison was also responsible for founding almshouses and a grammar school in the area. Harrison’s wealth provided his new church with superb interior furnishings including an exquisitely carved and painted wooden screen. The decoration of the screen is exceptional and includes floral designs, human heads, hearts, animals, and grotesque likenesses.

There are further exceptional carving decorating the pews, pulpit, and wall panelling. The ceiling has lovely decorative plasterwork, and there are beautifully carved corbels depicting angels playing musical instruments, among other themes. The stained glass is not original; much of it dates to the Victorian period. One window is commemorated to Harrison and shows him directing the construction of the church. The church is full of monuments to prominent local citizens. The church was sensitively restored in the 19th century by Norman Shaw.


1649-53 Interregnum

Holy Trinity, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumbria, 1652 | Wikipedia

St. Matthias Old Church, Poplar, London

St. Matthias Old Church, 1652-54. Poplar, London

Survey of London, British History

The Church of St Matthias was built in 1652–4 as a chapel for the hamlet of Poplar and Blackwall and is the only church from the Interregnum still standing in London. It was erected in the grounds of the East India Company’s almshouse, which had been founded in 1628 in Poplar High Street. Poplar Chapel, as it was known, was closely modelled on the Broadway Chapel, Westminster (1635 8), mixing an exceptionally pure Palladian interior with an exterior which combined Gothic and Classical elements. Control of Poplar Chapel eventually passed from the hamlet to the East India Company.


St Matthias is a brick building enhanced with stone quoins at the corners. It combines Classical and Gothic elements, similar to St Katherine Cree in the City of London, consecrated in 1631. Internally, the barrel-vaulted roof is supported by eight Tuscan columns, seven of oak and one of stone. There is no evidence to support the story that they were made from ships’ masts. This gives a Dutch flavour to the architecture reminiscent of Hendrick de Keyser who built several churches in Amsterdam in the early seventeenth century.

Roger Bowdler, St. Matthias Community Centre:

Churches of the Civil War and Commonwealth period are, not surprisingly, rare. Only three surviving churches are known to have been built anew in the period 1.642-1620. One was Holy Trinity Church, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland of 1650-52, built by a London mason named John Young. The second was at Staunton Harold, Leicestershire, built by the Royalist baronet Sir Robert Shirley in 1653. The Poplar Chapel is the third.

The classical City churches of Sir Christopher Wren, built following the Great Fire of 1666, are renowned as one of the glories of English architecture. Yet little attention has been paid to their immediate predecessors. Pre-Wren churches fall into three categories. Some are still in the Gothic tradition, and rely on medieval precedents: Staunton Harold belongs to this type.

Others (and they were very few indeed) were wholly classical, relying upon Palladio and other commentators on the Antique: Inigo Jones’s the Queen’s Chapel at St James’s Palace of 1623-27 and his St Paul’s Covent Garden, completed in 1631, represent this type.

Such churches sought to return to the architectural purity thought to have been associated with early Christianity. The third, and by far the largest, category is that of mixed Classical and Gothic. The best known example of this type is the City church of St Katherine Cree which was consecrated in 1631, and it is to this type that the Poplar Chapel belonged, for this too combined classical columns with Gothic traceried windows.

London’s closest artistic links with the continent during the mid-i 7th century were with Holland and there is an undeniably Dutch flavour to the interior of the Poplar Chapel. The most important early 17th century Dutch architect was Hendrick de Keyser (d.162i) and the influence of his Amsterdam churches can be felt within St Matthias, with their central planning, Tuscan arcades and barrel-vaulted roofs. These had been illustrated in a posthumous collection of his designs entitled Architectura Moderna (1631) which was much used by London artisans. The Poplar Chapel, like the Broadway Chapel before it, combined the pure classicism of Inigo Jones with the adapted classicism of Dutch architecture to produce a transitional sort of church that both looked back to the medieval Gothic tradition, and forward to the accomplishment of Wren’s City churches.


Commonwealth: Oliver Cromwell 1653-58, Richard Cromwell 1659

Chapel of the Holy Trinity, Staunton Harold, Leicestershire

Chapel of the Holy Trinity, Staunton Harold, Leicestershire, 1653-65.   Leicestershire Churches    Wikipedia   Photo

National Trust:

Sir Robert Shirley was a Royalist conspirator during the Civil War, and believed that the Anglican Church and the monarchy were inseparable. Building the Chapel of the Holy Trinity at Staunton Harold was as much a statement of Shirley’s political beliefs, as it was a place of worship.

