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The Church of St John the Evangelist, Hale, Farnham

Description: The Church of St John the Evangelist, Hale

Grade: II
Date Listed: 26 April 1950
English Heritage Building ID: 290968

OS Grid Reference: SU8491548343
OS Grid Coordinates: 484915, 148343
Latitude/Longitude: 51.2280, -0.7853

Locality: Farnham
Local Authority: Waverley Borough Council
County: Surrey
Country: England
Postcode: GU9 0NN

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Listing Text


884/11/131 HALE ROAD
26-APR-50 HALE
(Northwest side)

(Formerly listed as:

1844, designed by Benjamin Ferrey. N aisle widened 1861 also under Ferrey. Later N vestry, SE chapel and W porch.

MATERIALS: Coursed clunch with freestone dressings. Slate roofs.

PLAN: Nave, chancel, S aisle, wider N aisle, S porch, W porch, SE chapel, circular bell-turret between the aisle and chapel, NE vestries.

EXTERIOR: The style is Norman, hence the use of round arches and flat pilasters that are characteristic of the C12. Throughout, the windows are small, especially on the side elevations, with those in the clerestory being little more than narrow slits. The N aisle windows are of single lights. The nave and aisles are of four bays, the divisions being demarcated by flat pilasters. Over the N aisle, nave and chancel there are separate gabled roofs while the S aisle has a lean-to roof. The most distinctive feature is the circular turret which is of four stages, the top one having unusual two-light openings in the cardinal directions under a round super-arch: between the openings and the arch head are patterns of raised lozenges. The capping to the turret is a conical roof with courses having a lapped effect. At the E end the wall has three equal-height round-headed lights with a spoked wheel window over them

INTERIOR: The interior is spacious with a tall nave and wide N aisle. All the walls are rendered and whitened. Between the nave and aisles are arcades of four bays plus a very narrow fifth bay at the E end. They have tall circular piers with cushion capitals each bearing a variant of fluted detail. The round arches above have one step and a slight chamfer. Between the nave and chancel there is a tall arch with a billet-moulded hood, moulded arch head and responds dying into a semi-conical corbels. The roofs vary in form: the nave has a tie-beam roof with arch-braces and queen-post struts; the S aisle is a lean-to; that in the N aisle is of hammer-beam construction; and the chancel has semi-circular arch-braces to a collar.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The good-quality furnishings are nearly all later than the original building, including a pulpit dated 1913, the well-crafted oak pews, and a tiled reredos. The font, however, is probably original to the church and has intersected Norman arcading. At the E end of the chancel all the lights are filled with stained glass by Clayton and Bell depicting the Crucifixion, scenes from the Life of Christ etc. On the chancel S wall is an attractive inscription in memory of Bishop Charles Richard Sumner (1790-1874), the church's founder, and his wife, by his grandson, the artist, Heywood Sumner, c.1895. There are number of conventional C19 wall monuments.

HISTORY: The foundation of the church was promoted by Bishop Sumner who became bishop of Winchester at the age of 37 in 1827 and remained as diocesan until 1869. He lived locally and was concerned to provide a place of worship for the local population. At the 1841 census the population of Farnham parish was 6,684 with 1,269 people living in the district to be served by the new church. The original church cost £2,337, financed by subscriptions (including money from Sumner) and grants (the ICBS gave £150). Sumner consecrated it on 8 November 1844. More accommodation became necessary and this was achieved by widening the N aisle which had formerly been of the same span as the S one. This raised the accommodation to 595. St John's became the church for a separate parish on 29 November 1865 and Sumner and his wife are buried here. The architect, Benjamin Ferrey (1810-80), is a well-known Victorian church-architect. He was a pupil of Auguste Charles Pugin and knew his son, the great A W N Pugin, well and became his biographer (1861). Ferrey set up in independent practice in about 1834. He was the diocesan architect to Bath and Wells from 1841 until his death, a post which explains the large amount of church work he undertook in that diocese. Although well-known as a Gothic revivalist, he occasionally worked in neo-Romanesque as here and for his contemporary church at Morpeth, Northumberland (1843-6). His intent at St John's, seen through the use of simple Norman features, appears to have been to create an 'early' feel to the building, specifically that of the early C12. This choice, and the use of medieval architecture generally in the Victorian period, can be read against the background of Anglicans being keen to present a sense of continuity with the Church of earlier days, and certainly prior to the Reformation. From the middle of the 1840s Gothic architecture, especially of around 1300, swept all before it as it came to be accepted as the most beautiful style of all and thus best suited to building the House of God. The short-lived revival of Norman work thus came to an abrupt end, making churches like St John's quite unusual.

Incorporated Church Building Society papers, Lambeth Palace Library, files 3111, 5761.
E W Brayley & Edward Walford, History of Surrey, vol 4 (nd) p. 334
Ian Nairn and Nikolaus Pevsner (rev. Bridget Cherry), The Buildings of England: Surrey, 1971, pp 294-5.
Antonia Brodie et al., Directory of British Architects 1834-1914, vol 1, London and New York, 2001, p 644.

The church of St John the Evangelist, Hale, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is an interesting example of 1840s neo-Romanesque church-building by a nationally-known architect and subsequently extended in a matching style.
* It is of striking appearance, due in large measure to its round turret.
* Though mostly later than the original building the furnishings are of good quality.

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.