The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Church Index

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Title: The Church Index

Author: William Pepperell

Release date: October 14, 2012 [eBook #41048]

Language: English


Transcribed from the [1872] W. Wells Gardner edition by David Price, email  Many thanks to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Libraries (Local Studies department), for their help in making this transcription.


Metropolitan Churches and Church Enterprise.










All rights reserved.



S. M. & A. Warren, 1, Edwardes Terrace; Wade and Son, 25 & 98, High
Street, KensingtonR. S. Spalding, High Street, Notting
Hill; W. Meadows, 8, Fulham Road, Brompton; J. W.
Dodd, 270, Fulham Road, West Brompton.




Abbotts, Church of St. Mary

1, 81

Andrew, Church of St. Philip and St.


All Saints, Church of, Notting Hill


Assisi, Church of St. Francis of


Augustine, Church of St.

22, 67

Baptist, Church of St. John

41, 70

Baptist Chapel, Johnson Street


Baptist Chapel, Silver Street


Baptist Chapel, Upper Westbourne Park


Baptist Chapel, South Kensington


Brethren, Plymouth


Barnabas, Church of St.

31, 81

Carmelite, Church of, Fathers


Christ Church, Kensington


Clement, Church of St.


Clarence Place Wesleyan Chapel


Congregational Chapel, Kensington


Cornwall Road Baptist Chapel




Denbigh Road Wesleyan Chapel


Episcopal Chapel, Brompton


George, Church of St., Campden Hill


Horbury Congregational Chapel


James, Church of St.


John, Church of St.


Jude, Church of St.

5, 70

Kensington Palace Chapel


Lancaster Road Chapel (Congregational)


Luke, Church of St.


Mark, Church of St.


Mary, Church of St., Bolton’s


Matthias, Church of St., Earl’s Court

6, 69, 70

Michael, Church of All Angels and St.


Missions and Preaching Houses


Norland Chapel

56, 71

Oratory, Brompton


Paul, Church of St., Onslow Square


Paul, Church of St., Vicarage Gardens


Peter, Church of St., Onslow Gardens


Peter, Church of St., Notting Hill


Primitive Methodist Chapel


Pro-Cathedral, Kensington


Scotch Church, Kensington


Sloane Place Chapel


Stephen, Church of St.


Swedenborgian Chapel

44, 72

Tabernacle, Hornton Street (Baptist)


Tabernacle, Free, Notting Hill (Baptist)


Talbot Tabernacle, Notting Hill (Baptist)


Trinity, Church of Holy


Warwick Gardens, Wesleyan Chapel


Westbourne Grove Chapel (Baptist)


Workhouse Chapel



A Comparative Denominational View


Church Building


Church Music


Church and Population


St. Mary Abbotts Church


The Parochial System





Views of the following Churches will be found in their appropriate places:—St. Mary Abbotts, Kensington; New Church (exterior, interior, Organ); Old Church (exterior); St. Barnabas, Kensington; St. Peter’s, Onslow Gardens (exterior and interior); St. Jude’s (exterior and interior); St. Paul’s, Onslow Square; Onslow Chapel; St. Mark’s, Notting Hill; St. Mary, Bolton’s; Warwick Gardens Wesleyan Chapel; Tabernacle, Notting Hill; St. Luke’s, South Kensington.


Particular church chronicles are scarcely found among the thousands of volumes which annually issue from the press, although there are no chronicles that have in them more of what is really of public import.  In regard to Metropolitan churches, nothing of the kind we here present to our readers has yet been attempted.  Detached notices of a church here and there will sometimes be found in our periodicals or newspapers; but no effort has yet been made to supply a collective and relative view of all particular church history and operations in given districts in a permanent and useful form.  Yet, these churches have now become so numerous and influential, and are yearly increasing to such a degree, unparalleled in any former age, that it would seem they demand distinct and special recognition and record, and surely are worthy to be preserved in their characteristics as among the ingredients which must enter into the general church history of our times.  It may thus happen that we are supplying a real desideratum in Christian literature.  The present issue may either be taken as an entire work in itself, or as the first of a series which will appear at intervals, as often and as regularly as circumstances may determine.  It contains accounts, longer or shorter as each case admitted, historical, ecclesiastical, architectural, clerical, religious, and social of over fifty churches—established and non-conforming—in the populous parish of Kensington.  This parish extends from the Brompton Road, the Boltons and Earl’s Court southward, where it joins the parishes of Chelsea and Fulham, to Upper Westbourne Park and Kensal, beyond Notting Hill, north, where it abuts upon Paddington, and from Hyde Park and Bayswater, east, to Shepherd’s Bush and Hammersmith, west.  It covers an area of 2200 acres, and has fifty miles of main streets or carriage-ways within the bounds.  The population, according to the late census, is 121,100 souls.

It will thus be seen that we have been treating in these pages the spiritual provision made for a population greater than that of many a large town or city in the kingdom.  We were first attracted to Kensington, a former “suburban village,” not only because of its importance as a representative Metropolitan parish, but as forming the centre of the Western suburbs, and on account of the rapidity with which church-building has gone on there of late years.  We now present the first part of our task completed, and in the “Index” with the “Notes” will be found all that it is requisite to know about these churches.  There is other church matter included at the end which may add to the interest of the whole.  Also, a goodly number of engravings and photographs of principal church buildings, additions which will contribute greatly to the interest and value of the book in the Christian household or in professional hands.

p. viThe author’s thanks are due, and are hereby warmly and respectfully presented, to those clergy and other gentlemen of all denominations who have freely opened to him original and reliable sources of information.  He is thus enabled to present the work freer from all sorts of inaccuracies than would probably otherwise be the case.  He has, also, gratefully to acknowledge valuable aid from Mr. J. P. Churcher, Architect, of Kensington, who has kindly given the advantage of his professional knowledge in regard to a considerable number of the churches herein described.

The work is now commended to the considerate attention of the public; trusting that the effort may be accepted as some contribution in illustration of Metropolitan churches and church enterprise, treated upon a thoroughly Catholic basis.

There are not wanting signs of a general growing interest in such subjects.  Even the political discussions of the last few years—bearing largely upon the state of the Church—have had, at least, the effect of concentrating public attention upon its fortunes, and of awakening a large amount of sympathy with its varied labours.  Let us hope that this will tend to the happy result of securing a permanent practical regard in the public mind for every thing connected with the progress of Christianity in our midst; and if in some humble degree this great object is advanced by the contents of the following pages it will be esteemed an abundant reward and cause of much thankfulness by


22, St. Stephen’s Road,
               Shepherd’s Bush, W.






Respectfully Dedicated,




Dear Sir,

It was said of one of old, “He loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.”  It is no less a pleasure than a duty to recognize genuine patriotism; and wherever it exists in its highest character, it is associated with zeal for the extension of the Church of God commensurately with the nation it loves.  Although, Sir, your habitual modesty would not allow you to invite the commendation, I cannot forbear according it to you, that by the blessing and providence of God you have realized the ideal.  Having contributed largely by honourable enterprise to the extension of the suburbs themselves, you have been mindful of the spiritual interests of the population.  Two handsome churches—St. Paul’s, Onslow Square, and St. Peter’s, Onslow Gardens—are due to your Christian thoughtfulness and generosity.  Some men can only project such works, and leave others to execute and pay for them; but you, Sir, have been endowed with the will and the power to do all these yourself; and you have done them with that unaffected zeal and good will to men, which, as it commands our admiration, will not fail of the blessing of Heaven.  On various other good works of Christian charity for the education and improvement of the physical condition of the poor, I need not now dwell.  They are well known to your neighbours, and to all who daily share their benefits, and will not be forgotten in time to come.  For these reasons I have deemed it appropriate to dedicate to you this work, in the subjects of which you take so deep and practical an interest.  Praying that your useful life may be long preserved to us an example and blessing to many,

I am, dear Sir,
Yours sincerely,

Charles J. FREAKE, Esq.




At the moment of our writing, St. Mary Abbotts, Kensington, is, in a literal sense, without a parish church.  The old one has passed away, and the new one is in course of erection.  There is, however, the church, with its long, chequered, and interesting history and associations of the past, and, we trust, its equally interesting and still more glorious future.  The Venerable Archdeacon Sinclair, the present vicar, his churchwardens and friends must feel themselves the subjects of peculiar and pleasurable feelings as being the chief actors in the great change now coming over the site lately occupied by the old church, and thus placing themselves on a line with a long and eventful history.  We must go back far into the middle ages for the origin of the parish church of Kensington, and to the days of dark Papal rule in the land.  In the time of Henry I. we read of this church being bequeathed, on his deathbed, by Godfrey de Vere, Lord of the Manor, to the Monastery of Abingdon.  It was, however, shortly after claimed by and restored to the Diocese of London, in which it has ever since remained.  This was in the thirteenth century.  The first endowment of the Vicarage was in 1260, and from time to time it received consideration from various monarchs.  In 1520 Queen Mary accorded to it a portion of the 7,000l. granted by Henry VIII. in augmentation of the living of incumbents and scholars in England.  The history of the old Saxon church is bound up with that of the manor, which was bestowed, inclusive of the rectory, upon various noblemen by royal grants under several reigns.  The collation of the vicarage has belonged to the Bishops of London, pleno jure, about 390 years.  While the Reformation was yet struggling against Papal tyranny, as though we were to have a forecast of the Evangelical type and freedom which have marked this church in after times, it possessed a martyr.  Not one, indeed, led, as far as we know, to the stake, but cruelly driven from his position and living, and possibly to temporal ruin.  In 1527 Sebastian Harris, the curate, was proceeded against for having in his possession a translation of the New Testament and a book entitled Unio Dissidentium, containing the doctrines of Luther.  He was, for this criminal offence, cited to appear before the Vicar-General in the long chapel, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and required there to make oath that he would not retain these books in possession any longer, nor sell them, nor lend them, nor make any acquaintance with any person suspected of heresy, and finally adjudged to quit London within twenty-four hours, and not to come within four miles of it for two years!

The New Church of St. Mary Abbotts, Kensington, 1872.  The Venerable Archdeacon Sinclair, Vicar

The late church began to supersede the first in 1683.  The population even then was said to increase, and the inhabitants, to provide for the increase, built a new aisle on the south side.  In the beginning of 1695 the north aisle and chancel were supplanted by others of larger dimensions; and in 1696 it was resolved to take down and rebuild the whole church, excepting the tower at the west end.  The cost of this was met by subscription.  King William gave 300l.; the Princess Anne 100l.; Earl Craven 100l.; the Bishop of London 50l.; and the Earl of Warwick 40l.; the entire expense amounting to no more than 1,800l.  Bowack, who visited the church in 1705, thus describes the rebuilt church in his “Antiquities of Middlesex”: “In form quadrangular, somewhat broader than long, 80 feet from north to south, and hardly 70 from east to west.  Paved handsomely with Purbeck stone.  The pewing and galleries very neat and convenient.  The pulpit and chancel handsomely adorned with carving and painting.”  It might be added that the pulpit and desk were the gifts of King William the Third and Queen Mary, in addition to their contributions to the building fund.  The pulpit has a crown inlaid with the initials, “W. & M. R.,” and the date, “1697.”

In 1704, the defects of the recent work evincing itself so clearly by the cracking of the building, it was found necessary to take off the old roof, pull down the north and south walls, and rebuild them; which was done at a further outlay of 1,800l.

Again in 1772 the church underwent a thorough repair, and the old Gothic tower was taken down and the later one erected.

Once more in the year 1811 the church showed signs of decay, and it was necessary to underpin the walls, rebuild the vaults, and entirely renovate and adorn the interior.  This was done at an expense of 5,000l., which was met by a church-rate of sixpence in the pound, spreading over three years.  This church, now spoken of as the “old church,” was a plain brick structure, with no pretensions to architectural display.  The interior was composed of nave, chancel, and two aisles, separated by wooden pillars supporting the galleries.  It was spanned from the entablature of six wooden columns over the nave, and three large brass chandeliers wore suspended from the ceiling.  There was the royal pew curtained round in ancient style, which long continued to be used by high personages from the Palace.  Here the Duke and Duchess of p. 2Kent and the late Duke of Cambridge worshipped; and from this very pew the Duchess returned thanks after the birth of our present gracious and beloved Queen Victoria.  The brows of other distinguished persons have been seen within the old walls.  Sir Isaac Newton, Addison (after his marriage with the Countess of Warwick, of Holland House), Lady Margaret Macdonald, “Lady of the Isles,” Wilberforce, George Canning, Sir David Wilkie, Lord Macaulay, Thackeray, &c.—all of whom were residents in Kensington, were attendants at the parish church.  Such were the minor glories of the former house.

Church of St. Mary Abbotts, Kensington, 1872.  The Venerable Archdeacon Sinclair, Vicar

In 1866 it was seen that its fate was sealed.  Competent architects pronounced that it would not be safe to use it for public worship more than two or three years beyond.  The closing services were held on Whit-Sunday, May 16, 1869, when sermons were preached by the Bishop of London in the morning and by the Vicar in the evening.  The church was crowded—said, indeed, to be “packed to the ceiling.”  Collections made on the occasion towards the new building fund amounted to 265l.  The church contained no less than 114 monuments and tablets, among which one in white marble was most conspicuous, dated 1759, in memory of the Earl of Warwick, the Countess, and their daughter, Lady Charlotte Rich.  The Earl is represented sitting, resting his arm on an urn and clothed in a Roman habit.  All the monuments were carefully removed before the church was pulled down, and some, it is expected, will be reinstalled in the new edifice.

Design of Organ for new Church of St. Mary Abbotts, Kensington. Built by Hill & Son, London

At first it was thought that the entire enterprise of the new parish church could not be undertaken at once, for want of funds, and it was resolved to proceed by degrees, laying the foundation and building vestry and chancel, with a temporary nave.  But the funds shortly realised and promised encouraged the deacon and churchwardens to build the whole of the fabric at once, with the exception of tower and spire.  The estimated cost of the work when completed is 35,000l., the tower and spire alone being estimated to cost 10,000l. of the amount.  The fine old ring of bells—eight in number—which have quickened and delighted the ears of Kensingtonians for many a long year, will find a place in the new tower and be heard again, and probably their joyous music be listened to by generations to come.  The spire, when completed, will be 240 feet from the base to the vane.  The estimated cost of the interior fittings, pews, pulpit, screen, and altar is 4,460l.  The church will be brilliantly lit with gas, and warmed with hot water on the most improved principle.  The length of the interior is 155 feet, and its greatest breadth 100 feet, and is capable of accommodating 1,600 persons on one floor.  There will be no galleries.  The style of the building is Gothic, a specimen of the transitional period from the early English to the decorated, and the architect is Mr. Gilbert Scott R.A., of Spring-gardens; the contractors Messrs. Dove Brothers, of Islington; and the grotesque and other carving with which the church is ornamented is executed by Messrs. Farmer and Brindly.  The external material of the building is Kentish rag, with selected Bath-stone dressings.  From what can be seen of the work in progress, the ample Bath-stone turrets and mouldings will add much to the effect of the building.  In the interior there is no plaster, but the whole of the church is faced with solid Bath ashlar.  There are on plan, nave, side aisles, and transepts.  The nave will be 107 ft. and the chancel 48 ft. long, and 27 ft. wide; the aisles are 14 ft. 6 in. wide.  There are also chancel aisles, and on the north side of the chancel an organ chamber, and the tower—the tower space being occupied with a vestry, from which the clergy will pass to the chancel by a vestibule.  The font is on the north side of the west door; it is intended to be a very handsome marble one, with a conical cover, the cost being 400l.  Several ladies in Kensington are exerting themselves to raise funds for this particular work.  The principal entrance to the church is on the west side, and the door has a sumptuous carving in Bath stone over it.  The next principal entrance will be on the south side, through a porch, and another on the north side.  A scheme is projected by the ladies of the congregation, and a plan is now preparing by Messrs. Clayton and Bell, to fill the whole church with painted windows.  Should this be accomplished, and the eminent firm mentioned be employed to carry it out, it will doubtless add vastly to the effect of the interior.

The Old Church, High Street, Kensington.  In Memoriam 1697–1869

It is hoped and expected by the Vicar that the church will be opened by Easter next (1872).  A very fine organ is now being built for this handsome fabric, by Messrs. Hill and Son, of the Euston-road, at a cost of about 1,200l., to be provided by a separate fund.  This instrument has three manuals and a pedal organ.  Great Organ—containing double open diapason and bourdon, 16 feet; open diapason, 8 feet; ditto, No. 2, 8 feet; gamba, 8 feet; stopped diapason, 8 feet; principal, 4 feet; harmonic flute, 4 feet; 12th, 3 feet; 15th, 2 feet; mixture, 4 ranks; Posaund, 8 feet; clarion, 4 feet.  Choir Organ—open diapason, 8 feet; dulciana, 8 feet; Gedact, 8 feet; Gamshorn, 4 feet; Wald flute, 4 feet; flautina, 2 feet; clarionet, 8 feet.  Swell Organ—Bourdon, 16 feet; open diapason, 8 feet; salcional, 8 feet; stopped diapason, 8 feet; principal, 4 feet; Suabe flute, 4 feet; 12th, 3 feet: 15th, 2 feet; mixture, 3 ranks; horn, 8 feet; oboe, 8 feet; clarion, 4 feet.  Pedal Organ—CCC to F, 30 notes; sub-Bourdon, 32 feet; open diapason, 16 feet; violone, 15 feet; Bourdon, 16 feet; principal, 8 feet; 15th, 4 ft.; trombone, 16 ft.; 5 couplers.  Up to the present time about 24,000l. has been received and promised to the Building Fund, to which Her Majesty the Queen subscribes 200l.  It will be seen, therefore, that a large proportion of the money has yet to be raised, although no doubt is felt that public spirit will display itself in connection with this great public object, so as to relieve the promoters of all anxiety as to the speedy and successful termination of their work.  Archdeacon Sinclair is the treasurer of the fund, and the Rev. W. p. 3Wright, of 2, Bath-place, the secretary.  The present churchwardens are Charles Greenway, Esq., of 3, Bath-place, who has filled the office for sixteen years, and Robert Harvey, Esq., of 92, High-street, Notting-hill, who has been in office for two years.  Attached to the parish church there are national schools, with 200 boys and 130 girls; an infant school with 200; and a ragged-school in Jennings’-buildings—a notoriously low part of the town—with 60 or 70.  There is also an industrial school for young girls, where 35 or 40 are taught various useful domestic works.  There are Sunday-schools answering to the day-schools; also a district visiting society, composed of ladies and clergymen who visit the poor and distribute alms; and annual collections are made for missionary and other religious and charitable purposes.

The venerable Archdeacon Sinclair has been Vicar for the last twenty-nine years, and was appointed Archdeacon soon after his accession to the Vicarage.  It is known to be a wealthy living, but its exact value cannot be precisely stated.  The net value, however, is estimated at 912l. per annum.  The Vicar is well known and admired both for the elevation of his personal character and his able and truly Evangelical ministry.  He is now well stricken in years—being seventy-four years of age—but retains a notable degree vigour, and preaches regularly twice every Sunday, at present to the congregation of St. Paul’s, Palace-gardens, one of the chapels of ease to the parish church.  Christ Church, Victoria-road, is the other.  Associated with the Vicar in the spiritual work of the parish are at present four curates, the Rev. W. Wright, M.A., the Rev. E. T. Carey, M.A., the Rev. G. Averill, M.A., and the Rev. J. J. T. Wilmot, M.A.

The principal congregation of the old church are, during the re-building, worshipping in the vestry-hall adjoining.  Here we had the pleasure of uniting with them on the morning of Sunday, Oct. 15, 1871.  The service is a reflection of what it was in the old temple, and what, under the venerable vicar, it is intended to be in the new.  It was plain devout Church of England service, earnest and as inspiring as it could be in a plain hall.  The officiating clergyman was the Rev. J. J. T. Wilmot, M.A., who took the whole of the service and preached the sermon.  The latter was a faithful exposition and application of 1 Tim. i. 16—“Godliness with contentment is great gain.”  Some very pointed remarks on the evils of the lust of riches, and the value of the gain of godliness, were delivered in a clear and sonorous voice, and pointed with familiar illustrations.  The impression on our minds was that such a method of conducting worship, and such a style of pulpit or platform discourse, cannot but be the means of doing great good.

(See Notes.)


This church is a recent instance of the modern forward movement to overtake the spreading population of the suburbs.  It is situated at the extreme north of the parish, in the midst of a vast mass of new property, which is very properly called New-town, or Kensal New-town.  The parish, which was formed out of the extensive one of All Saints’, Notting-hill, has a population of 9,000; and up to the present has been very ill-provided with means of religious worship.  Indeed, it seems as if no effort can be abreast of the fast-growing needs of the metropolis.  But here is, at least, a large and handsome church situate in a locality in which primâ facie it would appear a very God-send.  Alighting at the Westbourne-park Station, and passing over the bridge, a sign-board directs the inquirer along the main Newtown-street, and after four or five minutes’ walk another board points out the site of the church.  Or an equally ready way of access may now be found from the Notting-hill Station, by the Ladbroke and recently-opened Golborne-road.  This edifice is the fruit of private and public zeal combined.  A Christian lady in Bayswater devoted 5,000l. of her abundance, and the Bishop of London’s Fund, together with some local donations, supplied the remainder of 7,000l., which was the cost of the building.  It is therefore unencumbered with debt, and has a free and open course before it for Christian usefulness.  The ceremony of consecration took place on Saturday, the 8th of January, 1870, when our reporter in attendance wrote that, “Notwithstanding the furious gale over the parish, upwards of 700 ladies and gentlemen were present.”  The then new Bishop of London (Dr. Jackson) officiated, and was assisted in the service by the Venerable Archdeacon Sinclair, Vicar of St. Mary Abbotts, Kensington; the Rev. A. G. Pemberton, of Kensal-green; the Rev. A. Campe; and the Rev. R. Towers, the incumbent.  A number of other clergymen were also present, amongst whom were the Rev. R. W. Forest, the Rev. Daniel Moore, the Rev. Bryan Hodge, the Rev. W. A. Newton, the Rev. W. A. Bathurst, &c.

The building is of red brick with Bath-stone mouldings, covered with the best Welsh slates, and surrounded on all sides with a strong iron railing.  In the exterior there is no other particular feature, except a prettily-shaped belfry, which is an ornament to the east front.  The interior does credit to the architect, Mr. Keeling, of Gray’s-inn; who, forbidden the versatility of device he has displayed in St. Mark’s, Notting-hill, St. George’s, Campden-hill, and elsewhere, has given a free adaptation of early French Gothic.  There are a nave and aisles, separated on either side by five handsome columns of Devonshire marble, with carved-stone capitals, and supporting an p. 4entablature of six arches on each side, from which a lofty groined roof spans the nave.  The arches are of variegated brick, with Bath-stone dressings; and the higher part of the side walls in the same, the lower part being faced with Bath-stone ashlar.  The choir and chancel are ample in dimensions, the former being furnished with high cathedral-backed stalls, and the former ornamented with neatly-illuminated texts, the Ten commandments, &c., and over the communion-table the words—which it may be hoped, will be a faithful index to the ministry ever to be exercised in the church, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to him that believeth.”  The organ is a borrowed instrument of very inferior quality, and which is shortly to be supplanted by one more adapted to the beautiful and spacious edifice.  Towards this most desirable improvement 40l. only has yet been raised, towards 250l., the estimated cost.  As the congregation and immediate neighbourhood are mainly poor, it would be a real boon if some wealthier person or persons beyond the district could devise the means to present to the church a suitable instrument.  The church is admirably adapted for the free passage both of light and sound, and the plain but variously-stained windows, without Scripture or canonical characters, add to the beautiful effect of the whole structure.  There are no galleries; but the ground floor, well laid out with substantial open pews, supplies accommodation for 950, but is capable of taking 1,000 without overcrowding.  We regretted to observe that the congregation present at the morning service were not anything like half the number.  The audience in the evening, however, is said to be much larger, a feature very characteristic of poor localities, where many week-day working people are seldom prepared for church before evening on the Sabbath.  The place is well warmed by a large stove, which sent a comforting glow of heat through the entire space; and is lit at night from ornamental pillars, each having four branches, and each branch three jets, specially designed by Messrs. Johnson Brothers, of High Holborn.  The floors of the aisles, choir, and chancel are inlaid with tessellated tiles.

The first builder was unable to fulfil his contract, which occasioned considerable delay; but ultimately it was taken in hand by Messrs. Scriven and White, of Camden-town, who carried out their engagement to perfect satisfaction.

Church work, in this case, is yet in its infancy, and seems to ask for assistance.  There are, however, the seeds of what, let us hope, may prove a future moral and spiritual harvest.  The population requires to be wrought upon outside the walls, that they may be brought more fully to comprehend their privileges.  It appears quite certain that within there are all the means of good to them.  The service is devoutly and earnestly performed in its Evangelical interpretation, the prayers, psalms, and creeds being read, and responded to by the congregation.  The musical part is Gregorian plain-song; but sufficiently varied to prevent the sense of severe monotony.  The choir is at present a mixture of male and female voices; and there is some room for improvement, which will doubtless come when it is assisted by a better organ.  The hymn-hook is the “Church and Home Metrical Psalter and Hymnal.”  The Rev. Robert Towers, B.A., the Vicar, was without assistance in the clerical portion of the service.  He reads in a distinct and feeling manner; and preaches extempore, purely and properly so.  His text was taken from Matthew ix. 12: “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick,” &c.  In this discourse in simple language and illustration, we verily believe was preached the truth as it is in the Gospel.  We could not but wish that the place had been crowded to hear it.  The disease of sin was scripturally set forth as inherent in man’s nature, hereditary, loathsome, contagious, and by all human means incurable.  Mr. Towers is a preacher who is not afraid to speak of sin in appropriate terms, telling his audience plainly that “it damns the soul and fills hell”; and that in the world wherever it is found, “the blast of the devil passes over, and carries its accursed infection beyond.”  As to its human incurability, “Not even religious ceremonies in themselves could avail.  Baptism was not regeneration.”  Sin would still reign and increase “its deadly and damnable effects in the soul,” for there was “no getting through or living it down.  It was very death itself.”  “But thanks be unto God that though the wages of sin be death, the gift of God is eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  The character and ability of the great Physician, and the Divine mode of cure, through the application of “the precious blood” by “the Holy Ghost” to the repentant sinner, were impressively and unmistakeably set forth, together with the delightful effects in the experience of men.  In short, we have never listened to more real Gospel within thirty minutes of time than on the morning of Sunday, November 12, 1871.  We sincerely hope the church will soon be filled, from the chancel to the baptistry.  There is a Sunday-school with about 150 scholars, and an excellent staff of teachers.  A Church of England Young Men’s Society has been established about six months, and supplies a number of very competent male teachers to the school, which at present meets in the church in the afternoon.  A near site, however, for a school is already purchased, and will be built upon as soon as funds are secured for the purpose.  Mission-rooms attached, capable of holding about 100 persons, are at 15, Appleford-road, where a missionary is employed and holds service Sunday afternoons and Monday evenings; three Bible-women are also doing their useful work in the parish.  There would appear, therefore, to be much of the machinery requisite for carrying on the work in this new locality; but the church is entirely dependent on voluntary support, and, the people being poor, that support is as yet but feeble.  The weekly offertory was at first adopted; but soon discontinued, being considered unpopular, and boxes were placed at the doors.  The financial result, however, is most insignificant; and it is evident that something more is necessary, if this fine p. 5church and zealous few are not to be crippled in their energies.  An earnest appeal is therefore being made by the Vicar and the Churchwardens, Mr. W. J. Murlis and T. Horsman, for help to meet the expenses.  One thing should not be unnoticed; a provident fund is established for the poor, from which the sick, aged, and persons suffering from want of work, are aided in time of need.  The society adds two-pence to every shilling deposited by the members when able, and already between 60l. and 70l. stands to the credit of the fund.


The new Church of St. Jude’s, South Kensington, is situate close to the Cromwell and Gloucester-roads, and stands out boldly, tree-less, and alone, a striking object in the surrounding plain, looming largely in the distance.  Nor is it less striking on a closer view.  It is in the early Gothic style, some fair detail of which it possesses, especially in the character of the west front, which is a happy composition; but its most remarkable features consist in the number of gables, gable-crosses, terminations, and chimneys, the great size of some of its windows, and a certain stilted appearance that the structure has, altogether a whole not perfectly pleasing or picturesque.  The view from the north-west is perhaps the most telling in point of effect, but this would be greatly improved by the addition of the tower and spire, which we hope will soon appear, but there is a certain comfortable-looking bell-turret which seems to say, “I answer all purposes required.”

Interior of St. Jude’s Church, South Kensington

The church is built of Kentish rag and Bath stone dressings, and the roofs are covered with slate in bands of colour.  The gates and approaches when finished will add greatly to the general appearance.

If the outside is peculiar, the inside, perhaps, is more so.  The building, which is slightly cruciform on plan, covers a large area, about 135 feet long by 87 feet wide.  These dimensions are sufficient to give a great idea of space, and this effect is increased from the fact of the floor being nearly free from the usual obstructing columns; for although there is the general arrangement of nave and aisles, yet the slight iron columns, that support the arcades offer but very little impediment either to sight or sound.  The acoustic properties are exceedingly good, and the preacher can be seen and heard to advantage from all points; whilst the large north and south windows admit such volumes of light that there is an entire absence of that “dim religious light” favoured by a section of the English Church.

View of St. Jude’s Church, South Kensington

Architecturally the iron columns are suggestive of having too much to do—looking weak and unequal to the task of supporting the pretty nave roof and coloured-brick arches; this is especially the case with the columns at the transepts.  The iron, as we have said, from its lightness, assists sight and sound, but then beauty is sacrificed to utility, which to some extent we think unfortunate; but the church has evidently been designed to assist the preacher’s voice, and therefore we must congratulate the architect, Mr. J. H. Godwin, of Brompton, on his complete success.  The prevailing buff colour of the bricks, being imitated in the painting of the columns, is not pleasing, and we think may be altered with advantage.  The church will hold 1,700 persons, and the galleries add to the auditorium, but are no assistance to effect, and compel the use of a stilted and old-fashioned pulpit.

The organ-chamber and a capital vestry are at the north-east angle of the church, and the baptistry, at the west end, is well arranged and contains a handsomely-designed early font.  The east window is of stained glass, illustrating the life of Christ.  The doors are ample and admit of good entrance and exit.  The pewing is comfortable and compact.  The school class rooms and offices below account for the stilted appearance before referred to.

St. Jude’s is one of the latest and most noticeable instances of aggressive effort on the part of the Established Church.  It was originated by the Rev. J. A. Aston, late Vicar of St. Stephen’s, Kensington, to provide for the spreading suburban population in that part, and has cost, as it now stands, 10,000l., which is entirely the munificent gift to the district of Mr. J. D. Allcroft, of 55, Porchester-terrace, and Wood-street, E.C.  When all complete, including the site and the vicarage shortly to be erected, the cost will be about 19,000l., the additional 9,000l. being jointly guaranteed by Mr. Allcroft, the Rev. J. A. Aston, and the present Vicar.  There is a capital organ, ably presided at by Mr. M. Lochner, having four manuals, and favoured on the choir organ with that very rare stop, the Vox Humana, and capable of enlargement.  This fine instrument was built by Mr. H. Wedlake, of Fitzroy-square, at a cost of 700l., and is another of the grand offerings in connexion with the St. Jude enterprise—being the sole gift of Mrs. Walter Powell of Notting-hill.  The largest of the three rooms underneath the east end of the church is forthwith to be fitted up.  It is capable of holding 400 people, and to be used for the purpose of meetings, Sunday-schools, &c.  It is not intended at present to have day-schools.

Although opened for Divine Service so recently as the 23rd of Dec., 1870, it has within three months collected within its walls one of the largest congregations to be met with around London.  It is estimated to accommodate 1,700 worshippers—and on a special occasion it might very well contain 2,000.  On Sunday morning, February 26, there were from 1,500 to 1,600 present, and the church did not present a crowded appearance.  A glance over the large assembly showed that it contained scarcely a sprinkling of the lower or labouring classes.  It was composed almost entirely of the aristocracy and gentle people of the district, together with the middle and trading classes.  The sittings are let p. 6at 2l. 2s., 35s., 30s., and 20s. per year; but as one-third of the entire number are to be free, it may be hoped that the “rich and the poor” will here also meet together before Him “who is the Maker of them all.”

The service is a vigorous rendering of the plain Church Service, cautiously guarded against Ritualistic signs.  The members of the choir are not robed in white, nor have they anything to distinguish them but the place they occupy.  The clergy wear a simple surplice at prayers, and appear in the pulpit in a black gown.  The Rev. R. W. Forrest, M.A., of Trin. Col., Dublin, the first vicar of this new church, was transferred to it from the Lock Chapel, Paddington, having been previously incumbent of St. Andrew’s, Liverpool.  In Paddington he enjoyed a well-deserved popularity, which appears still to attend him in his new sphere of duty.  In appearance he is about forty years of age, tall and commanding in presence, and possessing a strong pleasant voice, used with ease and heard without effort in the remotest corner of the spacious edifice.  His reading of the Holy Scriptures is specially distinct, natural, and impressive.  The pulpit discourse was founded on Heb. iv., and part of the 16th verse, “But was in all points tempted, like as we are, yet without sin.”  It was a practical and touching illustration of our Lord’s temptations in their bearing upon the experience and present comfort of his people, and, being delivered extempore, brought the preacher into direct sympathy with his audience.  The Rev. F. Moran (curate) assisted in reading the prayers—a clergyman who also possesses a clear and distinct enunciation—suitable to the place and the congregation.  Among Mr. Forrest’s hearers on the occasion of our visit were Bishop Barker, of Sydney, Metropolitan of Australia, and the Dean of Ripon.


The Church of St. Matthias, Warwick-road, Earl’s-court, Kensington, is within sight of St. Jude’s, and, like it, stands almost alone in the open fields.  It has no boundary walls or fences, unless a broken-down hedge on the east side can be called a fence.  Externally, as a structure, there are no very pleasing features; the permanent and temporary portions do not harmonise, and, indeed, the chancel and aisles, the only parts finished, have not in point of detail and design much to recommend their brick walls with bath stone dressings and window tracery of simple character.  Of course the temporary portions as such cannot fairly be criticised; yet if we must have temporary churches and of corrugated iron, we see no reason why they should not be picturesque, or at any rate sightly.

Internally the temporary nave has no attempt at appearance or effect, a remarkable fact seeing that the Anglican school generally pride themselves upon effects.  A matched-boarded lining to walls and roof is simply varnished, the glazing of the windows is rendered shocking to taste by masses of blue and red colour, and a box pulpit is too much like a box.  The excessively plain chancel, arch, and arcades, and general detail of the windows, have evidently been designed with a view to economy; and if, when the nave is built, the same quiet spirit is adopted, we shall be anxious to learn the cost of the structure, which will certainly be a minimum sum, and valuable to note in these church-building days.  The style is early English.  The dwarf stone parapet and ornamental iron screen across the chancel arch form rather a nice feature, and the stall-seats are of good design.

The east window is partly filled with effective stained glass, and as the predominant colour is blue, it is vexatious that the side-lights, not yet completed, are screened with green blinds.

Two figures of saints over the altar-table are not clearly seen—one might be St. Matthias; and the reredos might as well have English written on it—the unlearned could then understand and appreciate.

St. Matthias stands in the midst of a poor district, which was originally cut off from St. Philip’s, Kensington.  A temporary iron church was first opened on April 17, 1869, and the permanent chancel was consecrated and opened on the following 10th of July.  Nave and chancel together accommodate from 700 to 750 persons.  The cost of the whole structure has been 4,800l.; and it is intended if possible to build the nave this year 1871, which will cost about 4,000l. or 5,000l. more.  The architect is Mr. J. H. Hatrevile, 5, Southmolton-street.  There are no appropriated sittings; all are free, and the church is always open for public or private prayer.  It is supported by the offertory alone, which in 1869–70 amounted to the sum of 1,100l., and in 1870–71 it will amount, we are informed, to 1,600l.  Out of this all the expenses of the church and the charities and the clergy are met.  There are three priests attached—the Rev. S. C. Haines, M.A., the Vicar; the Revs. H. Westall, A.K.C., and S. Martin.  There is a superb organ built by Jones, of the Fulham-road, with three manuals, forty stops, and 2,255 pipes, at a cost of 700l.  The choir is large—about fifty in number—under the precentorship of Mr. J. Elwin, of 21, Coleherne-road, Brompton, professor of musical elocution.  During Lent there is daily Communion at eight a.m., four services every day, and five on Friday, when there is an extra Communion at eleven a.m.

