St John the Evangelist Church, Holloway Rd, North London - Monuments

The Church of St John the Evangelist, Archway, stands near the top end of Holloway Road, a great Victorian artery of north London, next to Upper Holloway Station on the Overground. It is notable for its distinctive stepped, almost rocketlike shape from the front, aisle roofs rising to a tall nave, with the roofs of that flanking a tall central tower, symmetrical and with the visual impact increased by tall crocketed spires and buttresses. All in greyish, much soot-darkened brick, with window frames and details in a warm sandstone and a pale limestone. The architect was no less than the eminent Charles Barry, who designed the Houses of Parliament together with Pugin. He built this church, really quite an early work (1826-8) as one of three in Islington borough as 'Waterloo churches', and later built a fourth in the area. Apparently much later on and considerably more eminent, Barry turned his nose up at his early Islington churches: 'he carefully destroyed every drawing relating to them, and would have still more gladly destroyed the originals'.

St John the Evangelist, Holloway Road, Archway, by Charles Barry, 1820s.

Inside, the immediate impression is the height of that tall nave, with its blue-painted panelled ceiling above a clerestory, with tall arches to each side and galleries. The few monuments, 10 in all, are of the panel type, attached to the walls of the aisles, with just one at gallery level. They are mostly not signed by the sculptor-masons, or at least I did not notice the signatures. The Church was only ready in 1828, past the better period of monument making, and there was no previous church from which old monuments were transported to the new, yet this small collection manages to include examples of a range of types of the period, from the first panel in 1835 through to the last in 1902. The two best panels with figure sculpture, by the notable sculptor R.W. Sievier, are stuck away behind a little curtained off vestry where they cannot be appreciated from a proper distance, but so it is. We start with this pair and then take the rest in date order.

R.W. Sievier monuments to two daughters of Nicholas Sykes:

R.W. Siever: monument to Martha Venn, d.1840.

Rest of the monuments:

Also in the Church:

[With many thanks to the Church authorities for permission to show pictures of the monuments inside; their website is

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All the way south down Holloway Road are the statues of Islington, while going the other way to the north and west along Archway Road and then Falloden Way takes us to the Statue of La Delivrance at Henly's Corner.

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

Angel statues // Cherub sculpture


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