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Church of St Peter in the Forest

A Grade II Listed Building in Wood Street, London

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Latitude: 51.5872 / 51°35'13"N

Longitude: 0.0062 / 0°0'22"E

OS Eastings: 539087

OS Northings: 189498

OS Grid: TQ390894

Mapcode National: GBR LN.L84

Mapcode Global: VHHN4.2C5M

Plus Code: 9F32H2P4+VF

Entry Name: Church of St Peter in the Forest

Listing Date: 14 April 2009

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393232

English Heritage Legacy ID: 505171

Location: Wood Street, Waltham Forest, London, E17

County: London

District: Waltham Forest

Electoral Ward/Division: Wood Street

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Waltham Forest

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Walthamstow St Peter-in-the-Forest

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford

Tagged with: Church building

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1802/0/10040 WOODFORD NEW ROAD
14-APR-09 (West side)

Church, originally Chapel of Ease, 1840. Architect John Shaw Jnr (1776-1832). Extended 1887, repaired and extended 1951 and 1958, interior renovated by Martin Travers (1936-7).

MATERIALS: Built of yellow stock brick laid in Flemish bond with stone dressings; pitched slate roof with terracotta ridge piece. Hexagonal slate tiles to tower roof and lantern. 1951 additions and alterations in pink brick.

PLAN: Seven bays with chancel apse and vestry to east. Single storey extension to west.

EXTERIOR: The south elevation has a central projecting tower and three bays to either side divided by brick pilasters, which also break the dentilled cornice. All windows have round arches. Each bay contains a pair of windows at clerestory level and a single taller window at ground floor level, except for the westernmost bay where a smaller single window is set higher, beneath which is a memorial stone laid by Lady Leucha Warner on March 4th 1887. A drip mould runs under the upper windows and extends across the elevation, interrupted by the pilasters, and wraps around the three-stage Italianate tower. This square tower sits on a double brick plinth, with corner columns to three sides topped with foliate capitals, and a small hexagonal shaft to the fourth corner with stone spirelet, the top of which is in the same fashion as the roof of the tower. The roof is a steep concave, pyramidal shape; the effect is created by the convergence of the four ridge pieces and four applied central ridges, and accentuated by small gargoyles at the terminals of each ridge which project over the stepped, dentilled cornice. There are two windows to each side of the third stage of the tower (open to the belfry) and one to the south and west sides of the first stage. All have hood-moulds with decorated stops and are recessed within stepped openings, those to the south side having dentil decoration. The tall central stage has long thin indented strips in the brickwork, to the south, east and west sides; the central indents to the south contain long narrow slits, and are overlain by a centrally placed diagonal plaque with gargoyles to the corners and a blind roundel in the centre. The west side of the lower stage contains the entrance which has panelled double doors and a plain semicircular porch covering.

The east and west elevations have three windows beneath the apex of the roof, with sill bands with decorated ends; immediately below these at the west end is a wheel window, and those to the east end have hood-moulds with decorated stops. The chancel apse at the east end is a half octagon; columns and pilasters to the corners interrupt a sill band and dentilled cornice. The east end wall was rebuilt in the 1950s with a smaller window than the original. The chancel windows are recessed and have hood-moulds with decorated stops; the paired windows are blind with dentilled decoration. Attached to the north-east corner of the building, is a small hexagonal vestry in the same design, but without dentilled window decoration.

The north elevation was completely re-built in 1951. It corresponds with the 1840s build by using plain brick pilasters to divide the seven bays, the central three bays each with three tall, narrow windows on sill bands; the windows in the outer bays are in the same style, but are one-third height, set under the eaves. At the west end is a single storey extension, also built in 1951. This contains an entrance with a fanlight with squared lights above, set beneath a gabled porch supported on plain columns