Following Archbishop Laud’s ideas closely, Shirley started to build a church that was imposing and grand. Inside, you’ll see carved wood panelling, a mural on the ceiling depicting the creation of the world, and a communion table with an altar front. This building was a symbol of rebellion, and is thought to be one of the reasons Shirley was imprisoned.

Upon hearing about the lavish church being erected by Sir Robert Shirley, Oliver Cromwell demanded that he contribute to the costs of a new ship for the Navy. Shirley was determined to uphold his faith and refused Cromwell’s demand. He was later imprisoned in The Tower of London, where he died at the age of 27.

Although he died before his church was finished, Shirley left detailed instructions in his will for the furnishing of the interior, which was overseen by his wife. After the Restoration of the Monarchy, the church was completed in 1665 by Richard Shepard, for Robert’s young heir.

Historic England:

Chapel, unique as a complete survival of a church built during the commonwealth. Inscription over west doors reads “In the year 1653 when all things sacred were throughout ye nation either demolisht or profaned Sir Robert Shirley Baronet, founded this church, whose singular praise it is to have done ye best things in ye worst times and hoped them in the most calamitous. The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance.” Begun in 1653, the church and its furnishings were – not completed until 1665. In a gothic style, but a highly wrought and careful gothic, the parts, west tower, short nave of 3 bays with clerestory and aisles, and chancel, very sharply articulated. Tower has paired bell openings with Y-tracery, battlements and pinnacles with windvanes. Body of church has embattled parapets with crocketted pinnacles over buttresses. Flat-headed traceried lights to clerestory. Other windows in an early decorated style.

Elaborate baroque west doorway with paired tapering pilasters, swags, mannerist angels, and Shirley arms and inscription plate above. Interior has gothic-style architecture but fittings are all in Jacobean character. Original west door, ornate west screen with pierced central archway and side arches, pierced leaf scroll frieze above and panelled base. Above this, the organ loft incorporating Shirley arms in broken segmental pediment.Schmidt organ, case of 1686. Box pews, wall panelling and casing for piers. Plain panels to nave, more ornate in chancel. 2-decker pulpit, chancel screen, wrought iron, by Robert Bakewell, 1711, 4 hatchments over. Ceiling painted throughout, a curious depiction of clouds and elements – the creation out of chaos, signed by Samuel and Zachary Kink, and dated 1655. Communion table also original c. 1660-65.

Britain Express:

The interior features remarkably complete 17th-century fittings, including pews, a west gallery, an organ, pulpit, painted ceilings, and the original pew cushions. The church, otherwise known as the Chapel of the Holy Trinity, consists of a nave with clerestory, twin aisles, and a west tower that rises in four stages. The richly coloured Victorian stained glass is just about the only part of Staunton Harold church not dating to the 17th century!


Ninekirks [St. Ninian’s], Brougham, Cumbria

Ninekirks [St. Ninian’s], Brougham, Cumbria, 1658-60.    Wikipedia
Great English Churches:

Anne Clifford, once she had sorted out her long-running inheritance saga in 1643, threw herself into reinvigorating the family estates with some vigour. The rebuilding of Ninekirks happened in 1660 and Lady Anne’s initials are set into the plasterwork above the east gable of the church. It is no exaggeration to say that you could add an appropriately-dressed congregation and transport yourself back 450 years, such is the unchanged nature of the church.

There is no chancel arch or aisles here: this is an austere single-cell church with only token separation between congregation and clergy reflecting the Puritan philosophy of the Cromwellian period although there was originally a door across the centre of the screen at one time. Oliver had, in fact, died in 1658 to be succeeded by his son, Richard, who was quickly removed by the leaders of the New Model Army and 1660 saw not only the rebuilding of Ninekirks church but also the return to England of the King-in-Waiting Charles II. It is not an architectural gem but a fascinating time-warp building best described via the photographs.

This is a church dominated by the wooden fittings, particularly the pews and benches. The box pews for the gentry on the north side. The oak altar table really couldn’t be much simpler! The pre-Reformation altar slab sits on the floor beneath.

Many churches have a hatchment or two – but Ninekirks has three. Hatchments were an odd tradition dating from C17. The arms of the dead man or woman would be hung usually at second floor level of the deceased’s house before being moved to the family chapel or the local church. All of these examples are, needless to say, of the Brougham family.

Visit Churches:

The original Norman church was completely rebuilt in the seventeenth century by Lady Anne Clifford, who inherited Brougham Castle. Her restoration work is recorded in the plasterwork above the altar, in a wreath with her initials AP (Anne Pembroke the Earl of Pembroke was her second husband) with the date 1660. The building is almost unaltered since, and its simplicity, combined with excellent workmanship, make it both enchanting and memorable.

