Monuments in Deptford Church of St Nicholas, South London

Heavily bombed in World War II, St Nicholas Deptford contains but a remnant of the sculptured monuments which are described in Victorian guidebooks, but that remnant is still significant and includes a few rather good things, along with the finely restored body of the Church itself, and some fittings.

St Nicholas Church, Deptford.

There had been an earlier Parish Church, pulled down in 1696, and rebuilt save for the steeple in the following year, the architect being Charley Stanton. The old steeple was crumbling dangerously by 1710, and the local people wanted to pull down and replace it, and the tower, and indeed the whole Church. In the event, happily none of this happened, and various repairs and strengthenings followed in subsequent years. The top of the tower was lost in a gale in 1901 and replaced, and then in World War II, as noted, it was bombed. What we have now is a mixture: the tower in stone of around 1500, the rest brick, rather low, rather flat, with stone doorways and looking somehow incomplete.

The interior, seating mostly replaced and the centre rather empty, is dominated by the wooden Reredos or altarpiece, noted further down, but we start with the monuments which are the interest of these pages:

Monuments

Henry Karmock, d.1816, by the stonemason B. Smith.

Also in the Church

Outside:

Entrance to St Nicholas Chuchyard, and carved skull.

The best feature by far is the grim entrance to the Churchyard, with a skull and crossbones on each pier. The Church occupies the centre of the yard, which with its enclosing brick walls and a few trees and bushes, feels medievally small and atmospheric. There are several great altar tombs, and headstones, in various states of disrepair, adding to the evocative space.

Monument to John Addey, d.1606, and carving of ship being built.

On the walls of the Church itself are winged cherub heads (see picture near top of page), and a couple of exterior monumental panels, one on top of the other, the upper commemorating John Addey, d.1606, Master Shipwright, and the lower a later panel recording his bequest of £200 to support the poor people of Deptford, which was used to buy land and put up buildings which had raked in over £650 by 1862. Betweeen the two, seemingly but probably not associated with the upper, older panel, is a carving of a ship being built on a ramp; the lower panel has one surviving pillar capital with a small figure carved upon it, and at the base, relief carvings of the shipwright’s tools. This monument is signed by a local stonemason, Hobbs of Deptford.

With many thanks to the Revd. Louise Codrington-Marshall for permission to show pictures of the monument in St Nicholas, Deptford.

Tomb chests in the churchyard, and cherubs over a door.

Top of page

Boyle Fenton monument // St Paul Deptford // Deptford Town Hall

Go North West to St Mary Rotherhithe // perhaps via the Caryatids in Southwark Park

Monuments in some London Churches // Churches in the City of London // Introduction to church monuments

Angel statues // Cherub sculpture

London sculpture // Sculptors

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