INTERIOR: The entrance into the church is through a small vestibule in the tower. There is a nave, with no side aisles, and a small chancel; at the west end is a gallery. The nave has a queen-post roof, in the centre of which is the boarded lantern with central aperture and circular stained glass windows. A ramp leading from the entrance to the raised floor of the east end and chancel has been inserted against the south wall. The floor is original parquet. Four of the lower windows in the south wall are stained glass; the original stained glass windows from the north side have been inserted into the tall narrow windows. All other windows are diamond or square leaded lights; the upper windows of the south wall have stained glass borders. The moulded chancel arch has dentil decoration and hood-mould, similar to the exterior. The central east window is flanked by painted scenes in imitation of stained glass windows with round arches, three to each side of the window. These are not murals, but painted on canvas mounted directly on the wall. They seem to have been re-mounted; in historic photographs they are shown with borders that imitate tracery. The slender window to the right of the chancel arch contains original stained glass; the three windows above the arch are colourful 1950s replacements. To the left of the chancel is the priest's vestry with stained glass in the central window. The gallery at the west end is supported on three columns with foliate capitals, also decorated with heads of worshippers. Beneath the balcony a small kitchen has been inserted. Blind window openings flank large double doors that lead into the 1951 extension. This contains an entrance lobby with a vestry to either side; the stairs to the balcony are reached through these. Each vestry contains a blind arch with hood-mould and dentil decoration supported on columns with simple capitals; these seem to be part of the original west end exterior.

Memorials on the south and north walls of the west end include a marble plaque commemorating those who died in the Great War. The chancel screen referred to in the inscription no longer survives.

HISTORY: St Peter's-in-the-Forest was built in 1840 as a chapel of ease to St Mary's, Walthamstow, and was designed by John Shaw Junior, FRIBA; in 1844 it became the church to a newly formed parish. Originally a smaller four or five bay building with a tower at its south west end, it was extended to the west in 1887 to accommodate a growing population. This extension, designed by the local architect and churchwarden, JC Lewis, followed the style of the original design, and enlarged the church to seven bays, creating an almost symmetrical south elevation with three bays either side of a central tower; the west gallery was also added at this time. The memorial stone at the west end of the south elevation, laid by Lady Leucha Warner on March 4th 1887, commemorates the event, and records the names of the vicar, M Rees, and the architect. Subsequent alterations and additions which were executed in 1901-05, include the paintings in the chancel, and the renovation of the interior by Martin Travers in 1936-37. This included the removal of the side sections of the gallery and the pews; the altar rails were removed later. In 1945 the north wall was damaged by a V2 rocket that landed nearby, and was rebuilt in 1951; the entrance lobby and vestries at the west end were also added at this time. The chancel was altered in 1958, and a new stained glass window inserted depicting Christ the King. A fire in 1975 resulted in the replacement of the remaining original fixtures and fittings.

John Shaw junior (1803-1870) was the son of the successful architect John Shaw, who he succeeded as architect to Christ's Hospital; he was also appointed surveyor to Eton College in about 1825, and with his father was a pioneer in the development of semi-detached housing. He has several listed buildings to his credit, mainly semi-detached houses and schools, including Wellington School, listed at Grade II*. He was also responsible for completing the Church of St Dunstan in the West in the City of London, listed at Grade I, begun by his father in the year of his death.

Martin Travers (1886-1948) was a distinguished designer of church interiors and stained glass in the C20, and his work, mainly for the Anglican Church, is cited several times in the statutory list. Although he was responsible for the present open plan of the nave, how much of his work was destroyed by the fire of 1975 is not known.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The Church of St Peter's-in-the-Forest is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is of special architectural interest for its pleasing Italian Romanesque design by the notable architect John Shaw junior. The extension of 1887 adds balance and symmetry to the original design.
* The simple open space of the nave, created by the distinguished designer Martin Travers, is lit by the enlarged windows of the north wall which was re-built following bomb damage but is sympathetic to the earlier design.

Reasons for Listing

The Church of St Peter's-in-the-Forest is designated for the following principal reasons:
* It is of special architectural interest for its pleasing Italianate Romanesque design by the notable architect John Shaw Junior. The extension of 1887 adds balance and symmetry to the original design.
* The simple open space of the nave, created by the noted designer Martin Travers, is lit by the enlarged windows of the north wall which was re-built following bomb damage but is sympathetic to the earlier design.

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