The interior is whitewashed, with clear glass in the windows and a stone flagged floor. The fine oak fittings include box pews, and family pews with canopies, an elegant screen, and a three-decker pulpit.


Guyhirn Chapel, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire

Guyhirn inside 3
Guyhirn Chapel, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, 1660.   Britain Express |  Wikipedia      Photo Andrew J. Brown

Tucked away at the end of this little fenland village is a small chapel, built in 1660: the last year of the protectorate. It is very rare to find any ecclesiastical buildings built between 1649 and 1660 in England, and as far as I know this is the only such in Cambridgeshire.

Piecing together the history, it was probably a Nonconformist chapel of some persuasion to start with, but was annexed, following the 1662 Act of Uniformity, to be a chapel of ease for Wisbech St Mary, so to save the parishioners the nuisance of having to travel miles across the fends to get to church

It is a tiny building: a single small room, built of brick and stone. There are elegant four-light mullioned windows, and the only external elaboration is a little wooden bell-cage at the top of the west wall. It sits in a large yard on the edge of the fields, overlooked by some lovely big trees.

The Trust’s churches are normally austere places, devoid of much save stone, wood and clear light, but that is often a rather artificial appearance, due to previous lack of care or preservation. Here, it is original: this was a bare preaching house, and (save for the peach-coloured paint on the walls, which I doubt is authentic) it remains unchanged.

There is a low false roof over the room – no decorative rafters or beams here – and the east end is dominated by the high Jacobean pulpit in the north-east corner.

Best of all are the benches. They are made of oak so old that it has become like driftwood: soft-edged, deep-grained and silvery. They are placed very close together so that people couldn’t kneel (a Papish custom, you see).

It was a quiet and surprisingly warm place. We’d spent our day in the fens visiting a lot of rather grim Victorian churches, or medieval structures neglected or desecrated by later generations. This was a welcome breath of light and serenity.

I even felt well-disposed enough to copy down a poem that John Betjeman wrote while he was President of the Friends of Guyhirn Chapel of Ease:

In brick and stone and glass and wood
Three centuries has this beacon stood
“Puritan relic of the past”
Built to shine and built to last
Long on its one East Anglian level
It praises God and shames the devil.

Visit Churches:

Designed in 1660 for Puritan worship and virtually unchanged, this little Chapel of Ease is simplicity itself. When Cromwell’s Commonwealth ended and the monarchy was restored, neither the returning Stuarts nor the restoring Victorians altered its simple and austere appearance. Built from brick and stone, the chapel has plain glass windows and its original narrow pews (deliberately unsuited to kneeling). The churchyard is spacious and beautiful.

Church Geekery:

And what a lovely space. The chapel is small, but has the original benches – placed close together to discourage ‘popish’ kneeling. The interior is whitewashed and the clear glass makes for a light interior.  I think my favourite part of the fittings were in fact the hat pegs. If you’re a Puritan, you need somewhere to hang your enormous hat (think the man on the Quaker oats packet).


Restoration: Charles II, House of Stuart r. 1660-85

King Charles the Martyr, Falmouth, Cornwall



Architecture: General

General bibliography here

  • Andrew Landale Dummond, The Church Architecture of Protestantism: An Historical and Constructive Study. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1934.
  • Stanford E. Lehmberg, The Reformation of Cathedrals: Cathedrals in English Society 1485-1603. Princeton UP, 1988.
  • Jeanne Halgren Kilde, Sacred Power, Sacred Space: An Introduction to Christian Architecture and Worship. Oxford UP, 2008.
  • Emma Rhatigan, “Preaching Venues: Architecture and Auditories.” Chapter 6 in Peter McCullough, Hugh Adlington and Rhatigan, eds., Oxford Handbook of the Early Modern Sermon. Oxford UP, 2011, pp. 87-118.
  • Kevin Seasoltz. A Sense of the Sacred: Theological Foundations of Christian Architecture and Art. New York: Continuum, 2005.
  • James F. White, Protestant Worship and Church Architecture: Theological and Historical Considerations. Oxford UP, 1964.
  • Nigel Yates, Buildings, Faith and Worship: The Liturgical Arrangement of Anglican Churches 1600-1900. Oxford UP, 2006.

