Monuments in St Paul, Deptford, South London

St Paul, Deptford is one of the 50 New Churches intended to be built in London under the 1711 Act in the time of Queen Anne, of which only a dozen were ever put up before the money ran out. The architect of St Paul was Thomas Archer, known also for his church of St John Smith Square, Westminster, highly controversial and after WWII bombing, converted to a concert hall, and for St Philip’s Cathedral in Birmingham.

St Paul’s was completed in 1730, and from the outside is most impressive, seen from along the path of trees to the entrance to the old churchyard, with its massive, curved portico of Tuscan columns, tall, slender spire on a rounded tower, really very Baroque, and with the whole body of the building raised up on a platform reached by a flight of steps: ‘showing a true feeling of dignified effect and a refreshing disregard for economy’.

St Paul, Deptford, by Thomas Archer.

Inside, the Church is almost square, with similar ends and sides, and is unique in showing the astonishing richness of the decoration which Thomas Archer was capable of, above all the plastered ceiling, with moulded flowers and foliage and repeating floral forms, Corinthian free standing pillars and attached ones, perfect Classical Roman niches and arches and arched windows, walls enriched with delicate Adam style decorations, restored in gilt on blue.

Ceiling decoration, virtuoso designs by Thomas Archer.

Although it is the architecture which impresses, to turn to the main obsession of these pages, there are several monuments, rather few, and but worthy pieces in themselves.

Monuments

Also in the Church:

The decorative embellishments to the interior architecture have already been noted at the top of the page. We also have:

Outside the Church

Outside, the Churchyard has been mostly cleared, with the odd tomb, including a large altar tomb with quatrefoils enclosing shields round the sides (see picture above). The visitor will also want to see the Sandford Estate War Memorial, which consists of a granite obelisk surrounded by four obelisk bollards, and a modern granite water bowl, fontlike, in memory of Hugh Taylor, d.1900.

With many thanks to Fr Paul Butler, Rector of St Paul and Dean of Deptford, for permission to show pictures of the monuments inside the Church; their website is http://www.achurchnearyou.com/deptford-st-paul/about-the-church-building.html.

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St Nicholas Deptford // Deptford Town Hall // // Deptford Town Hall

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

Other London Churches // Churches in the City of London // Introduction to church monuments

Angel statues // Cherub sculpture

London sculpture // Sculptors

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