Open House at St Alfege Church

St Alfege Church is pleased to be participating in Open House London on the weekend of 16-17 September. For more information please see our entry on the Open House website here

  

Original Hawksmoor Drawing of St Alfege Church Discovered

ORIGINAL HAWKSMOOR DRAWING DISCOVERED DURING ST ALFEGE CHURCH RESEARCH

An original drawing by Nicholas Hawksmoor, one of England’s most significant architects, has recently been discovered at Greenwich Heritage Centre during a National Lottery funded research project at St Alfege Church.

St Alfege Church is a Grade 1 listed landmark church in London, the first church built under the Fifty New Churches Act of 1711 and the first complete church project undertaken by Nicholas Hawksmoor, pupil of Sir Christopher Wren and one of England’s most original and significant architects. The present building was constructed between 1712 and 1718, and is one of the key buildings within the Greenwich World Heritage Site. 

This discovery was made by Richard Hill, of Richard Griffiths Architects, who is working for St Alfege Church as Conservation Architect for the ‘Heart of Greenwich - Place and People’ project, which has been made possible by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). During a visit to the Royal Greenwich Heritage Centre in February he found the uncatalogued drawing in a box of miscellaneous prints, photos and press cuttings of Greenwich.

Greenwich Heritage Centre, part of Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust, is home to the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s museum and archive collections. The drawing, which shows the north elevation of St Alfege Church, is an original ink and wash drawing by Nicholas Hawksmoor himself. A trace of the plan of the building can also be seen, probably pricked through from another drawing.

Richard Hill, of Richard Griffiths Architects, said: “I realised that this was a design stage drawing of St Alfege, probably from 1712, and it seemed to be in the hand of Nicholas Hawksmoor. Expert advice was sought and Professor Kerry Downes confirmed that his expert opinion is ‘that the new discovery is from the master's own hand’.  I also looked at the drawing with John Bold (author of Greenwich: An Architectural History and Julian Watson, former head of the Greenwich Archives). They both agree with Kerry Downes.”  

Commenting on the discovery Vicar Chris Moody said: “We’re delighted with this find which is helping us in the development of our designs for works which both reveal and conserve Hawksmoor’s masterpiece while ensuring accessibility and better integration with the town centre.”

Tracy Stringfellow, Chief Executive Officer, Greenwich Heritage Centre said: “We are thrilled to be able to share this significant drawing with the community as part of this partnership project with St Alfege Church.”

Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, said: “What a fantastic find! To have a Hawksmoor design and the building it inspired together for the first time - I’m delighted that money raised by National Lottery players has helped to uncover this never-seen-before drawing by one of England’s most renowned architects. It’s a brilliant start to the ‘Heart of Greenwich’ project, which will see Hawksmoor’s building restored and the heritage of this well-loved church brought to a wider audience.”

Statement from Professor Kerry Downes

“Professor Kerry Downes, Professor Emeritus at the University of Reading, first visited Greenwich in 1948 and has been there many times since. He immediately recognised the recently discovered elevation, which exhibits Hawksmoor’s hand but not his signature. It is patently the same hand as drawings of the same date for King’s College Cambridge and Christ Church Spitalfields. He is the author of two distinct monographs on Hawksmoor (1959 and 1969). He has very recently had heart surgery and, with great regret, was advised not to travel from his home in York. He absolutely supports the present application.”

National Lottery Support

Thanks to National Lottery players, development funding of £153,200 has been awarded to help St Alfege Church progress plans to apply for a full grant at a later date. The Heart of Greenwich, Place and People project focuses on the architectural importance of the building and aims to improve access to, and facilities in, the church. It will also explore and reveal the stories of many famous people associated with the church such as Henry VIII, Thomas Tallis and General James Wolfe, as well as many less well-known figures.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.

Contacts:

St Alfege Church: Wendy Foreman www.st-alfege.org Twitter @StAlfegeChurch

07773 521 906  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Greenwich Heritage Centre: Isabel Benavides, Heritage & Interpretation Manager, 020 8854 2452  www.greenwichheritage.org

Christ in Greenwich Needlework Panels Exhibition

New exhibition - Christ in Greenwich Now sewing panels at St Alfege Church 18 June to 9 July 

Among events in Greenwich to mark the Millennium in 2012 of the death of Alfege, Archbishop of Canterbury, beaten to death by Danish raiders on the site of St Alfege Church, a project was launched to create four needlework panels representing stories about the life of Jesus from the New Testament set in modern day Greenwich. 