The service is Gregorian plain song, and on the morning of March 5, the second Sunday in Lent, the ceremonial is described as being extremely ornate and symbolical.  Our representative says: The chancel is unusually deep, the space between the altar and the railing being apparently designed p. 7with a view to Ritualistic development.  In fact, it is a large stage on which a numerous company can play their parts.  The choristers wear surplices, and the clergy, over the surplice, a stole, which is at the present season of the true Lenten violet—according to the practice of Ritualists—who use the symbolic colours of violet for Lent, black for Good Friday, red for Martyrs, yellow for Confessors, and so on.  The altar-cloth and pulpit-cover, and even the offering-bags, are also of the same tinge, the latter being embossed with a white cross.  The prayers were intoned by Mr. Westall, a young gentleman whose voice is in some danger of collapsing from sheer tension of monotone.  The Ritualists have attained perfection in denying to nature its own freedom and flexibility of voice.  The lessons were read by the second curate, Mr. Martin, who, we learn, is new to the church, and whose voice, trained in the true Anglican style—rises always where it ought to fall, and vice versâ.  The bowings, curtseys, and genuflexions of this service are so numerous and complicate, we almost despair of tracing them.  Not only in the Creed, but in every other part where the name of the Saviour occurred and on every repetition of the Gloria Patri, there was a low curtsey as long as the body could be conveniently bent, which had a most singular effect in the general aspect of the congregation.  In the Nicene Creed, in the part “Light of light” and up to “rose again,” there was a sudden drop of voice to a mere whisper—which, being quite unprepared for at the moment, might startle one into the idea that the congregation and choir had simultaneously lost their vocal power.  But all this was merely dramatic.  On entering the Communion Service the processional hymn is sung, during which the clergy three abreast commence their pilgrimage to the altar.  They approach it by three stages, pausing at every one, and on arrival bow and cross themselves, and then dispose themselves on the left, in line with their backs to the congregation—one a step above the other—the highest reading the Commandments, turning meanwhile to the people.  They then break line again, and one reads the Epistle for the day; they form inline again, and the centre figure, the Vicar, reads the Gospel, during which the curate at his feet turns towards him obliquely, bending in a worshipping attitude.  After the Creed—and so as to chime in with the close—the Vicar passes with a sharp step to the pulpit, which is as close to the chancel as it can be; and on entering it, whilst the people are still standing, crosses himself, fronting them, and repeats quickly, “To God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Amen,” and at once announces his text.  The short prayer before sermon is dispensed with.  The motion with the finger to the two shoulders and the forehead is the great feature at this point.

The sermon was founded on 1 Cor. i. 20—“Where is the wise?  Where is the scribe?  Where is the disputer of this world?  Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”  Having on the previous Sunday treated of bodily mortification and fasting, the preacher would now speak of the subjugation of human imagination, intellect and reason to the dominion of truth—of the folly of the “wise,” the “scribe,” the “disputer of this world,” in view of the “wisdom of God.”  In what was mainly an extempore address, aided only by copious notes, and accompanied by much declamation and earnest action, Mr. Haines denounced the intellect and literature of the day as extremely sordid, timeserving, and egotistic.  It was “a day of advertisements,” when intellect was “bought and sold over the counter,” when one might “buy all the intellect of England for gold, and for so many guineas have so many pages;” and if in any case pride prevented this degradation, literature was then “but the expression of an extreme egotism.”  Periodicals and books were “pretentious and misleading;” the novels of the age embodied its “sensualistic intellect;” our art in its exhibitions handed down pictures and ideas of depravity.  “It would be well if the scientific world would send forth no more theories.”  In short the preacher held in the profoundest contempt all the ordinary exercises of the human mind and reason.  Perverted intellect had produced anarchy in America, revolution and bloodshed in Europe; and in the history of Christianity there had been nothing but contention and division since the intellect of the church first departed from the “holy Catholic religion,” and so rendered government impossible.  The preacher eulogised, indeed, intellect sitting at the feet of Christ; but this was so explained as to mean, in fact, sitting at the feet of “Holy Catholic Church.”  This part of the sermon was, to our minds, a virtual denouncement of the Protestant Reformation.  In speaking of the mysteries of religion against which the world’s intellect revolted, the preacher adverted to that one, “the sacrifice of the altar,” which they were then daily celebrating.  “Christ was in Heaven, but he was also there, yea,” glancing round to the spot, “on that altar was the real body and the real blood of our Lord.”  Would they deny these mysteries because they could not understand them?  Were there not mysteries in all nature? and did not the saint see all around him the great sacrifice of nature—the outward and visible sign of the inward, present, and omnipotent God?  After sermon the preacher returns to the altar, when a fourth functionary appears, whom we suppose must be termed an acolyte.  He carries in his hand a taper, with which he proceeds to light the candles in the candelabra at either end of the altar, each having seven lights.  A hymn is being sung and the collection made at the same time, and when ended the offertory bags are borne to the altar, and, being solemnly placed upon it, one of the priests, prostrating himself before it, raises the offering high towards the cross, and there holds it for some moments in the act of consecration, after which the Benediction is pronounced.  The church in the morning is filled with a congregation chiefly composed of the higher middle classes of the people, and in the evening principally of the poor of the immediate locality.


A pleasant walk on a Sunday morning from westward, through that fashionable part of Kensington known as the Addison-road and Warwick-gardens, brings us to the Church of St. Philip, which stands at the corner where the Earl’s-court and Pembroke-roads join.  It is a brick structure in the perpendicular decorated style belonging to the fifteenth century; and as, with its modest spire, it comes into view, and the worshippers slowly moving up every main approach, in response to the “church-going bell,” the whole produces a very pleasing effect.  As one silently views the interior a somewhat mystical impression imperceptibly steals upon him.  The architect, Mr. Thomas Johnson, of Lichfield, would appear to have studied and followed out the ideal of a former period in the details generally.  This is especially seen in the windows, the arcades, &c.  The nave has a lofty aspect, much more so than would be expected from the exterior view.

This church was built in 1858, and its district taken principally out of St. Barnabas, with a small portion from the old Kensington parish.  It originally had accommodation for 1,000, but, in consequence of the increasing demand, it was enlarged in 1862 to 1,400 sittings, 500 of which are free.  The cost of both the original building and the subsequent enlargement has been almost entirely borne by the Vicar, the Rev. J. Dickson Claxton, M.A., of Trinity College, Cambridge, he having been aided only to the amount of 1,400l. or 1,500l. in subscriptions, which were towards the first erection.  The enlargement was carried out at his own sole cost.  The great need of this was manifest from the magic rapidity with which population increased in the neighbourhood of the church.  It stood at 8,000 until recently—the spring of 1869—when the formation of the sub-district of St. Matthias reduced it to 5,000.  But so rapid is the growth that it has already again risen to fully 6,000.  There is at present but one curate, the Rev. J. C. Sykes, B.A., of Queen’s College, Cambridge.

Three schools are in part connected with the church, being maintained in conjunction with St. Barnabas, and containing altogether upwards of 600 children.

The other charities maintained alone by St. Philip’s are several.  There are “A Provident Fund and District Visiting Charity,” a “Maternity Charity,” “Work Charity,” “Soup Charity,” “Blanket Charity,” and “Old Clothing Charity.”  Taking the year round it would seem that a large amount of temporal comfort most be distributed over the poorer parts of the district by these benevolent operations.  The church itself contains several objects of interest worthy of note.  There is a splendid reredos of Caen stone and alabaster, and a peculiarly handsome altar-rail of vert antique and alabaster.  Over the altar is a beautiful stained window by Heaton and Butler, at the west end an immense and magnificent one to the memory of the late Lord Holland, also two other small memorial windows, all by the same firm.  The organ is a superior instrument by Walker, of the Tottenham-court road, and cost upwards of 600l.  It is played by Mrs. Higgins—whose husband holds the post of master over a choir without surplices, chiefly voluntary, aided by a few paid voices.  Under the same direction there a large choral association connected with church.  The services are principally, through not exclusively, Anglican.  In the morning the responses are intoned, and at night the choral is adopted.  Daily prayer at 9.30 a.m. and 5 p.m.  On Sundays there is a children’s service at 9.30 a.m., and full service at 11 a.m., 3.30 p.m., and at 7 p.m.  The weekly offertory, and proceeds of the Communion Service twice a month, are solely relied upon for the maintenance of the charities and church expenses, in lieu of church rates.

The vestments of the clergy are of the simplest and most irreproachable kind, and the performance of the service according to the order of the Common Prayer.  There is certainly no trifling with rubrics, and no need for dexterous evasion of ecclesiastical injunctions.  Yet the service we attended was earnest and solemn.  The curate read audibly, and the preacher, who happened not to be the Vicar, was scholarly and Evangelical.  But, on the whole, the service might be deemed a little too quiet to be a perfect model of what a service in our English Church should be.  As to the general ministry under the Rev. J. D. Claxton, whom we had not the pleasure of hearing in propria persona, its effects must be taken as proofs of its acceptableness and usefulness.  Commencing, as we understand, with an original congregation of ninety, he has had the gratification of seeing it increase to 1,400, and that, too, whilst so many other churches and chapels have risen all around.  The congregation appeared to our eye to bear that settled and orderly aspect which is one of the readiest proofs of ministerial success and pastoral fidelity; and not the least pleasing feature was the large number of the poorer people who filled the free seats, and regarded with attention and reverence every part of the service.  An official kept the door, who cannot be termed a verger, scarcely a beadle, but who, if he had no rod or robe, or staff, had a coat with bright buttons fixed upon a brown cloth.  He handed the stranger over to the care of a matronly-looking female inside, with a white cap, who very courteously led the way to a seat.  When there, the general effect upon us undoubtedly was that we were in a church of the people—one where the people were to be found quite at home in their worship of the Creator, and free from the stiffness and restraint of more tinselled and conventional forms.


St. Stephen’s, close to the Queen’s-gate-gardens in the Gloucester-road, South Kensington, is a very handsome and well-proportioned church, and is a pretty object seen from the Cromwell-road.  The composition of its west front is remarkably good, and indeed there exists an agreeable harmony in the design and in the quiet general tone of colour in the stone of which it is built that is pleasing to the eye.  There is a refined look about the building, and perhaps it would not be too much to say that it seems accustomed to good society.  To the architect there are some portions of the detail rather interesting.  The cloistered doorways beneath the buttresses, the triplet and rose-windows of the east front, and the north porch and back turret are all worthy of remark.  The interior is exceedingly effective and elegant.  Again the harmony strikes one as perfect; there is a peaceful influence produced by the quiet colouring and grey columns and excellent proportions of the church, such as ought to belong to the house of God.  There is nothing glaring, nothing particular to arrest or attract the eye, yet every part is worthy of inspection, and the parts taken together produce one of the best and most exquisitely charming interiors with which we are acquainted in this neighbourhood.  The plan of the church may be said to be cruciform, and is divided into a nave and aisles, north and south transepts, and chancel and aisles.  The grey columns of the nave support the arcades and clerestory, and the light nave roof springs from angel-corbelled columns.  The chancel arch is well-proportioned, and the dog-tooth enrichments harmonise with the caps of the columns.  The chancel is parted from the aisles by light screens supported by alabaster columns, and on the north side above the screen is the organ loft, and the south side is occupied by a gallery.  The chancel itself is simply decorated, the Communion-table space without any colouring other than of the softest kind.  Three figures of saints occupy the triplet—St. Stephen filling the centre, and St. John and St. Paul the side lights; the rose window over has the Saviour in His Ascension scene.  The stone pulpit on the north side of the chancel arch is well designed, and its little alabaster and coloured marble columns relieve the still colour of the stone.  The font, of similar design, occupies a slight recess in the baptistry, close to the north porch door.  An octagonal vestry is at the south east angle of the church.  A new west gallery is not exactly an improvement to the effect.  The pewing and stall seats are of good design.  The passages are floored with tiles of simple pattern.  The architecture is early English.

The one drawback to the external appearance of this church is its want of relative elevation.  Its base appears to drop about two feet below the level of the roads and ways which form its approaches.  The fault was that of the architect, who did not calculate on the effect of making-up roads where they had not previously existed.  In 1866, when the church was built, that part of South Kensington was only beginning to open up.  The base of the edifice should, therefore, have been raised.  But instead of this the architect appears to have proceeded in utter disregard of the near and certain future of the locality.  The result is that whereas originally steps upward were required to enter by the gates, it is now necessary to descend in reaching the interior; and a flat and depressed aspect is thus given to a building which would otherwise have been a most prominent and pleasing object in the view.  We understand it is intended to add a spire to the edifice very shortly, and this will probably somewhat relieve to the eye the defect of which we have spoken.

The church was built under the ministry of the Rev. J. A. Aston, M.A., to replace an iron church which for some time he occupied on the opposite side of the road.  The same continued minister until the autumn of 1870, when he was succeeded by the present officiating minister, the Rev. J. P. Waldo, M.A.  The progress made under Mr. Aston’s pastorate is seen from the circumstance that it was found necessary in two or three years to increase the accommodation by the building of galleries on the west and south sides.  This work was completed in March, 1870, at a cost of 600l., by Mr. Aldin, of Queen’s-gate-place.  The cost of the whole, when completed, we are told will not be less than 20,000l., a very high figure when it is considered that the church has no more land than that on which it stands, and the narrow bare paths around it.  There are about 1,150 sittings, which let at an average of 2l. 2s. per annum each, leaving about 150 sittings free—1,300 in all, which appear to be well occupied by a congregation of a superior class.  Out of the pew-rents and collections the clergy and the church are supported.  There are temporary day and Sunday schools attached, situated in the Queen’s-gardens, near the site, where from one to two hundred children are instructed.  The organ is very ably played by Mr. Lowe.  The choir is composed of both males in plain dress and females.

The prayers were read and also the psalms, with the exception of the first, which was chanted.  There is no variance from the accepted English and Evangelical mode of conducting worship.  The hymn book is the “Church and Home Metrical Psalter and Hymnal,” selections from various authors.  The congregation did not join with so much zest and animation in the service as could be desired, except in one hymn—“Lord of the Worlds above,” &c., the peculiarly lively words and music of which appeared to evoke devotional feeling and dispel restraint.  We are sorry, however, to see this hymn, which in its original dress, as it stands in another hymn-book, is one of the finest in the language, so sadly mutilated by the simple act of transference from one collection to another.  We deplore p. 10the liberty which editors of our numerous collections sometimes take with the productions of even our best hymn-writers.  Why should this be so?  We have never seen an alteration of this kind which has not been for the worse as it regards both thought and expression.  The curate reads well and agreeably to the ear, in a voice more remarkable for clearness than strength.  The vicar, the Rev. Mr. Waldo, is still new to the audience, having been at St. Stephen’s about four months.  His vocal powers and reading are good; the former have not that compass which enables them to meet the requirements of the large congregation with the greatest ease.  The sermon, founded on Gen. xlv. 5, was an elegant piece of composition, not only read, but delivered in the reading, which is not always the case.  The thoughts presented on the general and special providence of God, as unfolded in the history of Joseph, were those of a devout, thoughtful, and cultivated mind, and most comforting to the troubled and disconsolate.  From what we saw and heard, we have much pleasure in recording our belief that good Christian work is being done at St. Stephen’s.


This church, which stands at the foot of the Victoria road, might have been much better placed, so as to be seen in perspective, which indeed its near appearance would warrant.  Its fair and well-proportioned tower and spire would then have formed a striking object, and might have been visible even from Kensington-gardens.  Could it be lifted out of the pit in which it seems to nestle at the dark end of a road which is no thoroughfare, and out of its unsightly surroundings in Cornwall-gardens, it would be an immense benefit to the mere appearance of the building.  The building in itself is generally very simple, but not without effect.  It is built of ragstone with bath-stone dressings, and covered with slate.  The enclosure is nicely planted, neatly kept, and fenced with dwarf walls.  Internally the church is unimposing.  The nave and aisles are surmounted by a heavy-looking but plain roof—without clerestory lights.  The tower space on the north side of the chancel, is occupied as an organ chamber.  The chancel is quite plain and without aisles.  In the windows, which are of good design and filled with glass of geometrical patterns, there is an absence of stained glass and decoration; which in reality the church requires, to relieve that tame and cold look, which some day might be slightly altered with advantage.  A large gallery at the west end does not tend to lighten the interior aspect of the church; nor do the exposed heating pipes, which it would be better to conceal from view.  The font, pulpit, and pewing are of plain design, and the passages are paved with red and black tiles, laid diagonally.  Christ Church is a chapelry of ease to the parish church of St. Mary Abbotts, Kensington, or rather a trust chapel, served by the Venerable Archdeacon Sinclair, Vicar of Kensington.  It was opened and consecrated July 23, 1851, by Bishop Blomfield.  The present officiating ministers are the Rev. W. Wright, the morning and evening preacher, who has been curate since 1855, and is now termed the “senior curate.”  The Rev. E. T. Carey is the second curate and afternoon preacher, and entered upon his duty in 1869.  Both ministers are much esteemed; and from the impressions of our visit the estimation in which they are held is well founded.  Mr. Carey read the prayers and lessens in good voice, and with an evident mental appreciation of their religious sense and application.  Mr. Wright officiated in the Communion Service and preached the sermon.  His voice is penetrating, if not full, and leaves the most dull-eared without excuse.  His sermon was an able and faithful exposition of Psalms 142 and 4th verse—“Refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.”  The distinction between the circumstances of the Psalmist and his times and our own was finely drawn.  In the former case every incident of temporal life—adverse or favourable—was interpreted as a certain indication of the Divine favour or displeasure.  With us it was not so much so.  We had in general every spiritual advantage; although there were yet some, as at the East-end of London, who, from the scarcity of religious provision, might still say, “No man careth for my soul.”  In short we quite thought we were listening to a charity sermon; and after so touching an appeal on behalf of the spiritually destitute, prepared ourselves for a collection.  Mr. Wright, however, has our best thanks for touching in so delicate a manner a very sensitive chord in our moral nature.

The chapel is capable of holding 700 persons, and there are less than 100 free sittings; but although it was supposed to have not only its own, but also many of the congregation of the parish church—which is closed for re-erection—it was by no means full.  It is hoped, when the central church is completed and reopened, it will have a good effect in the locality, and help to supply the dependent church with an adequate congregation.  We have known churches and chapels in the worst situations, under special influence, to be filled with devout worshippers; but they are occasions too rare.  Would that we could see them more frequently!  One remark made by the preacher in speaking of the need of churches at the East-end was much to the point.  It was to the effect that it would be useless to build churches unless there were efficient ministers to carry on the service and occupy the pulpit.  Mr. Wright appears to have reflected long enough to learn that p. 11the greatest problem of the day is, after all not how churches may be built, but rather how, when built, they may be suitably and successfully served.  Here is a good organ under the care of Mr. Brain, of the Eldon-road, but no choir.  It is, therefore, purely congregational singing assisted by the organ.


The Church of St. Mary, West Brompton, from its position in the centre of the Boltons, can be seen from many points of view to great advantage.  It is in the decorated Gothic style, and is an exceedingly good specimen of the Revival of Gothic architecture, having been built some fifteen years ago.  Built in the shape of a cross, its tower and spire rise at the intersection of the nave, chancel, and transepts, and are in excellent proportion.  The spire is octagonal, and is terminated at its junction with the tower by a pierced parapet with angels at the angles.  The octagonal portion of the tower is continued downwards below the tower lights, when it becomes square, with corbelled angels at the four corners.  The west front is well designed, and surmounted by a corbelled bell turret, in which hang the only two bells the church possesses, though there would appear to be ample room in the empty tower for a chime.  The ragstone of which the church is built, with Bath stone tracing and dressings, has now enough of age to give a softened look to the exterior generally, and the young spring foliage and well-kept surrounding gardens lend their aid to make a rather pretty picture.  Internally the church is effective, especially the view from the west end; but the absence of the usual nave arcades and aisle give a long, narrow look to the church, and take from the idea of its size, as at this point the transepts cannot in any way be seen.  The nave roof is heavy, and the apostle corbels that support it too large and too near the eye to be in good taste.  The choir stalls have lately been extended westwards under the tower space, and the pulpit, of very peculiar design, being more properly a rostrum, though by no means unsightly, stands at the north side of the nave arch, and a recently-erected gallery across the north transept contains the organ.  The small vestry is at the north-east angle of the church.  The chancel has lately been redecorated and made to agree with the usual arrangements of the Anglican school of worship.  The stained glass in the east windows is poor, representing the Ascension some geometrical patterns fill some of the other windows, likewise of a very poor character.  The pewing is very plain, and the passages are paved with tiles.  The stone font is large and very well executed.  The church, as we before said, is a Revival church, and as such it would be unfair to criticise it too much; but, on the contrary, much praise is due to the architect, Mr. Godwin, for giving so fair a specimen of Gothic work when the art was at so low an ebb.

St. Mary’s Church, The Boltons, West Brompton

The performance of Divine worship at St. Mary’s is decidedly of the High Church order, with a Ritualistic tendency.  In this it differs from what it was under Mr. Swaile, the first minister of the church, and even under Mr. Pearson the second.  The present vicar, the Rev. W. T. Du Boulay, M.A., has been there about two years, and during his time a constant Higher tendency has been observed.  This has been traceable in the large increase of public services and Eucharistic celebrations.  The latter takes place every Sunday morning at eight, and on every alternate Sunday at the eleven o’clock service as well.  After Lent we understand a still further increase was intended in the number of these in ordinary.  During Lent and other great festivals there is a celebration every morning at the early service, on Good Friday two, and on Easter Sunday three.  Apart from this, the whole aspect of things in the chancel looks towards Ritualism.  Thus, for instance, the Communion-table, or what High Churchmen call the “Altar” or “Altar-table,” is surmounted by a large gilt cross, which from its exceeding brightness forms a most conspicuous figure—also two large candlesticks, and other lustrous objects.  The cover is of deep violet, trimmed with white, and all the moveable furniture, even to the cushions of the chancel, desks, and pulpit, are of the same—this being the colour used by the High Church party during Lent.  The choristers number over thirty, and are led in procession to the choir, the people all rising as they and the clergy enter.  The vestments are a surplice with the cassock underneath, and visible below the knees; and in addition, the clergy themselves wear the usual sign of degree.  No change of dress is made for the pulpit.  The Curate—the Rev. Arthur Veysey—intones the prayers, in, we may say, the most perfect style we have yet heard out of a cathedral.  His voice is sonorous, and he has cultivated the manner of intoning to a high degree.  He has certain little varieties, too, of his own, which render such a method of performing worship as pleasant as it can be.  Thus the note is altered in the absolution, and the voice dropped to the lowest tenor, and at the same time quickened; and then again at the Lord’s Prayer a strong bass is put on in a low key.  In like manner the Collects were sung quickly in an undertone.  At every mention of the Saviour’s name, whether in the prayers, the Gloria Patri, creeds, epistle, or gospel, the reader bowed.  And as in the latter it was often named, the frequent bowing of the head must have been a great task; for in this case the Curate read the gospel as well as the epistle, passing in the act from one side of the chancel to the other.  The Vicar read the lessons well and distinctly, and p. 12preached the sermon.  On entering the pulpit the customary invocation was not used; but, standing erect and glancing eastward, the preacher simply uttered the words, “The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” and at once proceeded.  Too little, to our minds, was made of the sermon; it was a short homily in the midst of the service, very good in its way.  It consisted largely of exhortation, found on Phil. ii. 3, in which the Saviour was presented as an example of passive and active obedience, and some very practical remarks were made.  Quietly useful this style of preaching may be when based on pure Gospel doctrine and view; but it is one from which the old power and higher effect of the pulpit are absent.  A novelty, at least to us, occurred in this service.  Instead of the usual hymn on the minister entering within the Communion rail, another form is adopted, called the “Introit,” which is a selection of Scripture adapted as much as possible to the day, and sung as an anthem by the choir.  To our modern ears the Introit is new; but it is in reality an old thing, in this and some other instances revived.  In the first Prayer-book of Edward VI. there is a psalm, containing something proper to the day, printed before every collect, epistle, and gospel.  This, from being sung or said whilst the minister made his entrance within the rails, was called introitus or introit.  There is, therefore, an ancient reference in the adoption of this form; and by adoption of the name as well as the form, the Vicar of St. Mary’s betrays a certain mediæval direction in church matters.  It is, in our opinion, far from an improvement.  The “Introit” is a poor substitute for the devotional hymn, in which all the congregation can join, and which has no particular reference to the minister’s bodily movements.

There are connected with this church, a National School, situated in the Chelsea-grove, Fulham-road, and a Sunday-school, containing about one hundred scholars; and it is a pleasing circumstance that the ordinary afternoon service on Sunday is given to the children, and is called the “Children’s Service,” consisting of the Litany and catechising.  There is also a lending library in the schoolroom, where books are given out and exchanged every Monday between twelve and one o’clock, the subscription being only one penny per month.  There are District Visitors, and a “Mother’s Meeting” is held at the Vicarage on Mondays from 3 to 5 p.m.  There are also a Maternal Charity, Coal, Clothing, Shoe, and Blanket Clubs, and even a “Guild” or association for servants.  It is clear that the Rev. Mr. Du Boulay has laid himself out for extensive influence and usefulness, and, there is no reason to doubt, in all Christian sincerity.  But there are certain forms and ecclesiastical signs about his church arrangements which in many minds cause fear, lest his zeal should not in its effects prove to be of the purest Evangelical character.  We regret this very much, as the impression on our own minds of his personal spirit was most favourable.  It is of course within his power to remove anything from before his congregation that tends to impair his usefulness.  Experience will, no doubt, suggest to him that the Ritualistic line, or, what is really the same, the High Church, is not that in which a clergyman can now be so religiously useful as we are convinced Mr. Du Boulay desires to be.  He has daily matins at 8 a.m. and evening song at 5 p.m., choral celebrations at great festivals and on the third Sunday in every month; and the Litany on Wednesdays and Fridays at 11 a.m.  The musical arrangements for Easter Sunday, were very extensive and elaborate, and the music entirely Anglican.  Less singing, more genuine prayer, with able and earnest preaching, would, as many think and feel, be a vast improvement in the services of this church.  The choir is a partly paid one; and the organist, Mr. Buttery, of 173, Piccadilly, is highly esteemed both by the clergy and congregation, and no less so by the choir over which he presides.  There are 720 sittings, 220 of which are free.  There are no endowments; the church and services are supported by pew rents, valued at about 350l. per annum, and by the offertory, which raises about 440l. per annum.  The numerous charities and the schools, together with the Water-side Mission Association, and one in aid of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, all have their distinct funds and resources; not at present to any large extent, but all capable of extension.  There is a strong band of district visitors—consisting of fourteen or sixteen, chiefly ladies, with a few gentlemen, to whose care as many districts are allotted.

One of the most remarkable things connected with St. Mary’s is what the vicar has called the “Guild of St. Michael,” an association for female domestic servants, the object of which is stated to be to help and comfort “those who are striving to get their own living and to do their duty.”  Among the terms of admission are: A year’s good character from last employer; that they be monthly communicants; that they engage to add to their morning and evening prayers a short prayer which will be given on admission; that they regularly deposit in a savings bank; that on the feast of St. Michael and All Angels they send back their cards of admission and receive fresh ones, and promise not to attend fairs, races, dancing, or music-halls.  The privileges held out to secure obedience to this unique code are that at an annual meeting “refreshments will be provided,” a monthly paper to be sent to each, the benefit of a registry and the society’s recommendation for situations; a temporary home when out of place for a small weekly payment and a small added interest to their yearly savings.  The intrinsic idea of all this is excellent; but why revert to the antiquated name of “Guild,” and why connect it with the feast of “St. Michael?”  This veneration for saints’ days and festivals, of which the Vicar of St. Mary’s appears enamoured, is a mere relic of Popery, nay, very much a relic of old heathenism.  It is this bent towards the obsolete p. 13and discarded, with the general tendency to ornament and formality in worship, that we fear will damage, if it does not entirely destroy the real good that might otherwise result from the multifarious labours undertaken by Mr. Du Boulay and his colleagues.  The sooner these matters are looked carefully at in the light of Protestant sentiment and feeling, the better will it be for the church in the Boltons, and all the interests circling around it.


The Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of Victories, commonly called the Pro-Cathedral, situate in Newland-terrace, Kensington, is a very fine, yet simple structure in early English style of Gothic architecture; but is so hidden by the houses behind which it has been placed that the real effect of the building is lost, and one can therefore only make a guess at the probable general appearance.  The building is sufficiently lofty, however, to be easily seen from a distance, and its high-pitched and crested roof, with miniature angled and decorated spire, breaks up the sky line somewhat pleasingly.  Upon closer inspection the north front (the church is built N. and S.) possesses some very excellent detail.  The centre doorway is double, recessed and handsomely treated with polished granite shafts, and the doors are surmounted by a seated figure of the Saviour.  The buttresses with ancient pinnacles are effective, and the general treatment of this front, though executed in simple brick and stone, is very bold.  The architecture of the interior is also very boldly treated, and even more than the outside is strikingly plain—one might say white.  This is accounted for by the absence of stained glass and coloured decorations of any kind, a defect which we understand is now about to be remedied.  There are six altars besides the high altar.  Looking up the nave towards the latter, the effect is certainly very good, and the polished granite columns and carved stone caps surmounted by the lofty arcade and clerestory and simple roof together make up a very excellent interior.  The chancel is apsidal and has a groined ceiling, and is lighted by a very plain window on each side of the apse.  The aisles are interspersed with the altars and confessionals, and the altar to the Virgin has an elaborate reredos, over which are various figures, the centre one being, as the Roman Catholics say, “Our Lady.”  The organ, a very fine one, is mounted on granite columns at the north end of the nave, and is approached by a rather awkward open and spiral staircase, and the columns are confusing, which we do not think adds to the good effect of the church.  The font is very nice indeed and carved in relief; on the four sides are the emblems of the Evangelists; it has a handsome oak cover, but, like the building itself, is lost in a corner.  The benches are very plain, and the aisles are intended to be filled with chairs.  The pulpit is enormous, and we must say unsightly; and the gas standards, like the pulpit, strike one as being too large, and appear to offer great obstruction to sight and sound.

The movement for a new Roman Catholic Church in Kensington began about six years ago, on account of the small dimensions of the former chapel in Upper Holland-street.  The area of the latter was 71 ft. by 21 ft., that of the new church 144 ft. by 58 ft., making a difference of 6,861 square feet area; and the architect, J. Goldie, Esq., has made good use of the space at his disposal.  There are 820 seats, of which 180 are free.  The pews in the centre have 470 seats; the sides are occupied by chairs, and those on the right are free.  By an extension of the same system, the church can accommodate about 1,100 persons.  The works were commenced in 1867, and the church opened on July 2nd, 1869.  The total cost, including the organ, is about 27,000l.  Of this a considerable portion remains as a debt; which circumstance will prevent a most desirable improvement in the entry from the main road for some time to come.  At the opening Dr. Manning made it his Pro-Cathedrali.e., the church which he would use instead of a cathedral, until his own should be finished.  The enterprise has been much assisted by the Very Rev. Mgr. Capel, the Travelling Chaplain of the Marquis of Bute, and the present principal priest of the church.  The other clergy attached are the Rev. R. F. Clarke and the Rev. James O’Connell.

Intending to visit the church on Easter Sunday morning, we made a preliminary visit on Saturday afternoon.  Although busy preparations were going on for the great ceremonial to follow, it was open for worship; and during our stay, from five to half-past six p.m., a considerable number came and went for prayer and confession, sprinkling themselves with the holy water from the vases both on entering and retiring, and bowing the knee towards the high altar.  The majority of the comers were females, many of them young; but not a few older women, and some both young and old of the other sex.  Those who intended confession gathered near the “confession boxes,” of which there are two.  The one most in request was that on the east side, occupied, as confessor, by the Rev. Monseigneur Capel.  The other, on the north side, was held by the Rev. Mr. O’Connell.  A number of young persons on their knees awaited opportunity near the former and some near the latter.  The box or cell known as the Confessional is a small wooden structure, fixed against the wall, having three niches concealed by curtains.  In the centre one sits the confessor, his surplice being just visible where the curtains should join over the dwarf door; and on either side a niche p. 14into which the penitent enters, communicated with by the priest through a grated aperture.  The visitor gently taps at this, and the confessor listens to hear the whispered complaint, and whispers back his reply, his queries, his comfort or admonition.  Most that entered within the curtain were young women, apparently of the servant class, but to this there were a few exceptions, and in one instance a young man entered.  As we tarried a great lady came, closely followed by her footman in powdered wig.  It was the Countess of —, known in West-end circles during the London season.  She has a handsome presence, and entered the church with a cheerful, beaming countenance.  Addressing an instruction to her servant, he went to a small side chapel near the chancel, and soon returned with a young dark official in a dingy cassock, who might have been taken for an ardent Carmelite under all the depression of protracted fasting and bodily neglect.  To him the Countess gave a note or a card, which he deposited with Mgr. Capel at the Confessional.  Shortly both priests left their boxes and walked up the centre aisle to the side chapel, the Countess following.  In about fifteen minutes they returned, and the lady took her departure.  She was much altered in countenance, looking sad and discomposed.

On Easter Sunday—the great day of all the days in the year with the Catholics—at eleven a.m., commenced the performance of High Mass, and Archbishop Manning, as announced, was present, and preached the sermon.  The church was well attended, but not crowded.  There was no rush to obtain the “shilling” or “six-penny” seats, and a large number remained unlet to the end.  This charge for the seats probably kept many out; but it is understood to be a necessary measure, in consequence of the heavy debt on the place, the large current expenses of the services, and the general poverty of the people.  In the congregation were several notabilities; and far up towards the chancel the white hair and expressive features of Mr. Bellew, the well-known dramatic reader, were visible.  He was until recently a clergyman in the Church of England, and is now a layman in the Romish Church at this place.  It was impossible to repress a reflection on the score that the public reader in the pew and the principal actor in the scene were both during the better half of their days ministers in the Protestant Establishment.  The first view of the ceremony revealed a crowd of priests and mass attendants variously arrayed and employed.  One faced the altar at a little distance, swinging a censer vessel, to the time and motion of the pendulum of a clock.  During the ceremony he appeared several times in the same position and act.  A number, grouped round the Archbishop on his throne, having a gorgeous canopy and draped in scarlet and amber, were very busy in adjusting their vestments.  The movements, to the uninitiated, might seem a simple toilette operation, but were really part and parcel of the ceremony, every one having a symbolical allusion to the events of the commemoration.  Even the style and colour of the dresses were charmed by occult references, not traceable to the outsider.  Taking off the Archbishop’s mitre and replacing the tall cloven covering on his head, which occurred several times, was a great formality, performed by a priest with the most tender and reverent care, all the others devoutly witnessing.  The rising and stepping forth of the Archbishop, with his huge silver crook, to bow or prostrate himself before the altar, and to adore the sacrifice, were luminous points of interest, and brought into view a tout ensemble and tinsel of ornate worship never to be witnessed, except at High Mass in a Romish Church.  To describe all the acts of this most intricate and complicate ceremonial would not be possible in this article.  The flitting of acolytes with candles, the processions, the swinging of censers filled with incense, until the altar and chancel were enveloped in a cloud; the wafting of the perfume to the congregation till it reached the very limits of the church; kissing the altar, and all the mysterious movements thereat; the changes of books, the brief Latin recitations, the tinkling of bells, the elevation of the Host, all allied with perpetual animation, make up a whole which it is difficult, indeed, either to describe or understand.  To witness it lays very large demands both upon the patience and gravity of ordinary mortals, and is liable to trouble even the conscience of a genuine Protestant.

The choir accompanied the performance with the grand music of Mozart’s 7th Mass, Herr Carl Stepan singing the principal bass with admirable effect, and the treble being well sustained by the boys.  The organist is R. Sutton Swaby, Esq., of Gordon-cottages, Hammersmith.  This instrument, built by Messrs. Bryceson Bros., is classed among the finest of the day.  It has four manuals and a powerful pedal organ.  In all there are fifty-four stops, and the solo stops, including the voix celeste and the voix humaine, are considered particularly fine.  Mr. Swaby is master of a very superior instrument, and feels pleasure on Sunday evenings after service in giving the people an opportunity of hearing its different effects by playing a short selection of music in varied styles.  On Sunday morning the offertory was accompanied with the Hæc Dies, and the Hallelujah Chorus formed a grand voluntary at the end.  During the execution of this the Archbishop, crook in hand, the priests, and altar servants formed and walked in procession down the centre aisle and round the church to the side chapel, preceded by the acolytes with candles.  The prelate waved his hand as he went in token of blessing the people, and the chief priests bore his train.  Dr. Manning appeared in the closing scene to move feebly and to be well-nigh exhausted.

The sermon came in the midst of the service, a procession escorting the Archbishop to the pulpit.  On reaching it, turning to the priests in the rear, he delivered to one his crook, and bowing his head another took off his mitre, and, wishing to be free from all impediments, he p. 15handed to them the book-rest and book, and, advancing to the front bareheaded and without book or paper, commenced an extempore discourse on John xi. 25: “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”  Although somewhat aged of late, the Doctor retains remarkable strength and clearness of voice.  As to the doctrine of the sermon, it was in the main in unison with the requirements of the Christian pulpit, being a review of the Saviour’s humanity in his incarnation, suffering, death, and resurrection.  This latter event was most graphically portrayed in its various circumstances, and in the Christian’s hopes and interests which centre in it, in that chaste and elegant language for which the Archbishop is noted.  The course of remark offered an opportunity for putting forward some of the distinguishing dogmas of Popery, but the preacher did not seem to avail himself of it.  Having, however, done with the text and its doctrines, he launched into political questions connected with the Papacy.  An article had appeared on the previous day in the Times treating of their services on Good Friday; and admonishing the Catholics to fall in with the course of “modern civilisation.”  This the Archbishop called a “petulant, senseless, and clamorous” article; and stigmatised “modern civilisation” as the “world going its own course, without God, Christ, or religion.”  He inveighed keenly upon this point, referring to the present and past condition of Paris as the “centre of so-called modern civilisation,” and confidently predicted that the temporal power of the Pope, which had been so wickedly assailed, could never be shaken.  By that he meant not the mere possession of “a bit of land,” but “that independence of all earthly power and control with which the Vicar of Christ was invested.”

