Monuments in St Paul Hammersmith, London

St Paul’s Church Hammersmith, the Parish Church of the area, is late 19th Century, being put up in 1882-91 to the designs of Gough and Roumieu. As such, we would not immediately expect much by way of monuments within it, but a goodly number were taken from the previous church on the site, which was built in 1629-31 as a chapel of ease to Fulham Church. Hammersmith was then just a hamlet, and it was only in the mid-19th Century that its population took off, especially in the 1860s after the railway arrived. So Hammersmith outgrew its small 17th Century church, which was pulled down to make way for the current one.

St Paul Hammersmith: views showing nave and tower.

What we see today is a lofty church of brick, with stone dressings, and a tall roof to the nave. There is a fine tower with large pinnacles at the top, this being the most characterful part of the exterior, presenting good views from across the busy road.

The lofty interior.

Inside, the height appears even greater, and there is a breadth and scale which is impressive, though it does make the interior look rather bare. The tall nave is separated from the aisles by a long array of Gothic arches. The monuments, mostly small panels, line the walls. There are something over 40 of them, mostly taken from the previous church on the site, though not all the monuments were preserved. Those that survive include two important 17th Century panels, several 18th Century, including five from the very end of the Century, and most of the rest being 19th Century. In terms of sculptural adornment, with the exception of the important bust of King Charles I, and the other 17th Century bust, of James Smith, we are in the realm of rather slight work, with half a dozen pots in relief, and a fair dusting of minor carved details. However, a strength of the collection is the series from the 1790s through to the 1850s, where we see a fair range of the types of white-on-dark wall panels, with the coloured marble monuments from just before, and several newer colourful ones at the end, dating from around the end of the 19th Century and through to WW1.

We take the monuments, as usual, in date order.

17th Century Monuments:

18th Century Monuments:

19th Century Monuments:

20th Century Monuments:

Also in the Church:

In addition to the monuments of marble and stone, there are several 19th and 20th century brass plaques. We may note:

We should also note two war memorial panels:

The stained glass is of bright Victorian design, of typically high standard in terms of the figure work, and as often the case, has a variety of small accoutrements and details to enliven the scenes depicted: example below

Outside the Church:

The original enclosed churchyard was radically reduced in size to put up Hammersmith Flyover, and the various monuments swept away, with a few remaining in odd corners. These include a couple of tomb chests, of which one, surrounded by a low railing, is apparently that to Barbara Banks, d.1763 (see picture, top of page to far left), though the inscription is terribly crumbled now.

Most importantly, as noted earlier, by the side of the Church near the rear side door is the tomb chest of Sir Nicholas Crispe, he of the heart, and bust of King Charles I. It consists of a low block of masonry, with the original inscribed panel at the front end and a panel noting its move from St Mildred Bread Street on the side. On top is a domed panel with a crucifix upon it. Behind, against the wall, is a vertical panel with inscription – it was originally the floor slab within the Church – and we can see Sir Nicholas’s shield of arms, still fairly distinct.

Sir Nicholas Crispe's tomb.

Another floor slab placed vertically against the wall of the Church, next to the Crispe one, is to the Marquis of Heucourt, d.1703, and has a double-shield of arms.

With many thanks to the Church authorities for permission to show pictures of the monuments inside; their website is http://www.sph.org/Groups/124436/St_Pauls_Hammersmith.aspx.

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Nearby churches at Acton // and Ealing

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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