The four large and beautiful panels have been completed and will be on display in St Alfege Church from 18 June 2017 to 9 July 2017. The church will be open every weekday from 11am to 4pm, Saturday 10am to 4pm and Sunday 12noon to 4pm. All welcome.

The inspiration for these panels was born out of the preparations we made for the millennium of Alfege’s martyrdom in 2012, which drew in turn from the inspiration of the Greenwich Millennium tapestries now permanently exhibited at Royal Greenwich Heritage Centre.  

The needlework panels represent stories about the life of Jesus from the New Testament set in modern day Greenwich and underline our belief as Christians that Christ is discovered over and over again in the course of ordinary lives and encounters today just as he was two thousand years ago. For example one of the panels shows Jesus preaching from a boat on the Thames to crowds in the old Royal Naval College and Greenwich Park.  

Revd Chris Moody, Vicar at St Alfege Church said: “This is a wonderful example of members of the local community coming together and giving their expertise and time freely to bring the story of Jesus to life.”


The sewing took place from 2011 until 2016 with the sewing group meeting every week in the church and included members of St Alfege Church, the Old Royal Naval College Chapel and the wider community in and around Greenwich. 

The panels were made to be used in different ways by schools, churches and other institutions to support community engagement and learning and are set in triangular frames which can be displayed together or separately.  It is intended that they will be displayed on a changing basis in a variety of locations in Greenwich. For more information please contact  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or telephone 020 8853 0687. 

Sermon by Revd Caroline Risdon 5 March 2017

The Sermon preached by Revd Caroline Risdon  on the 1st Sunday in Lent, Sunday 5 March 2017, can be found here

Have your say event - St Alfege Church - Heart of Greenwich, Place and People

A big thank you to all those who took part in our Have your say consultation event on 12 February which will help shape our activity plan.  We had a great turnout with over 128 local residents and visitors, both adults and children, who gave us lots of useful feedback and ideas.  They took part in activities to explore which are the favourite stories about our history and how people would like to find out more about our heritage and place at the Heart of Greenwich.   The Place and People photographic exhibition was enjoyed by all and many had their own photo taken in the church. 75 people explored the crypt, a hidden space which is currently rarely open to visitors. 

Gill Moody, Chair of the Heart of Greenwich project board said: "It was great to meet so many local people and visitors who really want to know more about the history of St Alfege Church and to find out what is important to them and how they would like the heritage explained in the future. "

St Alfege Church has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund to develop our Heart of Greenwich, Place and People project which aims to open up the church's hidden spaces and rich heritage for everyone. Thanks to National Lottery players, development funding has been awarded to help  St Alfege Church progress our plans to enable us to apply for a full grant at a later date and the activity plan is a key part of this.    

Over the past three weeks, volunteers from the church have also been out in Greenwich town centre to collect people's views on this exciting project and nearly 200 people have completed our survey. 

Sermon by Revd Caroline Risdon 29 January 2017

The sermon preached by Revd Caroline Risdon on the Second Sunday of Epiphany, 29 January 2017, can be found here

Choral Evensong moves to the Last Sunday of the Month

Choral evensong will now take place here on the last Sunday of every month (excluding August) at 6.30pm.  This year we are introducing a series of short talks and recitals on individual poets or poems to accompany the beauty of language and music in our ‘cathedral style’ choral evensong according to the Book of Common Prayer.   Join us next on Sunday 26 February when Peter Jay will talk about the poetry of James Harpur.

Come to be still, pray and meditate in a service lasting not more than an hour which expresses the best of the Anglican tradition.

Sermon by Revd Chris Moody 25 December 2016

The sermon given by the Vicar, Revd Chris Moody on the morning of Christmas Day can be accessed here

Rich Heritage of St Alfege Church Explored in University Research

Rich heritage of St Alfege Church explored in university research

The role of St Alfege Church at the centre of the community is the theme of a research project being carried out at the University of Greenwich.

Alison Fisher, a Greenwich resident and also a postgraduate student at the university, has been awarded a Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship, which will enable her to look into the church's rich history and its place in the country's local and national heritage.

A Grade 1 listed building, St Alfege Church is a key part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. It was the first church built under the Fifty New Churches Act of 1711, and the first complete church project undertaken by Nicholas Hawksmoor, one of England's most original and significant architects.

Alison, a qualified architect, says she is delighted to be able to pursue her passion for history while based within the university's award-winning Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities. "I welcome this fantastic opportunity to explore how these buildings and monuments reflect the history of our community and relate to the wider national context," she says.