The Roman Catholic population of Kensington is from 1,800 to 2,000, a large proportion being of the poorer classes and principally the Irish residents.  Three poor schools are supported—a boys’ school in Upper Holland-street, educating about 70 or 80; a girls’ and infant school in Earl’s-court, educating about 50; of which more than half are reported to be Protestants; the third school (girls’ and infants’) is by Kensington-square, with about 150 children.  There are no district churches attached; but the clergy supply the convent in Kensington-square.

The congregation at the Pro-Cathedral is said to have greatly increased since the opening; and the collections now reach an average of 30l. per Sunday.


Holy Trinity, Brompton, is a church beautiful for situation.  One cannot fail to be struck by the sudden change from town to country experienced on entering the long and pretty avenue by which it is approached, and in the perspective of which the vestry-door overgrown with ivy is seen.  We know of no other church in the metropolitan suburbs thus entered, and which has all disturbing sights and sounds so effectually shut out.  The church cannot be said to be beautiful as a Gothic structure, being of plain brick and stone, but in these days we are so spoilt that nothing seems to satisfy us; yet we must not forget that the church was built when Gothic architecture was not much studied and but little appreciated, so that, added to its woodland effect, it is only a wonder that it is Gothic at all.  Then, too, Professor Donaldson was the architect, who is now almost the father of his profession, and as such revered and respected by all.  The church has undergone very considerable alteration with regard to the interior.  The old high pewing has been substituted by low oak pewing of good design.  A very handsome font has been added, and three sides of the bowl are ornamented with well-cut diaper and the side towards the nave is occupied by a panel in relief, containing the appropriate figure of Jesus receiving little children.  The stem is formed of stout shafts of polished marble, and the foliated caps are freely executed.  A rose window in the east wall of the south gallery is a good feature added a few years since.  Some of the windows have been filled with stained glass; the font and rose windows are from designs by Mr. E. C. Hakewill.  The interior effect is very heavy, owing to the flatness of the nave ceiling and the galleries which surround three sides of the church; but much evidently has been done to relieve this, especially with the exposed timbers of the aisle roofs.  The plan of the church consists of a nave and aisles and a recess for the chancel at the east end, with a vestry.  The tower is at the west end, the space of which is occupied by the organ.

Holy Trinity was consecrated on June 6, 1829, being a district church in that part of the old parish of Kensington known as Brompton.  Since then great changes have come over the district of South Kensington, which includes, Brompton.  Those who knew it only then would scarcely recognise it now.  Wide open space has been converted into long streets and roads, nay, a city of palaces, under the magic touch of capitalists and builders like Mr. Freake and others.  The former gentleman still lives, and happily continues his labours and enterprise in the neighbourhood; and, as though it were to remind us of the fact, as we approached the church on Sunday morning, the first thing that caught our eye was a handbill upon the board at the entrance convening a meeting for Thursday evening, to consider a generous offer of that gentleman to build an infant-school at his own cost on a piece of vacant ground in the churchyard, and present it to the district.  The p. 16consent of the parishioners was needed to the use of this land for such a purpose, and of course it was readily given.  As we are upon the subject of schools, it may at once be stated that there are connected with the church, national schools, which were established in 1842 in the Brompton-road, a school library, and evening classes for young men.  There are, also, infant schools, and a Sunday-school, held only in the afternoon from 2.30.  The church will accommodate about 1,500 persons, and from 300 to 400 sittings are free.  In proportion as the external appearance of that now fashionable suburb has changed, the interior has been transformed.  When the late vicar, Dr. Irons, was appointed to it thirty years ago he found, as above intimated, the old style of pew and the old style of everything.  There was no organ-loft or stained window, or noticeable pulpit or chancel.  But under his energetic and active measures—at a cost of upwards of 3,000l.—the interior became entirely modernised.  During the greater part of his time his ministry was popular, and the church filled; so that he had only to ask and to have.  But there was this peculiarity about his character and relations with the district—he was in himself, by training and connexion with Oxford, essentially High Church, but experience taught him that the principal elements composing his congregation would not admit of the development of his sympathies with Ritualism.  He was wise enough to regard this circumstance, and aimed at establishing a medium—a modified form of High Churchism—as a compromise between himself and the people.  As all half-done things are sure to create misunderstanding and ultimately to alienate some of both sides, the case of Dr. Irons was no exception to the rule.  Despite his great pulpit talent and distinguished learning, the congregations declined; and about two years ago he retired to a quiet country living in Lincolnshire.

The present Vicar, the Rev. Thomas Fraser Stooks, M.A. (Cambridge), Prebendary of St. Paul’s, and Chaplain to the Lord Bishop of London, has not, to the present time, succeeded in refilling the church.  On Sunday morning last it was thinly attended, but we remembered it was a wet morning.  We are, however, informed by a constant attendant that it was quite an average congregation.  In that case the church is considerably behind the general run of suburban churches as to the numbers attending it.  But since this statement appeared in the Suburban Press it is but right to say that the editor has received the following from the Rev. W Conybeare Bruce: “While fully admitting that, owing to a variety of causes, into which it is not our place to enter here, our church is at present ‘considerably behind the general run of suburban churches as to the numbers attending it,’ I must, with the leave of a ‘Constant Attendant,’ distinctly state that the congregation on that particular Sunday was decidedly and evidently below the average.  This is a point on which I cannot be mistaken as it is my habit to take special notice of the numbers of each congregation.  You may, Sir, also accept it as a fact, on which I am sure you will congratulate us, that our congregations have increased, slowly but perceptibly, since the present Vicar’s accession.”

The Rev. Mr. Stooks has, it appears, taken his stand upon the question of the services.  He will have no intoning, increase of singing, or excessive ritual.  With High Churchism he has no compromise; and in so far is still wiser than his predecessor.  The prayers are read and the responses said, and the only touches of formality are on entering the Communion, when an Introit is sung, and in the passage to the pulpit, which is illuminated by the following of a gold-laced church beadle, bearing a massive silver-mounted staff on his shoulder.  The clergy, too, in addition to the surplice, wear rather a showy collegiate hood.  It is in one of a bright violet colour, and in another a rich crimson, and in a third black silk trimmed with fur.  The violet hood marks an Associate of King’s College, the crimson is the Oxford M.A. hood, and the black silk trimmed with white fur is the Oxford B.A. hood.  The organist, H. Lahee, Esq., did his work well, but was unassisted by anything in the shape of an effective choir.  There are three curates—among whom the Vicar himself did not appear on the occasion of our visit (April 16th).  The Rev. Nathaniel Liberty read the prayers, the Litany, and the Epistle very devoutly, but a little more power of voice would have made it still more impressive.  The Rev. W. Conybeare Bruce, B.A., read the first lesson, and the Rev. John Bliss, M.A., Senior Curate, read and preached the sermon.  The text was John xx. and 20th verse: “Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord.”  A beautiful text and seasonable, and commented upon with piety and Christian feeling.

At this church there are three general services on Sunday, at 11 a.m., 4 and 7 p.m., and Holy Communion is celebrated every Sunday at 8 a.m., and at midday.  On week-days—morning and evening prayer daily at 8 and 5.  Litany on Wednesdays and Fridays at 12.  On holy days celebration of Holy Communion and an address, at 12.  The hymn-book used is “Hymns for Public Worship,” published under the direction of a Committee of the Religious Tract Society.  The church, since the abolition of church-rates, is supported entirely by the pew rents, offertory, collections, and subscriptions.  The first source of income is appropriated for the clergy exclusively; one reason, assuredly, why the pews should be well occupied.  The income from other sources is applied for the maintenance of the church, its services and accessories.  Brompton is a fine field for Christian labour; and situated as Holy Trinity is, in the midst of a vast population composed of all classes, from the higher to the lower, and at the very next door to the Roman Catholic Oratory and the South Kensington Museum, it may—we hope it will—revive to an extent which will make it a centre of light and true religion influence to all around.


St. Paul’s, Onslow-square, South Kensington, is a specimen of one of those churches built not so much for effect as for utility.  A church was wanted in this locality at the time it was erected, and hence the idea it gives one of having been built in a hurry.  The plan of the church is reversed, the Communion table being at the west end; but the architecture is tame and poor.  It may be said to be a perpendicular Gothic,—certainly not an excellent example.  The tower and spire have a stunted appearance, and would have looked better a few feet higher.  The inside is in the fashion of a past age.  Roofed in one space, there is no arcade; large galleries run round three sides of the church, and to enable the reader and preacher to be seen from these, a large and very tall pulpit and desk are used, which quite shut out the west, or Communion end.  There is an entire absence of decoration, the church being almost Quakerlike in its simplicity, and, to the searcher after the picturesque, contains but little to interest.  There is some coloured glass of geometrical patterns, but not pleasant in tone.

For this church the district is largely indebted to the Christian liberality of Charles J. Freake, Esq., of Cromwell House, a near resident, and owner of large properties in the locality.  The site and two-thirds of the building fund, which amounted to about 14,000l., were entirely from this source.  Mr. Freake is also the patron.

On Sunday morning, the 23rd of April, some disappointment was felt at this church through the absence of the esteemed Vicar, on rather a prolonged after-Easter holiday.  The Rev. Capel Molyneux—formerly of the Lock Chapel, Paddington—is favourably known as a very popular and attractive preacher.  He is, also, distinctly Evangelical in his ministry, and anti-Ritualistic in all his services, which are conducted in the plainest style of outward devotion.  Yet, out of one of the most aristocratic centres to be met with around London, he has succeeded in building up a very large congregation, upon whom he appears to have impressed that form as the very ideal of Christian worship.  And we cannot refrain from saying that, as far as we could judge, a more lively and earnestly devout congregation is rarely to be met with.  The church, which accommodates in all 1,600 persons—inclusive of 600 free sittings—was well filled, to our eye, except in the galleries; but we were informed the congregation was by no means equal to what it is when the Vicar himself is present.  His place, however, was very ably and profitably supplied by the Rev. J. F. Sargeant, of St. Luke’s, Marylebone, who performed the entire service, and discoursed extempore with much pathos and power on the 23rd Psalm.  There is no intoning in the prayers, and no chanting or singing but in the Jubilate, the Te Deum, the Gloria Patri, and the hymns; the latter being Psalms and Hymns based on “The Christian Psalmody” of the late Rev. G. Bickersteth, as compiled by his son, and sold by Dean and Son, Ludgate-hill—one of the very best of all the collections extant.  The organist, Mr. Carter, uses an instrument by Bishop to good effect, and is accompanied in the vocal parts of the music by a rather numerous and full-voiced choir in, of course, plain dress.  There is one assistant clergyman—the Rev. T. Burrows—who was not present on the occasion.  On Sundays there are three services—at 11 a.m., 3.30, and 7 p.m.; Holy Communion on the first Sunday in the month after the morning, and on the third after the evening, service, and on the last Tuesday evening in the month.  There is a usual week-day service on Thursday evening at seven, and on the first Monday evening in the month, at eight, there is a special service for working men, when all the seats are thrown open.  This, we understand, is a most interesting and important service, and usually well attended.

Although St. Paul’s was opened by Bishop Blomfield on Christmas Eve, in the year of our Lord 1860, there are no day or Sunday-schools identified with it,—a fact in part resulting from the almost total absence of poor people in the district.  The circumstance is remarkable; but may find some explanation also in the general character of Mr. Molyneux’s congregation, and in the direction of its zeal and resources to other Christian objects.  We do not know whether, in London or out, any church can be found so distinguished for Christian benevolence, in all its social branches, as St. Paul’s, Onslow square.  We have been familiar with many grand doings of Christian people, but we have not in our recollection any congregation which, as a whole, must feel it “more blessed to give than to receive” than this one.  It is no small pleasure to us to record it as a matter of local Church history.  Sometimes it has been said that Church people do not understand the art of giving.  If there were any truth in this as a rule, we may point to St. Paul’s as a noble exception.  The clergy and the church are maintained solely out of the pew-rents, and the offertory taken at the doors is for other purposes; and the latter, commonly thought not the most effective mode of making collections, yields an average of nearly 100l. per Sunday.  The offertory at the Communion is in full proportion.  In addition to this, the congregation supports a “Church Home for Destitute Girls,” for which about 500l. a-year is contributed at sermons preached by the Vicar, and in donations and subscriptions.  An annual effort for the Church Missionary Society results in little short of 300l.  The Irish Church Mission and Church Pastoral Aid Society are yearly united together in an appeal, and the response to the last was taken at the doors, in the morning, 53l. 10s. 9d.; and in the evening, 23l. 4s. 10d.  The London City Mission, we hope, recognizes in St. Paul’s one of its strongest supports.  The collection after sermon for this object p. 18amounted on the last occasion to 108l. 18s. 4d., and the regular subscriptions swelled the amount to over 450l.  The “Jews’ Society” has also an annual benefit.  The “Consumption Hospital,” which is situated within the parish bounds, has its funds replenished every year to a very important and gratifying extent.  At the last preaching of sermons on its behalf, there was taken at the doors in the morning 70l. 10s., and in the evening 92l. 9s. 7d.—162l. 19s. 7d.  All this is done in a general way; but there are special occasions on which the distinguished charity of this Church has shone forth with even greater lustre.  We all remember what national sympathy was evoked by the Lancashire Famine in 1862.  The Rev. Capel Molyneux made a collection for thirteen weeks in succession for this object.  On the first day—November 9, 1862—there was taken at the doors in the morning 780l., and in the evening 299l. 9s. 9d., making for the day 1,079l. 9s. 9d.  In the twelve following weeks the gross amount collected in the same way was 1,363l. 5s., making a grand total for that patriotic object of 2,442l. 14s. 9d., which was duly remitted to the Lord Mayor’s Committee.  So recently as the 26th of February last, a collection was taken up in relief of the Paris distress which reached the figure of 229l. 16s. 8d.  In the midst of all this we have further to record that for the past five years this congregation and people have contributed 600l. a-year towards poor and distressed churches in the east of London.  We repeat, we do not know where, with an average congregation of 1,500, or where with any congregation, such figures as these can be paralleled.  We confess to a profound admiration of such results.  The persons who have contributed to them are known to Omniscience; it is not necessary that they should be known to the world.  Although our architectural correspondent, from a professional point of view, does not appear to think highly of the church, as a material structure, it forms, to our eye, a very pleasing feature in Onslow-square.  Even outwardly, it breaks up the monotony of palatial secular dwellings very agreeably; but religiously, morally, and socially, it is a bright and beautiful spot, which we trust will shine and flourish more and more unto the perfect day.


The Church of St. Peter, situate in Onslow-gardens, South Kensington, is a much more important church, on close examination, than a distant view leads the observer to believe.  There are not many good points from which the church is seen, and the view from the north is cut up by the vicarage recently erected, which we suppose is to form part of a terrace, but which does not improve the general appearance.  The west front, by no means a fine composition, possesses some good details, and the tower and spire, which form a portion of this elevation, do much to assist in lending a picturesque effect.  The spire is of very good design, but the tower is too stunted, and, like St. Paul’s, would be improved by an additional ten feet in height.  The spire wears the appearance of having been placed on too soon.  Entering the church by the west door, the perspective view is very effective and telling; this is mainly attributable to the arcades, which, though of very simple Early English character, are very well-proportioned; and the pointed triplet arcades at the transept form a pleasing variety from the usual monotony of ordinary church nave arrangements.  The transverse arch at the transepts rather takes from the perspective, and might with advantage have been less depressed.  A very peculiarly corbelled chancel arch—in shape like a bishop’s mitre—is, we should think, unique.  The arch, as originally built, was too contracted; the chancel pieces have been cut away, and large corbels introduced, suggesting the shape before referred to.  Indeed, if it had been possible to open the apsidal chancel a little more, it would have been an improvement.  The good general appearance of the eastern windows, with their excellent stained glass, by Messrs. Ward and Hughes, of Frith-street, Soho, is still very much obscured and lost.  The nave roof is light and well-designed, but not quite agreeable, being somewhat too late in character.  The details of the windows and clerestory are all very simply designed, to accord with the style of the church; the stalls, prayer-desk, and lectern, being somewhat in advance of the chancel arch, are enclosed by a dwarf-stone screen, which separates them from the body of the church.  The font is very plain indeed—indicative of the simplicity of baptism, we suppose—possessing no ornamentation on the octagonal bowl save the monogram well cut in relief.  But it is in contemplation further to embellish it.  The stone pulpit is octagonal also, and has well-carved figures in relief of the four Evangelists.  The floor of the church is well covered with some rather pretty benches, which, together with transept galleries, will contain a congregation of about 1,500.  The vestry is on the north-east angle of the church, and the organ, quietly decorated, is placed in the south chancel aisle.  This instrument, which is a very superior one, was built by Messrs. Hill and Sons, at a cost of 800l.  It has three rows of keys and 29 stops.

St. Peter’s was consecrated on St. Peter’s Day, June 29, 1867, by the Bishop of London, Dr. Tait, now Archbishop of Canterbury.  It was build and presented to the district by Chas. J. Freake, Esq., of Cromwell House, who is its patron, and the pulpit was the special gift of Mrs. Freake.  The p. 19parsonage is also built on ground given by Mr. Freake.  The district is composed of the area between the Fulham and the Brompton-roads, including Elm-place, and in about the centre of which the church stands, being at present only very sparsely populated.  This church, like many others in the suburbs, was built in anticipation of future population, and meanwhile draws its congregation mainly from beyond.  It is, however, a large one, there being present at the ordinary Sunday morning service over a thousand persons; but, almost without exception, of the upper class.  Strictly speaking, there is not a poor person to be seen in it.  There are few free sittings to mention; and such as go by that name at the remote end from the chancel appear ready to let as occasion may offer.  Not that all the other sittings are taken; for although the body of the church appears tolerably full, there are not 700 sittings really let—scarcely one-half the number provided.  We cannot, therefore, understand why the verger guards all that part of the church so jealously, and when a stranger asks for a seat higher up tells him with some peremptoriness that he cannot go.  If, however, the Vicar has no poor people within his church walls, the Rev. Gerald Blunt, Vicar of Chelsea, has lately made him a present of 2,300, who border on his district, to care for.  This sacred trust the rev. gentleman is setting himself to fulfil with zeal and diligence.

We must confess to some surprise, considering the evident social character of the congregation, that the collections and offertory yield comparatively so little.  There are boxes at the doors for offerings towards church expenses, and the highest sum received from this source in one day, in 1870, was 4l. 19s. 5d., and that was on Easter-day.  But, taking the year through, it does not average one pound per week.  There is something in this more than ordinarily sad, for the people that go in and out at those doors count their income not by hundreds, but by thousands.  The offertory is a more direct appeal, but it only yielded in the year 184l. 16s. 9s.  Altogether, including subscriptions (less commission for collecting them), there was only 357l. 16s. 6d. raised for church expenses.  For the poor of the district, by offertories and private donations, there was raised 144l. 1s. 6d.  This sum was disbursed in various outlays for the relief and comfort of the needy poor.  But how small the amount compared with the ability to do!  There is a day-school in Arthur street, connected with the church, for the support of which from all sources, private subscriptions, collection after sermon, &c., there was raised 305l. 19s. 11½d.  Collections in church for other than local purposes amounted to 121l. 6s., including 60l. 13s. for the Bishop of London’s Fund, and for the Chelsea Dispensary and Victoria Hospital for sick children 60l. 13s.  The whole, therefore, of the visible liberality of this wealthy congregation is at present summed up in the figures 985l. 1s. 2½d. per annum.  We trust that an era of larger heartedness will speedily dawn.  Congregations, as well as individuals, require to learn the art and luxury of giving.  It should not be passed without notice that Mrs. Byng, assisted by a few young ladies of the congregation, has established a Sunday-school and mothers’ meetings, which are in good working, although as yet in their infancy.  There are also an evening sewing class, night-school and a clothing club, superintended and directed by Mrs. Byng.

The Hon. and Rev. Francis E. C. Byng, M.A. (Oxford), was formerly of Twickenham, from whence he was introduced to the new church of St. Peter’s by its patron, Mr. Freake.  He is a minister unquestionably Evangelical in doctrine, and the ceremonial he has established in his church is a medium one, being at equal distance from excessive plainness on the one hand, and High Church Ritual on the other.  The service is earnest and lively without over much singing; but what there is of the latter is excellently done by a choir in surplices, under the able direction of Mr. Arthur Sullivan, the organist; who, as a composer and conductor in other than church music, has just earned himself no small praise at the opening concert of the International Exhibition.  Mr. Sullivan has conducted the musical part of the service from the first and it is owing to his zeal and talent that it has attained such efficiency.  The prayers and lessons were well read in a clear voice by the Rev. C. Scholefield, M.A. (Cambridge), curate, the Litany being taken by the Vicar.  Both as reader and preacher, the Hon. and Rev. Mr. Byng, gifted with a good voice and having a suitably animated manner, fixes and retains the attention of his audience.  His sermon on April 30 was from Deut xxxiii., 25th verse, “And as thy days so shall thy strength be.”  It was the effusion of a devout mind, intelligently comprehending the trials and experiences of our common life, and fully aware of the sole secret of human hope and consolation.  Though read there was nothing perfunctory in the delivery, the preacher being sufficiently free from his manuscript to put himself on a line with the eye, and we cannot but think with the heart of all his hearers in every part of the church; occasionally even turning to look into the galleries and into the chancel, that the occupants of those parts may not think themselves forgotten.  If all preachers used their MSS. in the manner of Mr. Byng, and always made them speak such excellent things, much of the current objection to their use in public would vanish.  In taking leave for the present of St. Peter’s, we cannot but congratulate the people there on their beautiful church, and the religious advantages they enjoy.


As another interesting example of how churches spring up in our midst, following or hastening before the population, we have now to notice another new enterprise in South Kensington.  St. Luke’s is at present a temporary iron church, put up to await the erection of a more enduring one, on what is known as the Redcliffe Estate, in South Kensington, now being covered with dwellings of a superior order, by Messrs. Corbett and M‘Clymont.  These gentlemen have presented the site for the new church, which is a most eligible one, situate in the yet uncompleted Redcliffe-square.  Plans for the new-church are in preparation by Messrs. G. and D. Godwin, of the Fulham-road, and it is intended to be built in the course of 1872.  By the time it is erected, it will show itself to be in one of the best-selected positions to be met with around London.  The structure will be in the early decorated style, and is to cost about 10,000l., and it is a circumstance to place the promoters beyond the reach of much anxiety on the subject, that 7,000l. of the amount is already deposited.  Meanwhile the iron church on the other side of the way is doing good service.  It was put up in July last, and opened on the 23rd of that month, just six months ago, by the Rev. Wm. Fraser Handcock, M.A. (of Oxford) the vicar (designate), and previously vicar of St. Luke’s, Cheltenham.  To this latter church South Kensington has recently given a new minister, in the person of the Rev. J. A. Aston, late vicar of St. Stephen’s, and has received in return the Rev. W. F. Handcock, but to open entirely new ground.  Mr. Handcock not only came from Cheltenham, but he brought the material of the church in which he now preaches with him from thence.  It was a wooden structure, and consequently before he could commence work in it, occasion was given for some correspondence and trouble with the Metropolitan Board of Works.  He unwittingly incurred the Board’s disapproval by violating one of its bye-laws, and they compelled him to case it in iron of certain dimensions before it was opened.  This caused a further outlay of 400l., which was a matter of some consequence to the rev. gentleman, as he had personally undertaken the whole responsibility of the temporary church.  The district assigned to St. Luke’s is taken out of that of St. Mary’s in the Boltons, and includes at present about 3,000 population; but may have double that number four or five years hence.  The present building has sittings for 700, and between 100 and 200 are free; the remainder let in the nave at 2l. per annum and in aisles at 1l.  Considering the time it has been opened, the church is very well attended.  At the morning service we found about 300 present, a full choir of youths in surplices; who rendered the chants, psalms, and hymns in a creditable manner to Anglican strains.  The organ—well played by Mr. Henry P. Keens—is small; but, like the church itself, temporary.  The prayers were read, and the whole tone of the service was Evangelical.  Hymns in use, “Ancient and Modern.”  There is a weekly offertory for the church expenses, which is taken before the sermon.

St. Luke’s Church, Redcliffe Square, South Kensington

The Rev. W. Fraser Handcock is a minister apparently about forty years of age.  He begins his service in rather a low tone of voice, but immediately rises to the compass of the auditorium, and thoroughly maintains it to the end.  The emphasis in his reading is placed with almost faultless accuracy; so that the true sense is never lost to the hearer.  The sermon was read, but delivered with very considerable effect.  In matter it was most intelligent, instructive, and Evangelical.  Discoursing from John xviii. 38: “Pilate saith unto him, what is truth?” the preacher considered Pilate as the representative sceptic of his age; and drew a striking parallel between him and modern sceptics, in their affected uncertainty and unbelieving inquiries, as to how the truth was to be determined; and, like Pilate, they found vain excuses for their infidelity in the divided state of Christendom.  In France religion was suffering through the recoil from that “sham” of Christianity set up there by Popery; and in England, silently but too certainly, the evil leaven had been at work; in the Universities, in schools, and in literature.  When a convert from Rome, as had often happened, first landed on our shores, it was not to be wondered at if, on a superficial survey of the Church as it was, he inquired, doubting, “What is truth?”  When he glanced at the various tenets taught within even their own Church, could any other result be expected!  We heard, for instance, from some that a species of magical spiritual power was vested in the ministers of religion, so that the sprinkling of a little water in baptism, or the uttering of a few words over the elements used in celebrating the Lord’s Supper, produced necessarily divine effects—teaching against which our finer sense revolted.  He went to another extreme, and found others objecting to everything in the world not purely spiritual; even to all kinds of music not sacred in its character and use.  Then, perhaps, he took up a book written by some plausible, philosophising author, the fallacies of which he was not able to detect; and it was easy enough for him in all these phases of our intellectual and religious life to find an excuse, and inquire, “What, then, is truth?”  But after all, it was out a mere excuse, a vain pretence; for there were the great cardinal truths of Revelation plain enough to be understood: about God, about eternity, the soul, and God’s way of winning it.  But men rejected or quibbled about these Bible truths and things raised upon them, because, in fact, Christianity was not merely a creed, but it was a life—a life that men must live both inwardly and outwardly.  And this was the grand reason why men evaded it: the Master said, if any man would do God’s will, they should know of the doctrine that it was of him.  But it was because they were not inclined humbly to do it, that men remained in such ignorance and p. 21confusion about it.  This witness is faithful and true, for there can be no doubt that the chief difficulties in the way of the reception of the religion of the Bible are to be sought in the moral rather than the intellectual condition of men.  This was the great point clearly and forcibly brought out by the preacher, and if this is an average sermon in purport and aim, we cannot but congratulate the neighbourhood on the advent of Mr. Handcock, and on the building of the new church.  As yet, as a matter of course, the usual church adjuncts are only in contemplation.  A Sunday-school, however, will be opened immediately, and before the permanent edifice is consecrated, all the usual parochial machinery will be at work.  The assistant minister is the Rev. E. J. Haddock, B.A., Dublin.  The churchwardens are Capt. A. Waldy, of 9, Stanhope-gardens, and Dr. Daniell, of Cathcart road, South Kensington.


There is a very old lady still living in Young-street, Kensington, whose recollections of early Methodism in that town are still with her, and who is fond of the opportunity of quietly recounting them.  Among her remotest remembrances is a visit of Mr. Wesley, the incidents of whose advent were the talk of the neighbourhood when she first began to notice anything she heard.  She tells how the great evangelist preached in a smithy, somewhere in the vicinity of the present Jenning’s-buildings, “amidst great opposition.” [21]  Subsequently preaching services were held in a house—which has long since been taken down—but which stood upon the site 17, Young-street.  This was the property of her husband’s father—who was one of the earliest Methodists in Kensington—and who suffered much persecution.  It was, it appears, the object of his opponents to make him stop the Methodist service altogether; but his devotion to the cause enabled him to brave the taunts and injury to which he was subjected; and to afford larger accommodation he built up a temporary chapel in his own yard, which answered for the service of the Methodists many years.  Methodism, however, has never flourished in the Court suburb to the extent to which the self-sacrifice and devotion of its few first members might have seemed to promise.  To the first temporary building succeeded another; then followed the present chapel in Clarence-place in the year 1838.  A ninety-nine years’ lease of the land was obtained at a ground-rent of 10l. per annum in 1836, and the foundation-stone was laid by the late Mr. Farmer, of Gunnersbury House, in 1836, and in June, 1838, the Rev. Dr. Bunting and the Rev. Dr. Beaumont conducted the opening services, when the collections amounted to 42l. 5s. 2d., the whole cost being 600l.  It is a very plain edifice, almost completely hidden from view by the surrounding dwellings, and having no architectural expression.  It has no gallery, and will accommodate on the ground-floor 200 persons, the congregation as a rule reaching to about half the number.  About twenty sittings only are held as free, although many more must generally be so used.  There are between fifty and sixty Church members meeting in class.  Prior to 1861, when the Bayswater Wesleyan Circuit was formed, this chapel was ministerially supplied from Hammersmith circuit, and from the Theological Institution, Richmond.  But since that date the services have been attended by the regular ministry of the Bayswater station, to which the chapel was at that period attached.  The form of service is that belonging to the Wesleyan Body, which consists of 1, a hymn; 2, a prayer; 3, a lesson; 4, a hymn; 5, sermon; closing with another hymn and benediction.  The hymns of the Wesleys are those mainly used; although there are bound up with them some select productions from other well-known hymn-writers, the whole forming, without any controversy, by a long way the best collection of hymns that Christendom has yet produced.  Its excellence is attested by the fact that into whatever church or chapel we enter, the collections there in use, under all sorts of titles and editorships, are much indebted to its pages.  In the present instance the singing is aided by a harmonium, which might very well give place to the more suitable instrument—the organ.  Behind the chapel there is a very capital schoolroom, where about sixty children are taught on the Sabbath; and adjoining this a large vestry, both built in 1857, and forming a good reserve for meetings of all kinds connected with the church and congregation.  In the Wesleyan circle in Kensington the following names appear to be much revered and honoured as having contributed at successive stages of the work, time, talent and money towards its building up, names for the most part well known in the town—Messrs. Rowland, Tomlinson, Maunder, Pocock, Bridgnell, Jarvis, Eyles, Bond, Gush, Rigg, Haine, Trownsan, Farmer, &c.  The building of the larger and more beautiful Wesleyan chapel in Warwick-gardens has, however, tended to weaken the society at Clarence-place, by drawing away some of its principal members and supporters, and a small portion of its general congregation.


St. Augustine’s Church, close to Hereford-Square, South Kensington, is a temporary iron erection, and, like most such buildings, possesses no architectural features or details worthy of notice.  The Incumbent, the Rev. R. R. Chope, B.A., five or six years ago conceived a necessity for a church in that place, and, means failing him to obtain a substantial structure, or to procure a separate site, he made use of a corner of his own private garden, put up the iron building, and called it the “Church of St. Augustine.”  It is a low, dull, dingy-looking object outside, and as a stranger approaches it—with its roof only just visible above the garden-wall, it is in danger of being passed without notice, except one should suppose it a rather large conservatory or garden shed.  It must have required some courage in a minister to attempt a church for himself in such a position; and we are not surprised after this that Mr. Chope is now going on to a larger and more promising enterprise.  In the Queen’s-gate, a new and permanent church is rising, under the same energy which originated the first.

The present “St. Augustine’s,” in the interior, is a long narrow space fitted with very plain benches, all being free to all-comers, and capable of containing 700 or 800 persons.  They were well filled on Sunday morning, the 7th of May, with a congregation remarkable for its preponderance in the female element.  One whole side of the church is reserved entirely for females, and no intrusion of the other sex is allowed.  On the other side both sexes are compelled to mingle, and even there two-thirds are of the feminine gender.  To say that the service here is High Church is not saying all the truth; it is Ritualistic, and highly so, in its whole spirit and ceremonial.  It is, in fact, the nearest approach to Romanism that we have yet witnessed in an Anglican Church in the course of these visitations, if indeed it be not very Popery itself under the thinnest guise of the Protestant name.  The communion-table is called an altar, and regarded as such in fact, and decorated accordingly.  It is covered with a white cloth embroidered with yellow and red flowers and fringe.  It has a large gilt cross upon it, two huge gilt candlesticks, and several vases of flowers.  Branching candelabra also on its right and left.  The ministers are called priests, and look very priestly in their garments, with short surplice and long cassock, and stole of yellowish silk with rich embroidery and fringe.  In the absence of the Incumbent, the Curate, the Rev. A. J. Foster officiated.

Prior to the beginning of the service, an official in long cassock with tassels was busy in arranging the chancel furniture, and adjusting a silk embroidered covering upon the altar over the elements to be used in the celebration of the Eucharist.  This work he performed with the minutest punctilio, moving backward and forward and on one side to see its effect, and never failing to bow on passing the Cross, and on leaving off moving backward and bowing.

On entering church, the people, before taking their seats, bow one knee in the aisle towards the altar, and some cross themselves precisely in the manner of Roman Catholics.  The time of service arrived, the organist takes his seat, having on a surplice and purple hood with white fur trimming, and, sending out a few solemn strains, the choir is heard in the vestry at the remote end of the church singing “Amen.”  It sounds like a distant echo among the mountains.  Immediately the people rise, and choristers and clergy walk in procession through the centre aisle to the chancel.

Except the lessons, which were read in a serious and rational manner by a stranger, an aged clergyman, who did not seem quite at home in his priestly apparel, and appeared, amidst all the circumstances, somewhat to dislike himself, the whole service was intoned and sung.  The music was Gregorian, and performed in its most sombre mood.  The congregation appeared perfectly trained to bowings and genuflexions.  At every mention of the Saviour’s name they bent lowly, and during the whole of the first part of the Gloria Patri.  In one of the hymns, the sacred name occurred in every verse, and in some verses almost every line, and there was a constant bending and rising.  It appeared merely a mechanical process, and quite inconsistent with that mental gravity which is essential to true devotion.  Amidst all this mechanism of outward worship, we regret to say there was small visible evidence of spiritual concern.  It was the coldest piece of formalism it has been our lot to witness in an English church.

In intoning the Litany, the clergyman came out of his desk, crossed himself, and knelt with both knees on the lowest step of the chancel in front of the altar, with his back to the people.  This motion is quite advanced in Ritualistic practice; and, taken together with the peculiar strain of the intoner’s voice, and its rising at the end of every verse of that sublime and all-comprehending prayer, gave the service the stamp of parody rather than of sincere and enlightened Christian devotion.  We can only express ourselves in this form, for nothing else will indicate our real sense and conscience of this mode of religious service.  The puerilities of Romanism Englishmen we thought had learnt to despise, and yet here are some untalented young gentlemen in the Church of England whose habits would deprave our Protestant religious instincts and lead the young and weaker intellects of our race back into the thraldom of Popish superstition.  After the Litany there was a hymn, and then followed the sermon, differing in this respect from the usual church order, which places the sermon after the Creed in the Communion Service.  After ascending the pulpit and crossing himself, pronouncing “To God the Father, the p. 23Son and the Holy Ghost,” whilst standing erect, the text was taken from John xvi. 7, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away,” &c.  As in most cases where excessive attention is lavished on the mere ceremonial, the sermon failed to fulfil the most modest ideal of pulpit work.  There appeared to be no intention or effort to give it effect either as an exposition or application of Scripture.  In this case, too, it was evident the preacher could not shake off the intoning habit of voice, but carried it in great measure with him from the desk to the pulpit.  The principal point of doctrine in the sermon was on the important subject of God dwelling in believers, and was stated in this way: “As St. Paul said we were the temples of God by the Holy Ghost dwelling in us; so God the Son dwelt in us by means of his holy sacraments”.  “For,” it was further explained, “by the holy sacraments he gives us spiritual life; for, except we eat the flesh of the Son of God and drink his blood, we have no part in him,”—a strange confusion of ideas between the outward and visible, and inward and spiritual.  Baptismal regeneration, sacramental efficacy, were clearly articles in the preacher’s creed.  We always thought the teaching of Scripture to be that both God the Father and God the Son dwelt in the true believer by one and the same inhabitation of the Holy Ghost.  In connection with this sublime principle of spiritual life, there is no place in the Bible where such words as “by means of the holy sacraments” are to be found.  Feeble preaching can diffuse error if it cannot do justice to the truth.  After the sermon, during the singing of the hymn, the offertory is taken every Sunday, by which the church is wholly supported, and the minister passes to the Communion Service.  The collectors bow towards the altar on presenting the offertory bags in the chancel, or on leaving; and in preparing for the celebration the priest—with his back to the people—is long engaged, and on one occasion kneels and rises quickly twice or thrice in succession before the consecrated bread.  The Rev. R. R. Chope has studied to make his service as ornamental, high, and formalistic as can be under the Anglican name.  He says he believes that “the meanness and costliness of worship reflects the spirit of the worshippers,” a fundamental error if it be attempted to apply it as a general rule.  We take it that there is a medium to be observed, and in all cases the costliness must be regulated by circumstances.

Every Sunday at 8 a.m. there is Communion, Prayer (choral), with sermon, at 11; second celebration at 12 30.  Evening prayer (choral) and sermon at 7 p.m.  Thursday, at 8. a.m., Communion. 11 a.m., morning prayer.

