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Tercentenary celebrations conclude in September with lots of special events

Concluding our celebrations to mark three hundred years of Hawkmoor's St Alfege Church, we celebrated the rededication of the church by Frances Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester in September 1718 with a series of special events in September last year 2018.  

On Sunday 23 September we celebrated the rededication with Sung Eucharist at 10am led by Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark with St Alfege Choir followed by a bring and share lunch in the church hall.   

This wasfollowed by a community poetry event at 1.30pm in the church entitled The Spirit of Place with poetry performances by local poets.

On Wednesday 26 September 7.30pm, The Revd Canon Chris Moody gave a talk in church about Francis Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester who rededicated the church in September 1718.  Atterbury was a controversial clergyman, leader of the high church revolt in Convocation that resulted, using the churchwardens’ petition for the rebuilding of St Alfege Church as a trigger, in achieving the Fifty New Churches Act of 1711. Having later become Bishop of Rochester, he remained a dedicated anti-Hanoverian and ended up in exile at the court of the Old Pretender in Paris. The talk will explore the delay between the completion of Hawksmoor’s new church and its dedication in September 1718. The change in dynasty with Queen Anne’s death in 1714 may have been the cause because the delay was caused by a dispute over the inclusion of the royal pew.
On Sunday 30 September at 7.30pm there was a performance of Esther (1718) by Handel given by St Alfege Church Choir and Orchestra with guest soloists directed from the harpsichord by Stephen Dagg.  

Other celebrations during the year to mark three hundred years since the Dedication of Hawksmoor's St Alfege Church building 1718 to 2018.    

The Hawksmoor church in Greenwich was built between 1712 and 1716 and dedicated in 1718. It replaced an earlier medieval building, of which the tower, though not visible from the outside, still remains.  Part of it had collapsed in a storm and the churchwardens then pleaded that they did not have the resources to rebuild it on their own. The petition began the whole process towards the Fifty New Churches Act of 1711 under which the present church and the rest of the Hawksmoor churches and others like them were built.

This historical event was highlighted with a short re-enactment in February to launch the Tercentenary celebrations of the Dedication of Hawksmoor's St Alfege Church building in 1718.    

23 April 1953: The re-consecration of the church by the Bishop of Southwark after war damage and the last major reconstruction by Sir Albert Richardson.   We marked this with a talk ‘St Alfege – before and after the bombing’ by Alison Fisher on Saturday 21 April at 3pm in church. Alison is an Open Church volunteer and is studying the history and architecture of St Alfege Church for a PhD at the University of Greenwich. Her illustrated talk looked at St Alfege before the bombing, the damage done by the bombing, and how Sir Albert Richardson restored it.  She also found some amazing photographs that were included in her presentation.  Crypt tours were also available. 

12 June 1711: Royal Assent given bringing the Fifty New Churches Act into force.


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