St George Church. Esher - Monuments

The Old Church of Esher, St George, was kept intact after the larger Christ Church was built on a separate site. It looks quite charming today, though a leading 19th Century gazetteer called it ‘small and mean, with an ungainly excrescence on the South, built by the Duke of Newcastle as a chamber pew for the lords of Claremont and Esher Place’. That excrescence, pictured at the top of this page, is better seen inside, is thought to have been designed by Vanbrugh in 1725-6; the little nave is of about 1540, thus St George is a rare Tudor period church, and the north aisle as late as 1812. There is a charming little wooden bell turret above the door.

St George Church, Esher, exterior and interior.

Inside, it is small, atmospheric, with open roof with darkened wood beams, and a gallery at the west end, noted as being the gift of the Governor of Jamaica, Sir Thomas Lynch, dated 1840-41. The monuments we have come to see are scattered around the walls, adding considerably to the ambience. There are a couple of dozen of them, all wall panels, with several having fine carving, and a fair number signed by the sculptors – the most significant being Henry Cheere, John Flaxman, and F.J. Williamson. The earliest monument in the Church, to Sir Richard Drake, d.1603, with a kneeling figure of the man who was in his boyhood when the Church was built, is no longer present but was transferred to Christ Church, where it can still be seen.

Monuments

Also in the Church:

Churchyard

The little churchyard is evocative, but the monuments are generally worn and mostly nameless. Best is the monument to Jacob Bright, d.1899, and his wife Ursula Mellor Bright, d.1915, up against a corner of the Church, stepped, pillared and with a small statue of a girl holding an anchor in one hand and pointing to heaven with the other - see picture below.

With many thanks to the Church authorities for permission to show pictures of the monuments inside; their website is http://www.stgeorgesesher.org/History.htm. Also thanks to the marvelous Churches Conservation Trust who look after this church: see https://www.visitchurches.org.uk/visit/church-listing/st-george-esher.html

Christ Church, Esher // Monuments in some other Surrey churches

Monuments in some London Churches // Introduction to church monuments

Angel statues // Cherub sculpture // London sculpture // Sculptors

Home

Visits to this page from 14 November 2017: 776