Saints’ days: Two celebrations and daily prayer, at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

There are several small charities, a day-school, and Sunday-school, both in their infancy.


The Roman Catholic Oratory stands within an enclosure of high brick walls and gates, above which its plain brick, warehouse-looking south gable is visible, and if it were not that the said gable is surmounted by a plain Latin cross, there is nothing to indicate an ecclesiastical structure.  The interior (in effect reminding one of a large music-hall) is Italian in its style of the simplest kind, painted and gilded.  The nave or body of the church is very long, roofed in one span, and covered with a plain panelled ceiling.  The northern end is occupied by the high altar, richly decorated with artificial flowers and burdened with candles.  The altar stands considerably elevated and enclosed by dwarf balustrades, and flanked by rather ornate benches or sedilia.  The nave floor is entirely occupied by mean wooden benches, intersected by a centre and two side passages, the latter giving entrance and exit also to numerous recesses or bays, which serve as chapels, in which are erected altars to saints; and also to a number of confessionals, by which last we infer that the practice of confession is carried on to a great extent by Oratorians.  As to the saints, those represented at the Oratory have their altars all duly supplied with pictures, candles, and flowers, and have their particular admirers and devotees.  A large platform kind of pulpit is on the west side, in which the preacher is accommodated with a chair.  The font is very plain, close to the main entrance doors in the bay called the Baptistry.

The “Oratory of St. Philip Neri,” situate next to the South Kensington Museum on the one side and Holy Trinity Church, Brompton, on the other, was dedicated to the “Immaculate Heart of Mary” in the year 1854.  It had previously been established in King William-street, Charing-cross, since 1849, in the building now known as the Charing-cross Theatre.  But the more eligible site in Brompton offering, it was embraced; and this centre of Roman Catholic propgandism in West London was transferred from amidst the shops, warehouses, and cafés of the Strand, to a scene of retirement, wealth, and fashion.  The interior of this church is laid out in the most elaborate style of Roman Catholic art.  On entering, the high altar in the distance—north—strikes the eye irresistibly.  It has upon it a high cross and six tall candlesticks with candles lit.  There are also other candles and suspended burning lamps through the entire vista.  The æsthetic effect of the first glance is not soon forgotten.  The details are not less effective, considered as mere imagery addressing the outward sense.  Including the Baptistry, there are eight side chapels, or altar-recesses, four on each side, all richly and artistically furnished.  On the left, p. 24or what is termed the “Gospel side,” the first is the “Chapel of the Sacred Heart;” second, the Chapel of St. Eutropius; then that of St. Joseph, and that of St. Philip.  On the right, the first recess is the Baptistry; second, “Calvary Chapel,” where there are life-size figures of the crucified Saviour with the malefactors, and the mother of Jesus and his brother sitting at the foot of the cross; third, the Chapel of “Our Lady of Dolours” (sorrows); and forth, the Chapel of “Our Lady.”  The altar here, with a large image of the Virgin and her infant Son upon it, is now profusely decorated with flowers.  It is the month of May; and the following notice is attached to the doors of the church: “Offerings of flowers and candles will be thankfully received for the month of Mary.”  The former part of the appeal appears to have been already liberally responded to.  The bouquets are piled up to the very feet of the image, and decorating her brow in all their radiant freshness.  The whole reminds one of a certain wax-figure display in Baker-street: only in this instance the kneeling worshippers around the rails of the chancels suggest that something more is involved.  We saw many of them, especially in front of “Our Lady’s Altar.”  But they were distributed all through in smaller numbers or in ones.  The “Calvary Chapel” is intended as a most literal rendering of the crucifixion.  It is a shocking scene to look upon—those carved images of bleeding and mangled forms.  To any one who has really in imagination conceived something of what the actual crucifixion was, and dwelt upon its moral import, it is likely to seem an impious mockery.  But some appeared to approach it with reverence; and a little girl, who had been kneeling by her mother’s side, crossed over the rail, crept up to and kissed the wooden cross on which the central image hung!  These scenes are to be witnessed after every public service, matins or vespers, or whenever the church is open, which in fact is at all times when people can attend either by rule or chance.

The usual services at the Oratory are numerous and continuous.  On Sunday there is Mass at 6.30 a.m., at 7, 8, 9, and 10; and at 11 High Mass and sermon; at half past 2 p.m.  “Exposition of the Sacraments,” and “Vespers” at half-past 3; occasional courses of lectures at 4 p.m., and service with sermon and the benediction at 7 p.m.  At this latter the meetings of the confraternities of “The Precious Blood” and of “St. Patrick” are held, and the “Intentions of members given out.”  This means that each member confesses to some dominant desire or purpose then in his mind.  It may be for the comfort of a sick friend, the repose of a dead one, the conversion of sinners or heretics, or any other matter that may engage his thoughts at the moment.  There is also the “Little Oratory,” where there is a separate service for “Meditation and Mass,” for brothers only, at 7.30 a.m. and 4.15 p.m.  On week-days there is Mass at 6.30, 7, 7.30, 8, 8.30, 9, 10.  Sermon every evening at 8, except Saturday; and on Thursday and Saturday a benediction at 4.30.  On holy days, High Mass, with sermon, at 11 a.m., and vespers at 4.40 p.m.  The work of the confessionals appears to be interspersed at all times between these numerous services.  The wonder is how such a machinery can be kept always going, how it does not wear out in interest and effect from sheer continuity of motion.  We must assume that it has its flagging moments, and sleepy rests, by which its motive energies are recruited, and that at certain seasons and services the priests have it pretty much to themselves.

The Fathers.—At the present time there are fourteen attached to the Oratory, the majority, we are informed, having been previously clergymen in the Church of England.  Their names are as follows: The Very Rev. W. T. Gordon (superior); the Rev. John B. Dalgairns, the Rev. Richard M. Stanton, Thomas F. Knox, John G. Bowden, Edward G. Bagshaw, James B. Rowe, Felix Philpin, Edward S. Keogh, W. B. Morris, Chas. H. Bowden, Kenelm Digby Beste, Thomas Graves Law (nephew of the Earl of Ellenborough), James Arthur V. Maude, Francis A. O. Carroll, Henry G. S. Bowden.  There is a large library belonging to the Fathers in common, which occupies an entire quadrangle, about one-third the length of the church itself westward, where the clergy spend such spare moments as they can snatch from their other engagements.  Little is known of these gentlemen by the outside world.  They act their parts from day to day within the sombre enclosure of their high brick walls, and continue to be content to move in their appointed spheres amidst the gaudy but wearisome formalism within.  On Sunday morning, May 14, it was High Mass at the eleven o’clock service.  The magnificent organ, played by Mr. Pitts, sent forth its thrilling peals precisely at the moment.  The organ itself is considered one of the very best in London, and cost 2,000l.  Meanwhile four principal priests appeared at the altar, and after bowing several times turned to face the congregation.  They proceed to the front of the chancel, the centre one waving a rod, and one on each side bearing his train and exhibiting the rich scarlet lining of his robe.  He bows lowly, and stretches out the rod waving it right and left over the people, and they retire again to the altar.  This action in glittering vestments, heralded and followed by bursting music, is in all respects like the opening scene of an opera, and ostensibly not a whit more solemn or religious.  It is difficult to realise that you are in a house of prayer.  It is useless here to give a description of the whole performance.  Barring a few brief intonings of the priests in Latin it consisted entirely of the sundry dumb and complicated bodily movements peculiar to the Mass.  If we were to criticise them it could only be to say, as we should say of any other performing company, that this performer was more graceful and striking in his action, et cetera, than the other.  The plentiful smoke of incense and the music made up the rest.  This latter accompanied the whole with the briefest intervals.  p. 25There were solos and choruses innumerable, and the art-pretension of the performance was its great feature.  The choir is railed in effectually from the congregation around the organ, and consists of male singers only in plain dress, under the conduct of M. Wilhelm Schulthes, a composer of some note.  It is but just to say that the singing was in itself excellent, if one could forget the main object for which a church is erected.  The voices were unexceptionally good, and the parts brilliantly executed; but the whole was operatic in effect—too secular, and too much of it, to assist devotion.  But the Mass music of the day is employed with a special regard to popularity; which, however, as a matter of fact, and as a part of religious service, it does not succeed in acquiring.  There is, after all, an idea, however vague, in the popular mind of the moral “fitness of things,” and if people find themselves in a place ostensibly for Christian worship, and yet chiefly entertained with an artistic and elaborate display of music not distinctively devotional, it does not commend itself to their better judgment.  The congregation at the Oratory on Sunday morning appears to bear out this remark.  Had the same musical skill been announced for an ordinary evening concert in any London music-hall it would have commanded plenty of patronage at 5s. and 2s. 6d.; but in this case (although the charge was only 3d., and 1s. for the best seats) they were far from fully occupied.  Undoubtedly, the most rational and appropriate part of the service was the sermon, which was preached extempore by Father Law, who is the morning preacher for the “Month of Mary”—a somewhat youthful-looking Father, but he discovers considerable maturity of mind; and somewhat pleasingly surprised us at the Protestant colour of some parts of his teaching.  Grounding his remarks upon Luke xix. 5: “Zaccheus make haste and come down, for to-day I must abide at thy house,” the preacher explained how it was that Jesus dwelt with his people.  In passing, the preacher observed that Christ dwelt with us in his Church, sacraments, and through the “Blessed Lady,” who ruled over them that day, in allusion to the peculiar homage paid to the Virgin at this time.  But this was only in passing, and as though to keep his Catholicism in countenance.  He enlarged chiefly and with much feeling upon what was, he said, “most important of all,” “Christ dwelling in us by the Holy Ghost, and so abiding with us,” in our inner life.  The Rev. Father seemed for the moment to rise above the trammels of peculiar Popish dogmas, and to conceive the fundamentals of religious life as practicable without them.  Certainly he did not say as much in as many words, but if he did not intend it, his discourse was without meaning or aim.  It is remarkable that on the previous Sunday we listened to an Anglican divine discoursing on the same subject, and were boldly told without any qualification that Christ dwelt in his people “by means of the Holy Sacraments.”

There are attached to the Oratory day-schools for boys and girls, which are carried on in Pont-place, near to St. Luke’s Church, and are rather numerously attended.  There is also what is termed “The Nursery of our Lady and St. Philip Creche,” at 56, Walton-street, where infants of working people, from three weeks to five years old, are taken charge of whilst their parents are at work in the day-time.  References must be given as to honesty and engagements before the child is admitted, and 3d. per day is charged for each child.  The church itself will accommodate about 1,200 persons.


Kensington Chapel, on the east side of Allen-street, is worthy of notice.  It is substantially built of stone, and commands a foremost place amongst the best examples of classic architecture in the neighbourhood.  The portico is the most noticeable portion.  Its Corinthian columns and pilasters are in good proportion and well-executed, and assure even the most unpractised eye of their capability to support the massive entablature and pediments that surmount them.  The present minister, Dr. Stoughton, laid the chief corner-stone in June, 1864.  The interior is well and handsomely treated, and is light, commodious, and adapted for sound.  The large British School recently erected is certainly not an improvement to the architectural appearance of the chapel.  There is a want of truthfulness about the design, which one must regret, seeing that the chapel itself is in such good taste.

The church connected with this place traces its origin so far back as the year 1795, and owns a very interesting history.  The first Congregational Chapel was in Hornton-street, and was founded in 1793; and in October, 1794, the Rev. Dr. Lake was chosen first pastor.  In March of the following year he gathered into religious communion about forty persons, and on the 9th of April following was solemnly ordained to the pastorate by Dr. Hunter, author of “Scripture Biography,” who was assisted in the service by other ministers.  The church and congregation gradually increased under Dr. Lake’s ministry, and also under his successors.  These were men of no less eminence than the Revs. John Clayton, Dr. Liefchild, and Dr. Vaughan.  For a church to have held such pastoral relations in unbroken succession, and for these to be followed and crowned by the worthy name of the present esteemed minister, Dr. Stoughton, is a remarkable fact, and prepares us for chronicles of superior influence and success.  In this we are not disappointed.  In the year 1845 the jubilee of the church was celebrated.  Dr. Stoughton had commenced his p. 26ministry in 1843, and on the 50th anniversary preached a commemorative sermon.  From this, which is in print, it would appear that the first half-century witnessed a gradual but certain growth of Congregationalism in the town, the number of church members having increased from the foundation number of 40 to 251.  These were the figures when Dr. Stoughton began his work.  The labour of those earlier times had been well and patiently done, and the basis firmly laid for a larger edifice of success to come.  The Rev. John Stoughton appears to have been the well-chosen minister for the opening era of its later history.  On Monday, October 4, 1868, the church and its friends rejoiced together over the fruits of the pastor’s labours through a quarter of a century.  At that time, which may be allowed to speak for the present, 1,200 members had been added, and there was a fixed membership of 500, having just doubled itself since 1843.  The Hornton-street Chapel had been enlarged in 1845 at a cost of 1,400l.; a branch chapel—now known as the Horbury Chapel, Notting-hill—had been built in 1849, and a church, of 40 members and 100 seat-holders, given it from the parent congregation to begin with.  This new cause was largely aided and supported by Mr. Stoughton and his people.  Notwithstanding this separation, the places of those who had retired to the north of the parish were soon filled, and the chapel became overcrowded, so that it became a necessity to provide new and enlarged accommodation.  Hence the present commodious chapel in Allen-street, which was opened for Divine worship on the 30th of May, 1855, the foundation-stone having been laid in June, 1854.  The entire cost, including the freehold site and organ, was 8,748l. 9s. 6d., the whole of which was defrayed by the end of January, 1860; 600l. more was laid out on repairs and embellishments in 1863.  There is accommodation for 1,000, including about 250 free sittings.  More recently British schools have been built, adjoining the chapel, at an outlay of 5,000l., which now have from 300 to 400 children in attendance.  Here, also, large and important Sunday-schools are conducted, having about 700 children under religious instruction.  These were established in the year 1809.  We understand that every available sitting is at present let; and the congregation contains several persons of literary eminence and professional distinction.  It is generally of that character which a minister of Dr. Stoughton’s ability may be expected to draw and keep around him.  For Christian liberality it is justly entitled to a record; and is, undoubtedly, one of the best instances to be found of what can be achieved on the voluntary principle when intelligently and powerfully directed.  During the first twenty-five years of Dr. Stoughton’s ministry—independently of the amounts raised by pew rents, &c., for support of the ministry—there was raised for various objects the noble sum of 32,821l., being an average of 1,313l. per annum. 12,800l. was for chapel and school building purposes; 8,870l. for missionary societies at home and abroad; 5,630l. for support of educational institutions; and 5,480l. for relief of the poor and distressed, both in a general way and in various cases of public need.  This scale of giving is maintained and even enlarged upon, the church raising 500l. for the London Missionary Society last year; and—which may be considered an expression of genuine catholicity of spirit—contributing 100l. towards the building fund of the new parish church now in course of re-erection.  Annual collections are made for St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, the West London Hospital, for a Christmas Poor Fund, Chapel Building Society, London City Mission, and various other Christian objects.  There is no endowment, and the ministry is entirely supported from seat rents.  As a proof of the esteem in which the minister is held, the church voted him 400l. in 1868, to enable him to visit Palestine, which he did; and it may be added that at the present time a co-pastor is being arranged for to assist him in his labours.

The Rev. Dr. Stoughton has the good fortune—attending but few settled pastors in the same degree—to enjoy the continued confidence and good opinion of his people; and through the effect of a prolonged ministry he has acquired an amount of influence over them seldom realised.  That influence has been for good.  It has lifted them out of the narrowness which, rightly or wrongly, is generally considered an attribute of close churches; it has moulded them into a catholic temper, and imbued them with social sympathies which render them a fact and a power in the town and district.  “Like priest, like people,” is an old adage; and probably it has never found a better illustration than in the present instance.  And where the former has strength and goodness combined, the likeness to himself he impresses upon his congregation over a long ministry, at any rate, ought to be traceable.  Dr. Stoughton himself cultivates the most friendly relations with ministers and Christian people of all denominations.  Occasionally at his house may be witnessed a little Evangelical Alliance, in the presence of a bishop, or a dean, or an archdeacon, with clergymen Episcopal, Baptist, Methodist, and Congregational; and the same genuine fraternal feeling he carries into public meetings and committees of all kinds where general Christian or social interests are concerned.  On the rev. gentleman’s pulpit characteristics it is scarcely necessary to enlarge.  In these sketches it is our plan only to say enough on this point to indicate the general standard of preaching, talent, or aptitude, together with the doctrinal teaching and mode of conducting service.  As to the latter, the minister appears in the pulpit in a gown; and in the singing part of the service the usual Congregational Hymn-book is supplemented by a collection of church music, consisting of chants, anthems, Te Deum and Sanctuses.  After the second prayer the Te Deum is sung; and the music, both for hymns and chants, inclines pretty much to the Gregorian strain.  We may describe this congregation, in p. 27its general tone and style of worship, as occupying that part of the Dissenting territory which lies nearest the Church of England.  In the minister’s personal part there is a brief opening prayer, a lesson, a second prayer, a second lesson, and a third prayer; and in these several extempore petitions, in the present instance, were included almost every conceivable object of supplication hardly exceeded in variety of matter by the Book of Common Prayer itself.  The discourse was founded on 2nd Corinthians x, 5: “Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,” and was delivered extempore, with the aid only of a manuscript skeleton.  The perfect ease and quiet of the preacher is apt at first to tempt the stranger to think him slightly indifferent to his hearers; but he has only to be heard a while to convince one that the feature arises from complete self-control and command of his own thoughts; and that, so far from indifference, it arises from deliberate anxiety to clear himself with the intellect and conscience of his audience.  It is certain that this is achieved with great success.  The clearness of the preacher’s thoughts, and equal clearness and felicity of his language, make one feel as though sitting in the calm light of intellect, reflected from every point of the compass.  Starting with the assertion that the words of the text were directly “against the grain” of the “most fashionable thinking of the day,” which was on the side of what was called “freedom of thought,” he entered the lists with the free-thinkers of the period.  Demonstrating with a masterly hand that the true liberty of our nature is only found in the captivity of thought to the obedience of Christ, he showed, on the other, with convincing power, that the boasted “freedom” of the day was slavery itself.  It was slavishness to prejudice, to some human irresponsible authority, to the most “fantastic ideas,” without any basis in reason, to an idea of novelty and change, where, however, there was no originality; for, the preacher remarked, amidst all this, “originality was a very rare thing in our time.”  The freedom contended for was one which bound our whole nature up in the bonds of fixed and rigid laws of development, which extinguished the very possibility of freedom.  After so withering an exposure of the boasted free thought of the age, there was peculiar force and beauty in pressing home the great Gospel truth, “But if the Son shall make you free, then are ye free indeed.”  Christ carries us away captive; but He does it as a conqueror of our foes, who tyrannised over us; and following in His train is our deliverance, our “freedom.”

On Sunday, service is held at 11 a.m. and 6.30 p.m., and at 3.15 p.m. a prayer-meeting in the Lecture-room.  The Lord’s Supper the first Sunday in the month after morning service; baptism every three months, both to adults and children, or more frequently if desired.  Communion tickets are distributed to members in December, which they are expected to put into the plate after each celebration.  Members are accepted after private conversation with the minister, and approval by the church in its ensuing monthly meeting.  The time when the minister may be consulted on this solemn subject is from six to seven on Thursday evenings weekly.


The Wesleyan Chapel, situate at the corner of Warwick-gardens, Kensington, is a specimen of one of those buildings by which we may say that Nonconformists have made a step in the right direction.  It is architectural, and, though of simple character as regards material, being of brick and stone and covered with slate, yet the brick and stone have been treated very successfully in the design of the west front.  It claims to be an example of Early English work, and, with its spire and pinnacles, forms a good feature, seen from the entrance of the gardens from the Kensington main road.  Enclosed by iron gates and rails, and dwarf walls, the chapel is approached by a flight of steps and entered by a vestibule or lobby, which also gives access, to the right and left, to the gallery stairs.  Inside, considering the large galleries, which at all times are an objection, the effect is exceedingly good.  The light ribbed roof over the body of the chapel is supported by a timber arcade of very good design, and if, instead of iron, the columns that receive the arcade had been of wood, we should, in spite of the galleries, have been able to report some very successfully effective work.  The organ is recessed, and appears just above a somewhat tall and bulky pulpit.  Beyond this there is very little to remark save the quiet neatness that prevails generally.  The basement is occupied by school and class rooms and offices, with separate entrances and approaches.  The chapel is from the designs of Messrs. Lockwood and Mawson, of London and Bradford; and the building contract carried out by Mr. Nevill Simonds, of London.  The warming was executed by Messrs. Stuart and Smith, of Sheffield; and the standard gas-lights by Messrs. Thomasson and Co., of Birmingham.

Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Warwick Gardens

This chapel was opened for worship on Thursday, the 10th December, 1863, and is partly the fruit of a general effort among the Wesleyan Methodists for chapel extension in London and its suburbs.  The first metropolitan chapel building fund was started in 1861, and zealously promoted by the Rev. W. Arthur, M.A., and the late Rev. John Scott, in connexion with several of the wealthier laymen.  The p. 28spirit of church and chapel erection which has recently taken hold of other leading religious bodies, and notably of the Establishment, has been largely participated in by the Wesleyan body; so that the chapel business which centres in a Chapel Committee has become a very large and imposing department.  It superintends the erection of chapels in every part of the Connexion, and has its rules upon which these works are to be carried out.  Every chapel built without compliance with its regulations and primary sanction is jealously viewed, and reported to Conference as irregular, with profound “regrets” at the Methodistic insubordination implied in it.  No matter though a chapel be made really a good property of and handed over, it cannot condone the offence against the spirit of red-tapeism centreing in the Conference Committee.  It will only be officially recognised after a good scolding has been administered to the offenders for the pains they have taken to erect a chapel for Methodism.  This is one of the points at which the Central Conference rule is liable to collision with local voluntary efforts, and often produces great irritation.  The Committee administers the chapel erection fund and makes grants in aid.  It also controls a large sum of money—raised some years ago to assist in clearing chapels from debt.  This money is lent out to trustees upon application, to be returned in so many annual instalments, free of interest.  Probably no fund has been more useful to the material interests of Methodism.  Chapels formerly burdened with debt have been set free by yearly payments similar to what they were before paying for interest; and thus their resources have been left available for extension purposes.  There is also a special fund for chapel building in Watering-places, commenced by the Rev. W. M. Punshon in 1861, which succeeded very well as far as it went, but did not attain large dimensions.  The “Metropolitan Chapel Building Fund” is a more important and progressive affair.  It started with a subscribed fund of 20,000l., to be kept up by annual appeals; and an effort is now being made to raise a very much larger sum—Sir Francis Lycett having made the generous offer of 50,000l., to be distributed in sums of 1,000l. each to fifty new chapels, that shall be erected in the metropolis with a specified accommodation, within a given time.  For this offer to be utilised to the full extent, at least 200,000l. will have to be raised.

The Warwick gardens Chapel benefited from the first fund to the extent of 1,000l., the whole estimated cost being 4,700l.  In default of a freehold, 32l. per annum is paid as ground-rent, which was to be covered by a yearly investment.  1,175l. was left as a temporary debt, to be paid off within one year.  We believe, however, that this was found to be impossible, and the debt in whole or part, still remains.  The estimated income from seat-rents was fixed at 200l. per annum, a very small estimate indeed, had the project succeeded.  But in this there has been grievous disappointment.  The chapel will accommodate 1,000 persons, but after more than seven years it hardly commands an average congregation, in all, of 200, and a number of these are from a distance, and properly belonging to other Methodist congregations.  We fear, therefore, this is a case to be recorded as so far a failure.

A degree, perhaps, of laudable ambition has led some leading Methodist ministers and laymen of late years to desire to place chapels in neighbourhoods different from those usually occupied.  In short, there has been a movement to plant chapels in more respectable localities, such as that of Warwick-gardens.  But if the experiment is to be judged by its results in this instance, it would appear a lamentable mistake; and it may after all be worth considering whether John Wesley’s own rule will not yet serve Methodism for all time—“To preach the Gospel to the poor, and to go not only to those who need us, but to those who need us most.”  There are Sunday-schools, where about 100 children of both sexes attend; and four or five small classes, which include all the society at present attached to the chapel.  It is united in what is called the Bayswater Circuit, the headquarters of which are in the Denbigh-road, Bayswater, and which has three ministers appointed to it by the Conference.  These are assisted in the occupation of the pulpits by ministers belonging to Connexional departments in London, or students from the college at Richmond.  The chapel, therefore, has the best ministerial provision that the system of Methodism can supply, but there appears to be no public effect.  On Sunday evening, 21st of May, the pulpit was occupied by the Rev. W. B. Boyce, one of the secretaries at the Mission-house in Bishopsgate-street.  He holds a high position in the body, and on many accounts is deservedly respected.  He has seen much service in the Mission-field; and to this it may be in part attributable that he retains in speech the broad provincialisms of his early life.  He also holds fast to the old Methodist style of putting the doctrine of “Conversion,” which was the subject of his discourse.  According to his teaching on this occasion, a man may be everything Christian to the outward eye—and even be a martyr for the truth—and yet be unconverted, unsaved, and perish eternally.  If such a case be possible, we must remark it is so rare in experience that it may well cause a minister to pause before he gives it prominent and unqualified application in a sermon.  There are certain to be a number of weak consciences and doubting minds in every congregation, who must be very much troubled and perplexed with such teaching, whereas there may not be a single individual to whom it really applies.  It is a mode of preaching, in our idea, not based upon sufficiently large views of human experiences and circumstances; yet Mr. Boyce exhibits great sincerity and earnestness.


The Scotch Presbyterian Chapel stands at the corner of the Foxley-road and Allen-street, and is a fair specimen of geometric gothic.  Of course it requires the tower to be finished to make it the good architectural object that it should be in the long perspective of Allen-street; yet it is even now fairly prominent, and is substantially built of Kentish rag with Bath stone dressings, and roofed with slate.  The principal entrance is on the north side, over which is a large and rather noticeable window, and the rose window in the west gable, too, seems to invite the visitor to an inspection of the interior.  Passing through a very plain corridor or vestibule, the body of the chapel is immediately entered to the right and left hand.  A feeling of disappointment it is impossible to repress ensues.  The interior in no way accords with the idea conveyed by the outside inspection.  It is roofed in one span, and heavily ceiled and panelled, producing a sense of depression.  The walls are simply bare plaster, the pulpit very large and heavy, the pewing poor and plain.  A northern gallery, evidently intended for an organ, is organless, and not much improved by large curtains.  The Presbyterian movement in Kensington began in 1861, under the present pastor, the Rev. Gavin Carlyle, in a hall in Holland-street.  After about a year’s labour in this place some forty or fifty members had collected, and it was then resolved to build a church.  A site was first sought in Campden-hill, but was not to be found there.  Ultimately the present site was scoured, the building commenced in July 1862, finished in May 1863, and opened on the 24th of that month, and the Rev. Mr. Carlyle, was formally ordained to the charge on June 2nd following.  Since then the progress has been steady; and the membership has increased to between one and two hundred.  The church is connected with the English Presbyterian Church, and the late Dr. Hamilton, of the latter, took great interest in it, and did much to originate it.  It will contain 500 persons, and cost to build 5,280l.; by the addition of galleries, it would be capable of accommodating 700 or 800.  There is no endowment, and the minister is dependent upon pew-rents and voluntary offerings.  A Dorcas Society is kept up by a few ladies; and collections are made annually for foreign missions and other objects.  The Duke of Argyll is a seatholder and frequent communicant; and other persons of general and literary distinction.  At a meeting a few weeks since, at which the Duke of Argyll presided, several Indian and other notabilities were present, including Dr. Macleod, Sir Bartle Frere, Sir Wm. Hill, &c., who had assembled to hear a lecture on India, by Dr. Wilson, of Bombay.  The Rev. Gavin Carlyle is an M.A. of the Edinburgh University, and studied theology in the Free Church College, Edinburgh, followed by a year’s study in Germany.  He is a nephew of the famous Edward Irving; and editor of his uncle’s “Collected Writings,” published by Strahan and Co.  He is also editor of the Weekly Review, the weekly organ of Presbyterianism in England; also of Christian Work, a monthly journal of religious and missionary intelligence.  Mr. Carlyle’s congregation is at present a small one compared with many; but on the occasion of our visit his sermon was certainly such as to justify a larger attendance.  It was the first of a series of discourses on the Ten Commandments, and founded on the first “I am the Lord thy God,” &c.  The distinct existence and all-pervading presence and control of the Almighty was the subject.  It was well and clearly treated, in a manner to meet the principal intellectual quibbles or difficulties of the times; and the preacher proved to the satisfaction of every thoughtful mind—to use his own words—that “all reason speaks to us of God; and that it is nothing but unreason and mystical cloudiness that attributes the effects of Nature to any other cause or operation,” and that science when rightly conceived is “the handmaid of religion.”


The Brompton Episcopal Chapel, situate close to the Brompton-road, in Montpelier-street, is a structure strictly Georgian in its character, Georgian indeed to the back-bone, if one may be allowed to use such an expression ecclesiastically.  It has no beauties to make it worthy a visit in the search after the picturesque.  It is simply ugly outside, and very little more may be said of it inside.  It rather reminded us of old Kensington Church, without its historical interest.  Like all buildings of the kind, it has its painted columns supporting a flat ceiling, and high-back gallery.  It has its high pulpit and prayer-desk, each duly draped in hot velvet, its high-backed pews comfortably shut up and cushioned, in fact, everything belonging to it is high, only that it would be too much to call it High Church.

This chapel attained its centenary in 1869, being opened on Easter Sunday, 1769, as a chapel of ease to the parish church of Kensington.  The Rev. Richard Harrison was the first minister, who was a preacher of some note, and continued his labours to the end of life, which occurred in 1793.  A tablet to his memory may now be seen on the south side of the Communion-table.  Since then the course of the ministry has been somewhat chequered, and not always connected with the happiest reminiscences.  Although so ancient a chapel, it appears p. 30to have been generally poor, and the only relic it contains of bygone days is a set of old pewter collecting-plates, having the original engraving, “The Parish of Kensington.”  The building is now seen in every respect as it was at the beginning.  It has successfully resisted all modern innovations; no alterations of any kind have taken place, excepting that a coating of stucco has been bestowed upon the front.  The same is true of the character of the public service.  It has rigidly preserved its own unadorned plainness, against all the ecclesiastical refinements of later years.  The clergy are ordained ministers in the Church of England, and licensed by the Bishop of London, and the present are the Rev. W. Dunford, who is also the private owner of the property, and the Rev. W. Crofts Bullen, assistant minister.  The latter was doing duty at the time of our visit, with rather a thin congregation, but showed considerable earnestness, read distinctly and audibly, and preached in his black gown an extempore discourse on Rev. iv. 3.  The sublime passage was expounded by references to other parts of Scripture, connected with some plain, out-spoken utterances applied to the audience in a fearless and faithful manner.  Regarding the text as symbolical of the Holy Trinity—it being Trinity Sunday—the preacher knew nothing about “the liberality of faith in the nineteenth century.”  There was “a severe and hard line to be drawn between the believer and unbeliever, the saved and the unsaved.”

The Episcopal Chapel will hold about 800 persons, and the congregation averages from 400 to 500.  Having no endowment, the clergy rely only on seat-rents and quarterly collections for church expenses, which are made by passing the pewter-plates round to the assembly in the pews.  There is a good Sunday-school carried on in the chapel, morning and afternoon, with about 130 scholars, a number which it is said might be greatly added to but that the Churchwardens will not allow more space.  This unfavourable condition, however, the zealous superintendent, Mr. Warder and teachers, assisted by the children, are seeking to remedy, having opened among themselves a weekly subscription towards a separate and commodious schoolroom.  The weekly pence already contributed amounts to 50l.  This is a most worthy example; and it may be hoped that some large-hearted persons outside the school, may some day or other feel inclined to encourage by large gifts so laudable an attempt at self-help.  The school is also provided with a library by subscriptions of the teachers and churchwardens, from which books are lent free of charge.  The Sunday-school is an interesting feature at this chapel, and is said in the neighbourhood to be highly prized by the children themselves, who are reported to be most regular in attendance.  The services are—Sunday, morning at 11, evening at 6.30; Wednesday at 7 p.m.; the Lord’s Supper on the last Sunday in the month.  The hymn-book used is a selection of psalms and hymns arranged by the Rev. Charles Kemble, M.A.—the 1853 edition.


Onslow Chapel, situate in Neville terrace, Brompton, has many pretensions to Gothic architectural effect.  It is slightly decorated in design, and somewhat early.  Long before the two churches were thought of, between which it now stands, St. Pauls and St. Peters, its two little spires could be seen like landmarks in the surrounding plain.  It is one of those early attempts of the Nonconformists to establish a better style of architecture in their buildings for public worship.  The west front is, however, all of which it can boast, the inside being of true chapel type, consisting, one may almost say, of a large hall, ribbed and vaulted in plaster.  The western gallery adds to the accommodation for sittings, and the body of the chapel is well filled with simple pewing.  The pulpit is tall, and backed up by the organ.  In the usual way the Vestry is at the east end.  The foundation-stone was laid by that great and good man, the Hon. Arthur Kinnaird, in 1856.

Onslow Chapel, Brompton, 1856

This chapel was built fifteen years ago, for the church then meeting in Alfred-place, under the pastorate of the Rev. G. Bigwood.  It seats 650 persons, and cost 6,000l.  But this outlay included, besides the chapel-proper, convenient class-rooms, and a spacious schoolroom which runs back on a line with the chapel into Neville-street, and is now mentioned as Onslow Hall, a suitable place for meetings and lectures.  The Rev. G. Bigwood’s ministry lasted about eighteen years, and he was succeeded in 1870 by the Rev. Joseph Upton Davis, B.A., the present pastor.  The minister is a Baptist, but the membership is open to Christians of other Evangelical communions.  As a preacher, Mr. Davis has considerable gifts.  To a pleasing manner and voice there is a goodly share of refinement, general evidence of culture, and preaching ardour, which are essential to the modern pulpit.  “He that hath an ear let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches” was solemnly enforced, and the dwellers in Laodicean ease—the “neither cold nor hot”—were keenly rebuked, although affectionately dealt with.  The congregation was not a full one; but it was pleasing to note that with very few exceptions all remained to the Communion service, which immediately followed the first service.  The hymn after the sermon was followed only by the benediction, briefly rendered, which, as a rule, is somewhat unlike Nonconforming services, in which the preacher generally offers a short prayer, having some reference in spirit to the matter of the discourse.  A Sunday-school is p. 31conducted in the schoolroom, where, under management, 400 scholars assemble morning and afternoon, superintended by Mr. Mayers.  The general services are—Sunday morning at 11, evening at 6.30, Thursday evenings at 7, and communion the first Sunday in the month.


The Church of St. Barnabas is situated in the Addison-road, and can be seen with pleasing effect from the main road.  In the distance the brickwork has a nice grey tone about it, and harmonises well with the stone dressings and tracery and the contrast of the mounting ivy round the pinnacled buttresses gives a picturesque appearance which is much assisted by pretty surrounding foliage.  A nearer view, however, is somewhat disappointing as to architectural detail, in which it resembles the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, which is generally considered the best example of perpendicular Gothic.  The west elevation is worthy of description.  The gable and pierced parapet partially conceal a low-pitched roof, which is flanked by open bell turrets.  The centre of the gable is occupied by a large perpendicular window above the western entrance to the church.  This consists of a centre and two side doors opening into a corridor or vestibule, giving access to the body of the building and to the galleries right and left.  Flights of steps lead up to the several entrances, which are enclosed by rather lofty railings and gates.  The interior, roofed in one span with sub-arcades or columns, is finished with a flat ceiling, relieved and pannelled by horizontal bands and kerbed ribs.  Large galleries surround three sides of the church, and at the west end a double tier.  At first sight these galleries look almost unsupported, the iron columns are so slender as well-nigh to escape observation.  The body or ground floor is fitted with simple square pewing, divided by a centre and two side passages.  Close to the western doors stands a bold font, a fair specimen of perpendicular work.  The pulpit is tall and plain.  The prayer-desk, lower and more ornate, is placed on the north side of a very simple chancel arch, before which the very handsome bronze eagle lectern stands slightly elevated.  The chancel is a simple recess, and its entrance is occupied by stall benches.  The front of the altar is pierced with tracery, which has a good effect.  The east window is filled with stained glass of Georgian school design, strongly reminding us of the Church of St. Dunstan, Fleet-street, where there is a similar window.

St. Barnabas Church, Addison Road, Kensington

Three windows on the north side and four on others are also filled with stained and quarried glass, with designs of a better school.

The organ, a fine instrument by Walker, is at the west end in the gallery, and well decorated.

It is now forty-three years since this church was consecrated, and during the last eighteen years it has been under the same incumbent, who has been one of the Kensington Clergy for nearly thirty years.  It occupies a large district in the west of Kensington, and has itself, in progress of time, become a parent church to several others which have risen within its bounds.  St. Philip’s and St. Matthias are districts formed out of it; and the more recent erection of St. John the Baptist’s Church in the Holland-road marks a still further development.  It has also a separate appendage to itself in the “Church House” in the Warwick-gardens, which has been built to accommodate the surplus of its regular congregation, sanctioned by the Bishop, and served by its own clergy.  Here invalids who cannot conveniently attend the larger congregation, and such as cannot for the present obtain accommodation there, are invited to attend.  In point of fact it is altogether a separate church served by the Vicar of St. Barnabas and his curates.  As, however, it is treated simply as an out-building of St. Barnabas—and is used for the transaction of its various parochial business—we must consider it as included with it.

