Description: Church of St John the Baptist (Greek Orthodox)
Date Listed: 10 May 1974
English Heritage Building ID: 201507
OS Grid Reference: TQ3119889208
OS Grid Coordinates: 531198, 189208
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5865, -0.1077
800/24/267 WIGHTMAN ROAD N8
CHURCH OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST (GREEK ORTHODOX)
(FORMERLY CHURCH OF ST PETER)
(Formerly listed as:
WIGHTMAN ROAD N8
PARISH CHURCH OF ST PETER)
Designed 1896-8 by Brooks (James 1825-1901) and Son (James M 1852 or 53-1903), chancel and transepts added by Brooks, Son and Godsell (George Herbert).
Red brick with stone dressings, those at ground level painted. Tiled roofs. Interior formerly exposed brick, plastered and painted since 1987. Timber barrel vault.
5-bay aisled nave, chancel with N chapel, S organ chamber and SE vestries.
Lower pent roofed W porch across width of nave and aisles, with two west doors opening into W end of nave and two into west ends of aisles.
A plain exterior that belies the richness of the interior. Red brick with stone dressings in an Arts and Crafts Gothic style, but with symmetrical detailing giving it a strongly regular rhythm. Nave and chancel distinguished only by the buttressed E gable of the nave slightly breaking the roof line. Clerestory of pairs of square-headed windows with twin lights except for chancel S side, where they are larger and have transoms. Aisles with buttresses and large, 4-light windows with dropped tracery under hood moulds with head stops. S transept has transverse gable with parapet. E window with 7 lights with transoms and panelled tracery, W window with 4 lights and bands of dropped tracery. Twin W towers of two stages with a further polygonal stage topped by too-small slated spires, the latter giving the façade a somewhat unfinished look even though they were built as intended. The church forms a group with the adjacent red brick vicarage, also designed by Brooks (1899-1900) and there is an undistinguished stock brick church hall to the east.
Noted for its brilliantly coloured wall paintings (begun in 1987) and rich furnishings that entirely compliments the relatively austere architecture of Brooks¿s design. Spacious and lofty interior, originally exposed brick, plastered c. 1987 to allow for painting. Wide 5-bay aisles continuing into a two bay N chancel arcade and a single arched entrance into the transept on the S. Timber barrel vault with trusses on short, corbelled posts. The nave arcades have moulded arches without capitals on polygonal piers, the chancel arcades are similar, but are enriched with fleurons, now gilded. West end with a narthex to allow 4 entrance doors, two into the west ends of the aisles, two into the nave. Chancel arch very high and wide on a single, slender detached shafts, now gilded. Painted details have been used to create additional architectural articulation, including a string course below the clerestory.
Wall paintings on virtually every surface of the church by Eleftherios Foulides (b. 1948), a well known Greek icon painter. Begun in 1987 and nearly complete in 2009. Monumental figures in a traditional Orthodox style and a bright pastel palate with considerable use of gilding. Virtually all the C19 and early C20 fittings are also retained. Font with foiled arches on stiff leaf capitals in Westminster abbey style, painted by Foulides. Pulpit with late Arts and Crafts tracery panels, also painted by Foulides. Timber screen to N chapel with Arts and Crafts Gothic tracery, each panel different. Sedilia with 3 seats under arched, cinque-foiled ogee heads in chancel, now in Holy of Holies behind iconstasis. Stained glass; N chapel NE window, a crucifixion in 3 lights with the figures on rich foliage backgrounds as a memorial to George Gunnell, killed at Ypres, 1918. Pews simple late C19 wooden benches with shaped ends. Marble floor part of the Greek Orthodox refitting. Iconstasis, enormous gilt chandeliers and many other furnishings imported from Greece.
Built in 1896-8 to designs by Brooks and Son, chancel and transepts added 1903-5 by Brooks, Son and Godsell. James Brooks and his son, also James, were prolific and successful church architects, highly regarded today, who specialised in dignified and capacious buildings on a modest budget. The church replaced an iron mission church of 1884 that served as a chapel of ease to the parish church of Hornsey. It was funded through the ICBS and the sale of seats. Although it had a good congregation in the early C20, with the extensions of 1903-5 providing sittings for over 1,000, it was damaged in the war and fell into disrepair. The congregation was merged with Christ Church, West Green, Tottenham in 1977, and the church was made redundant in 1978 It was taken over by the Greek Orthodox community in 1983, serving, among others, the large, local Cypriot community. It was repaired, and refurnished to suit the new style of worship, including plastering the walls to allow for painting. In 2009 it again has regular Sunday congregations of 1,000 with up to 1,500 on feast days.
Lambeth Palace Library, Incorporated Church Building Society Files 9922, 10469, 11749
Baker, T F T and Pugh, R B eds. Victoria County History: A History of the County of Middlesex, V (1976), 172-82.
Pevsner, N and Cherry, B. The Buildings of England, London 4: North (1999), 553.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
St John the Baptist Church (formerly Church of St Peter), Wightman Road, Hornsey, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Designed in a successful Arts and Crafts Gothic style by a highly regarded ecclesiastical architecture practice.
* A very characteristic late design by Brooks and Son, endowed with an extra level of special interest on account of its modern Greek Orthodox decorative scheme, which is truly remarkable in the national context.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.