Architecture: 17th Century

  • A. Beddard, “Wren’s Mausoleum for Charles I and the Cult of the Royal Martyr.” Architectural History 27 (1984): 36-49. JSTOR.
  • Pierre de la Ruffinière Du Prey, Hawksmoor’s London Churches: Architecture and Theology. University of Chicago Press, 2000.
  • Peter Doll, “The Architectural Expression of Primitive Christianity: William Beveridge and the Temple of Solomon.” Reformation and Renaissance Review 13:2 (2011): 275-306.
  • Louise Durning and Clare Tilbury.” ‘Looking unto Jesus’ Image and Belief in a Seventeenth-Century English Chancel.” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 60 (2009): 490-513.
  • Kenneth Fincham. “‘According to Ancient Custom’: The Return of Altars in the Restoration Church of England.” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 13 (2003): 29-54. JSTOR.
  • ——— and Nicholas Tyacke. Altars Restored: The Changing Face of English Religious Worship, 1547-c. 1700. Oxford UP, 2007.
  • Anthony Garvan. “The Protestant Plain Style before 1630.” JSAH 9:3 (Oct. 1950): 5-13. Online at
  • ———. “The New England Plain Style.” Studies in Society and History 3:1 (Oct. 1960): 106-122. JSTOR.
  • Peter Guillery, “Suburban Models, or Calvinism and Continuity in London’s Seventeenth-Century Church Architecture.” Architectural History 48 (2005): 69-106. JSTOR.
  • Christopher Marsh, “Sacred Space in England, 1560-1640: The View from the Pew.” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 53:2 (April 2002): 286-311.
  • F. Merritt. “Puritans, Laudians, and the Phenomenon of Church-Building in Jacobean London.” The Historical Journal 41:4 (Dec. 1998): 935-960. JSTOR.
  • Graham Parry. Glory, Laud and Honour: The Arts of the Anglican Counter-Reformation. Boydell Press, 2008.
  • Eduard F. Sekler, Wren and His Place in European Architecture. New York: Macmillan, 1956.
  • David H. Smart, “Christopher Wren and the Architectural Context of Anglican Liturgy.” Anglican Theological Review 77:3 (Summer 1995): 290-306.
  • Andrew Spicer, “’Laudianism’ in Scotland? St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, 1633-39: A Reappraisal.” Architectural History 46 (2003): 95-108. JSTOR.
  • ———. Calvinist Churches in Early Modern Europe. Manchester UP, 2007.
  • ———. Parish Churches in the Early Modern World. Routledge, 2016.
  • Marcus Whiffen, Stuart and Georgian Churches: The Architecutre of the Church of England Outside London, 1603-1837. B. T. Batsford, 1958. Google Books.

Architecture: 18th Century

  • Jason R. Ali and Peter Cunich. “The Church East and West: Orienting the Queen Anne Churches, 1711-34.” JSAH 64:1 (Mar. 2005): 56-73. Online at
  • Philip Aspin. “‘Our Ancient Architecture’: Contesting Cathedrals in Late Georgian England.” Architectural History 54 (2011): 213-232. Online at
  • Clarke, Basil Fulford Lowther. The Building of the Eighteenth-Century Church. London: SPCK, 1963.
  • Terry Friedman, “Baroque into Palladian: The Designing of St Giles-in-the-Fields.” Architectural History 40 (1997): 115-143. JSTOR.
  • ———. “The Church of St. Peter-Le-Poer Reconsidered.” Architectural History 43 (2000): 162-171.
  • ———. The Eighteenth-Century Church in Britain. Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. New Haven: Yale UP, 2011.
  • Richard Johns, “‘An Air of Grandeur & Modesty’: James Thornhill’s Painting in the Dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 42:4 (Summer 2009): 501-527. JSTOR.
  • Carl Lounsbury. “Anglican Church Design in the Chesapeake: English Inheritances and Regional Interpretations.” Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture 9 (2003): 22-38.
  • Louis P. Nelson. “Anglican Church Building and Local Context in Early Jamaica.” Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture 10 (2005): 63-79. JSTOR.
  • ———. The Beauty of Holiness: Anglicanism and Architecture in Colonial South Carolina. UNC Press, 2009.
  • Damie Stillman, “Church Architecture in Neo-Classical England.” JSAH 38:2 (May 1979): 103-119. Online at
  • Dell Upton, “Anglican Parish Churches in Eighteenth-Century Virginia.” Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture 2 (1986): 90-101. JSTOR.
  • ———. Holy Things and Profane: Anglican Parish Churches in Colonial Virginia. Yale UP, 1997.
  • Christopher Wakeling. “‘A Room Nearly Semi-Circular’: Aspects of the Theatre and the Church from Harrison to Pugin.” Architectural History 44 (2001): 265-274.

1 Comment

  1. Owthorpe in Notts is an interesting example of a church almost entirely dating from the interregnum, built by parliamentarian Col Hutchinson, in a modest, almost domestic style expressing a religiously ‘independent’ aesthetic


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s