St. Barnabas Church House, Warwick Gardens, Kensington

St. Barnabas’ Church has accommodation for about 1,500, and its morning congregation averages from 1,200 to 1,400, looking well filled.  The evening congregation, however, is much smaller, as a rule, as is the case with most West London churches.  But we may attribute this partly to the existence of an afternoon service, at which there is public catechising, which is very fully attended.  The church is daily open, and the Holy Communion is celebrated every Sunday.  There is no High Church costume, or parade of surpliced choristers, but there is a most efficient choir, who fill the space in front of the organ in the end gallery.  On the occasion of our visit, which was St. Barnabas’ day, June 11, the church’s annual Feast of Dedication, the performance consisted in a Gregorian and other much more pleasing chants in D and A, with hymns special to the occasion.  The Gregorian strain never pleases; and seems to us adapted mainly to break up and destroy the natural form, music, and sense of the English tongue.  There are three curates, who perform their subordinate parts in the service with great propriety and credit.  Such only who could accomplish this would be at all in keeping with the character of the chief pastor.  Dr. Hessey has a matured, well-cultured Christian mind, in addition to learning, and natural talent and taste for the duties of the pulpit.  There is also a gravity and kindliness in his general manner and utterance which leaves one in no doubt as to the secret of his power.  The sermon on the occasion p. 32of our visit was an anniversary one, and as being confined to a portion of appropriate historical Scripture (Acts xi, 26), did not offer scope for the full exercise of the preacher’s powers.  Yet the evidence of their existence was there.

The clergy are supported chiefly by pew-rents, and there are offertories and collections for various charities, missions, and other objects.  For the poor, for schools, missions, choir, incidental church expenses, the Bishop of London’s Fund, in aid of hospitals and other charities, there was raised altogether in 1870 704l. 11s. 10¼d.  Out of this it is found impossible to provide for the heavier church expenses.  A church-rate is also levied, to which it does not appear what response is made.  We have reason, however, to believe that no large sum is thus collected, or the churchwardens would have been able to spend more on the decoration of the church.  There is clearly room for considerable improvement here, and we hope there will be no great difficulty in providing means to carry out the church repairs which are so much needed.  The whitewasher, painter, and grainer might in the interior be employed with good effect.


A building set on a hill cannot be hid, and it is literally true of St. John’s Church; it is just on the crest, of Notting-hill, and may be seen from a great distance in the perspective of the long road, to the west of which it stands.  Its effect is at first sight very good; the spire, however, rising at the intersection of the nave and transepts, appears too stunted, as if it had been drawn down several feet into the tower, a fault to be deplored in many instances.  Built of stone and covered with slate, the early English detail, generally very good, the character of the style very truthfully retained, as shown by the chancel windows, the well-executed caps and bosses, and in the eastern triplet, make up a very excellent attractive whole.  The plan of the church is cruciform, and is divided into a nave and aisles, north and south transepts, chancel and aisles, with a vestry at the N.E. angle.  There are several large galleries, one at the west end, one in each of the transept and chancel aisles, which add very considerably to the accommodation for sittings.  The organ is placed in the west gallery, and rather takes from a good perspective, as seen looking westward, the stone columns and plaster-moulded arcade giving a very poor effect; and the church generally supports some well-designed work in the clerestory, where oddly enough we find stone used again, though we cannot help feeling glad to see it, instead of the plaster work before referred to.  The roof is high-pitched and open, of good design, but, owing to so little of the light of heaven illuminating the interior, we are unable to say much about it.  The lancet windows are not enough to admit the cheering rays, and this is certainly a drawback; it gives to the church a gloomy appearance which it ought not really to have.  Most of the windows are filled with stained glass, but of no good type, except the eastern subject, representing the Lord’s Supper.  The font, close to the west door, is of simple design, and has the emblems of the Evangelists sculptured in relief on the bowl.  The pulpit, too much like a large wineglass, is lofty, and blocks out the view, looking east.  The pewing is very mean, and on a level with the pewing of the passages, which is not improving.  Some simple wooden screens shut out the chancel from the aisles, and the table is plain and railed off.  The diaper work painted on the chancel wall is well done and effective.

Early in 1845 the Church of St. John was consecrated for divine service in the northern division of Kensington.  Misgivings were expressed at the time that the site, one of the most attractive in London, had been chosen too far out in the fields; but the population of the district has since risen from less than 3,000 to more than 60,000, and has been partitioned among six new parish churches, all built from voluntary contributions, and maintained without endowments.  The church, parsonage, and schools of St. John’s represent an expenditure of nearly 20,000l., almost entirely raised within the parish; and the subscriptions and collections for 1870 amounted to 996l. collected in the church, besides 850l. pew-rents, and 2,390l. collected in other ways for local and missionary purposes.  Between 500 and 600 children are in attendance at the schools, and nearly 400 of them belong to the Parochial Provident Society, which consists in the aggregate of 731 members.  The congregation appear much in need of the additional comfort and accommodation which would be derived from removing the organ out of the west gallery, and letting in the light from the handsome window behind it.  The design of the architect might then be carried out, and the organ and pulpit be placed as originally intended, throwing back the fronts of the north and south transept galleries.  This church has suffered a good deal at different times from well-meant efforts to provide additional accommodation for the vast population which has grown up round it; but nothing has been done which might not be easily set right at a small expenditure.  The present incumbent has been seventeen years in residence, and was appointed by the late Bishop Blomfield, of London, the see to which the patronage belongs.  The east window is an adaptation in coloured glass of the p. 33“Last Supper” of Leonardo da Vinci, and was offered by the parishioners as a memorial of their sorrow for the early loss of Eleanor Isabella, only child of Sir John Franklin, and wife of the incumbent, who was cut off in the midst of a career of singular activity and Christian usefulness about ten years ago.  A mural monument close by records the decease of the previous incumbent, the Rev. E. Denniss, who fell a victim to cholera in 1854.  This likewise was placed there by the parishioners as a monument of their affectionate regret; and it is very observable that our new churches derive increased solemnity and repose from the gradual increase of such mementoes as these.

Out of 1,400 sittings, this church has about 400 free; all the others let at rates varying from 4s. to 15s. per quarter.  The congregation is composed mainly of the well-to-do people of that part, and the collections which are made for various objects through the year average from 50l. to 60l. a Sunday, whether it be for home or foreign objects.  The organist, Mr. Cooper, is surrounded in the orchestra by a selection of the male Sunday scholars—who are evidently well-trained, and make up an effective choir—without surplices.  The service is completely on the Evangelical model, animated and thoroughly devotional, and the congregation join in it earnestly.  The prayers and lessons were well read by a substitute for one of the curates, who are two, the Rev. Messrs. Leicester and Newton.  The sermon was preached by the incumbent, the Rev. J. P. Gell, from Psalm iii. 4, “He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered.”  The rev. gentleman’s preaching is careful, practical, and devout; and appears to come directly home to his hearers, over whom, through a long series of years he has maintained a very manifest influence for good.  The ordinary services are on Sundays at 11 a.m., and 7 p.m., and lecture on Wednesday evening.  At 12.30 there is full Communion Service every first Sunday in the month, after the morning service; and an early celebration at 9 a.m. on every third Sunday in the month.


St. George’s, Campden-hill, the spire of which, in the distance, is so closely allied to the Kensington Water-tower and that other familiar object of West London distance, Tower Cressy, that we suppose there are few who are unacquainted with the rather odd-looking trio.  Either of them taken alone would form a good distance object, but as it sometimes happens they all three lump together in the landscape, the effect is not only odd, but certainly striking, the water-tower always looking like the big brother of the other two.  St. George’s, however, must now be taken alone, and really it deserves to be especially noticed.  The church stands N. and S., the south elevation being worthy of remark for much excellent and effective detail.  The tower and spire, of fair proportion at the S.E. angle of the building, form an important feature of this view.  The spire is broached and covered with slate in bands, and relieved with wooden spire lights with iron finials, giving a picturesque appearance.  The tower is without buttresses, and, like all other portions of this south elevation, is faced with stone in random courses, with Bath stone quoins and dressings, and clean-cut bands of stone of warmer colour.  It is lighted by deeply-recessed lancet windows, with columns and foliated caps, and bands on all sides.  The staircase within is clearly marked by raking lines of windows, simple and effective.  The centre of the gable of this elevation is occupied by a large and boldly-treated window, with geometric rose and four lancet lights, deeply recessed with label mould, encircling three well-carved heads in relief; this window is flanked by side two-light windows, partly concealed by the tile roof of the large cloistered porch.  Being the principal entrance to the church, this roof is supported by dwarf and massive columns, with carved caps and cusped arcade.  The whole forms a picturesque feature in perspective.  The side and north elevations are very plainly treated in brickwork, with coloured bands or strings continued round the buttresses.  The windows are executed in stone, plain-cut, unsplayed tracery; the reason for this change in design is evident—these elevations will shortly be hidden by the houses that are hourly springing up round the church.  The usual stone finials and crosses are replaced by iron of like character.

The plan of the church is slightly cruciform, and consists of a nave and aisles, east and west transept, a doubly-recessed apsidal chancel, and aisles.  Large galleries run round nearly three sides of the body of the church, and at the south end there is a double tier for school-children.  Galleries, as we have often observed before, do not improve the good effect of a building; however, these galleries have a novel treatment: the balcony—if such an expression may be used—is suggestive of a conventional ship’s side with the ports complete.  We by no means wish to convey a false impression by these remarks, for the lines of these galleries are very graceful, and yet sufficiently angular to be quite in keeping with the style of the church.  The corbelled principals of the galleries, too, are effectively cut; they take a bearing on the iron columns of the arcades, from which, in every other respect, they run clear.  We never remember to have seen iron better treated in church-arcade columns.  The detail is sharp and clean, and the columns are not so slender as to appear unequal to their task of supporting the brick arches and clerestory, and the light nave and other roofs with saw-tooth cut and intersecting ribs.  Generally the interior effect is exceeding good, especially the arcade of the east transept.  There is evidence of great originality p. 34of thought on the part of the architect, which we cannot fail to notice and admire, and the colouring is harmonious and quiet in the corbels, bands, and courses, which are of stone, nearly all ornamented with flowing Gothic scrolls, painted black and incised.  The font is an excellent example of early work jewelled with coloured bosses round the circular bowl, with the inscription “One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism.”  It stands near to the southern doors.  The oak pulpit is elevated to suit the galleries, stilted on stone clustered columns, with foliated caps, and butts upon the chancel west pier.  The oak-eagle lectern is also at the entrance of the chancel, and is very well executed.  The pewing, perhaps the least attractive portion of the fittings, is, however, well cut, but too dark to our mind.  The organ occupies the west chancel aisle, and is placed over the vestries and quite undecorated.  The chancel windows in the apse are well filled with stained glass, by Messrs. Lavers and Barraud.  In the rose is represented the Crucifixion; the four lancets, the Evangelists and their emblems.  The passages are paved with plain tiling.  Mr. Bassett Keeling, of Gray’s-inn, was the architect, and we must congratulate him upon having produced an exceedingly beautiful and original type of church.  The first stone was laid by the Ven. Archdeacon Sinclair, in Feb., 1864, and by Trinity Sunday in the following year the church was opened for Divine Service.

This church is situated partly in the Ward of St. Mary Abbotts and partly in that of St. John’s, Notting-hill, having in both departments a little over 8,000 inhabitants.  It provides 1,400 sittings in all, 413 of which are free.  But these in cases of emergency can be added to by about 150, provided by a system of telescopic seats, which can be drawn upon occasions from under the fixed pews, across the main aisles, filling up the entire area of the church.  Six or seven years ago the site of St. George’s was a cabbage-garden; but a private Christian gentleman conceived the happy idea of converting it to its present purpose, built this beautiful edifice at his own cost, and presented it to the district.  The congregation has grown up almost as rapidly as the building itself.  All the sittings not free are let at from 1l. 1s. to 2l. 2s. per annum, and the congregation is usually full and of a superior class at the morning and evening services.  The Duke of Argyll and the Earl of Airlie and families hold sittings, and usually attend here, with other families and persons of note and character located in and about this aristocratic neighbourhood.  On Sunday morning, the 25th of June, 1871 the church was crowded, a rumour having gone abroad that the Princess Louise, the daughter-in-law of the Duke of Argyll, was expected to be present.  If this were the cause, however, there must have been considerable disappointment, as the Princess was certainly not there.  The Vicar, the Rev. George Bennett, who is usually the morning preacher, preached a useful and discriminating sermon on John xvii. 16, pointing out in what sense Christ was not of the world, and in what sense his true people are not of the world.  Some seasonable remarks were made about the temptation under which Christians now lie to succumb to what is called “public opinion,” until there is danger of their placing the voice of “society” above the voice of conscience and the word of God.  Yet this was the only standard of right and wrong; whilst the standard set up by the world was an unreal one, and not sincerely believed even by those who, from the force of fashion, practised it.  The prayers were read by the Rev. Mr. Becker, and the Litany by the Rev. Mr. Frampton, the Curates.  In this instance there is also a lay reader, Mr. Gordon Cleather, who, in a surplice, read the lessons well and distinctly.  The Rev. Dr. Davis is the evening preacher, who is known as a clergyman of distinguished talent.  The church has no endowment, and the clergy are maintained and the expenses met out of the pew-rents and offertories.  There are several religious and benevolent institutions, also, supported by the congregation or receiving aid from it.  In St. George’s Schools there are boys about 100 and girls the same number, with infants about 130.  These received voluntary aid to the amount of 160l. in 1870.  There is a District Visiting Society account, for which, including a Maternity, Provident, and Work Society, there was received from various sources and disbursed the sum of 360l. in the year.  The offertories, apart from subscriptions—and from which all objects are aided in proportion—brought 181l. 0s. 6d.; and there are lists of subscribers to all the funds—as, for instance, to the Church Service Fund, the offertories for which amounted only to 39l. 16s. 9d., but which was raised by two collections in the year and subscriptions to 108l. 11s. 4d.  The worship is plain Church of England, barring the intoning of portions of the prayers.  The choir is not surpliced, and the singing, for the most part, lively, accompanied by a good organ, well played by Herr Sowerby, Professor.  The hymns are “Ancient and Modern,” published at the Sacred Music Warehouse, Novello and Co., Dean-street.  The order of services are—Sunday: morning at 11, afternoon 3.30, evening at 7; Wednesdays, Fridays, and holidays.  Holy Communion on the first and third Sunday in the month at 9 a.m., and on the second Sunday after the morning service.


St. Peter’s, Notting-hill, in the Kensington-park-road, is an Italian edifice, looking of some importance as regards its west elevation, the only portion of the church seen from the road.  On close inspection it is disappointing to find stucco in place of stone facing the work.  The elevation consists of a large enclosed portico with engaged columns, supporting an entablature and pediment, which is surmounted by a square tower with engaged columns and tower lights, and terminating with a sort of pepper box top.  Although not so prominently or so beautifully placed as St. John’s, it has a pleasing appearance from the road; the effect, however, is somewhat diminished by a dwarfed cupola.  A more lofty, tapering campanile would have added much to its importance.  The façade is not seen to advantage, from its close proximity to the road.  A large vestibule gives access to the main body of the church and the gallery staircases.  The plan of the church consists of a nave and aisles, a portion of the east end being railed off to form a chancel.  Three large galleries partly enclose the church, and entirely cover the space of the aisles.  Large Corinthian columns and entablature support the roof; just above the cornice are semicircular clerestory lights, glazed in a fan-like manner.  The roof is enclosed by a flat ceiling in panels, ornamented with centre flowers, and the aisles are ceiled at a lower level below the clerestory.

The church has had everything done for it that can be in the way of decoration, which has been very beautifully executed, and in perfect keeping with the style of the building.  The Greek ornament and colouring are at once harmonious and agreeable, and should prove a good lesson to all, showing what may be done to beautify even a heavy building, and how very efficient church decorators have hitherto been in the adornment of our churches.  One can only hope that some whitewash advocates may be induced from these remarks to visit St. Peter’s.  We are quite sure they will change their minds—and some churchwardens may well blush for their own doings, and set about an improved state of things in their own churches.  The east end is more ornately decorated than other portions; the caps and bases of the columns are guilded, the panels are fitted with diaper and lily ornaments.  Some rather happy stained glass, illustrating incidents in the life of St. Peter, assists in producing an exceedingly well-conceived whole.  Two of the windows are of superior workmanship, by Clayton and Bell, but the centre large one is slightly pretentions, somewhat faulty in drawing, and not equal to the general features of the decorations, though the appearance of the chancel on entering the church is singularly fine.  The Gothic furniture and stalls of the chancel we dislike, being out of place.  The pulpit is cleverly contrived to be as light and unobstructive as possible, yet necessarily high, on account of the galleries, and, moreover, so gossamer-like with regard to its enclosing railing, that any near-sighted strangers may be forgiven for a feeling of nervousness for the safety of the preacher.

The vase font is near the western entrance.  The organ is in the west gallery.  Some stained glass of good design fills some of the aisle-windows.  The passages are paved, with ornamental tiles, the pewing has been cut down, and would be greatly improved raised four or five inches above the level of the passage-paving.  The church is thoroughly and expensively heated with warm air, and lighted at night by a sun-burner from the roof, containing 120 jets.  Every attention appears to have been paid to ensure the comfort of the congregation.  The most marked feature of St. Peter’s Church is its interior, which, as a whole, is very beautiful.  The style is worked out in Pompeian red, and, although florid in development, is by no means obtrusive; and from the general harmonies of colour and subdued blendings, it is thought to conduce to a feeling of devotional repose.  The galleries, however, constitute a great drawback to this otherwise very pleasing interior.  They are too flat in construction, and too ponderous for the limited space between the roof and the floor of the side aisles.

This church is one of six now gathered round the original church of St. John’s, Notting-hill, and is allocated to one of the six new parishes into which the old parish has been subdivided.  It was built in the year 1856, with funds furnished partly by the incumbent and partly by donations from the immediate neighbourhood.  It has sittings for 1,400 persons, out of which 400 are free.  There are, in connexion with it, large and exceedingly well appointed schools, numbering 150 boys, 150 girls and 220 infants.  The efficiency of these schools has been authoritatively commended.

The present vicar, the Rev. J. Robbins, D.D., of Christ Church, Oxford, was appointed in the year 1862.  We had not the opportunity of hearing the rev. gentleman preach, but he read the first lesson, and we consider him quite a model reader.  From a firm, distinct, and flexible utterance, and as from a ready appreciation of its sense, Scripture is made to speak its meaning, and to convey real effect in the reading.  The general order of service he has adopted is semi-choral.  The prayers are monotoned, the chants and responses are Gregorian.  The choir is mostly composed of boys, with surplices, educated in the schools attached to the church, and who sing the music about as well as such music can be done.  The Creed is, also, in reality, sung and accompanied with the organ.  We must confess to a disappointment in the effect produced by the organ, the tones of which did not seem to harmonise with the flow of voices; but we hear this is about to be remedied.  To many there would doubtless seem in this service an excess of singing, and that, monotonous in a p. 36large degree.  But it is the High Church order of things; and St. Peter’s is confessedly High Church.  There are various societies attached for the visitation of the poor and the distribution of several charities.

The sermon on Sunday morning, July 2, 1871, was preached by the Rev. C. R. Robinson, M.A., Canon of Rochester, for the Gravesend (or St. Andrew’s) Waterside Mission.  Notwithstanding the inclement weather, the church was fully attended by a congregation in the midst of which it was hard to discern a single poor person.  The preacher discoursed pleasantly on 1 Peter v. 10, 11—“But the God of all grace,” &c.  His account of the origin of St. Andrew’s Mission, of which he himself was the founder about ten years ago, and of his personal interviews with seamen in going to sea and returning, distribution of books, &c., riveted the attention of the audience, and appeared to excite intense feeling in favour of the noble objects of the society.  The usual preliminary part of the Communion Service, including the Commandments, the Nicene Creed, Epistle and Gospel, was not read; but the sermon followed the Litany and hymn.  The hymn-book used is “Hymns Ancient and Modern” (Novello, Ewer, and Co., Berners-street).  Usual services—Sundays: 8 a.m., Holy Communion; 11, Morning Prayer, Litany, and sermon; 12.30 p.m., Communion (choral); 3.30 p.m., Evening Prayer and catechising the children; 7 p.m., Evening Prayer and sermon.  Week-days: 8 a.m., morning prayer; 5.30 p.m., Evening Prayer (choral); Wednesday and Friday, Litany, 12.30 p.m.; Thursday, Communion at 7 a.m., and also on saints’ days and holidays.  The church is open all day for prayer and meditation, and a public notice at the doors requests “all persons to observe silence.”


St. Paul’s, Campden-hill, is a large iron structure, standing at one corner of Vicarage-garden.  As an iron building there is very little to say about it; it is not beautiful—iron buildings never are—but the situation is so very charming, that, plain as the features are of the church, the pleasant nook in which it is placed seems quite to take from its ugliness and lend some of its cheerful pastoral happiness to its iron tenant.  One thing strikes us as worthy of notice—the very large open porch at the western entrance offers ample shelter and accommodation to a large dispersing congregation in wet weather, and it has the advantage of offering protection from heat as well as wet, and keeps the west end of the building cool; it is like an open vestibule or lobby.

St. Paul’s was erected as a chapel of ease to the parish church, St. Mary Abbots, Kensington, in the year 1854, so that it was one of the earliest of this temporary method of providing for public worship; and it may be added that, from the present firm and substantial appearance of the structure, it is evident this comparatively inexpensive way of dealing with the question—where larger funds are not at command—may be made to do good service through at least a generation.  It affords accommodation for 1,200 people, and but few of the sittings are free, not, we believe, amounting to more than fifty.  The church is served by the curates of Archdeacon Sinclair, Vicar of Kensington, and at present, during the re-erection of the new parish church, has double service performed in it every Sunday.  The early service at a quarter to ten, and afternoon at half-past three, at which the Archdeacon’s curates officiate, are for the congregation of the Old Church, who, pro tem., are without accommodation, and the services at half-past eleven and seven are given to the congregation of St. Paul’s, when the Archdeacon himself usually preaches.  This is of a high-class character, and remarkable for a very large preponderance of gaily-dressed ladies, quite in keeping with our established ideas of a court suburb.  The service is Evangelical, the clerical robes of the simplest character, and the chancel without conspicuous ornament of any kind, but that which is the greatest adorning of a church, a reverent and rational performance of Divine worship, without formalism or Ritualistic affectation of voice and manner.  We were favoured to hear the venerable Bishop of Bangor, who delivered an impressive sermon, full of Evangelical sentiment, from 1st Epistle of John, c. iii., v. 2: “Beloved now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be,” &c.  A young clergyman—a stranger to the congregation—read the prayers, Psalms, lessons, and Litany.

The congregation is of course interested in the schools and charities belonging to the parent church, and contribute in a liberal degree to their efficiency and support.  These will be fully described in their proper place, when we treat of the beautiful new parish church now in course of erection.


St. James’s, Notting-hill, is situated in the Addison-Road North, and is seen to some advantage at the entrance to the road.  From its central position, its square tower and sharp pinnacles look grey and old, an appearance which the church loses upon closer inspection.  It is built of grey brick, with moulded angle bricks and slight stone dressings, and the low-pitched p. 37roofs are covered with slate.  The plan of the church consists of a nave and aisles, with an apsidal chancel, the tower forming an excrescent on the south side, about the middle of the nave.  This tower acts as a porch on the lower story, and has a ringing floor on the gallery level; these galleries surround the church on three sides, extending to the arcades.  In style the church is a revival of the early English, and, like all churches of the period, is full of mistakes, though as a specimen of that age it is perhaps a very fair example.  But the efforts of revivalists must not be forgotten; much of our perfection, if it can yet be called so, is due to their endeavours.  The iron columns of the nave are worthy of remark, showing how very well iron could be treated even in those days.  The roofs are open, and though rather heavy possess some fair effect.  The windows are chiefly without tracery, and the stained glass is poor.  The pewing is very simple; the pulpit high.  The prayer-desk and oak-eagle lectern speak of a desire for better things.  The font is poor and too perpendicular.  The organ is in the western gallery.  The decoration of the nave is not well done; it is evidently the work of an unskilful hand.  There is no need for Greek ornament in a Gothic building; surely there is scope enough for the ornamentalist in Gothic work without going to the Greeks for examples.

St. James’s, Notting-hill, is one of the older modern suburban churches, having been built more than a quarter of a century ago, which is a great deal to say as compared with a number of the churches we are now reviewing.  It accommodates 1,100 persons, and 500 of the sittings are free, which is in larger proportion than general.  It has national schools attached to it, where 135 boys, 100 girls, and 150 infants are instructed according to the principles of the Church of England.  These schools are kept up at a cost of about 500l. per annum, about 170l. of which is obtained by Government grant, about 140l. from the children’s fees, and the remainder from subscriptions and offertories.  There are Mothers’ Meetings and a District visiting Society, with which is connected a mission woman and a mission-house in Crescent-street, where extra services are held.  Also a Maternity Charity, and the “St. James’s Norland and Potteries Benevolent Society,” and an “Auxiliary Church Missionary Society.”  Help is also given to the Additional Curates Society and the Bishop of London’s Fund.  All these charities and works were well inaugurated in the time of the former Vicar, the Rev. T. P. Holdich, and have been well sustained since his removal—three years ago—by the Rev. George T. Palmer, M.A., his successor, and the present Vicar.  An important alteration, however, has been made in the mode of providing the necessary funds.  Formerly it was done by special annual charity sermons; but for this method Mr. Palmer has substituted, we are informed with some advantage to the interests concerned, a weekly offertory, or collection taken at every Sunday morning service, which is apportioned among all the charities and calls, according to their relative claims.  This covers everything, and beyond it there is nothing but a church-rate, voluntarily given, amounting to about 25l. per annum.  From these sources and the pew-rents the clergy are maintained, the church expenses met, and the charities supported.  The Curate, up to Michaelmas-day last, was the Rev. P. E. Monkhouse, M.A., which appointment he resigned on accepting the head-mastership of the Notting-hill Proprietary School, in order to devote the whole of his time to the education of the boys entrusted to his charge.  Mr. Monkhouse, however, still gives his services to Mr. Palmer, and preaches frequently.  His successor is the Rev. I. Cammack.  On the occasion of our visit the latter read, or rather monotoned the prayers with a clear voice, and Mr. Monkhouse read the two lessons with good taste and effect.  Mr. Palmer himself read in the Communion Service and preached the sermon.  In giving notice of the Communion for the following Sunday morning, the rev. gentleman dispensed with the usual form, and simply made the announcement that it would take place at nine a.m.  The sermon was founded on 1 Peter iii. 13: “And who is he that will harm you if ye be followers of that which is good!”

The sermon was extempore, expository, and instructive.  What it was to follow good was well expounded; and the limitations with which the implied promise was to be understood clearly set forth.  Although the Christian’s lot was not to be represented too darkly, it was not to be supposed that he had no trials or suffered no evils.  Yet, after all, many of his trials did not arise from his following good, but rather from his not doing so in some particulars in connexion with which his trials arose.  Mr. Palmer has thoroughly entered into the labours of his predecessors.  He has, however, instituted a few changes as to which some members of the congregation, who could bear no variation from the order of things under their old pastor, took offence and betook themselves elsewhere—not in any great numbers, but it was sufficient to draw from the rev. gentleman a justification in his first pastoral.  Therein he shows that some of the changes, especially in regard to the offertory, were contemplated by Mr. Holdich; and as to the conduct of the service, he had done nothing but what was in accordance with the Rubric.  To allay all suspicions of a Ritualistic tendency which had, he says, “unjustly, though not unnaturally risen,” he declares to his flock his belief that “the practices commonly known as Ritualistic are as much opposed to the spirit and structure of the Prayer-book as they were for the most part unknown in the worship of the Church in the apostolic age, and that every decision in the ecclesiastical courts had made this conclusion more plain.”  There is no pretence for styling Mr. Palmer a Ritualist nor a High Churchman.  His service occupies a position between the latter and what is known as extreme Low Church.  His prayers are not intoned, but monotoned; his music is Anglican; his chancel is freshened up with modest ornament; p. 38the choir, although not surpliced, is very efficient; the hymns used are “Hymns Ancient and Modern.”  He considers that “a dislike to Ritualism had in many cases produced tediously dreary services, and painfully indecorous conduct in church,” and has been influenced by a desire to give “heartiness” and “reverence” to the service.  The words are probably a little too strong to convey the true meaning.  Tedium and indecorum are, alas, things incidental to High service as well as Low, and must by no means be connected essentially with a plain and simple performance of worship.  Mr. Palmer has an interesting, well-conducted congregation of a very respectable class, with a fair intermixture of the humbler classes, especially in the evening.  It struck us that the assembly was heartily devout; but was not yet thoroughly congregational in the singing.  The last published pastoral bears evidence to the energy with which the minister follows out his plans for usefulness; but he has occasion still to notice a degree of unpunctuality in attendance at the service, many not being in their places at the reading of the general confession.  It is gratifying to see a clergyman dealing faithfully with his people and entering into the details of their practice, not shrinking from pointing out their failings as occasion offers, but in an anxious and kindly spirit.  For this Mr. Palmer is to be admired, and his people will love him all the more.  Shortcomers have no objection to be faithfully dealt with, if done in a genial temper; and it is a mistake to suppose that winking at irregularities of this kind pleases anybody.

Beyond the church and church work there are few things to be noticed in St. James’s.  We have only been able to ascertain one very special matter of interest, which was found in the book of the register of marriages.  The marriage of a certain Edward Walker and Ann Whinfield Williams, which took place on Sept. 30, 1847, was attested by no less a personage than the present ex-Emperor Napoleon—then as now an exile in this country.  As we read the handwriting, “Napoleon Louis B.,” followed by another, “Count de Montauban,” a crowd of reflections rushed to our minds such as probably our own age alone could supply.

Services on Sunday are at 11 a.m., 3.30, and 7 p.m.  Holy Communion is celebrated on the first, third, and fifth Sunday in the month after “Morning Prayer,” and on other Sundays at 9 a.m.


St. Mark’s, Notting-hill, takes one by surprise, it being almost hidden from view until the visitor turns the corner of the St. Mark’s-road.  The west elevation possesses some good composition, and is boldly treated.  The tower stands at the south-west angle of the building, and is surmounted by a broached spire, covered with slate in coloured bands, and terminating in a weathercock, with the cardinal points indicated, relieved by spire lights.  The spire dies into a square brick tower, banded in colour with stone dressing.  The belfry windows are deeply recessed with marble shafts and foliated caps, with sharp-pointed lancets.  The tower also contains one of the western entrances to church, which forms an excellent feature.  It is treated as a square-headed double door, with the tympanum enclosed by a large hood mould, encircling well-carved panels in relief, containing the emblems of the Evangelists.  The principal gable contains a three-light, simply-designed west window, with a series of lancets, and small buttresses below.  A porch also at the north-west angle, in harmony with the rest of the front is plainly and boldly designed, and is flanked by a stone pinnacle, the use of which we do not quite understand.  One of the most striking portions of the outside, however, are a series of flying buttresses, which are, unfortunately, nearly hidden from view by the closely-surrounding houses.  These buttresses spring from square piers, standing perfectly free from the church, and in perspective giving the effect of a north and south cloister arcade.  The finials are of iron.

Entering the church by either of the before-mentioned porches, they lead into large lobbies, containing the gallery stairs, separated by screen walls one from the other; in the northwest porch is a large and handsome stone bench, the elbows well cut, and each ornamented with a Maltese cross.

The interior may really be said to be grand, owing very much to the imposing height of the nave and the fearless nature of the detail of roof and clerestory; the bold ribs, the bold sustaining caps and corbels, all with sharply-defined and clean cut foliage, indicating a skilled hand in design.  We confess not to be very fond of many bands of brick and stone, they give to an interior a sliced appearance and take away from the effect of space; yet, notwithstanding this defect, there can be no question of a fine effect of heights.

The detail of galleries—the arrangement of the arcade and iron columns, with the clustered angle columns at the transepts—resembles St. George’s, Campden-hill, which was planned from the pattern of St. Mark’s.  The transept and chancel aisle arcade is also similarly treated.  The church is cruciform in plan, with the galleries free of the transepts.  The north transept contains the organ in a sort of high-legged loft, which rather looks like putting the organ out of the way.  A fine chancel-arch shows nearly the whole of the apsidal p. 39chancel, the walls of which are well-covered with a tessalace of tiles.  Seven steps lead up to the Communion space, the pulpit is raised on four clustered shafts of red Mansfield stone, with richly-carved caps, and handsomely enclosed with good ironwork, instead of the usual stone box.  The choir-stalls and prayer-desk are complete and of good design, and the brass lectern is well-raised.  The pewing and bench-ends strike us as being too heavy.  The font is peculiarly elegant and graceful, and is a good specimen of early work.  The passages are all paved with tile of dark colour.  The style of the church is early English ornately treated, if anything perhaps a little too much so, the charm and beauty of early work being its extreme simplicity.

St. Mark’s was consecrated on Nov. 27, 1863, by Bishop Tait, the foundation-stone having been laid Nov. 1 in the previous year.  E. B. Keeling, Esq., was the architect, and Messrs. Dove, Bros., the builders, and the cost in all 7,720l.  A debt of about 1,000l. on the building account was discharged by the contributions of the congregation within the first three years.  The site was given by Mr. Blake, a freeholder in Notting-hill, and the sum of 5,000l. presented towards the building by the present patron—a great gift and benefit to the locality.  The church is furnished with a good organ, built originally by Hunter and Webb at a cost of 450l., but which has been considerably improved since by Bryceson, by the addition of several stops, including the vox humana, at the moderate further outlay of 65l.  The instrument is skilfully employed in the service by Mr. Tamplin, professor of music, who has associated with him rather a numerous choir, which has, within the last twelve months only, taken to surplices.  In the first instance the service at this church was Evangelically plain; but within the last three years, monotoning the prayers and chanting the psalms have been introduced, as well as a large increase of Eucharistic celebrations, and now more recently the surpliced choir.  These changes have occurred under the same pastorate—that of the Rev. Edward Kaye Kendall—who has been Vicar of St. Mark’s from its foundation.  Mr. Kendall is an enlightened and able minister, as is evident from his pastoral circulars and the good reputation he has among his people; and we presume is fully satisfied in his own mind as to these changes, although some others have not approved them.  His congregation is good.  The church, including the accommodation of telescopic seats, will hold 1,500, 1,000 of the sittings being rentable, and 500 free.  The average congregation is about a thousand or over; and, together with a large proportion of the higher middle class, there are many poor.  Earnest parochial work is being done.  Quite recently capital school buildings have been erected in St. Mark’s road, where there is an average attendance on week-days of near 400 children of both sexes, including infants, and on Sundays 350.  At the first a house close to the site was rented and used as a school, but soon it was so crowded in every room, and even on the stairs, that to obtain better accommodation became a necessity, and it is gratifying to note that the liberality of Mr. Kendall’s friends and congregation has enabled him to accomplish this work with so much expedition and success.  A separate service is held for the children on Sunday mornings in the schoolrooms, conducted principally by lay-helpers, whose church-work the Vicar is very anxious to utilise.  Once a-month the children are also taken to a service in the church in the afternoon.  There is a “Lay-helpers’ Association,” the members of which, with the district visitors, have done much towards filling the church with people, and in extending parochial work in general.  There is also a “Mothers’ Meeting,” a “Clothing Repository,” a Provident and a Maternity and Sick Funds, a Needlewomen’s Institution, a Lending Library, and a Soup-kitchen in winter.  For these various objects, as well as for several foreign Christian enterprises, the offertory account amounted last year to 663l. 2s. 6d.  There is no endowment, and the clergy are supported and all expenditure provided for by the pew-rents and other voluntary means.  The usual services are: Sundays, at 11, 3.30 p.m., and 7 p.m.  Weekdays, on Wednesday, prayers at 11 a.m., and Fridays prayers at 11 a.m., and prayers and sermon at 7.30 p.m.  Communion every Sunday at 8.30 a.m., and after morning service, and on every holy day falling on a weekday at 8 a.m.

We had not the opportunity of hearing the Rev. Vicar on Sunday, July 23, 1871, his place being supplied by the Right Rev. the Bishop of Honolulu (Dr. Staley).  The prayers were monotoned by the Rev. F. F. Kelly, LL.M., who succeeded to the curacy at Christmas last, upon the removal of the Rev. A. H. Dunn to Acton, where we understand the latter is very usefully employed as a missionary in originating a new church, of which he is to be the future vicar.


