All Saints Parish Church, Carshalton, South London/Surrey - Monuments

All Saints Parish Church, Carshalton is classified as being within South London today but is also or was part of Surrey in the not so distant past. It should definitely be on the list of churches in the vicinity and suburbs of London to visit for anyone interested in church monuments.

It is a large church with a splendid position by a lake, but with trees screening it in the summer, and from the roadside appearing from the rear view, fine enough but not grand. The low, square castellated tower is best appreciated from the side view of the Church seen from the graveyard, looking more or less north and east. We see a mix of styles and materials, reflecting the long history and many changes to the body of the Church.

All Saints Carshalton, modern picture and 1880s view.

Inside, the nave appears a more massive space than expected, heightened by the suspended organ over the great screen by Bodley and Comper; it is separated from the aisles by pointed arches on thin, clustered columns, but even these aisles are of some considerable height. The Church is of mixed periods, the Tower, Lady Chapel and southern aisle being from the 12th Century, a variety of other bits through to the 18th Century, and then at the end of the 19th Century and from 1910, the nave, chancel, north aisle, all by Arthur Blomfield and Reginald Blomfield, with no less than G. F. Bodley designing many of the furnishings, and then Ninian Comper prettifying it all in the 1930s and adding extremely good ironwork.

All Saints Carshalton, interior.

Monuments

We start with the two grandest ones:

John Fellowes, Baronet, d.1724, gargantuan obelisk and details.

Other monuments

There is one very early monument, five from the 17th Century, about nine from the 18th, and 16 from the 19th and two from the early 20th. We take them in date order.

18th Century Monuments

19th Century Monuments

Beynon family:

We take the three panels to members of the Beynon family together, then the Shepley family, and then revert to chronological order. They are interesting in that all five are signed works, with Charles Regnart and Edward Physick being significant sculptors, and Denman and above all Gaffin being prolific London stonemasons.

Shepley family:

Other 19th Century panels:

With this period we are well into the era of smaller, plainer panels, often white on black, with little or no sculptural decoration.

20th Century Monuments

Brasses

Aside from the brasses on the Nicholas Gaynesford monument pictured near the top of this page, we also have an ancient brass fragment consisting of the Arms of Gaynesford, surviving from the monument to Joan (Moresby) Gaynesford, d.1492 with an inscription from 1916 when the brass was relaid.

We might also note a modern brass, a plain panel to Charlotte Sophia Peirs, and Hugh Vaughan Peirs, d.1936; they donated a window.

Also in the Church

Not noted in detail, as there is so much to see with the monuments, but it would be impossible not to note the main furnishing in the Church, which draws the eye and lingers in the mind’s eye, which is the screen, and behind it the vaulting, much work by Bodley in the 1900s, with painted panels and decorations by Ninian Comper from the 1930s, including a series of cherubs and nude male angels in pastel colours, and gilt, painted statues of saints; close up they are too clean for the modern taste – a century of grime and avoiding any attempt at cleaning would help – but from a short distance away, most dazzling. There is much other decoration by Comper in the Church.

The Reredos is painted by Comper, standing up to close examination, with half-figures of angels, full figures of saints, and a fine Adam and Eve, depicted nude, which would have been unusual even in stained glass during Victorian times, but was completely acceptable by 1930, and in pose hearkening back to something of the spirit of Cranach. There is much to be enjoyed elsewhere around the Church by Comper and Bodley.

Finally, we might note en passant, wooden panels recording the bequests of Christopher Muschamp, d.1660, and Henry Byne, d.1697, also Henry Smith, d.1613, and John Welford, who bequeathed land to repair highways in 1750.

Outside the Church

The Churchyard is worth exploration, with a goodly number of gravestones of the usual sorts (see this page for some examples of such things), and including examples of gravestones with a low relief skull and crossbones, wilting plant in a pot, and other symbolic relief sculpture, as well as crucifixes, the odd Egyptian obelisk, and chest tombs.

Carshalton Parish Church graveyard, typical monuments.

With many thanks to the Church authorities for permission to show pictures of the monuments inside; their website is http://www.carshaltonallsaints.org.uk/History.htm.

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Also in Surrey: St Mary, Walton on Thames // St Martin's Church, Epsom // St Mary's Church, Beddington and formerly in Surrey: St Mary the Virgin, Merton // Mitcham Church // St Mary, Battersea

Some other London Churches // Introduction to church monuments

London sculpture // Sculptors

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