"The position of St Alfege Church within the social framework of this area is central to understanding the development of Greenwich, and I'm keen to delve into its complex history. The physical memorials and surviving church records will enable me to examine the church's rich and varied role at key moments over two and half centuries."

Alison's research also ties in with the St Alfege Church project, called Heart of Greenwich, Place and People, which has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and aims to open up the church's 'hidden spaces' and rich heritage for everyone. Thanks to National Lottery players, development funding has been awarded to help St Alfege Church progress plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

The Rev Chris Moody, Vicar of St Alfege, adds: "Our church holds the history of Greenwich and its community. We are delighted that Alison is developing this fascinating line of research, which will uncover much about its history.

"As an architect and local resident, Alison is uniquely qualified, and we are tremendously grateful to the University of Greenwich for awarding her the Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship. We would also be interested to hear from anyone with family links to the church, and have set up a book to note these in our vestibule."

Working within the university's Department of History, Politics & Social Sciences, Alison will explore the relationship between the church and community, and analyse how they interacted over the years. She will investigate three key points in its history: the creation of the church by Nicholas Hawksmoor in the early 1700s; the development of an 'overflow' church, St Mary's, in 1825; and the restoration of St Alfege by Sir Albert Richardson, following extensive damage during the Second World War.

As well as looking at the whole church building, Alison will refer to individual gravestones, burial vaults, church archives and the public burial ground in order to build an in-depth insight into the communities that operated the church at these three key moments in time.

In this way the project will shine new light on the rich heritage and hidden spaces of this church, which is central to the town of Greenwich.

For more on St Alfege: http://www.st-alfege.org/

For more on studying with the university's Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities: http://www.gre.ac.uk/ach

Thanks to National Lottery players, development funding has been awarded to help St Alfege Church progress plans to apply for a full grant at a later date. The Heart of Greenwich, Place and People project focuses on the architectural importance of the building and aims to improve access to, and facilities in, the church. It will also explore and reveal the stories of many famous people associated with the church such as Henry VIII, Thomas Tallis and General James Wolfe, as well as many less well-known figures.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk.  Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Contact:

Nicholas Ellwood

Senior Public Relations Officer

University of Greenwich

020 8331 9420

www.gre.ac.uk/news

 

Wendy Foreman

St Alfege Church

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

07773 521 906 

Heart of Greenwich Place and People

St Alfege Church – Heart of Greenwich - Place and People


St Alfege Church in Greenwich has received initial support* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its Heart of Greenwich project, it was announced today. 

The project will open up the church’s hidden spaces and rich heritage to national and international visitors, school children and students, and to the widely diverse local community. 

Thanks to National Lottery players, development funding of £153,200 has also been awarded to help St Alfege progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date. 

The plan is to strengthen St Alfege's position as a heritage asset at the heart of Greenwich, opening it up to a more diverse range of visitors. The work would start in January 2018 with the aim that all the capital works would be completed in 2020. Planned activities would extend into 2022. 

Working with the University of Greenwich, the Royal Borough and schools, the church will give students practical experience, recruit and train volunteer Heritage Ambassadors and provide a programme of heritage focused activities. Plans include opening up and interpreting the crypt, vital repairs to the fabric and bringing to light the splendid work of the renowned architect Nicholas Hawksmoor. The project will improve access for less able people and improve signage, landscaping and interpretation. 

St Alfege Church is a Grade 1 listed landmark church in London, the first church built under the Fifty New Churches Act of 1711 and the first complete church project undertaken by Nicholas Hawksmoor, pupil of Wren and one of England’s most original and significant architects. Its patron saint was murdered on the site of the church just over 1,000 years ago, and there has been a place of Christian worship on the site ever since. Henry VIII was baptised in the church. His court composer Thomas Tallis, “the father of English church music” was its organist. He and General James Wolfe are buried here alongside other figures of local and national importance. Key historical figures in Greenwich’s royal, maritime and scientific history have worshipped here. The present building was constructed between 1712 and 1718, and is one of the key buildings within the Greenwich World Heritage Site. 

Commenting on the award, Vicar Chris Moody said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. St Alfege is at the heart of Greenwich and the current building holds the history of the Greenwich community as it has developed over the past 1000 years. It’s great to know that we are a step closer to preserving it and making our history better known to young and old alike. Many thanks to our partners – the University, the Royal Borough of Greenwich and other World Heritage Site institutions - for helping us get this far….and thank you Heritage Lottery Fund!”

Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, said: “St Alfege has been a proud symbol for the people of Greenwich for a very long time, and we are delighted that, thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to support this fantastic project, and we look forward to seeing further plans as they develop.””

Additional information