All Saints, Notting-hill, once looked desolate and forsaken.  It was like a church in a desert, and for a long time remained so; but now the houses and pleasant squares have grown up around it, and we can say it is situated in Colville-gardens.  It is early English in style, built of stone in regular course, and covered with slate.  At a distance it is cathedral-like in miniature, and it is not too much to say so, for upon a closer inspection the beautiful detail of all its parts quite satisfies the mind of the artist, and he leaves it without a p. 40feeling of disappointment.  The roofs are peculiar in the rise of their ridges at the gables.  This gives a somewhat broken look to them.  The tower is very handsome, but unfinished.  It requires the lantern to be completed, and marble shafts are required at the belfry windows.  The church has three entrances—one in the tower to the west, by a handsome south porch, and by a north door.  Slightly cruciform in plan, without nave aisles, transepts, chancel, and aisles, the nave arcade is peculiarly good, clustered marble shafts, and well-designed caps and bases, with full moulding to the arches.  The clerestory is excellent in detail, and the ring-post and ribbed roof is a change from the usual style of church roof.  The aisle corridors, too, are treated as a light arcade with clustered marble columns.  The church is light, and the windows are filled with tinted and figured glass, also some good stained glass in the aisles.  The pulpit and font are of alabaster; the pewing is light and of good design; the flooring is tiled.  The organ in south transept is raised in a gallery of its own.  The eastern wall of the Sacrarium is decorated with fresco, rather floridly painted—the angel saluting Mary and the birth of Christ.  These frescoes have been universally recommended by art judges.

All Saints was consecrated in 1851, and represented an outlay of 20,000l.  The tower alone cost 10,000l.—a very large sum, when we consider the incomplete character of the object on which it was spent.  One chief thing about it worth notice is its bell; which tolls for church, and which has a deep and rich tone, reminding the ear, more than any other in the vicinity, of a cathedral “Tom.”  The church is furnished with a very fine organ, by Messrs. Gray and Davidson, and cost 1,500l.  It has forty stops, including the vox humana, and is, at present, under the management of Mr. Walker, a pupil of Dr. Steggall.  There is sitting accommodation for between 1,100 and 1,200, 300 sittings being free, and the remainder letting at from one to two guineas per annum.  The congregation is of a highly respectable class, and apparently matured and settled.  The clergy consisting of the Rev. John Light, M.A., and three curates, the Revs. Messrs. Bathurst Coults, and Griffiths, are supported entirely from pew-rents, and a weekly offertory, which produces between 500l. and 600l. a-year, meets all other expenses.  With regard to the service at All Saints it is moderately High Church; in every part of it there is an imitation of cathedral effects.  There is a good choir, with surplices of course.  Twelve of the boys have a free literary and musical education under one of the curates in what is termed the Choir School, the efficiency of the choir being thus continuously provided for.  The singing is of a superior order—lively and spirited—and sufficiently wide of the Gregorian monotone.  The Te Deum and Jubilate Deo are sung as anthems with good effect.  The Prayers and Psalms are intoned, and the responses sung by the choir and congregation.  And in excess of what is sometimes witnessed in High churches, the General Confession was intoned by the priest, and responded by the choir and people in song; and the Commandments were intoned by the Vicar himself.  It may be observed that the assistant curate knelt with his back to the congregation, whilst the Vicar intoned the Commandments.  At the name of Jesus in every place the minister and people bow.  A more striking illustration of the inconvenience of this carried to excess could not be witnessed than in the singing of one of the hymns.  It was Hymn 314 in the Appendix to “Hymns Ancient and Modern,” “When morning gilds the sky,” &c.  There are eight verses of six short lines each, and in every third line the sacred name occurs—that is sixteen times in the course of the hymn.  And the hymn being quickly sung, the head was kept in almost constant motion.  The Nicene Creed was also sung.  Then followed the sermon.  The Vicar, ascending the pulpit and facing the congregation, whilst yet standing, pronounces, “To God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost;” and at once gives out his text.  It was a brief address of fifteen minutes, delivered without book or note.  High Churchism pretty much sets on one side the old-established Gospel and Apostolic institution of “preaching the Word.”  In the present instance, here was a minister of very considerable natural and acquired ability, which all who know him must allow places him far above mediocrity; there was a magnificent text of Scripture to discourse upon, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (3 Phil. xx. 1.)  It would have been refreshing had there been time for this Scripture to have received a more adequate illustration from the lips of Mr. Light.  But there are two full services every day, four on every Sunday and on festivals.  Two administrations of the Holy Communion on Song Sunday and Festival; three sermons every Sunday, the brevity of which is justified at All Saints upon the principle, “That as God’s house is a house of prayer, and not merely a house of preaching, the service should be put before sermons.”  But may not this notion be carried too far?  What is the relation between preaching the Gospel and a proper devout performance of general Christian service, implied in true conversion and progress in spiritual life?  We are not advocates for long sermons, but it appears to us to abbreviate them as some are doing is calculated to impair or defeat the higher spiritual objects of public worship.


The Church of St. John the Baptist is a temporary iron structure, and, like most other buildings of the sort, offers no point for architectural notice.  It is, however, very good of its kind, and is, externally—as seen in the comparatively vacant part of the new Holland-road in which its stands—more picturesque than some others we have had to review.  But the approaches to it are at present quite unformed, and when autumn and winter returns—unless something be done—the state of the road can scarcely be expected to help the congregation.  We are glad, however, to hear that road improvement is in immediate contemplation.  The interior is fitted with plain benches, and the temporary chancel neatly arranged, with a slight tendency to ornament.  The church was at first rented from the builder, but has since been purchased.  It has sittings for about 900 persons, of which one half from east to west are free.  Of the other half a proportion only are at present let, at rentals varying from 1l. 1s. 0d. to 30s. per annum; so that a great majority of the congregation appear to avail themselves of the free seats.  The church was opened in February, 1869, being planted in and intended to form a sub division in the ecclesiastical division of St. Barnabas, Kensington.  The Rev. George Booker is incumbent and vicar designate.  The rev. gentleman is at present without assistance in the services, except on Sunday evenings, when the Rev. Dr. Cosmo R. Gordon, minister of St. Mary’s, Park-street, Grosvenor-square, and head-master of the Notting-hill Collegiate School, is lecturer.  In consequence of this arrangement, the Sunday evening lectures at this church are highly appreciated, Dr. Gordon being a talented and an esteemed preacher.  The Rev. G. Booker, we believe, has set before him in the services—“To realise the spirit of the Prayer-book as it is, and not as any extreme party, High or Low, would wish it to be.”  There is, however, nothing in the general service but what is reconcilable with High Churchism, although it does not appear to be intended.  Unisonal chanting has been introduced within the last few weeks, on account of its greater volume of sound, the acoustic qualities of the church being very indifferent; but partly, also, from the difficulty felt in this as other churches in keeping together a complete double choir for antiphonal singing, where the services of the lay-clerks are voluntary.  There is, however, a great preponderance of chanting in monotone, and this, whilst the minister intones his parts in the service, gives to the whole the impress of High Church service.  There is a four-part surpliced choir of considerable efficiency, and one is apt to think it might appear to greater advantage in another style of singing.  But the Rev. Mr. Booker is personally a minister of an earnest, evangelical type.  His reading of the Scriptures is deliberate and most appropriate in tone and manner, and his sermon is by no means stultified in deference to the other parts of the service.  This is a great merit.  The sermon we had the privilege of hearing was founded on Luke xvi. 9: “And I say unto you make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that when ye fail they may receive you into everlasting habitations.”  There was a very clear exposition of the parable of the unjust steward, and the right use as against the abuse of riches was cogently put, with a due amount of illustration and enforcement.  We do not remember to have listened to a more instructive, practical, and useful treatment of this somewhat delicate subject.

The maintenance of the clergy, church expenses, interest on purchase money, &c., are objects to which the proceeds of the pew-rents and weekly offertory are devoted.  The former source of income is at present limited and undeveloped.  The offertory, up to this time, averages about 330l. per annum.

There is a very excellent middle-class school in connection with this church, conducted by Mr. Studdy, a B.A. of the London University.  In this school the boys of the choir are amongst the pupils and have their education free.


The Carmelite Church in Church street, Kensington, is built of plain brick and stone and covered with slate, and though plainly treated and of simple and almost severe design, is nevertheless a good specimen of modern early English church-building.  The east front (the church stands east and west) is the principal feature externally.  It contains a fine rose window and double entrance doors; those doors open into a lobby to the right and left.  The inside is certainly very good, and reminds one a great deal of the style of the Pro-Cathedral, but slightly more decorated and ornate, though not so large.  It has a fine effect of height, and the roofs are handsomely decorated—between the rafters having gold stars on a blue ground.  The plan of the church is simple; a nave and aisles, and the west end is treated as an apse, in which stands the high altar, very fine and richly decorated, with crocheted canopy, pinnacles, and niches.  The nave arcade requires to be finished, and the plaster arches present a very p. 42poor effect.  It is to be regretted that such a substitute has been employed.  The church has a number of chapels, altars, confessional boxes, &c., usually found in Roman Catholic churches.  The floors of passages are paved with tiles, and the nave is occupied with simple pewing.  The pulpit is very plain, almost ugly.  Some good stained glass fills the windows of the apse and some of the aisle windows, but we do not admire the red glass of the clerestory.

The Church of the Carmelite Fathers was opened six years ago, having been erected at a cost of 5,000l., after the design of Mr. Pugin, architect, of Ramsgate, by Mr. Smith, builder, of the same town.  The organ, which is a very splendid instrument, built by Cavaille and Co., of Paris, and which is equally remarkable for its soft and powerful tones, cost 2,000l.  The altars, furniture, confessionals, &c., cost about 3,000l. more, so that there is here represented an outlay of at least 10,000l.

The fathers, who occupy the monastery adjoining, and serve the church only—having no parish work—are at present five in number.  The prior is the Rev. Stanislaus Viney; and the second and following priests are, Signors Lignori, Eschewiria, Felix Rizzo, Hillarion Berger, and Edmund Sharples—four Italians and one Englishman.  There are services every hour from seven a.m. to eleven; and on Sundays vespers at half past three p.m.  Sermon and benediction, high-mass at eleven a.m.  There are two confraternities—that of St. Peter and the Arch-confraternity of Thanksgiving.  In connexion with the first was established in 1863, at the invitation of Cardinal Wiseman, “nocturnal adoration” of the sacrament.  Each active member—who can only be a male person—has to watch once a-month one hour at night—a bed being provided for him in the monastery the remainder of the night.  Fourteen members of this confraternity are summoned for every Wednesday, and attend at ten p.m., the “Service of Exposition” and prayers, after which all but two retire to the dormitory.  These two then commence the “Adoration of the Sacrament.”  Ladies are admitted as honorary members only, and their privileges are to partake with the others of the “merit of the adoration,” to be allowed to “forward their intentions to be prayed for,” and to pay a subscription of 2s. 6d. annually.

“The Arch-confraternity of Thanksgiving” has for its special objects to render thanks for gifts, and above all for the “gift of God—the Eucharist.”  “To make up for the frightful ingratitude of the greater number of men.”  For all benefits, but especially for Jesus, “Who is really present on our altars in the Divine Eucharist as pontiff and victim.  For the Eucharist is not only the gift of God to men, but the sacrifice of men offered to God.”  The sole obligation of the brothers and sisters is to “recite every day as a thanksgiving for all men, three Our Fathers, three Hail Marys, and three Glorias.”  The rewards promised to this confraternity are special plenary indulgences

1.  On theusual conditions, on the day aggregation.”

2.  At the point of death.

3.  On the second Thursday of each month.

4.  On the Thursday of Corpus Christi.

5.  On the 8th of September, the feast of the “Immaculate Conception.”

6.  One of seven years and seven quarantains; whenever an hour of adoration is made before the sacrament.

7.  One of 300 days attaching to the reciting of three “Our Fathers,” three “Hail Marys,” and three “Glorias.”  All these indulgences are further declared to be “applicable to souls in Purgatory,” and subjects of them are exhorted to use prayer especially for this object.  All this is enforced by the following reflection: “Association tends rather to pay our debts to heaven than to acquire new personal gifts.  Would not this end be sooner attained by placing in the merciful hands of the Virgin the suffrages obtained by the exercise of our gratitude, so that she may dispose of them as she pleases in favour of the poor suffering souls who are still waiting for their deliverance from the expiatory flames?  Heaven would thus be opened for the souls whom Mary loves best.”

Such is Popery, in the very heart of West London!  The church is capable of holding about 800 people; but the congregation is usually not full.  There is no preacher of any note, but the English priest, E. Sharples, is represented to be the best and most acceptable.  There are three side altars on each side of the church, besides the High Altar, and an equal number of confessionals, and the church is open all the day.  A quiet midweek afternoon was the occasion of our visit.  It was very warm; and here, at this confessional or altar and the other, was a lady or a girl, bending in silence.


Kensington Tabernacle, in Horton-street, close to the High-street, is a very neat-looking modernised building, so far at least as its west front goes; all has been done for it that stucco can do, and its entrance arcade gives to it an uncommon appearance, unlike the usual arrangements applied to chapels.

The interior, with its large encircling gallery, good pulpit, harmonium, nice pewing, make up a very satisfactory whole; but the great charm of the interior consists in the quiet, excellent taste displayed in the coloured decoration and painting, very much to be admired, and worthy of imitation, and seeming to tell its own tale of p. 43the simplicity and the faith of the congregation that worship there.

The history of Hornton street Chapel has been various and chequered.  The church connected with it has been successively Presbyterian, Congregational, and Baptist.  The old Presbyterian cause in Kensington began to shape itself about the year 1790, when the few united together met in a plain barn-like building at a place called South-end, at the end of St. James’s-street, leading out of Kensington-square.  The most remarkable part of the church’s history here was that it was right in the teeth of the noted local infidel of that day, Tom Taylor, who held near the same spot what he called his “Hell-fire Club,” in which, with his rough disciples, he used to meet, and rave against religion and society.  From hence, we believe, the corner is vulgarly known by the awful nomenclature of “Hell-fire-corner.”  From this scene the church removed to Hornton-street in 1793.  Three of the members had joined their means and influence to procure this more eligible meeting-house.  They were a Mr. Gray, a nurseryman, Mr. Broadwood, the founder of the great pianoforte firm, and Mr. Foreacre, the then coachman of King George III.  Of these three worthies it is told that they built the chapel by bond-deeds, the amount of responsibility being equally divided among them.  Some time after the opening there remained still due to each of them 600l., 1,800l. in all; and at a certain meeting of the deacons, one of them took up the poker from the grate and, winding his bond round the end of it, thrust it into the fire, the other two immediately following his example.  By this noble act the chapel was freed from debt, there remaining only a ground-rent of 8l. 8s. per annum.  It is also related that the royal coachman about this time dropped a handful of tracts into the coach one day, when about to take out his royal master, and the King, who it appears perused the tracts diligently, afterwards commanded his devout servant to get him a further supply.  The Rev. Dr. Lake was the first minister, in whose time members of the Royal Family from Kensington Palace rented a pew in the chapel.  He was succeeded in the pastorate by the Revs. John Clayton, Dr. Liefchild, Dr. Vaughn, and Dr. Stoughton, now of Allen-street Chapel, our account of which we should recommend to be read in connexion with this.  In the time of the latter pastorate, Hornton-street Tabernacle became the parent of two other chapels—viz., Horbury and Allen-street, to the latter of which Dr. Stoughton attached himself with his church.  The chapel was then closed for a considerable time, and used only as an appendage to Allen-street for school accommodation, &c.  There was, however, a division of opinion in the matter, a few of the old members, contending that the chapel should still have been used for its original purpose, and that there was in the town abundant room for a second cause.  To this Dr. Stoughton himself was decidedly opposed, and consequently it remained closed until it had been purchased by the Metropolitan Railway Company, who, needing the schools in the rear for the progress of their works, were compelled to take the whole property.  4,000l. was thus obtained, with which Dr. Stoughton was enabled to build his present superior schools in Allen-street.  In the meantime, Mr. Orchard and a few others of the Baptist persuasion, had met in an office, now an auction and estate agency, adjoining the old chapel, and engaged the Rev. R. J. Mesquitta, of Mr. Spurgeon’s College, as pastor.  That minister’s success was so great that they were shortly obliged to adjourn to the Avenue Assembly Rooms.  Whilst here, the railway company put the old chapel into the market to be let.  The church availed itself of the opportunity and returned to it, undertaking it at an annual rental of 115l.  This was about a year and a half ago.  600l. was required to put it in order, build galleries, &c., which was promptly promised by members of the congregation.  One would have thought that this was the beginning of better days; but, alas! through some evil fortune, it was the beginning of a new and distressing decline.  In the settlement of the property now acquired in the chapel, the four persons who had transacted the business, it appears, did it all in their own names, without any legal reference to the church for which they were the intended trustees.  This certainly was an error, from which one subsequently, when he discovered the effect, was honourably anxious to disentangle himself.  The other three, however, held out against the remonstrances of the minister, Mr. Orchard, and others, who had made themselves responsible for the money to those whom they had looked upon as trustees.  The natural ultimate consequence was, that the minister left in the midst of his usefulness, the members and congregation quitted their seats, and the church became again a wreck.  To this state of things the present pastor, the Rev. Mr. Hawes, succeeded a short time since.  He appears to be a minister of great earnestness of purpose.  He is a good Evangelical preacher, and delivers himself mainly extempore, with considerable power and unction, and it can only be hoped that he will succeed in repairing the breaches of Zion, and building up this church anew.  There are about 700 seats, 300 of which—all the galleries—are free.  There is a small Sunday-school, having about 60 scholars of both sexes.


Close to the Mall and the High-street, Notting-hill, is a large, gloomy-looking structure of the Classical School, not that it is by any means a good example of classical work; it is heavy and badly proportioned as regards its stucco-pediment cornice and columns, the latter engaged, and the spaces bricked in and filled with window and doors with stucco dressings.  The interior we are not able to report upon, the chapel being without a congregation.

This chapel was built nine years ago by Mr. Robert Offord, of Kensington, for his brother, the Rev. John Offord, then of Plymouth.  It appears to have been originally designed for a Baptist Chapel, being provided with a baptistry; but the Rev. Mr. Offord from the first gathered around him Christian people of all denominations, and formed what may be termed an open union church.  Of this he was the minister about seven years, and won himself high esteem with all who could appreciate Christian learning and excellence of character.  He was not in the general sense popular as a preacher, but drew around him a goodly number of admiring friends, and the congregation prospered.  The chapel contains accommodation for 1,000 persons, and the average congregation in his time was between 600 and 700.  The chapel, however, was the private property of Mr. Robert Offord, and it had never been settled upon trust for the benefit of the church, but had, in fact, been hired by the congregation of the owner, at a rental of 200l. a-year.  The consequence was that, when the owner died, about two years ago, some confusion ensued in the affairs of the church.  The minister and his friends, not feeling equal to the task of undertaking a chapel in no degree their own, were inaugurating arrangements to remove to some other place, when, in the providence of God, the minister himself—surviving his brother but by a little time—was called away by death.  The chapel was then put into the market for sale, and was bought for 5,500l. by the late Dr. Schwartz, of well-known German Jewish origin, but converted to the Protestant faith and ultimately a Presbyterian minister.  As a condition of concluding the purchase, the property was made freehold, which must be a great advantage to all subsequent owners.  This was all in last year, and Dr. Schwartz entered upon his labours, but only for a short time.  Six months after his commencement, and only six weeks after his formal induction by the presbytery to the pastorate, he, too, was called to his rest.  And now, the chapel still having remained private property, the prospects of the church became as clouded and uncertain as ever.  It was put again into the market by the executors of Dr. Schwartz, in the interests of his widow and family, and was brought to the hammer at the Mart, in Tokenhouse-yard, on the 14th of June last.  The matter had now been taken in hand by the presbytery on behalf of the church, and they instructed their solicitor, Mr. Lewis, to attend the auction and bid for the church to the extent of 5,000l.  He, however, found himself at the Mart, in presence of a powerful competitor unknown to him, but who seemed resolved to outbid him.  He was induced to exceed his limit by 225l., but, being still pressed, declined to follow on his own responsibility, and, accordingly, the chapel was knocked down to the highest bidder, who turned out to be purchasing for the Swedenborgians.  Mr. Finney, a wealthy merchant of Manchester, had made this body a present of 10,000l. for the purpose of establishing a cause in Kensington.  Hence the sharp competition into which they entered for the edifice, which was obtained by them for the sum of 5,000 guineas.  It is intended to build an organ, and make other improvements, and in four or five weeks to open it as the place of assembling for the “New Jerusalem Church,” or, in other words, the Swedenborgians.  None appear to regret more than the friends of the Presbyterian cause themselves the passing entirely away from them, and from the use of Orthodox Protestant Christianity, of this well-situated and commodious structure.  They would have given, and on the next day one of them offered a very considerable premium to the purchasers to relinquish their bargain; but, although remarking that had they known it was the congregation of the chapel itself bidding against them they would not have persevered, they nevertheless held to their purchase.  The Congregational Church is at present meeting in the Mall Hall, where they hold Divine Service every Sunday, and are making inquiry for an eligible site, on which, as soon as secured, they are prepared at once to build.


St. Clement’s, Notting-hill, situated close to the Lancaster-road and the Potteries, is a very noticeable structure—as simple, indeed, as it is possible to be, yet treated with much good feeling and power.  The style is early English in a rather modest form, plain lancets and gables, without decoration or carving.  As a faithful example of the style, however, it is worthy of notice; and it may be observed that a permanent structure, plainly and simply, and p. 45therefore cheaply treated, is at all times preferable to temporary iron buildings, often unworthy to be called churches, but which far too often are allowed to be anything but temporary.  The nave and chancel and aisles have an unbroken line of roof and ridge, save that at their intersection a small spire or bell-turret rises square on plan, and like the roof is covered with slate.  The gables and facials add importance to the structure.

The building is of yellow brick with red bands and stone dressings, and the construction of the roof might be noted as being peculiarly light and elegant in appearance.  Mr. St. Aubyn was the architect, and was certainly successful in producing a building well adapted for hearing and seeing the officiating clergy.  The ventilation is excellent.  The nave and aisles are separated by wooden posts or iron columns supporting the roofs, taking the place of the ordinary arcades.  The furniture of the church is in keeping with its general character, and the floors are paved with tiles.  The cost of the whole was 5,500l.  There is a very sweet-toned organ by Holdich, but we are sorry to learn it is not the property of the church, but hired.  As, however, it can be acquired for the sum of 300l., or probably something less, we hope it will not be long before the congregation will own it.  It is ably played by Mr. F. K. Blanch, who is assisted in the musical parts of the service by a very efficient surpliced choir.  The cast of the service generally is semi-Anglican; the prayers are read and nothing is intoned by the clergy; but all the responses are sung by the choir and the congregation.  The worship appears carefully guarded against the peculiarities of High Churchism, without falling into the other extreme, and we must confess the performance struck us as being hearty and devout, as it regarded both the clergy and the congregation.  The present ministers are the Rev. Arthur Dalgarno Robinson, M.A., of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, vicar, the Rev. E. J. Venning, M.A., of Worcester College, Oxford, and the Rev. Herbert Rowsell, M.A., of St. John’s College, Cambridge, curates.  We had the pleasure of hearing the Rev. Vicar himself, who, in the absence of his curates taking their holiday, had all the duty to himself.  Mr. Robinson has a clear and pleasant voice, distinctly heard in every part of the church.  He reads with remarkable propriety and effect, a matter of first importance in a clergyman.  In the sermon, which was read, and founded on Deut. iv. 22, referring to the last words of the great Jewish lawgiver, and to his not being permitted to cross over into the land of promise, but to die in that land, the preacher gave evidence of careful study, imaginative powers, and deep feeling.  The remarks were highly instructive, and specially consolatory to the Christian chastened in tribulation and disappointed of his earthly hopes.  The Rev. A. D. Robinson has been incumbent from the foundation of the church, which was opened for Divine Service and consecrated by the Lord Archbishop of Armagh on Tuesday, the 7th May, 1867.  It was erected for a district, perhaps the poorest in all the Western districts, and containing a population according to the recent census of 20,000.  It supplies 900 sittings, the whole of which are free, and has an average congregation of from 600 to 700.  It is noteworthy that, though in the midst of so poor a neighbourhood as the Potteries and vicinity, the congregation in the morning does not by any means appear of the poorer order, but in the evening many of the poor are to be seen enjoying the services.  The Argyle family, and others from the wealthier parts of the parish of Kensington, have taken a warm interest in the St. Clement’s cause with regard to the peculiar population around.  But that people have not yet shown great appreciation of these Christian efforts.  Yet a good work is doing.  There is the church, in which we are glad to believe the Gospel is preached, and into which any poor man can freely enter.  There is a mission-woman working about among the poorest, both in body and soul; but she sadly needs a co-labourer in this useful department of Christian work.  There are, too, we are pleased to add, very capital day and Sunday-schools, where about 700 of the children of the poor are receiving a sound religious and elementary education for the modest fees of 3d. and 2d. per week.  There is, therefore, the hope that St. Clement’s will be, more and more, the centre of Christian civilisation and religious influence to that needy neighbourhood which it was originally intended to be.  We heartily wish that the Rev. Mr. Robinson could obtain what the particular work in which he has embarked really deserves and demands—viz., a larger amount of general recognition and support from the outside public.  As the case now stands, he must often look around him and say, “Truly the harvest is great, but the labourers are few.”  There is a small endowment on the church, to which the proceeds of a weekly offertory are added.  As both sources of income, however, are at present small, they can barely suffice to keep up the work even to its present standard.  We are assured that a little more material support would be highly acceptable and useful, well bestowed, and gratefully felt and acknowledged at St. Clement’s.


Stands at the fork of two roads—the Kensington-park-road and Ladbroke-road—and looks effective and well, which is partly owing to its open position, and partly to the grey and sombre appearance of the stone of which it is built, and rendered darker, too, by the effect of London atmosphere and a little age.  The detail is not very good.  The south front is the principal feature, composed of a high-pitched gable and two square flanking towers and dwarf tile spires.  The towers are relieved with windows, simple arcade work, weather bands and strings, and oversailing and corbelled courses, and each has a gallery entrance.  The gable has a terminal with a large window of fair design, and divided into four lights.  The chief entrance to the chapel is also in this front, approached by steps.  The interior is simple—roofed in one span with light open timbers, and ribs on stone corbels.  Galleries on iron columns surround three sides of the chapel, parts of which in the transepts are set apart for the schools, a large pulpit and railed platform, with table and stalls, is at the north end, and the body of the chapel is filled with close pews.

The Horbury Chapel and congregation date from the year 1849; and the 21st year of their existence was celebrated in 1870 by the erection of side galleries and by other improvements, at a cost of about 950l.  Horbury Chapel enterprise was an off-shoot from Hornton-street Congregational Church, under the care of the Rev. Dr. Stoughton.  The Rev. W. Roberts, B.A., is the minister, and enjoys the reputation of an able and judicious pastor of his flock.  There is accommodation for nearly 1,000 worshippers, and the congregation averages from 550 to 650.  The pew-rents yield about 500l. per annum, and the weekly offerings 120l.  There are excellent day-schools attached, with 400 children on the books, and an attendance of 300; also a Sunday-school, with an attendance of about 200.  There is an out-school, too, in Notting-dale, with 115 under instruction and a ragged-school in Ernest-street, which is eminently useful in collecting together a class of children who would not otherwise be cared for.  100 are in attendance at the infant day-school, and 50 at the night school, and there are 50 in a Sunday-night school.  There is a penny bank established in connection with the ragged-school, and last year there were deposits to the amount of 278l. 8s. 10d.  At a mothers’ meeting there are usually in attendance thirty persons.  Following the example of the parent congregational church in Hornton-street, the Horbury is aggressive in its labours.  The increasing population about Acton has attracted its attention.  A new chapel is built there, and it is hoped that a large congregation will shortly be gathered into it.  There is a tract society—the useful labours of which deserve notice; besides which and its other home enterprises the Horbury congregation contributes sums of various amount to the London City Mission, the British Missions, the Foreign Sailors’ Society, the London Missionary Society, and the Evangelisation of the Jews Society.  There is much that is gratifying about the unobtrusive Christian character and efforts of this church, for which every Christian mind must pray them “God speed.”

The services are: Lord’s-day, 11 a.m., 3 p.m. (Young Women’s Bible-class), and 6.30 p.m.  Holy Communion, first Sunday in the month, after the morning service, and on the third Sunday, after the evening service.  Wednesday evening at 7, an expository lecture, followed by a Psalmody-class, to practise anthems and tunes.  Prayer and church meetings at stated times.  There are six deacons, Messrs. Coats, Cullingford, Holt, E. Nash, Starkey (Mrs. S.), and Walton.


The Wesleyan Chapel situate in the Denbigh-road, Notting-hill, is the principal chapel of what is marked on the Methodist Conference plan as the Bayswater Circuit.  It was built in the year 1858, after the designs of W. W. Pocock, Esq., architect, and is a fair specimen of the Grecian style.  In no religious body do tastes as to ecclesiastical architecture vary more than among the Wesleyans.  Some prefer the Gothic of the thirteenth century, others the decorated Gothic of the fourteenth.  Some adopt the perpendicular of a still later date, whilst others hold to the Grecian, which was the style in which Mr. Wesley himself built.  The Wesleyans of Bayswater have followed the original Connexional pattern, but have erected a very neat edifice, which would be more effective as an ornament to the neighbourhood but that its front falls slightly behind the line of houses amidst which it stands, and cannot be seen except in close proximity.  The interior arrangement is noticeable for its combined utility and elegance.  The seats on the ground-floor are arranged in the amphitheatre style, and all made to converge to the pulpit, so that every hearer directly faces the preacher, and the latter has the most perfect command of all his audience.  There are galleries on three sides, and in the west gallery is a good organ with ornamental pipes, played by Mr. p. 47Brocklehurst, and a numerous choir of young persons of both sexes, whose singing is lively and animating, the tunes being such as the congregation can join in, and which it does with remarkable freedom and spirit.  The chapel has recently been repainted, and decorated very tastefully by Mr. Hearne of London, at a cost of 450l.  The occasion of our visit, Sunday, September 10, 1871, was also the occasion of the re-opening after a closing of five weeks for this purpose.  The work is done in white and gold, and the gilt on the columns, gallery fronts, and pulpit, which is a wide platform structure, is ample, and, together with the light blue and white and buff of the ceiling, contributes to make up one of the prettiest and most effective interiors we have yet seen.  The original cost of the chapel was 4,500l., and it affords accommodation for 950 persons, 300 of the sittings being free.  After retiring from their former chapel in Queen’s-road, and securing the present site, the Wesleyans, resolved not to build until secure of funds to complete the work undertaken, first worshipped in a large room.  Next, proceeding by degrees, they erected their walls and put the roof on, and used the body of the chapel in an unfinished state, and finally they built their galleries, and completed the furniture, both of the chapel and schoolroom; and, what is most gratifying to add, possessed themselves of their beautiful sanctuary in its completeness entirely free from debt.  The Rev. W. M. Punshon, M.A., now President of the Canadian Conference, was the first resident minister appointed to take charge of this new and important enterprise.  Under his popular ministry the congregation rapidly increased and reached its full dimensions, which it retained to the end of the three years itinerant term, every sitting being let and occupied, and the aisles also generally being crowded.  The Revs. J. Rattenbury, George Maunder, J. D. Brocklehurst, who followed Mr. Punshon in succession, were also highly popular and useful ministers, so that the Denbigh-road congregation has enjoyed all the influence and advantage that Methodism could supply, for raising up and consolidating a prosperous church.

The able ministry with which it has been uniformly supplied is well maintained in the present appointments, if we may judge from our own hearing.  The Rev. T. M. Albrighton, the superintendent minister of the circuit, and especially attached by residence to that chapel, occupied the pulpit; and after an impressive reading of the Church prayers, as used by the Wesleyans at the morning service, preached an eloquent and powerful discourse founded on Zech. vi. 12 and 13, “And speak unto him saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of Hosts saying, Behold the man whose name is the Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord; even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory and shall sit and rule upon his throne, and he shall be a priest upon his throne, and the counsel of truth shall be between them both.”  This fine text of Scripture was treated in a manner indicative of its importance.  The sermon was delivered extempore, but well studied, and, we should say, previously thought out to the last sentence.  The discourse was replete with theological intelligence, and threw much Evangelical light upon the text with which it had to do.  It was delivered too, with feeling, and evident intention of doing good; but this paramount purpose, kept steadily in view, did not, as is too often the case, disturb in any degree the order, method, and effect of the sermon as such.  If a sermon to be really good should have method, then this sermon was quite an example.  There was a suitable introduction, the divisions naturally rose out of the words of the text, and the peroration, delivered with deep feeling, brought it to a close, the whole occupying three-quarters of an hour.  The colleagues of Mr. Albrighton upon the Bayswater Circuit are the Revs. J. S. Banks and Nehemiah Curnock, who interchange pulpits with him and each other, but are more particularly attached respectively to the congregations worshipping in the Warwick-gardens and Bassin-park Chapels.

There is a present membership of 430—i.e., recognised members of the Wesleyan body, by virtue of meeting in class—attached to the Denbigh-road Chapel.  Every department of Christian work appears to be in fair activity.  There is a good Sunday-school, having 450 children under religious instruction.  This school has an important feature in a young men’s Bible-class, numbering about 100, under the conductorship of Mr. Walter Heal.  From this fact it is not difficult to conjecture the cause of the presence of so many young men in the congregation as are to be seen on the Sunday.  There is also a Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Society in full operation during the winter months.  Associations for visiting the sick, ministering to the destitute, distributing tracts, &c., afford occupation to all willing to work; and these, we are informed, are not few at Denbigh-road.  The general efforts through the year in aid of foreign missions are supplemented by the activity of a “Juvenile Missionary Association,” who use their youthful influence as occasion offers to advance the great work of the world’s conversion with pleasing results.


A somewhat heavy-looking, but substantial structure in the main-thoroughfare attracts the attention of every passer-by at the west-end of Westbourne-grove, occupying also the corner of the Ledbury-road, where it intersects the Grove.  It was intended to be in early English style, and so we presume it must be considered, although it does not strike one as realising the ideal in a very impressive degree.  It is, however, slightly decorated, and has something of the details of early work.  It is solidly built of Kentish rag, with Bath-stone facings, having two flanking towers, surmounted with stone spires.  In addition to the principal entrance, over a flight of steps in the front, these towers afford access to the galleries, to which, also, there are two other approaches from without, at the north end of the chapel, one on each side.  This is the largest chapel we have yet seen in West London; and the space within is economised to the utmost extent by gallery accommodation, there being double galleries on three sides, two having nine rows of seats.  These, with the pewing completely covering the ground floor, give accommodation for 2,000 persons.  The great feature of the interior is massiveness, which is only slightly relieved by an ornamental panelling on the gallery fronts, and a modern platform pulpit.  When pretty well filled, as we saw it on the morning of Sunday, the 17th of September, 1871, the place has an imposing effect.  On the north side, behind the pulpit, there is an apse, with an organ and a few singers, answering well the purpose of leading the large congregation, which joins heartily in the musical parts of the service.  There are also behind the chapel proper, six spacious rooms for Bible-classes, committees, &c., which is a noticeable feature, affording great facility to the several societies attached.

