Church of St Hilda, Crofton Park, Lewisham
Description: Church of St Hilda, Crofton Park
Date Listed: 12 March 1973
English Heritage Building ID: 203411
OS Grid Reference: TQ3631174436
OS Grid Coordinates: 536311, 174436
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4525, -0.0396
Location: Courtrai Road, Lewisham, Greater London SE23 1PL
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779/17/279 BROCKLEY ROAD
17-DEC-09 (West side)
Church of St Hilda, Crofton Park
(Formerly listed as:
STONDON PARK SE23
CHURCH OF ST HILDA)
Parish church, 1905-08 by FH Greenaway and JE Newberry in Arts and Crafts Gothic manner.
MATERIALS: Brown Crowborough brick with Chilmark stone dressings. Welsh slate roofs. Interior originally of exposed yellow washed brick with Corsham Bathstone dressings, but has been painted, probably over limewash.
PLAN: A five-bay nave with broad aisles leads to a long chancel in High Church manner. A shallow north transept (Lady Chapel) opens onto the chancel, and a large south tower is in the position of an intended south transept. Southwest gabled porch occupying a full bay. Crypt beneath chancel.
EXTERIOR: A monumental east end and tower set on the corner of the site overlooks Brockley Road. The robust square tower with polygonal battered buttress turrets has an octagonal base to an intended turret or spire, with flush chequerwork brick and limestone panels and horizontal stone bands. The south face has three ground floor windows under recessed brick arches, between brick buttress shafts but linked by a deep stone cill. The lower stage is enriched by flush stone bands. Above is a tall tripartite window. The bell chamber has narrow louvred lights with traceried heads. The east end has battered angle buttresses linked at the head to the main building by a stone saddle. A shallow east window is set high on the elevation between tall, facetted shafts which run the full height of the building. Above it is a carved stone niche containing the figure of St Hilda, by Albert H Hodge, under a gable cross. To each side, and set below the level of the east window, are narrow lancets under ogee stone heads with tall finials. The nave is strongly horizontal, under deep swept eaves without a clerestorey, which brings the roofline in scale with the neighbouring houses. Three triangular louvred roof lights are set at the junction of the nave and aisles. The nave is in five bays, with large windows each under a broad semicircular brick arch with a narrow tile hood. Each has five lights of panel tracery, in an early C20 interpretation of a traditional form, with blind panels to each side, and all have a continuous stone cill. They are set between battered brick buttresses with stone dressings at cill level. Under the easternmost window on the south side is an entrance set back under a shallow stone arch. The westernmost bay is filled by a buttressed gabled porch with a pair of doors on the east side, and a window of similar profile to the nave windows on the south and west. In contrast with the tall, enriched east face, the west elevation is relatively sparse with brick battered buttresses with minimal stone dressings. The west window has panel tracery under a slightly pointed arch. Aisle windows are shallow under broad semicircular arches and similar to the nave windows. Rainwater heads are dated 1908.
INTERIOR: The nave arcade has tall simple octagonal arches with chamfers which die into the piers, between narrow shafts which rise to the wall plate. Aisles are wide and lead to the north transept and base of the tower to the south. The chancel arch is similarly treated and frames a wide but long chancel which was laid out in Anglo-Catholic tradition, with steps rising to the chancel and again to the sanctuary. The chancel was enclosed by low stone screens to each side which have been reduced, and the gates removed. The chancel windows are small but have long deep sloping cills, said to reduce glare from the morning sun, and allow for a tall reredos in a timber frame under a shallow canopy and faced with fabric by William Morris, some of which survives. The chancel floor is of Portland stone and green Westmorland slate; the sanctuary floor and steps of Sicilian marble and green slate. Oak choir stalls by JE Newberry have carved front panels. The pulpit also in oak is set against the north chancel arch. Aisles and the north transept have some plain dado panelling. The south wall of the nave has a cusped arcaded timber dado. The font situated at the west end is octagonal with facetted run-out shafts on a plain octagonal stepped base, and has a plain octagonal honey - coloured alabaster bowl. Nave, aisle and transept floors are of woodblock, parquet and large red tiles. The nave roof is scissor-braced with side wind - braces, aisle roofs have simple trusses, and the chancel roof is boarded with canted ribs. Internal doors are of oak, generally segmental-headed and some with small square-paned leaded glazing. Windows have square leaded lights, mostly with clear glass, and cast iron fittings. Chancel stained glass is by Henry Holliday. The organ loft is set above the south side of the chancel over a narrow ambulatory, the organ in the north transept. Fittings include oak and aluminium altar cross and candlesticks designed by Newberry, made by the Artificers' Guild. The nave is seated with chairs which were installed in 1910. The crypt, the first part of the church to be built in 1905, housed vestries and a chapel. It was refurbished in the 1970s. Apart from the porch, which retains the original brick and stone finishes, all internal brickwork and most stonework has been lime-washed (1950s) and painted (1970s). Flat-roofed offices and meeting rooms, which are removable, have been inserted into the western two bays of the aisles.
HISTORY: The church is an unusual dedication to St Hilda. It was designed by FH Greenaway and JE Newberry and built 1905-8 on a corner site adjacent to a mission church, now the church hall. The church hall was designed by Newberry in Arts and Crafts manner and built 1899-1900. An illustration from the Builder, March 1908 shows both buildings, although the design for the church tower was subsequently altered and the fleche omitted. After the offer of a generous donation, the tower was commissioned by the parish committee, but its height was determined by its position, on the footings of the already planned south transept.
St Hilda's was the first of a group of churches built by the partnership for the Diocese of Southwark and is probably the most notable church by Greenaway and Newberry, inspiring the later St Martin's, Dagenham by Newberry and Fowler of 1932. The church is an example of Arts and Crafts ideas, imposed on a Gothic form, to produce a building which is a rich synthesis of later C19 secular and church design, inspired by a wide range of architects and seminal buildings, such as the demolished St Agnes Kennington of 1874-7 by GG Scott Junior. It is considered to be one of the best Edwardian churches in London, interpreting traditional form and detail in an innovative manner.
FH Greenaway (1869-1935) was articled to Sir Aston Webb, JE Newberry (1862-1950) to Edward Hide. They went into partnership in 1904. The work of both architects reflects the rich diversity in later C19 church architecture. Other early C20 church work by Greenaway and Newberry includes the church hall at St Faith, Herne Hill, 1907, the enlargement of the medieval church of St Nicholas, Plumpstead, 1907- 08, (Grade II), All Saints Hampton, 1908 but completed later, St Peter Haydon's Road, Wimbledon, 1911-12 but incomplete, and St John the Baptist Sutton, 1915. After Greenaway retired in 1927 Newberry entered into partnership with CW Fowler and retired in 1946.
B Cherry and N Pevsner, Buildings of England, London 2: South, 1994, p414
Gavin Stamp, The church of St Hilda Crofton Park, Ecclesiology Today, July 2008, p77.
The Builder, March 28, 1908
Reasons for Designation:
The Church of St Hilda Crofton Park built 1905-8 by FH Greenaway and JE Newberry is listed for the following principal reasons:
* It is an ambitious example of an Arts and Crafts Gothic Edwardian suburban parish church.
* It is probably the most notable example of a church by Greenaway and Newberry.
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.