Monuments in St Martin of Tours, Epsom, Surrey

A Church with significant monuments, including four with full figure sculpture, by Chantrey, Flaxman and John Bacon Junior, vying with each other to produce the most beautiful marble girls. There are various other interesting things in a collection of almost 40 wall panel monuments. Epsom is just within Surrey, part of the South London commuter belt, one of a number of towns which we may refer to as within the ‘Surrey borders’.

Epsom Parish Church, St Martin of Tours, is raised up on a flight of steps, for it is on sloping ground, and is faced in flint, with soft beige stone dressings. A low Tudorish tower to the side, with octagonal turret on one corner, is set somewhat back from the frontage, which has two pinnacles emphasising the distinction of the central nave, with its taller, pointed roof from the flat aisles to the sides. The windows along the side are huge, giving the appearance of some Edwardian building based on iron rather than an ancient church, excepting the tower, with its lower windows grudgingly admitting light into the solid walls, and it is unsurprising to find a panel towards the rear bearing the date 1907. So it is unsurprising to find that the tower is 15th Century, the nave and aisles of 1820-25 (the work of the architect Hatchard of Pimlico), and the crossing, transepts and the east end are the 1907 part.

St Martin of Tours, Epsom Parish Church.

Inside, the church is tall, up to the many-ribbed ceiling, separated from the aisles, still tall, by thin clustered columns forming pointed arches. The colour is white and sky blue, an inspired choice, giving an effect of light and height. There were once galleries, now removed, so that while the majority of the monuments are convenient for the viewer at ground level, some of them are ‘skied’ and difficult to appreciate without visual aid.

Monuments

17th Century monuments

18th Century monuments

19th Century monuments monuments

Later 19th Century black and white panels: Carter, Pagden and Northey.

20th Century monuments monuments

Brasses

Also in the Church

Pulpit, and part of the altar-piece.

Churchyard

All around the Church, not so large, but well filled with tablets, tomb chests and an unusually large crop of table tombs - great solid panels raised up on free-standing columns, four or usually six at a time. Some of these have collapsed, or been knocked down, and the panels lie with the stacked pillars upon or beside them.

We may also note headstones with skull and crossbone designs, 18th Century, and various other shaped, carved headstones of similar date, and a not very diligent search will turn up a variety of winged cherub heads, drapery, hourglasses and frivolous designs. (For more on types of churchyard memorials, see this page.) And as well, a modest churchyard cross, placed high up on a pyramid of steps.

With many thanks to the Church authorities for permission to show pictures of the monuments inside; their website is http://stmartinsepsom.org/.

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Also in Surrey: St Mary, Walton on Thames // Christ Church, Esher // St John the Evangelist Church, Guildford // St John the Evangelist Church, Guildford // All Saints Church, Carshalton // St Mary's Church, Beddington and formerly in Surrey: St Mary the Virgin, Merton // St Mary, Battersea

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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