The Baptist Church now worshipping at this chapel was originally formed at a small chapel or meeting-place in Silver-street, Kensington Gravel-pits, in the year 1823.  Its first settled pastor was the Rev. W. Southwood, who laboured with it from 1826 to 1830.  The Rev. John Broad succeeded in 1831, who occupied the post for ten years; and was followed by the Rev. John Berg in 1841, the Rev. F. Wills in 1843, and by the Rev. W. G. Lewis, the present pastor, in 1847.  Mr. Lewis preached his first sermon April 11 in that year, and was formally ordained in the following September.  The progress made through these years—and especially under the latter pastorate—is sufficiently told by the fact that the first list of members appearing in the church book in 1826 included only seventeen names, whilst the list in December of last year (1870), numbered as many as 725.  The small chapel in Silver-street becoming too strait for the growing cause—after considerable research—the prominent and important site of the present chapel was obtained and built upon in 1853, at an entire original cost of 5,500l.  Since then galleries were added in 1859, at a cost of 579l., and in 1866 a considerable enlargement took place, at a further grand outlay of 5,895l., so that the chapel as it now stands represents an expenditure of about 12,000l.  Thus, apparently by a course of uninterrupted progress, within the last quarter of a century has grown up a very large and powerful church, which takes rank with the first of West London churches for numbers, for wealth, for influence, and for its multifarious Christian labours.  There are few finer instances of the effect of the Voluntary principle in religion to be found, whether we look for them in the Established Church or in Nonconformity.  In the year 1870, 668l. 5s. 6d. was received for pew-rents, and the weekly offerings amounted to 198l. 16s.; collections at the Lord’s Supper, 106l. 2s. 8d.  There are large Sunday-schools, with 632 scholars of both sexes and all ages, and a capital school library of 500 volumes, to which 371 of the scholars subscribe.  Towards the expenses of the school the church contributed 32l. 2s. 5d., and from this and its other sources of income, after paying its expenses, the school contributed 53l. 6s. 7d. to the Baptist Missionary Society, in addition to 100 dresses which were made and sent to a mission station in Western Africa.  An “Evangelical Mission,” the object being tract distribution, sick visitation, &c., obtained from the congregation to assist its work 24l. 3s.; the London City Mission, 88l.; Baptist Missionary Society, 165l. 8s. 2d.; a Soup Kitchen, coals and bread, 23l. 10s.; Children’s Friend Society, 10l. 5s. 4d.; Maternity Society, 4l. 1s. 10d.; a “Ladies’ Working Society” produced 27l. 9s. 7d.; a “Mother’s Meeting,” by which nearly 200 poor women were assisted in providing clothes for themselves and families, 115l.; and a “Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Society” raised 84l. 2s. 7d.  Besides all these, and independently of them, the congregation contributed 524l. 5s. 1d. towards the reduction of a debt still remaining upon the chapel, the whole representing an income and an appropriation of 2,469l. 19s. 11d.  In connexion with the Children’s Friend Society there is a penny-bank, which received in the year 224l. 3s. 8d. deposits.  It must be evident to all, that great and sustained effort, and some self-denial in the moving spirits of these various operations, can alone account for such results.  The Rev. W. G. Lewis might well be congratulated upon the health and energy he has been enabled to bring to bear on this work, and upon the most efficient aid he has found ready to his hands in the numerous and zealous church and congregation over which he presides.  As to the general character of his pastorate and ministry, their abundant acceptableness and usefulness are sufficiently manifest from their duration, and from the present aspect of affairs at Westbourne-grove.  Twenty-five years’ p. 49continuous ministry to the same church, and things all round still healthy, vigorous, and flourishing, places a minister almost beyond criticism, if any were disposed to indulge it.  Mr. Lewis appears to be an earnest and affectionate pastor, and calculated to govern a church without destroying it, and to its building up in the unity of faith and love.  He is undoubtedly an able and gifted minister of the New Testament, discerning the spiritual requirements of his charge, and skilful in meeting them by bringing out of the treasury “things new and old.”  Speaking from our own observations and information, the whole of his service, from beginning to end, is religiously profitable and instructive in a very high degree.  Having a good voice, capable of elocutionary effect, under the control of a well-furnished mind, his sermons are refreshing in their originality of conception and their terseness, yet completeness of expression and illustration, so that the hearer, at the close, feels that he has neither had too much or too little, but has been fed with intellectual and spiritual food “convenient for him.”  Mr. Lewis is well known as Editor of the Baptist Magazine, which has been for twelve years under his management.  The subject of discourse was Mary of Bethany and the alabaster box of ointment (Matt. xxvi. 13).  The force of the Divine love working in the human heart, and illustrating the effects of the Saviour’s love to the world, was appropriately set forth.  Its power, its freedom, its breadth, inventiveness and self-sacrifice in devotion and doing good, were set out in vivid contrast to the narrow bonds of worldly conventionality and of a cold-hearted time serving religious profession.  The good work which Mary did against the Saviour’s burial was symbolical of his own “good work” which he did by giving himself for us.  “Very costly, and embodying all that he could give.”  The hours and order of service at this chapel are: Sundays, 7 a.m., prayer-meeting; 11 a.m., public worship; afternoon: 3 p.m., Bible classes; 6½ p.m., public worship; 8 p.m., prayer-meeting.  Monday evening at 6, prayer-meeting for females only; 7, general prayer-meeting.  Baptism by immersion administered as occasion arises.  The Lord’s Supper on the evening of the first Sabbath in each month at 8.  Church meetings on the Friday before the first Sunday in the month, at 7 p.m.

The deacons are Messrs. Fenn, W. B. Head, Rabbeth, W. Dearle, J. R. Philips, G. Lindup.  The city missionary attached is Mr. J. Browne.


The name of the “Free Tabernacle” and Mr. Varley are indissolubly united in Notting-hill.  The Tabernacle is a very plain brick structure, in Norland-square, or rather in St. John’s-place, leading out of the square.  It admits of no architectural description; but on entering one is impressed with the idea that it has been built with an object.  It has the appearance of a large hall, with a platform pulpit at one end, and a choir gallery behind it.  There is no other gallery at present; but the ground floor is thoroughly pewed, and the whole is capable of accommodating 1,000 persons, and, if necessary, 1,200 could find a place.  The original cost of the building was 2,200l., the responsibility of which was entirely borne by the present minister and his father-in-law, Mr. Pickworth, who undertook the work solely in the interests of the spiritually destitute poor of the neighbourhood.  Mr. Varley, who was at the time and has ever since been engaged in business, first began to preach nine years ago in the Potteries, in the Notting-dale Schoolroom, where he speedily collected a congregation from the poor people of that district, so large and overcrowded that he was compelled to find another place.  This led to the building of the Tabernacle, and to one of the most valuable voluntary religious efforts that we have yet had the pleasure of recording.  Upon this basis, at the present time, an average congregation of 800 in the morning, and 1,000 in the evening, assemble for public worship.  Upon special occasions the number is increased to 1,100 and 1,200, and it is interesting to note the respect and affection with which Mr. Varley is regarded by all this people.  He has succeeded in establishing an influence undoubtedly for good over a class not to be founds in many of the congregations we have yet had under review.  It is notorious that, as a rule, our poor do not attend our churches and chapels, but the “Tabernacle” supplies an exception to the rule.  In this case the minister himself is an active tradesman, and appears to possess that kind of talent which adapts him to the mind and circumstances of the class to whom he ministers.  Without even the shadow of lowness or vulgarity Mr. Varley has a certain colloquial style and manner which impart both pleasure and profit to his hearers, while it wins and retains their respect.  His preaching is to a large extent expository, as on the morning of Sunday, the 23rd of September, the text (Heb. viii. 6) was illustrated by frequent references to other portions of Scripture.  There was a peculiarity which we have not observed so fully carried out anywhere as here, a great proportion of the congregation had their Bibles in their hands, and regularly followed the preacher in his references with manifest interest, very much after the manner of a Bible-class following the teacher.  They had evidently been well trained to this, and did it as p. 50from established habit.  Mr. Varley also expounds in the reading of the lessons, and in so doing on this occasion denounced all assumption of a priesthood by men, and the pretended sacrifice of the Mass, as a sin against God and a complete contravention of the Scriptures.  The hymns used are entitled “Hymns of Grace and Glory,” arranged especially for the service of this congregation, and are sung to simple melodies in which all can join.  The singing is universal, lively, and devotional, and appears to realise the great object of music in public worship.  The harmonium, however, it may be observed, is a little too much heard.  It is, perhaps, what some would term noisy, and is too apt to drown instead of assist the congregational voice.  The church, which now numbers about 550 members, is Baptist by profession, but what maybe termed an “open” Baptist Church, freely admitting Christian people of all denominations to its communion.  Amongst other peculiarities at the Tabernacle there is a communion every Sunday morning after the public service, except on the first Sunday in the month, when it is after the evening service.  It is the only case in a Nonconforming place we have yet had to notice in which there is a weekly celebration.  Mr. Varley believes this to be the Scriptural order; and from the large number that tarry to that service it would appear that his people are one with him in this belief.  The public services are on Sundays at eleven and half-past six; Monday evening prayer-meeting at seven, and on Wednesday evening a sermon at seven.  There is a good Sunday-school attached, with about 500 children and a staff of 30 teachers.  The church derives all its financial support from voluntary effort.  Weekly offerings are taken at the doors, and all the sittings are free.  Up to the present time, Mr. Varley’s labour has been gratuitously bestowed.  It is with some surprise we learn that he has never yet received any earthly reward or testimonial whatever for his valuable services.  We do not know whether it would be approved by Mr. Varley himself, but we would suggest that it is one of the first duties of the church at the Tabernacle to set their minister free from the concerns of worldly business, that he might devote all his time to study and the discharge of his pastoral duties.  Having, under God, raised the church, he surely is its natural and fitting pastor; and one cannot but think that his separation to the work would prove a blessing to that people.  At present, his Sunday labour is supplemented by that of a missionary (Mr. Ashdown), supported by the congregation, who does much pastoral work through the week, visiting the people and striving to keep alive their interest in public worship.  Although the present building is a large place, it is thought not to be adequate in space to the demands; and is, therefore, now about to be closed for some weeks, pending important alterations.  After these are effected there will be an area of 74 ft. by 94, and galleries all around, affording accommodation for over 2,000 people; and in addition to this there will be several class-rooms, and one large room for general service, calculated to hold 500 persons.  It will easily be conceived that in “Mr. Varley’s Tabernacle” (as it is now commonly called) there must be a centre of powerful influence in dealing with a great mass of people not reached by other agencies, and which circumstances have caused to congregate around it.  The exterior will be greatly beautified by the alterations—a view of which, by favour of the architects, Messrs. Habershon and Pite, we are enabled to produce.

Mr. Varley’s Tabernacle, St. James’ Place, Notting Hill, W.


This is situated near the point where the Cornwall-road crosses the Ladbroke-grove-road, with a low, single-arched looking front, approached by a flight of steps from the footway, and inclining towards the latter road.  It is a wooden structure, but protected by a coating of lath, with an outside covering of Portland cement; and when on the other side the whole building is in view, it looks a long, dark, narrow object, which would not be readily taken for a place of worship, reminding one of a huge ironclad lying at anchor in a quiet harbour.  It may be explained that the shell was formerly a part of an annexe belonging to the Exhibition building of 1862; and having been made a present, by the contractors, Messrs. Lucas and Co., to Sir Morton Peto, was presented by that gentleman for its present good purpose in the Cornwall-road.  It was set up in 1863, including a large, commodious schoolroom, deacons’ and minister’s vestries all included.  The chapel itself is a spacious oblong, fitted with an organ gallery behind the pulpit, and another gallery of similar dimensions at the opposite end, but having no side galleries.  The organ was also the gift of Sir M. Peto, and built by Willis, of the Albany-road, Regent’s-park, at a cost of 300l.  There is a plain pulpit, sufficiently elevated, and the floor is plainly pewed; but the woodwork in the roof is tastefully coloured in light blue and white, which gives a light and pleasing aspect to the interior.  The place will accommodate about 800 persons.

The Rev. J. A. Spurgeon, brother of the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon, of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, was the first minister of the chapel.  He laboured very successfully for four years—collecting an excellent congregation and a goodly body of church members.  He was, however, unfortunately for his people, removed to p. 51assist his brother in the duties of the college which he had founded in connexion with his South London enterprise.  Previously to his departure, however, the church gave substantial proof of the esteem in which it held him, by presenting him with a purse containing 50l., and a handsome gold watch and key, by Bennett, of Cheapside, which cost 24l.

The successor was the Rev. Charles White a minister who can scarcely be said to have settled in the church.  At his inauguration the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon preached an appropriate sermon, at the close of which he hoped, and in fact predicted, that the Rev. Mr. White would prove the “right man” for the congregation.  It, however, almost immediately after transpired that a serious feeling of estrangement, and of something beyond, sprung up between several of the principal members and deacons and the new minister.  It need not be surmised which side was most to blame.  Probably it is safe to omit all conjectures on the subject.  This “letting out” of the waters of strife became painful in its consequences.  The church was completely rent; and in about nine months after his appointment Mr. White left the chapel, and betook himself, with a large number of the congregation, to the Ladbroke Hall near, where he continued to minister for another year.  In the meantime the chapel was well nigh forsaken and the church severely tried.  It was at this juncture that the present minister, the Rev. R. H. Roberts, B.A. (of London University), was invited, and undertook the charge.  Under the difficult circumstances he appears to have acted the part of a wise man, resolving and avowing his resolution not in any way to interfere with Mr. White, or harbour any feeling of hostility towards him or his friends, but, on the contrary, to evince towards them an amicable disposition.  There was, however, not long the need for this display of Christian temper in that direction, as very soon Mr. White removed from the neighbourhood.  From that time the church has been gradually revived and the congregation visibly increased, many of the old members returning, and some new being added; and at present it looks as though it must shortly recover its former strength.  Mr. Roberts, who has now been two years with the church, is an intelligent and thoughtful preacher, and from the discourse to which we listened, founded on the parable of the pounds, we should think he is aiming at inspiring his people with a high sense of their responsibility.  There were some pointed and pregnant utterances in the sermon which are apt to fix themselves in the memory.  As for instance, in regard to the constancy of Christian service: “Let not this be a work for ‘saints’ days,’ for all days are, or ought to be, saints’ days in the calendar of the kingdom of heaven.”  As to the Saviour’s second advent: “The best way of waiting for Christ is to continue working for him.  With the nearness or distance of his coming we have nothing to do; the word says ‘Occupy till I come.’”  As to the proper use of our talents: “Some men prosper and come into the front by accident; but the outward seeming will be pierced through in the day of account, and the very heart of whatever reality there is about us will be got at.”  Then, again, as to human attainments: “All human attainments are only divine endowments developed and magnified.”  These and similar terse remarks, thrown out in passing, added effect to various parts of the subject.

The service of song is well provided for here.  “Psalms and Hymns” for use in Baptist congregations is the book used, in which it is satisfactory to observe the name of every author drawn upon appended to his composition.  The Bristol Tune-book is distributed, and the name of the tune is given out with the hymn.  There is also Allen’s Book of Congregational Chants and Anthems; and that grand and universal hymn Te Deum Laudamus was not omitted, but was sung in the midst of the service with much propriety and spirit by the whole congregation.

In the Sunday-school there are a little over 300 children on the books, and an average attendance of about 100 in the morning and 220 in the afternoon.  There is a “Home Missionary Society,” which employs twelve tract distributors; a “Maternal Society,” a regular “Mothers’ Meeting,” and a “Dorcas Society.”  In its late troubles, as a matter of course, the finances of the church became deranged and fell into arrears.  Although surely improving, a rather heavy balance is still due to the treasurer.  Yet, notwithstanding, we observe that the congregation contributed last year 43l. 18s. 7d. to foreign missions.  The church draws its home support from pew-rents, which last year amounted to 185l. 11s., and a weekly offertory, a special fund, incidental sources, and collections, yielding in all, from July 1869 to July 1870, 497l. 1s. 11d.

The order of services is: Sunday—Prayer-meeting at 10.15, public worship at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.; Monday, prayer-meeting at 7.30; Wednesday, “Congregational Bible-class,” a service intended for the simple exposition of any passage of Scripture upon which any person present might wish comment offered; alternating with singing classes, teachers’ meetings, church meetings, &c.  Inquirers’ meetings are held on Monday evenings by the pastor in the Vestry, from 7 to 7.30.  Communion on the first Sabbath in each month after the evening service, and on the third Sabbath after the morning service.

The Deacons are eight in number—viz., Messrs. W. Baynes, W. Knight, Charles Chambers, Dr. Pennell, Dr. Manning; Messrs. Catchpole, Hunt, and Healy.


This church is situated in Pottery lane, near the north end of Portland-road, bordering on the Potteries, from the poor population of which—more particularly the Irish portion—it draws its congregation.  The building and the school attached occupy one side of the road, and a row of stables the other; and, as though not to be desecrated by looking on the latter, there is not a noticeable window in the road side of the church; consequently no architectural attraction in the exterior, which is about as uninviting as the site on which it stands.  It is not until one has passed through a small enclosed courtyard, thence by an unexpected turn into a half-hidden portico, and again through a cloistered doorway—all impressing with a strong idea of seclusion—that he becomes really conscious of the presence of an ecclesiastical edifice.  Everything to this point is plain as plainness itself—there being nothing to be seen but a heavy, bulky pile of common brickwork, wearing something of the aspect of a very poor monastic enclosure.  But on reaching the interior a different impression is awakened, although still heaviness and gloom prevail.  The principal nave is short, and that, with the side called “Our Lady’s Chapel,” are together not capable of holding more than about 500 persons.  At the same time it looks overcrowded with pillars, which darken and intercept an otherwise limited view.  The effect of the whole is that of strength, but dimness and lowness.  The architecture is of a mixed kind, in which the Italian is prominent, with a slight blending of Gothic.  The diminished effect of space and light are, however, of course relieved by the illuminations and ornaments peculiar to a Roman Catholic church—the numerous candles, the images, the high altar, its bright furniture, drapery, and ministrant priests, standing out conspicuously, and lit by daylight from the chancel-windows.  Moreover, a strip of the walls through the full length on both sides is ornamented with some effective painting on slate, representing various passages in our Lord’s sufferings, by Westlake, who also executed a couple of frescoes at the back of the side altars, and the subjects of three or four stained windows.  The decorations of the large side-altars to the Virgin and St. Francis are partially seen through the commingling columns.  The body of the church is filled with plain benches and cane-bottomed chairs, all of which are much the worse for wear, and in their present state looking quite in keeping with the voluntary austerity and poverty of the famous mendicant friar of the thirteenth century from whom the church derives its name, and whom it regards as its patron saint, St. Francis D’Assisi.  A charge is made for entering the seats, and be it noted that not one was observed to enter without dropping his coin, larger or smaller, in the plate.  The fee appears to be considered in the light of a weekly offering.  One of the most notable objects in the church is the baptistry, where there is a handsome marble font, with a large conical lid and fixed pulley machinery for raising it.

This church was built ten years ago, by Mr. Clutton, as a chapel of case to the larger Roman Catholic cause—St. Mary’s, Bayswater—which establishment was the first outcome of the late Cardinal Wiseman’s Ultramontane mission in London.  The Rev. Father H. A. Rawse, M.A., then of the Oratory, Brompton, and previously an Anglican priest of Oxford, illustrated his zeal as a convert to Rome by the donation of 7,000l. to the St. Francis enterprise, and became its first resident priest.  The Rev. Father Lescher is the present minister, who is occasionally assisted by priests from the parent church at Bayswater, or from the Oratory, and had present, on the morning of our visit, Father Robertson, from the former place.  Father Lescher himself has lately given proof of his zeal by the handsome gift of 500l. towards 1,400l. for the purchase of the Silchester Hall, recently occupied by the Methodists, and being acquired by the Catholics for a school.  Their present day-school, in Pottery-lane, has about 160 pupils, who pay, as a rule, a penny per week, the necessary balance being made up by other funds.

Father Lescher was the preacher for the morning, and prefaced his homily by several announcements, one of which had reference to looking after their pauper children who were taken to the Kensington Workhouse.  On any child being taken there, notice was to be given to the priest, who would cause inquiry to be made as to the spiritual oversight of such children; and the congregation were earnestly exhorted to attend to this, as he said it would “prevent the proselytism of the poor.”  He congratulated them that they had succeeded in sending some Roman Catholics to the Board at the last election, and so had fared better of late.  But he urged them to endeavour to return more at the next election, in order that their prospects in regard to the children might be still more improved!

The rev. father took for his text Ephesians iv. 23, 24, “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man; which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”  The discourse was a simple, pointed extempore address on regeneration, or, as the preacher sometimes called it, “conversion,” occupying about thirty minutes.  There was “a great difference between the Christian and the heathen.”  “We were not born Christians, but sinners; and sin would master us unless a change be wrought in us.”  “Heresy always had some truth in it; but it was truth carried p. 53out without being duly limited by other truths.”  Thus as to regeneration, which was wrought by the grace of God in the soul—no doubt that grace began to work in baptism.  But a man was not regenerate or converted because he had been baptized, for he might be living in sin.  Conversion was a thing to go on continually through a man’s life.  Europe was covered all over with a race of baptized, but really unregenerate men.  Sin should be completely taken out of our heart.  From beginning to end regeneration was God’s work.  He made us new creatures.  Christ was a new man in this world, and was a pattern to which we were to be conformed; we must be like him, setting aside all worldly-vain, foolish, and vicious thoughts.  St. Francis was an example, whose feast they had just celebrated, who, by the grace of God, was enabled to live a life of devotion and self-denial.  “Let them pray to St. Francis, that he might help them to follow in his steps.”  Apart from the exhortation to pray to St. Francis, many will take the essence, form, and language of this outline as thoroughly Evangelical.  There appears to be a departure from the strict doctrine of essential sacramental efficacy, and a distinct insistence on the necessity of a change of heart and of a holy life.  It was high mass, and one of Mozart’s formed the musical part.  The organ is a small one, but sweet in tone, and played by a new organist—a pupil from the Pro-Cathedral.  The choir did not contain any distinguished voice, but the singing, though less florid, was more appropriate than the extreme artistic affectations of the Oratory and Pro Cathedral.  On the previous Wednesday—which was the Roman Catholic Feast Day of St. Francis D’Assisi—Archbishop Manning had preached in the church.


The meeting-place of this peculiar people is in an upper room, Clarendon-place, Clarendon-road, Notting-hill.  It appears filled with 150 persons, and as far as we could incidentally learn they have about eighty acknowledged brethren and sisters.  This society is the result of a division in the one formerly united in Bayswater, and is composed of what are termed the “Darbyite party” in that schism.  The “Brethren” have been in West London over twenty years, but this part of their small body has been at Clarendon-place five or six years.  They form the only congregation of that persuasion in the parish of Kensington.  We found them on visit to be an extremely close and uncommunicative people, with the single exception of an amiable sister, next whom we happened to sit, and who politely tendered more information than we could subsequently extract from all the brethren.  It was the usual Sunday morning service of “breaking of bread.”  The loaf, which was a plain baker’s loaf, was in the centre of a table; in the coarse of the “breaking” the middle of it disappeared, and little but the shell remained.  There were also two plain glasses upon the table.  As a rule these services of bread-breaking are conducted in silence; but on this occasion some speaking was allowed, and two of the leading brethren in succession read and commented in a familiar way upon portions of Scripture.  Some of the remarks we are obliged to notice were extremely simple, quite spontaneous, and were delivered under what the speakers appeared to think spiritual impulses.  There was, however, nothing very instructive or useful in what was said.  The speaking done, a brother engaged in prayer, and after another brother had read a list of names of persons who wished, on the next Sabbath, to break bread with them, one marriage of a brother and sister to take place on the following Saturday, and two burials for that day, the meeting terminated.  In separating the amount of hand-shaking and friendly, and doubtless cordial, recognition of each other, was so protracted that we could not get from our extra saint seat for a considerable time.  When at length we got near the table and encountered a few of the leading brethren, being invited thereto by our observant and kindly sister, we endeavoured with all humility to make acquaintance with the case as it stood; but, we are sorry to say, found ourselves impeded at every step.  Our object was keenly and suspiciously canvassed.  On being simply told that our design was in general to furnish through the Press a connective view of the Christian influences and operations at work upon this vast population, and by so doing to interest the public more fully on the subject, we were met with indescribable scorn at the mention of the “Press.”  They would consider it “a sin” to give any information to the “Press.”  It was the curse of the world, was the “Press.”  On being asked if there was not a Christian side to the “Press,” they emphatically answered “No.”  There was no such thing as a “religious Press.”  It was “all worldly” from beginning to end.  The magazines even of the religious bodies were only trying to unite religion and the world.  With amusing simplicity one brother asked if by the “Press” we meant “that machine by which tracts, &c., were printed;” and we had to explain that by the “Press” in this connection we meant “a Christian literature as opposed to what was worldly, secular, or infidel.”  With one voice they exclaimed there was “no such thing.”  We asked if they did not hope to make some use of Christian literature in striving to effect the world’s conversion.  The p. 54reply to this important question given by the principal brother very gravely was, “No; we have nothing to do with the world; our work is to gather God’s saints out of the world.”  “But,” we rejoined, “is not the Gospel sent to the world?  And did not the Son of God come to save the world?”  The answer was unhesitatingly given by the same gentleman, “No; it was to collect his saints out of the earth.”  After this we could not prolong the conversation and took our leave; but before we had left the landing to descend the stairs we were followed by a young man commissioned to ask us this question, “Have you eternal life?”  In answer, we affirmed our belief and hope that we had, and asserted our experience of conversion many years ago.  On this we were reminded that there “was but one way.”  We replied that the “one way” was found in every Christian Church and in the Church Catholic; but, strange to say, this declaration was met with evident disbelief.  “God,” it was said, “did not make sects.”  We left, asking ourselves the question, How upon these principles could the great purpose of the Son of God in this world be answered?

After the above appeared in the Suburban Press a letter of explanation was received by the Editor from one of the brethren, which will be found among the supplementary notes.  The latter appears to have been written upon reflection, whilst the preceding conversation was doubtless conducted upon the feeling of the moment.  Yet, it faithfully reflected the peculiarities of the members, who appear to have no faith in anything but what is strictly identified with their own belief and practice; altogether too narrow for the expanding evangelistic tendencies of the age.


This is one of the plainest of buildings for religious purposes, low and uncommanding, and almost lost even among the humble dwellings amidst which it stands—a simple meeting-house, with a stuccoed front, but looking neat and clean, having been recently repaired and painted, and the walls newly coloured within, giving it a fresh and healthy look.  The pewing is of a humble character and unvarnished, and the pulpit plain and high.  There is a gallery in the west end, which, added to the accommodation on the ground-floor, gives about 250 sittings, the ordinary congregation being at present about 100.  The church and people are Strict Baptist in persuasion.  Upon the corner-stone we find the following inscription: “This stone was laid by Messrs. Foreman and Wells, Oct. 13, 1851.  The chapel is for the use of the Particular Baptists.  P. W. Williamson, Pastor.  J. Cook and T. Rowley, Deacons.”  The chapel has thus been in existence twenty years.  The church—never very vigorous or flourishing—has had a chequered history, disputes having arisen among its members from time to time upon subjects relating to its internal affairs, and which resulted six years ago in a division, further weakening its situation and diminishing its few members.  From this blow it appears never to have recovered, there being now no more than between fifty and sixty acknowledged members.  The present minister is the Rev. C. W. Banks, who has been there one year, and the cause is supported by pew-rents and voluntary weekly offerings.  A “Free-will Offering” box is fixed on the inside of each entrance to the aisles, and on every succeeding Sunday the amount so collected is placed in large figures against the side walls.  On the occasion of our visit, the account for the previous Sabbath stood thus: “Loose money, 3s. 8d.; in thirteen envelopes, 10s. 3d.”  The preacher had a strong voice, and exerted it even beyond the natural requirements of his small audience; but at times it would be almost impossible to hear him if he did not, in consequence of the noisy costermongers, who shout one against the other in the narrow street and immediately in front of the chapel, without any regard to its presence or the service proceeding within.  This is certainly a crying evil, and should attract the attention of the police.  We had no idea that vegetable and other carts (hand and donkey drawn) were so numerous and noisy during the hours of Divine Service, as we witnessed them in Johnson-street, and other adjacent back streets and ways in the rear of High-street, Notting-hill.  Surely there is yet need for a “Suppression of Sunday Trading Society.”  There is a small Sunday-school, attended by a few self-denying teachers, and the public services are—Sunday at eleven and half-past six; prayer meeting at three p.m.  Wednesdays, preaching at half-past seven; and on Monday evenings, prayer-meeting; and a special monthly prayer-meeting every first Friday evening in the month.  There is manifest care under difficulties for the Christian work.


The place known by this name is situated in Kensington-place, near its junction with Silver-street, a poor unsightly edifice, within two or three minutes’ walk of the Johnson-street Chapel, and is the meeting-place of the separated portion of its former congregation.  The building is in p. 55a dilapidated state, the plaster broken away, and the woodwork the worse for lack of paint.  The congregation was celebrating its sixth anniversary, and from all appearances there was great need of replenishing the exchequer.  However, the event did not seem to have aroused much enthusiasm, for scattered over a rather larger area there was even a smaller congregation than in the former place.  The chapel will apparently hold about 350, and there must have been less than 100 present.  There is a gallery at one end, and all the other sittings are on the ground floor.  The present minister is the Rev. D. Crumpton, whose voice, in its general tone, was indicative of discouragement, assuredly with every apparent reason.  The two congregations together might make up an appearance in the smaller of the two chapels; but separately they appear weak and helpless in the extreme, a sight to make a good man mourn over strife and division.  It will be next to a miracle if ever these churches rise to a position of influence and power in the neighbourhood.  The locality is low and in great need of evangelistic efforts; and if anything could be done to bring the noisy, idle people who fill those narrow streets, or stand at their wretched little open shop-doors, waiting for stray customers, who steal out to market in the hours of Divine Worship, it would be a great boon.  There is a Sunday-school attached to the chapel, in which some of the poor children around are collected together, and in this circumstance there may linger hope.  The order of services is: Sunday, prayer-meeting at 7 a.m.; preaching at 11.0 a.m. and 6.30 p.m., and prayer-meeting at 3.0 p.m.  The school is held at 9.30 a.m. and 3.0 p.m.  On week-days there is prayer-meeting on Monday evening at 7.30, and preaching on Thursday evening.  The prayer-meeting at 7.0 a.m. on Sunday morning may be noted as a rarity in these days, and if tolerably well attended, shows that there is life, amidst all existing discouragements.


This is the smallest place of worship we have yet had to notice, being apparently intended for the sole use of the occupants of that obscure court in North-street, called Sloane-place.  North-street branches out of Sloane-street, and runs through a very low neighbourhood; and in about the lowest part of it, densely populated, is the court down which one passes to reach the chapel.  It is at the extreme end of the parish eastward.  The chapel has an aspect in every way in keeping with the humble class of tenements among which it stands, and of course has nothing architecturally to notice.  It has a lamp over the low front door, which may serve in the stead of a parish lamp, to illumine the gloomy alley on dark evenings.  The building has a dwarfed and dingy appearance; was from the first, is, and perhaps ever will be private property, lent for its present purpose by the proprietor.  It will hold at the utmost only 100 persons.  There is no settled pastorate; but it is supplied with preaching on the Sunday evening only, under the direction of the Rev. Dr. Alexander, of the Belgrave-square Presbyterian Church.  The preacher is usually Dr. Stewart, of Grosvenor-street, a medical gentleman belonging to Dr. Alexander’s church.  This Christian doctor is regularly at his post on Sunday evenings, except an extraordinary professional engagement hinder, holding forth the Word of Life to the few poor people who assemble beneath the humble roof.  There are no regular ordinances and no other public services, except a prayer-meeting on Sunday morning and on Thursday evening.  All the sittings are free.  A Sunday-school is a notable feature.  Sixty or seventy poor children come together in the chapel from 3 to 4.30 on Sunday afternoons, and are attended to by a few zealous teachers who enter heartily into this work.  Poor and humble as the building is in itself and all its surroundings, it is thus undoubtedly a light shining in a dark place.  The self-denial and devotion of those kind persons who attend to Christian work in this place is quite exemplary, and will certainly meet with its reward.


The new Church of “St. Michael and All Angels” embraces the northern part of the District of All Saints’, Notting-hill, in its new extension towards Kensal-green, in the Ladbroke-grove-road.  No doubt, just at this spot, there will, in time, be a middle-class population sufficient to fill the church.  But at present the property is new, and, therefore, it would seem St. Michael’s must for some time to come draw from a distance.  The Vicar Designate, the Rev. Edward Ker Gray, was formerly curate to Dr. Robbins, of St. Peter’s, Kensington-park, and has family connexions in the neighbourhood, who have largely contributed to his present enterprise; and the plot of land on which the edifice stands, and that on which a parsonage is yet to be built, are the gift of Messrs. Blake and Parsons, who are freeholders in that part.  The style of architecture adopted differs from that of most churches, being what is professionally known as the “Romanesque of the Rhine,” and is executed chiefly in terra cotta and ornamental bricks, by Mr. Cowland, of Notting-hill, under a contract p. 56(exclusive of tower and fittings) for 4,300l.  The architects are Messrs. Edmeston of Crown-court, Old Broad-street; and the plan consists of a nave ninety-nine feet long, exclusive of chancel and western apse, by forty-three feet wide, roofed in one span, with an eastern, western, and southern apse, leaving a northern apse to be added at some future time.  On the north side the church is hidden by houses, and it is seen to best advantage at the south-west angle, where it will form rather a picturesque object, when the grouping of tower, turret, apse, and gable are added to the view.  The interior is yet unfurnished, and only sufficiently fitted up for the performance of worship.  The pulpit, desk, organ, and chancel furniture are all temporary.  The contract for the decoration is given to Messrs. Howland and Fisher, who decorated St. Peter’s, Bayswater, which is considered one of the handsomest church interiors in London.  About 1,000 sittings are provided, applications for which are requested.  The occasion of our visit was the service of consecration, in May, 1871, conducted by the Right Hon. and Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of London.  There was a good congregation present; and immediately after the entrance of the Bishop, Mr. Shephard, the Registrar of his Lordship’s diocese, read the petition of the Vicar, Churchwardens and parishioners praying for the consecration of the church.  The Bishop having replied, “I am ready to consecrate this church, according to the prayer of the petition,” a procession was as once formed, headed by the parish beadles with their staves, followed by the churchwardens, Bishop, and clergy, who slowly walked round the church, the Bishop repeating the usual service.  On returning to the Communion Table, the deed of conveyance was formally received and laid upon the table by the Bishop.  The prayers for the ordinary morning service were read by the Rev. Mr. Gray, the Psalms, Te Deum, and hymns being chanted by a choir of good voices, male and female, blending well together, under the direction of Mr. Sydney Naylor, organist.  On ascending the pulpit the Bishop took for his text, John xvii. 6, “I have manifested thy name to the men which thou gavest me out of the world,” &c.  The subject was divided into three parts: 1. What name he manifested.  2. How he manifested it.  3. The character of the persons to whom he manifested the name of his Father.  These topics were worked out with great clearness of thought and felicity of utterance; the Bishop steering delicately through the difficult problem of Divine predestination and human free will, and rendering the point as satisfactory as it ever can become to mortal reflection.  A very feeling individual application of the subject to the congregation concluded the discourse.  It is about twelve years since we had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Jackson at a confirmation service in a small town in Lincolnshire, and it is gratifying to observe the same doctrinal safety and thorough practical bearing in his ministry which struck us at that time.  He also bears his increased years well, displaying a freshness in his appearance and a vigour equal to if not superior to himself more than a decade since.  A collection was made after sermon from pew to pew towards the organ and church expenses, and the remainder of the Communion Service and the benediction concluded the whole.  It ought to be noticed that a number of the local clergy were present, and that the Rev. Dr. Robbins read the first lesson—the consecration of the Temple by Solomon—in a most impressive manner, and the Rev. J. S. Gell the few verses which compose the second lesson.  The Bishop’s chaplain, the Rev. Mr. Fisher, also assisted in the service within the chancel rail.

Mr. Gray’s ministry is reported Evangelical in its character, and his service lively and devotional, without Ritualistic features.  The congregation gradually increases, and it is hoped that ere long the furnishing will be completed, and that the church will answer all the purposes for which it was built in that rising population.  The Churchwardens are Captain N. W. Boyce and J. D. Cowland, Esq., and the services are: Sundays at 11 a.m. and 3 and 7 p.m.  Weekdays, Wednesday and Friday at 11 a.m., the Litany, Holy Communion, at 9 a.m. every Sunday, and after the 11 a.m. service the last Sunday in every month.  Baptisms at 2.30 first Sunday in the month, and at 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday and Friday.


Norland Chapel is situate in the Queen’s-road, Notting-hill, and on the extreme western boundary of the Parish of Kensington.  The boundary stone of the parish is fixed in the wall which surrounds the chapel, and the iron pillar which marks the line of the Hammersmith Parish stands near to it about half a foot further west.  It was built in the year 1859, the foundation-stone being laid in May of that year by the late Robert Hanbury, Esq., M.P., for Middlesex.  The architect was Mr. Stent, of Warminster, and builders, Messrs. Hill and Robinson, of Whitechapel.  Mr. Hill was the builder of the new Holborn-viaduct, and is now building the streets connected with the Holborn-valley improvement.  In architecture it is of a very various order, but may be defined as “mixed Italian.”  The front, which is towards the south, is somewhat picturesque.  The porch is reached by a wide flight of steps, and is adorned with four neat columns of Portland stone, with carved capitals of Bath stone; and surmounted with a large circular window; the whole front having Bath-stone p. 57dressing upon coloured brick.  There are two side doors, which lead to the gallery in the south end.  The building, as a whole, is of plain brick and has a substantial appearance.  The west front corner was intended to receive a spire; which, however, has not yet been built.  Its erection would certainly be a great improvement to the edifice.  In the interior, the space is well economised.  Beneath the floor of the chapel, there is a spacious school-room; which serves also as a week-night lecture, preaching, and anniversary tea-meeting room.  It is well furnished, and has a harmonium to assist in the services held there.  The space behind is laid out in class-rooms, minister’s vestries, and offices.  A more compact and commodious suite of rooms for the space at disposal we have seldom met with.  The chapel proper provides sittings for 650 people—500 on the ground-floor and 150 in the end gallery.  The sittings are let at from 2s. 6d. to 5s. per quarter, and the congregation averages from 300 to 400.  A modern raised platform pulpit is an ornament, flanked with two handsome gas pillars; and the pewing is in stained wood, and looks as good as new, after a dozen years’ wear.  In lieu of columns to support the roof the ribs which span it rest on ornamental Bath-stone corbels inserted in the walls at about 12 feet high, which are really stronger than they look, and are adopted to prevent the obscurity of the view, and the absorption of space by columns.  The chapel is lit by gas pendants from the roof, and is warmed in winter by the same, being lit over night.  By this means a comfortable heat is diffused through the building, reaching, if required, to seventy degrees.  This method of warming will, of course, be greatly improved, if the gas companies will adopt the patent gas offered them by the “Patent Gas Company,” which professes to reduce the amount of sulphur in every hundred feet of gas from forty-four degrees to about four.  In that case, warming by gas would no doubt soon supersede some other methods.  Red baize with brass mouldings faces the side walls all round to a certain height above the pews, which gives a comfortable and cheerful appearance to the whole interior.  The original cost of the building, including the freehold site, was 3,000l.

