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Church of St Peter

A Grade II Listed Building in Hackney, London

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5408 / 51°32'26"N

Longitude: -0.0801 / 0°4'48"W

OS Eastings: 533237

OS Northings: 184181

OS Grid: TQ332841

Mapcode National: GBR V1.4V

Mapcode Global: VHGQT.KJHN

Entry Name: Church of St Peter

Listing Date: 4 February 1975

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1265751

English Heritage Legacy ID: 423942

Location: Hackney, London, N1

County: London

District: Hackney

Electoral Ward/Division: De Beauvoir

Built-Up Area: Hackney

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: St Peter de Beauvoir Town

Church of England Diocese: London

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Listing Text


735/24/179 DE BEAUVOIR ROAD N1
04-FEB-75 (East side)
CHURCH OF ST PETER

GV II
1840-1 by William C Lochner. 1884 chancel by H R Gough and adjoining vicarage.

MATERIALS: Stock brick with limestone dressings. Slate roofs.

PLAN: Nave, lower chancel, W tower with vestibules either side for access to the galleries, SE organ chamber, N vestries, NE stair down to undercroft (former catacombs now used as a parish hall etc).

EXTERIOR: The body of the church consists of a large, wide nave with six bays of very tall two-light windows which are uniform in design with quatrefoiled circles in their heads. The divisions between the bays are marked by very shallow pilasters with an offset at the head. There is no horizontal architectural feature that reflects the presence of galleries inside, although the vestibules either side of the tower are characteristic of the access to such galleries in pre- and very early Victorian churches. They have N and S entrances above which are large single lancets. The W tower has a W doorway (the principal entrance) under a gable above which is a three light Geometrical-style window with foiled circles in the head. Below the two-light belfry windows is a row of blind arcading. There is a circular clock-face above the belfry windows and the tower is then completed by a low embattled parapet set between octagonal pinnacles which themselves form the terminations of polygonal buttresses to the angles of the tower. The chancel, added over 40 years after the initial construction of the church, is in a free round-arched style with three graded lights to form the E window. The corners have polygonal buttresses at the corners which generally mirror those on the tower and they are capped by freestone turrets with shafted corners and a ribbed spirelet which are more Gothic in appearance than Romanesque. There is a quarter-round stair on the N side of the chancel to the undercroft.

INTERIOR: The walls of the 1840-1 church are plastered and whitened: those of the 1880s chancel are bare stone. This distinction in wall treatment is part of the very different characters of the 1840s work and the changes wrought in the 1880s. From the 1840-1 build the galleries are an important survival. They are supported on slender cast-iron columns but above them are slender timber arcades with tracery in the spandrels. The early Victorian work is generally Gothic and light in character but the later changes are executed, rather strangely, in a much heavier neo-Romanesque style, with a large round, moulded chancel arch which has shafted responds of polished granite. The soffit of the chancel arch has a series of decorative fleurons (or carved flowers). The nave roof has large tie-beams spanning the body of the nave and spaces over the galleries: over the galleries the roof is boarded, over the nave the roof is pitched with struts rising from the tie-beams.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: Like the architecture of the church, the fixtures divide into those of 1840-1 and the 1880s. From the former period the most important are the galleries which form a defining element of the church, and which retain their original fronts with one-light, trefoiled, blind tracery. Most of the seating within them is original to the 1840-1 church and is thus a relatively unusual survival. Changes in taste led to the renewal of the seating in the nave with pews with shaped ends. The neo-Norman style of the chancel externally is mirrored internally with round-arched arcading on the E wall which frames paintings of Christ surrounded by the Apostles and figures of the Evangelists. At the entrance to the chancel there is a low stone screen and a series of three steps to the central entrance. The font is a characteristically muscular High Victorian piece with a circular bowl with a Norman zig-zag band and a circular base with four surrounding columns, suggestive of the Norman/Early English transitional period.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: SE of the church is the former vicarage, a three-bay, symmetrical Tudor-style building with a projecting entrance porch and a gable over the centre of the middle bay.

HISTORY: The church was built in 1840-1 in what was a very conventional arrangement of the time but soon to be superseded by the medievalising tendencies so successfully introduced by A W N Pugin and the Cambridge Camden Society. These new tastes emerged clearly at St Peter's in the form of a new chancel (oddly in a neo-Norman style) and reseating in the 1880s.

The original architect, William Conrad Lochner (1779 or 80-1861), was a London-based man whose main work appears to have been around Hackney and Enfield (St Andrew, Enfield, 1824; St James, Enfield, 1831 are listed in the Buildings of England volume for the area). In 1836 his office was at Albion Place, London Wall, and the same year he became one of the early members of the fledgling Institute of British Architects. The architect of the later phase Hugh Roumieu Gough (1842 or '42-1904), was a pupil of his father, Arthur Dick Gough (of Gough and Roumieu), from 1862 to 1866. He was in the surveyors' department of the War Office in 1866-70 and was principal draughtsman at Woolwich Arsenal. He commenced practice in 1870.

SOURCES:
Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North, 1998, p 484.
Basil F L Clarke, Parish Churches of London, 1966, p 66.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
The church St Peter, Hackney is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: It is a building of special interest as a very early Victorian church which still retains important features of its architecture and fittings as they were in 1840-1.
* Liturgical interest: It also shows how, with changed Victorian tastes, seating arrangements were altered, and how a large chancel was considered a necessary element of Anglican worship
* The internal treatment of the galleries, carried on slender columns with a lightly constructed roof alone, is of interest in its own right.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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