History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

(New) Church of St Mary church of St Mary

A Grade II* Listed Building in Hackney, Hackney

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 51.5608 / 51°33'39"N

Longitude: -0.0845 / 0°5'4"W

OS Eastings: 532879

OS Northings: 186400

OS Grid: TQ328864

Mapcode National: GBR HC.7CS

Mapcode Global: VHGQT.H169

Plus Code: 9C3XHW68+86

Entry Name: (New) Church of St Mary church of St Mary

Listing Date: 1 September 1953

Last Amended: 14 July 2006

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1265056

English Heritage Legacy ID: 426130

Location: Clissold, Hackney, London, N16

County: Hackney

Electoral Ward/Division: Clissold

Built-Up Area: Hackney

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Mary Stoke Newington

Church of England Diocese: London

Find accommodation in


01-SEP-53 (South Side)

(New) Church of St Mary

Parish Church. 1858 by George Gilbert Scott, with spire completed in 1890 by his son, J.O.Scott. Restored after WWII by N.F. Cachemaille-Day.
MATERIALS: Coursed rubble with freestone dressings.
PLAN: A cruciform plan with aisles, a west tower and apse at the east end. The porch is to the south and there is also a large entrance at the base of the west tower.
STYLE: In the Decorated style of the late C13/early C14 as made popular in the mid-C19 by Pugin and the Ecclesiologist Movement.

EXTERIOR: The west end has a pointed arch portal of three orders, above which rises the tower in three stages: a pair of geometric tracery windows (only on the west side); a slender arcade of five pointed arches with window slits in the second and forth bays, blind in the remaining bays (on the west, north and south sides); and the belfry with a pair of tall geometric tracery windows with transom bars (on all sides). The second and third stages have a frieze of trefoil and quatrefoil carvings respectively and the tower is topped by four corner pinnacles and a spire. The east end has a deep five-sided apse with an elegant geometric tracery window in each bay. The north and south facades have five bays to the west of the transepts, two to the east, articulated with geometric tracery windows, both in the transepts and under the series of gables which mark each bay in the internal aisles. Porch with a pointed arch doorway on the north front.

To the north-east, the parish vestry by J Oldrich Scott (built at the same time as the spire) abuts the church. This is partially enveloped by a series of parish rooms of 1995 by Rebecca Cadie and Gordon Fleming.

INTERIOR: Lofty nave of five bays with aisles and naturalistic stiff-leaf capitals to the aisle arcades. Slender king post roof structure with tie-beam and quatrefoil spandrels and the crossing; the aisles have simple tie beams and 4 cut out lancets of diminishing height. The west tower leads into the nave with a bold pointed arched opening of three orders, with the same rich capitals. The two-bay chancel is even more lavishly decorated with angels around the intrados of the arcade arches and trefoil windows in the clerestory. The crossing has compound piers and a quadripartite vault and the nave has a king post timber roof with queen struts. The north porch entrance is fairly plain internally with a simple hood-mould with carved heads at the stops the only embellishment.

FIXTURES & FITTINGS: Include 1908 reredos, font by R. Westmacott, pulpit, altar-piece with deeply carved Last Supper, organ in the N transept, and post-war stained glass with apse windows by Francis Skeat 1957-8 and N transept by W. Carter Shapland, 1960. There are also two early-C20 wall monuments in brightly coloured mosaic designs. The pulpit and font are particularly fine, combining stone and marble elements with rich carved details, of Christ and the four gospel writers in the pulpit and four angels in the font - both are very much of a piece with the church.

HISTORY: The C19 movement to build new churches in areas of underprovision was particularly strong in Stoke Newington where a group of enthusiastic churchmen, the Stoke Newington and Hackney Church Association, pledged in 1854 'that the object of the Association be the Glory of God in the extension of His church by all lawful means'. St Mary New Church, situated directly opposite the small Tudor church it replaced (St Mary's Old Church, also grade II*), is an exemplar of this mid-C19 period of building. It was built in 1858 by Sir George Gilbert Scott although the spire was not completed until 1890, by J.O. Scott. After the war, N.F. Cachemaille-Day (church architect for Hackney and responsible for several rebuilding campaigns in the borough) repaired sections damaged by enemy action and the church was reopened in 1957.

The church is in the Early Decorated style which was fashionable in the mid-C19 with the Ecclesiologists, who sought to introduce elaborate liturgy to services and emphasised the beauty and glory of C14 religious buildings. This style was inspired by the publication of Pugin's 'Contrasts' in 1836 which derided the austere Early English idiom of early-C19 buildings and encouraged architects to pay greater attention to C14 architectural elements such as tracery windows, stained glass, striking towers and spires, and a pronounced chancel.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: St Mary New Church was built in 1858 by Sir George Gilbert Scott with the spire completed in 1890, by J.O. Scott. It is worthy of designation at a high grade for its exceptional Early English inspired architecture, including an impressive spire, elaborate chancel, and very high-quality carved detail and geometric tracery throughout. Externally, the church's composition is on a monumental scale and its craftsmanship is of the highest quality with elegantly carved details in key elements such as the tower and porch. Internally, this is a lavish church, with careful consideration given to the stone carving on the arcade and in the chancel and to the sumptuous font, altar-piece and pulpit. The liturgical and historical tastes of the Ecclesiologist Movement, which emphasised the beauty and glory of C14 religious buildings, are manifest in its architecture. The church also has group value with the grade II* St Mary's Old Church. The two make a memorable contrast and are a striking visual representation of the demographic changes from the C16 to the C19 in this area.

SOURCES: B.F.L. Clarke `The Parish Churches of London' (1966) p. 170
Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner 'Buildings of England. London 4: North' (1999) pp. 534-535

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.