Monuments in St Marylebone (Marylebone New Church), Marylebone Road

St Marylebone Church.

Marylebone Parish Church, or Marylebone New Church, is the church whose tower is seen from outside Baker Street Station to the left, or in an easterly direction, along Marylebone Road, a few minutes stroll past Madame Tussauds. It stands facing down York Terrace, though it was the church which came first, being put up in 1813-17, the work of the architect Thomas Hardwick. Nash’s York Terrace was erected a few years later, to give the splendid vista from the northern end of the gleaming white buildings on either side of the terrace, terminated by the great ecclesiastical portico and tiered classical spire of Marylebone Church. The portico has six tall Corinthian columns topped by a blank pediment; behind this rises a solid, firmly-rooted square tower, bearing clocks on its sides; above this, a many-columned circular stage, narrowing to a higher stage, elegantly domed and bearing a prominent weathercock. On the highest stage, notable from some distance in the sunlight, are eight gilded statues of angels acting as caryatids to the dome above – they represent the winds, and repeat each other in pairs, reflected left to right. J.C.F. Rossi was the sculptor, and according to some authors, they were made in Coade stone, though I have not been able to confirm this.

J. C. F. Rossi's caryatids on St Marylebone Church tower.

Inside, the church consists of a generous, almost rectangular space, curved inwards at the altar end, to a recessed, domed apse. Galleries to either side are held on Ionic pillars, while the fluted pilasters at the apse end are Corinthian. The apse itself, and its richly painted décor, date from a late Victorian makeover of the church - see bottom of page.

Interior of St Marylebone, and murals.

And now to the primary interest of these pages, which is the large crop of monuments, around 90 in all, the large majority dating from the 1800s-1830s, with a few later ones, and a handful of earlier ones inherited from the previous church on the site. Among many simple panels are six or seven with relief figures, a portrait roundel, and a variety of pots and other minor decoration.

Marylebone Road used to be part of the New Road, home of many stone masons’ yards in the 1800s, and unsurprisingly a large proportion of the monumental panels in the Church are signed by their makers. There are minor works by four important sculptors: Thomas Banks, Sir Richard Westmacott RA, J.C.F. Rossi who made the caryatids for the Church tower, and John Bacon Jr, working in partnership with Samuel Manning. But it is in the lesser sculptors and craftsmen where the interest mostly lies. Humphrey Hopper has half a dozen pieces, with some small element of decorative carving; another six are by E. Physick, from a prolific family of sculptor-stonemasons of that name; five by CR or C Smith, and one by Moore and Smith; and a couple each by the estimable Peter Rouw the Younger and Knapp of Foley Street. And there are examples of work by Pistell of New Road, Marsh of New Road, Randall of New Road, Whitelaw of New Road, C. Thompson of Osnaburgh Street, C. King of Tottenham Court Road, Denman of Regent Street and Gaffin, likewise, Stothard of Upper Seymour Street, Whitehead of Fitzroy Square, Sievier, William Behnes, and more.

We start with the oldest monuments, on the stairs and in the porch:

Monuments in the side porch and stairwell:

From the old Church

Erected in current Church:

Still on the stairwell and in the porch, we have the following:

Casket end and tomb chest end: Watson and Lawrence.

Monuments in the Nave and Aisles

Now to the main body of the Church. There are around 45 marble panels, ignoring the several simple revival brass panel inscriptions. They form a nice sequence from 1814, immediately when the Church was completed, through to the 1840s, with a few from around the end of the 19th Century through to World War I.

W. Whitehead's sculpture of Rachel Taylor, d.1814.

This page does not note the several 19th –early 20th Century brass panels, other than to point to the Greenwell brass, which is typical of the better style of such things, with coloured initial letters and inscribed decoration.

Monuments Upstairs

Not so easy to get to, but if you cannot, a fair number of the panels noted here can be seen from downstairs.

Also in the Church

With thanks to The Revd Canon Stephen Evans, Rector of Marylebone, for permission to use photos from inside the Church; the Church website is at http://www.stmarylebone.org/index.php.

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Thomas Hardwick

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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