The church and congregation at this place are Baptist; but open their communion to all who “profess and give evidence of the New Birth;” and are sufficiently open occasionally to receive any Christian person at the Lord’s Supper who may desire it, and who has previously sent a note or card to the vestry.  The basis of its membership is thus expressed in its articles: “We enter this fellowship as Christians, each one holding that the other is united to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith in him according to the Scriptures.”  Prior to the present chapel, the congregation met temporarily in an old building facing Shepherd’s-bush-green; but removed to the new and more commodious edifice, with their first minister, the Rev. John Stent, as soon as it was ready.  Mr. Stent continued the pastor until he had completed eight years.  He was then succeeded by the Rev. W. H. Tredray, who after two years was in turn superseded by the Rev. W. P. Balfern.  After two years also of ministerial labour, Mr. Balfern has just been compelled to retire in consequence of ill-health.  The church has thus for some little time been deprived of a stated ministry; but we understand, that a minister is upon the point of being formally invited, and will, in all probability, be settled for a period.  We heard a plain, earnest sermon from an occasional supply on the morning of our visit.  The service was conducted in the way ordinary to Baptist chapels; but we were particularly struck with the excellence of the congregational singing, to which we believe the late pastor devoted much attention.  The people appeared very well trained to the perception of harmony, and had in use the Bristol Tune-book, which is well known to be one of the best extant.  They were, moreover, effectually sustained by the organ, which is a capital 250l. instrument, by Jones, of Brompton, and well played by the son of the senior deacon of the church.

The support of the ministry is from pew-rents and the proceeds of a weekly offering.  The other active institutions are a Sunday-school, with over 300 scholars; a home missionary, supported by the late minister, Mr. Balfern; a Dorcas meeting, maternal society, tract society, and a mothers’ meeting.  There is in addition a penny bank, in which a number of poor people and children store their little savings.  The order of services is—Sunday, at 11 a.m. and 6.30 p.m., Sunday-school in the afternoon; prayer and preaching on Friday evening at 7.30; a psalmody class meets every Thursday evening for the practice of singing.


The foundation-stone of this chapel was laid by Samuel Morley, Esq., M.P., in July, 1865, when, although so recent, the whole of that part of North Kensington in which it is situated was open field, with here and there a dotting of new buildings commenced, and new streets laid out.  At the present time the occupied suburbs extend quite a mile beyond it either North or West.  The congregation worshipping here first assembled in smaller numbers in Westbourne-hall, where they kept together for between two and three years, always with a view to a separate building as opportunity offered.  The present freehold site was ultimately obtained for 1,350l., and the cost of the building raised upon it, including the schoolrooms, was 3,500l.  It is a substantial structure with a Gothic expression, although totally devoid of ornament.  It was, however, originally designed, and is yet intended to have a spire, which certainly will p. 58be a vast improvement to the exterior.  The interior is light and pleasant, without galleries, with a plain pulpit and pewing, affording accommodation for 500 persons, 100 of the sittings being free, all the remainder let at prices ranging from 5s. to 1l. 1s. per annum.  The chapel was opened in January, 1866, by inauguratory services conducted by the Hon. and Rev. Baptist Noel and the Rev. Samuel Martin, of Westminster.  From the first the stated minister has been the Rev. Jas. Stuart Russell, whose ministry is highly appreciated as pious, scriptural, able, and earnest.  During its continuance there has been gradual prosperity, the church now numbering about 120 communicants, and the congregation reaching an average of between three and four hundred.  There is a large Sunday-school, with, including infants, 250 scholars, attended by a goodly staff of teachers: morning and afternoon, under the superintendence of Mr. S. Hicks.  The form of service is what is understood as Congregational, and the Congregational Hymn-book is used.  An organ well suited to the dimensions of the building is efficiently employed by Mr. Charles Wetton, Jun., in aid of the devotional singing, which seems to lose nothing of its congregational life and character by the presence of the instrument.  Divine Service is held on the Sabbath at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., and in the schoolroom during the week, on Monday and Wednesday evenings, at 7.30.  A Communion service on the first Sunday in every month.  There are at present four deacons, Messrs. Hicks, Ellerton, W. Knowles, and Wetton, Sen.  The locality of this chapel is one which furnishes ample scope for Christian labour and extension on every side.  The district in the heart of which it stands, that of All Saints’, has a population of 20,747, according to the figures of the recent census, and it is the only Congregational place of worship within the bounds.


This is an iron church, situate in the Talbot-road, Notting-hill, and a few steps only from and on the same side of the road as “All Saints’” Church.  It has the same general features as all the iron buildings, but is larger than most of them, having an end gallery, and affording ample accommodation for one thousand persons.  The north end or chancel is occupied with a platform, which serves as a pulpit, and the benches of the auditorium come close to it.  It is well warmed with a stove, and lit with plain gas pendants; and altogether has a very comfortable appearance.  The history of this building must be traced in connexion with the career of Mr. Gordon Forlong, a name now well known in and beyond the immediate scene of his labours.  This gentleman is a Scotch barrister, who, a few years ago (in 1856), felt moved to give up the pursuit of his profession for the work of an evangelist.  His endeavours to make known the Gospel appear to have been highly appreciated in his native Aberdeenshire; and were soon sought for in different parts of Scotland and in Edinburgh, where Mr. Forlong spent some time.  After a trial, however, he found that the condition of an itinerant preacher, with a family, became impracticable, and resolved on seeking a settled charge in London.  Here his first appearance was in the Victoria-hall, Archer-street, in October, 1867.  The hall, which he hired on his own responsibility, was generally well attended at his services, and continued to be used by him until 1869.  In the latter half of that year, the present building was secured at a cost in all of 2,000l., to be liquidated by instalments, there being also a ground-rent of 96l. per annum.  Apart from a little aid which Mr. Forlong has drawn from his friends in the North and elsewhere, the whole financial obligation of this enterprise has rested with himself and the friends who have been inclined to assist him on the spot.  That it has been a great struggle is not surprising.  At the end of the first year there was a balance on the wrong side of the sheet to the amount of 476l. 1s. 9d., which, being paid by the minister, left the total amount advanced by him for the church 714l. 9s. 6d.  This, it may be hoped, has been ere now discharged by the congregation; more especially as up to the present time, the minister’s services, both at the Hall and in the new church, have received no remuneration.  There are about 150 sittings, let at from 4s. to 30s. per seat per annum; and there are church-boxes for weekly offerings and various collections through the year.  This together may be considered a sufficient financial basis to work upon, in order to place the concern, not long hence, in a free and prosperous condition.

Mr. Gordon Forlong rejects the title of Reverend.  Having never obtained or sought ordination in any church, he looks upon himself as a lay preacher of the Gospel, called and set apart by God only; and treats with indifference and even contemns all ministerial titles and peculiar functions, as looking in the direction of priestcraft, which he abhors.  He has, from the first, taken his special mission in the neighbourhood to be to oppose Ritualism, which he found developing itself on his arrival, and to call together a people to exemplify spiritual religion.  To these objects he has certainly confined himself with great steadiness, and not without success.  A number of persons, it is said, find refuge at the “Tabernacle” who have been alienated from their mother Church hard by through Ritualistic practices; and the truth of this statement, it appears, cannot be challenged.  The character of the church and congregation which Mr. Forlong has formed is non sectarian, and does not allow itself to be called either Baptist, Congregational, or Wesleyan, or anything p. 59else but the Church of Christ; although the mode of conducting the service may be described as a free adaptation of any and all of these.  Along with the reading of the Scriptures there is exposition.  The hymns used are gathered from all the Nonconformist collections, under the title of “Psalms and Hymns,” published by Elliott, of Tichborne-street.  It contains selections from the principal writers—Watts, Doddridge, Toplady, Wesley, &c.  One we heard sung was one of the finest and most impassioned of the latter author, commencing—

O Love Divine, how sweet thou art!
When shall I find my willing heart
   All taken up by thee?
I thirst, I faint, I die to prove
The greatness of redeeming love,
   The love of Christ to me!

This was sung by the congregation to a lively tune and with good devotional effect.  At the close of this, the preacher read a number of requests for special prayer from members of the congregation for specific objects stated on the paper, connected with their personal or family experience, and some of thanksgiving for former prayers answered.  This took considerable time, and was followed by a brief petition, giving a general utterance to these supplications.  The sermon was extempore, and founded upon Psalm xxiii.  Probably it should be termed a free address, intended to bring out, by scriptural illustration, the character of the Redeemer as the “Great Shepherd.”  Mr. Forlong does not appear to believe in the ordinary style of sermonising, or “philosophising” on distinct portions or mottoes of Scripture; and has adopted the plan of turning his audience into a great Bible class.  They follow him systematically through chapter and verse from beginning to end, and the preacher simply connects the sense of the passages, and pauses here and there to enforce a passing thought.  The expositor, however, is animated (as most Scotchmen are), and familiar in his illustrations; and as to Scripture itself his system is highly instructive.  The sermon lasts about forty minutes.  There were about 400 present, on a very inclement morning.  There is a Sunday-school attached, with a good voluntary staff of teachers, conducted morning and afternoon in the Golborne-Hall, having 200 children of both sexes.  The public services are, Sunday morning at eleven; evening at seven; and prayer-meeting on Thursday evening.  Communion service on the first Sunday in the month at the morning service, and the second Sunday at the evening service.  This service is administered without written form, and by handing round the bread and wine to the communicants in their seats.  All religious persons are admitted to it by introduction to the minister.


A small plain brick edifice, built in the old, familiar Grecian style, and situated in Fowell-street, in the Potteries, Notting-hill.  The building is a square; and has in the interior on three sides a gallery, the other being occupied with a platform for the preacher.  In all, ground floor and galleries, there is accommodation for about 200 people.  On a memorial stone outside is the following: “This stone was laid August 2, 1864, by J. Fowell, Esq., who kindly gave the land, Rev. J. Phillips, Superintendent Minister.  J. Carrud, Architect and Builder.”  The chapel is connected with what is called the “Second London” Primitive Methodist Circuit, in which there are about a dozen different localities associated, and of which the Rev. Mr. Toulson is the present superintendent minister, having with him four colleagues.  As one of the earlier branches from the old Wesleyan body—dating as far back as 1812—the “Primitives,” as their adopted name implies, conceive that they follow more closely in the steps of Mr. Wesley than the parent body.  Nevertheless their doctrines and their practices are precisely the same, except in a few minor matters, which it would seem impossible to trace to a Wesley origin.  Camp-meetings was the question upon which they first separated from the conference, which disallowed them; but this peculiarity has much declined of late years.  Female preaching was another peculiarity, and at one time female preachers were frequently found upon their plans; but this, too, may be said to have well nigh passed away.  In general church arrangements and working they assimilate to the old body in everything, except in the constitution of their Conference, in which there is a considerable difference.  The Conference proper of Wesleyanism is composed entirely of ministers, but preceded by “General Committees,” where the laity are admitted.  In the Primitive Methodist Connexion, the Conference itself is composed of both ministers and laymen, and the latter are in the proportion of two to one of the former.  The two bodies, however, work side by side without antagonism, but it may be said also without much fraternising.  The social status and monetary power of the two communities are widely different.  The Primitives are poor, their chapels are of the least costly kind, and their ministers have barely a subsistence, yet are they highly respectable in their order, and exert themselves with vigour and enthusiasm in their calling.  One of the junior ministers, the Rev. Mr. Knipe, was officiating in Fowell-street, and offered extempore prayer with an ardour, read with a homely emphasis, and preached with a demonstration of manner that can seldom be heard except in a Primitive Methodist chapel.  His congregation consisted of about 70 or 80 of the adult population, respectable-looking poor people, by no means the lowest class to be found in the Potteries.  The latter is not the class p. 60that attend either church or chapel.  The society, or the church proper, consists of from 50 to 70 persons, recognised as members of class.  There is a Sunday-school with about 80 children, held in the morning and afternoon.  The services are on Sunday at 11 a.m. and 6.30 p.m.; Wednesday, 7 p.m.; prayer-meetings, Sunday morning at 7, and on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings at 7.  The society, according to Methodist custom, contributes its quota towards the support of the ministry by the weekly pence of the members, quarterly contributions, and collections.


The place of worship known by this name is situated in the Bosworth-road, Upper Westbourne-park, or, more properly, in Kensal New Town.  It is in the midst of a mass of new houses, either completed or in progress.  It was opened for worship in June, 1870.  The Rev. H. W. Meadows, a minister from Mr. Spurgeon’s College, first instituted services in a room in the neighbourhood, from which he progressed to the building of this chapel, at an entire cost of 360l.  The place is far larger and more commodious than this sum would seem to indicate; and it impresses one with how much can be done for 360l.  Of course, the structure is not imposing, but of a plain and useful type, having more the appearance of a public hall, but the interior is solidly fitted with benches.  There is a good platform pulpit, with a gallery behind it, flanked on one side with a minister’s vestry.  It is comfortably warmed by a stove in the centre, and well lit by a set of neat gas-pendants from the beams of the roof.  A debt of 200l. remains, which it is hoped will shortly be liquidated.  Accommodation is given for 400 persons; but the attendance, when largest (in the evening), does not as yet generally exceed 150; and there are about thirty members in church fellowship.  Mr. Meadows and his friends have had difficulties to contend with on the spot, as one or two small preaching-rooms near conducted by persons of the same persuasion would seem to show.  He has evidently had uphill work; and it was not until the 18th of January, 1872, that a church was finally formed and a settlement of his pastorate arrived at; and on January 28 in the evening he held his first ordinance of baptism by immersion.  The cause is regarded as a branch from Westbourne-grove Baptist Church, and as under the particular notice and care of the Rev. W. G. Lewis.  The financial support is from pew-rents and weekly offerings, with occasional aid; but the minister has never yet derived the benefit of a salary.  The services are, on Sundays: Prayer-meeting, 7.30 a.m.; preaching at 11 and at 6.30 p.m.  A Sabbath-school is held, in which there are about eighty scholars, at 9.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m.  There is a service also on Wednesday evening at 7.30.  The deacons are Mr. W. S. Hook and Mr. C. Heard.  This is not a Strict Baptist church, but adopts the open communion.


The memorial stone of this edifice was laid on June 23, 1868, by James Harvey, Esq., Treasurer of the London Baptist Association; when an address was delivered by the Rev. W. Brock, D.D., of Bloomsbury Chapel.  A meeting followed in the evening, presided over by J. H. Tritton, Esq., when most of the principal ministers representing Nonconformity in West London were present; and among them the Rev. J. A. Aston, M.A., the then catholic-spirited Incumbent of St. Stephen’s Church, which is situated close to the chapel.  The immediate site is in the Cornwall-gardens, Gloucester-road, and near the Gloucester-road Railway-station, one of the most eligible sites that could be selected, in the midst of one of the newest and choicest suburbs of the metropolis.  The neighbourhood included between the Brompton-road and Queen’s-gate in one direction, and the Cornwall and Fulham-roads in the other, has few rivals in or around London.  It includes the vicinity of South Kensington Museum, Cromwell-road, Onslow-square, Onslow-gardens; Gloucester-road, Queen’s-gate, Victoria-road, &c.  It was here that the Rev. Samuel Bird, after having laboured for some time at the Hornton-street Tabernacle, and subsequently at the Avenue-place Room, Kensington, conceived the idea of erecting a chapel.  Having taken a lease of the land, with a right of pre-emption after a specified period, he proceeded to build.  Messrs. Searle and Sons were the architects, and Mr. W. Higgs the builder, and in due course it was opened for Divine worship.  At first it seemed as though Nonconformity in South Kensington was about to make an onward movement; but whether from any social peculiarity in the locality, or personal peculiarity in the minister, or from the circumstance of the opening and enterprising of two or three more new churches in the same part, we cannot pretend to say; but certain it is that the new Baptist church, ere yet it was scarcely formed, suddenly collapsed.  After about two years’ effort, the minister departed and the chapel was closed.  It has remained closed to the present time (Feb., 1872); and is now announced to be sold by auction at the City Mart, by Messrs. Fox and Bousfield, on the 14th inst.  Its future history therefore cannot p. 61for the moment be predicted.  It is an affecting sight to see so handsome a building deserted; and on visiting it for the purpose of a survey, an aged person, formerly, as we learned from himself, a member of the congregation, and who now seemed not far from the better world, was pensively whiling away the quiet morning in the fresh air around the silent temple.  He was sadly deploring the desolation and abandonment of his Zion; and seemed to have his own theory as to the cause of the failure, of which he made no secret.  The building is one of the completest, most commodious and effective chapels to be met with around London.  It is in brick with Bath-stone dressings, and designed generally in the early geometrical Gothic style of architecture; and has been greatly beautified by the mortgagee, since it was closed to the public, by the erection of a handsome tower and spire; and the facilities of the interior have been also increased by the erection of a gallery.  It now affords accommodation for 1,000 persons.  It is substantially fitted with modern pewing and pulpit, and has an excellent baptistry, vestry, large schoolroom, and apparatus for warming and lighting.  There are three front entrances with lobbies, two communicating by staircases with the gallery, and the centre one with the body of the building.  There are also two side entrances; and three handsome lamp-posts adorn the frontage.  It must have been heart-breaking to be the instrument of rearing such an edifice, and so soon to be compelled to relinquish it.  For some time past the Incumbent of St. Stephen’s has been using the spacious schoolroom underneath the ground-floor of the chapel for a day-school.


Divine Service is held at the Kensington Workhouse, for the inmates, on Sundays, at 9.30 a.m. and 3 p.m.  At present there are no other services; but a new code is now being introduced which will effect a very desirable change in this respect.  At a recent meeting of the Guardians, the “Visiting Committee” made the following report and recommendation to the Board: “The Visiting Committee having in consideration the resolutions passed by the Board on the 1st of February inst., and having also considered the letter from the present Chaplain of the 14th inst., in which he states his inability to devote a much larger portion of his time than he has done for the last twenty five years, resolve that it is desirable that the Chaplain of the Workhouse and Infirmary give his whole time to the spiritual care of the inmates in the same way as the clergyman of a parish, and that, considering the numbers of this house and the work to be done, the least salary should be 150l. per annum.”  This resolution is adopted by the Board, and will henceforth be acted upon—an urgently necessary improvement, although it may come to involve a further change in the chaplaincy.  The Rev. Dr. Frost, formerly of the Kensington Grammar School, has held the appointment for a quarter of a century.  When he first began he had the spiritual care of less than 150 inmates.  The number gradually rose until two years ago they amounted to 800.  At the present time, March, 1872, the house contains 760.  It will be seen, therefore, that the religious requirements of this large number are quite beyond the provision made under the old system; and the Guardians have acted under a strong sense of duty in bringing about a thorough reformation.  It was not until two years ago, when the inmates were 800, that any increase of salary was asked for on behalf of the Chaplain.  Previous to that it stood at 50l. per annum; since then it has reached 65l.  Double this sum will enable a chaplain to give a principal part of his working time to the objects of his calling in the house, and to bring a more decisive moral influence to bear upon the inmates.  The paucity of religious service in this workhouse up to this time can be looked upon in no other light than a calamity; and may serve in some measure to explain the fact that there are so many refractory and misbehaved paupers taken hence to the magistrate at Hammersmith for correction.  We cannot but think there might have been, there ought to have been, at least one week-night service instituted long ago; and if the Guardians were not in a position to pay for this, among the numerous clergy in Kensington some one might have been found who would occasionally have taken duty gratuitously.  But we fear that up to the present time it has occurred to few to reflect that the souls of inmates required a fair amount of attention as well as their bodies.


Little Charles-street Primitive Methodist Rooms.—Here, in a narrow street leading out of Kensington-square southward, is a very humble building—apparently a former dwelling house—converted into what are termed “Little Charles-street Day and Sunday-schools.”  In the upper room the preachers of the Primitive Methodist Connexion hold services on Sundays—morning and evening—at eleven and half-past six.  The congregation averages about 40, p. 62and the Sunday-school children number about 60.

Palace-avenue Room.—This is a large room sometimes used for other public purposes, at the rear of the King’s Arms Hotel, High-street, Kensington.  It has lately been engaged on Sundays for religions worship and preaching, on a professedly unsectarian principle.  Hours of service, eleven a.m. and half-past six.

Shaftesbury Hall.—At this hall, situated at the end of the Portland-road, Notting-hill, a mission preaching service is conducted on Sunday evenings at seven, by Mr. William Winton, attached to the City Mission in that district.  Mr. Winton is an earnest man, and addresses himself to the working classes of the Potteries and vicinity, and generally has the hall, which will hold about 100, well filled at his services.

Blechynden-street Mission-school.—Here are day and Sunday-schools for the poor children of the Potteries, situated in the lowest part of that poor district.  It is a separate building, and answers well its purpose.  On Sundays, morning and afternoon, there is school, with an average of 30 to 40 in attendance, including infants.  In the evening, at seven, there is preaching by Mr. Norris, a missionary in that part, who gathers a congregation of from 60 to 80.  In the day-school, there are about 120 scholars, boys and girls.

Golborne Hall, Golborne-road.—This hall, situated in the new Golborne-road, Upper Westbourne-park, is capable of seating 200 people, and has been opened on Sundays for some twelve months past for Divine Service.  It was first engaged for mission services by a clergyman of the Church of England, but is now held by the Rev. Mr. Davis, a Nonconforming preacher, formerly of the Kilburn-park Chapel.  Here is something like the nucleus of a society or church, professing to be unsectarian.  There is preaching at 11 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. on Sundays, and at 7 on Tuesday evenings, and the Sacrament is administered every first Sunday evening in the month.  All the seats are free, and the cause is supported by voluntary weekly offerings.  In the morning the congregation contains but few adults; but in the evening it reaches an average of 80 or 90.  There is a Sunday-school, with about forty scholars of both sexes in attendance.

Wesleyan Preaching-rooms, Silchester road.—The Wesleyans formerly carried on service in the Silchester-hall, which they hired, but about six months ago adjourned to the present rooms, upon the occasion of the purchase of the hall by the Roman Catholics.  Thus excluded from a very commodious place, the present rooms, adjoining Silchester-villas, which are not convenient, are only held temporarily, until a chapel or a better place can be obtained, for funds to provide which an appeal is now being made.  There is a good Sunday-school attached, with 300 children on the books, and an average attendance of 100 in the morning and 200 in the afternoon.  Between 30 and 40 members compose the society, and the adult public services are attended by numbers varying from 30 to 50 in the morning, and 50 to 80 in the evenings.  The “rooms” are included in the Bayswater Wesleyan “Circuit,” and the preaching is arranged for on the plan of that circuit, and principally done by the “local,” with an occasional visit from the itinerant preachers.


The Convent of the Order of St. Clare.—A convent of this order of nuns, sometimes termed Clarisses, but more commonly spoken of as the “Poor Clares,” is planted on a fine site, near two acres in extent, in Notting-hill.  It comprises two blocks of buildings, one more in the interior of the grounds, and the other abutting upon the main, opposite to Edmund-terrace in the Cornwall-road.  Excepting this part, by which communication with the outside world is kept up, through a low, strong, cloistered doorway, the whole premises are enclosed within high brick walls, and along the Ladbroke-grove-road the whole length, from its junction with Cornwall road to that of Blenheim-crescent.  Entering by the low door in the Cornwall-road, the visitor finds himself in a shaded vestibule or hall, and having directly on his left the entrance of the convent chapel.  This chapel occupies only a small space, being capable of containing, if filled, about fifty worshippers.  It is profusely decorated on all sides with images of the Virgin and saints.  It has a small altar, and on the right a darkened sacristry.  The most noticeable thing—the thing mostly felt—is the profound silence reigning, which the hushed movement of the priest, whose white surplice was just visible in the gloom, only served to make more manifest.  The religious offices are performed by priests from the Catholic Church of St. Mary’s, Bayswater.  This order of nuns was founded in 1212, by St. Clara—from whom it derives its name—a native of Assisi, in Italy.  She adopted the rule of St. Francis in all its rigour, and her followers are absolutely forbidden to have any possessions.  There are also other peculiarities in their rules, habit of dress, &c.  Those who enter by this door surrender all ownership of earthly treasure, and doom themselves to perpetual poverty; and in the end, on attaining the higher degree of devotion, sever themselves from all contact with and even from the sight of the outer world.  In this convent at Notting-hill there are at present about twenty nuns, who are pretty equally divided into the two classes of “Externals” and “Internals,” or, in other words, into those who maintain subdued communications with beyond the walls, p. 63and those who are strictly and unchangeably confined within.  Very little farther is or can be known of them.  The sisters work with their own hands, and, under the direction of the Lady Superior, do all their domestic service according to a prescribed order.  Great strictness of discipline is understood to prevail.  On ringing at the low door, which is darkened from its depth in the wall, the blind of a small grated window was withdrawn, and a pair of lustrous dark eyes peered through.  Anon the door is softly opened; and, in answer to a deferential inquiry as to whether it might be practicable for an outsider to come and look within, the gentle portress—then acting as such in her turn—promptly and with a cheerful air gave permission to enter and see the chapel.  This nun carried herself so pleasantly, and answered our queries so readily and agreeably, as almost to ignore the impression so common on these occasions, of secret restraint.

The Convent of the Franciscans.—This has been established in the northern part of the Portobello-road, Notting-hill, about ten years.  It is a substantial brick structure, entered by strong conventual doors, and sufficiently enclosed from the profane world.  We were politely admitted by the kind sister who attended as portress, to whom we made known our object.  “Are you a Catholic?” she asked; “Yes,” was the reply.  But the quick-witted sister at once detected the expression of countenance with which the answer was given, and said, smilingly, “Ah, a Protestant Catholic.”  We readily accepted this position, and were ushered into a neat waiting-room, pending consultation by our guide with the “rev. mother,” apparently with the view of clearing herself from all responsibility in the matter.  In about five minutes she returned with permission for us to see the chapel.  This we entered by what is termed the door and chapel of the “Externals.”  The compartment is divided into three parts, the outer court, a small chapel in itself appropriated for “Externals,” which in this case means visitors, or such as may occasionally be tarrying in the convent, but who are not really entered in the order.  The other part, which resembles the choir in an ordinary church, is sacred to the sisters themselves.  The chancel divides the two, which has the altar and the usual furniture, and in the background an effective fresco by Westlake, portraying the “Annunciation” and “Coronation” of the Virgin.  This we were allowed to approach; but when we made for the “Nuns’ Choir” below, we were impulsively caught back, and told that none “ever entered there” but the “sisters” themselves.  We apologised and retired.  There are now between twenty and thirty nuns at this establishment, who appear to enjoy slightly more life than their sisters the “Poor St. Clares.”  In a remote room a piano was being played, accompanying a clear, strong voice; and the corridors and apartments through the silence of which it rang were light and cheerful.  The order established here is not the strictest sect of St. Francis.  The “Poor Clares” are supposed to be that; but the “Franciscans” correspond more with the “Brethren of the Community,” who in the 14th century insisted on mitigating the more austere rules of the founder.  Although the recluse life and the vow of poverty are upon them, in practice the severity of these rules is relaxed to meet, in some sort, the varying temperament of human nature.  Attached to the convent, at the next door, is a school for poor children, called the “Saint Elizabeth’s Home.”  This is entirely managed by the sisters, and contains at present 66 girls, ranging in age from four to fourteen years.  The religious ceremonies are here also performed by priests from St. Mary’s, Bayswater.

St. Joseph’s Home of the Little Sisters.—Of all the conventual establishments of the Roman Catholics in West London this is in some respects the most remarkable.  It is situated exactly opposite the former building in Portobello-road, a large brick edifice, giving one the impression of a workhouse or hospital, and in fact not unlike them in its objects.  It has been founded about four years, and subsists entirely upon voluntary charity.  It is a home for the aged and infirm poor of both sexes, and has at the present time no less than 210 inmates.  It is under the management of the nuns of the place, known as the “Little Sisters,” which may also be considered as a sect of the order of St. Francis.  The Franciscans were first called by the saint Fraterculi, “Little Brethren,” in token of their humility.  For a like reason the corresponding order of nuns take the appellation “Little Sisters.”  At this place they are foreigners, and of a humble grade.  In the former cases the sisters we saw were English, and refined in their deportment and speech; in the present they appeared of another class, but adapted to the work they have to do.  The “Rev. Mother,” who is the “matron” of the place, came, with a meek young nun in attendance, to converse with us.  She was extremely reticent, and inquisitive as to our motive, concerning which we found it difficult to satisfy her.  She, however, readily conducted us through the place, the attendant nun following closely.  The chapel is large for a private one, and great care and some expense have been bestowed upon the chancel, altar, and little side chapels—devoted respectively to the Virgin and St. Joseph.  Several of the old people were sitting about, saying their Ave Marias, and counting their beads, and a young foreign priest knelt at the railings enclosing the main altar.  Perceiving us about to leave without bowing to the altar, the “Rev. Mother,” who had already bowed, turned and bowed again several times, as though in atonement for our omission.  The dormitories are large and airy, and closely fitted up with beds down each side, having plain patchwork counterpanes, made with charitable hands, all after the same pattern.  In a large room below many of the old men were sitting about at leisure, reading books and newspapers, with which charity accommodates them.  In another large p. 64compartment the old women were at tea, served up to them in good-sized basins, with plain bread, and butter, if any, invisible.  They seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves, and rose politely as we passed through.  The wards of the infirmary presented the most affecting sight of all.  The inmates here were not numerous, and all—with one or two exceptions—very old bedridden people, who appeared to be dying from natural exhaustion in the ordinary course, and, as some of them tearfully and hopefully said, in answer to our few words of encouragement, “Waiting their change.”  There were more men than women; and two or three of the males were about in middle life.  One of these, the Matron told us, had been in bed for twenty-five years.  The “Little Sisters” provide homes for the aged poor, professedly “without distinction of religion;” although, of course, all the internal arrangements are Roman Catholic.  They appeal for help to the public, and say they accept “any contributions in money, food, clothing, &c.”  They have no funds for the maintenance of the home but what is thus regularly supplied.


St. Peter’s, Notting-hi ll.—A second visit to this church enabled us to hear a sermon preached by the respected Vicar himself, the Rev. John Robbins, D.D.  The text was taken from 2 Tim. i. 12: ‘For I know whom I have believed.’  The subject of the discourse was Faith; and after a brief exordium, illustrating that faith was man’s own act under the influence of Divine grace, and improved by the exercise of a man’s own faculties, the preacher proceeded to show that when God commands us to believe, and when he is pleased to make our faith a condition of salvation, it would seem that faith cannot be “some magical and arbitrary something which suddenly falls into the soul,” but a thing which in some measure depends on ourselves.  Faith, in all its stages and degrees, “always” depended on the will.  The principle was illustrated by the experience of two persons starting in life, each having a certain faith in justice and honesty derived from early education—the one yields to the temptations of evil, and the other resists, the result being that the first loses all faith, whilst the other grows in it to perfection—retaining “the moral ideal and will” to a “high and happy development.”  Each of these characters is responsible for the degree of his faith, that “depending on the action of his own will.”  Faith, then, was strengthened by fidelity; and he would say to them, “Live for holiness, truth, justice, the good, the beautiful, the true, and then they would surely believe that they were not mere cold abstractions of theology, but the most real of all things!  Let them now go to the very core of religious faith.  If the Gospel told them to believe in Jesus Christ, was it not that Jesus Christ is truth, was holiness, love, living and incarnate?  The more they followed him the more they would believe in him.  For instance, there is one who as yet sees in Jesus a mere man, but his doctrine attracts and seems of a beauty incomparable.  He would not like to pass for a man without faith, yet when he analysed his faith he found that it reduced itself to a mere belief in Christ’s moral teaching.  That was very little, said some of them.  But he was not one to despise little beginnings.  Let him act up to his faith, and strive to conform his own life to the sublimity of Christ’s morality, and keep that object courageously and unflinchingly in view, and he would not need to continue this long before he would be forced to admit that he was very far from his end, and that the holiness of Christ’s life completely and utterly transcends the natural strength of mere humanity.  It would not then require a great effort in him to believe that the Scripture speaks truly when it speaks of the fall of man and the slavery of sin.  He would defy him to examine his state long before a voice from the depths of his own heart told him that he too needed pardon.  Following this it would bring him to the foot of the cross, and then, casting a glance of holy self-abnegation (which was faith in her truest aspect), he would gratefully adore the divine wisdom which was able to reconcile on the cross, justice and mercy; and, ravished by a pardon which alone could satisfy the conscience, he would rise the redeemed of the Lord, and able to say with St. Paul, ‘I know in whom I have believed.’”  After some further discriminating views as to the possible variations in human experience in the attainment of saving faith, the preacher concluded with a pointed application of the truth to his hearers, the sermon lasting about forty minutes.  As a preacher, Dr. Robbins is earnest and intelligent.  He uses his MS., but does so freely, without apparently being trammelled by it.  As we before remarked upon his excellent reading of the Scriptures, we can now record a similar view of his pulpit work.  His manner is natural and impressive, and his style fresh; whilst there is evident painstaking to think out a subject for his audience, and to enable them to follow him along the course of his argument.  His congregation is large, and, in appearance, of the more wealthy and educated classes; and his mode of teaching the experience of true faith as above was probably an adaptation to the mental habitude and circumstances of his hearers.  We can conceive a different class of audience whom Dr. Robbins would soon discover to require quite another way of putting the process of religious experience.  But it is surely a great part of the wisdom of the Christian teacher to find out the readiest line by which those to whom he is ministering can be led to Christ.  Yet, the impression is probably correct that the Rev. Doctor is in theology of the “Broad Church School.”

p. 65The Pro-Cathedral, Kensington.—At the time of our former sketch of this place, the principal preacher did not occupy the pulpit, and we therefore now append a note on Monsignor Capel, who is unquestionably a leading attraction at the Pro-Cathedral.  This rev. father appears about forty years of age, and may be said to be very superior in everything as a preacher, except that in which, after all, we must conclude it is of the highest moment that a preacher should attain perfection—viz., the Gospel.  To say that he does not preach the Gospel would not be quite correct; but there is just so much that is not the Gospel intermingling in his discourses, that we much fear that in many the good wheat must be choked by the tares.  As a divine, he is, of course, framed upon the Roman Catholic system of theology—and all that can be said is that his preaching does not illustrate the peculiarities of Popery more strongly than the fundamental truths of the Christian religion.  To a cultivated theological ear the latter will form the staple of his discourses, and the former the colouring incidents.  And they are there in sufficient degree to show that Monsignor Capel studiously identifies all the errors of Romanism with the Gospel—enough to a decided Protestant ear to mar the better effect of his eloquence.  To hear him makes one grieve that such elocutionary powers as he manifestly possesses are not confined altogether to the illustration of those great verities of the Gospel upon which he often descants with feeling and power.  But he is trammelled by Romish dogma and tradition.  It is impossible to deny that Monsignor Capel is an orator of no mean order.  We have heard greater pulpit orators certainly, but seldom one who, upon the whole, has been more pleasing in his own style.  He has not only the natural gift of voice and manner, but he has culture, which together, if he were in any other than the Roman Catholic Church, would probably open his way to extensive influence.  He is now, however, ministering to a congregation of four or five hundred in the morning, and six or seven in the evening, in great measure of a very miscellaneous and unsettled character.  He preaches quite extempore; but such is the order maintained throughout his discourse, and such the flow of appropriate language, that an idea of the most careful preparation is conveyed to the hearer.  We are creditably informed by those who know the habits of the rev. gentleman that he is a very hard worker; that, in fact, he works “night and day” at sermonising; hence no doubt the freshness and general excellence of his pulpit orations.  Such harmonious arrangement of thought, with such general felicity of diction, continued, as a rule, for from forty-five minutes to an hour, can only come of mental labour in the study.  The discourse we heard was from the words “The Prince of Peace,” being the morning of Christmas-eve.  After an appropriate introduction, the preacher proceeded to enlarge on the following topics: I. Christ was the only source of that principle on which peace could be obtained by man.  Under this head the enmity between God and man, by reason of original sin, and reconciliation by the atoning death of Christ were topics fully brought out; and an affecting appeal was made to the congregation on the “vanity” of seeking peace in earthly or conventional sources without coming to the cross.  II. Christ was the sole undivided object of our affections, and as such was the centre of, the Prince of Peace to his people.  Here the ways in which the Saviour seeks to win the affections of his people were treated—even, the preacher said, to the “multiplying himself upon our altars.”  In view of such tokens of condescending love, the uncharitableness of Christians, and their frequent cynical criticisms on their fellow-Christians, “even from the Pope down to the peasant,” were sharply rebuked, and the habitual imitation of Christ’s own love and tenderness enforced: for thus were all men to know that they were his disciples—that they “loved one another.”  III. Christ was the Prince of Peace in that he prescribes the rule by which we are to follow peace.  We must submit to his authority in this; and this authority he had placed in his Church.  Many sought it outside the Church, in pursuing their own fancies, or the opinions of other men; but to them there was no peace.  And even within the Church, although “the great body of Catholics held the truth,” yet there was a vast amount of perverseness with some, and a sad tendency to follow their private judgment, or the teaching of some preacher or order, rather than the directions of the Church.  But the Church alone had authority to teach, and if we would have peace of soul we must be ruled by those fundamental laws of authority reposed in her.  She taught that the royal road to peace was by the Cross.  The crown of thorns must be upon our heads.  “There must be bodily mortification as well as interior mortification.”  He advised them to try a week of mortification—willingly to take up their cross—they would then see if peace would not follow.  With this they were to connect prayer; prayer, and not vain repetitions.  They were to struggle as earnestly for this divine peace as they had often done for some earthly object.  These views were expanded and applied with great force of language and facility of illustration, together with a pathos in appeal which led one to lament that it had not a sounder basis of biblical teaching to rest upon.  But Romish dogmas and discipline were often put in the place of the free and open word of God, and bodily exercise in the place of penitent faith unto salvation.  Then as to all the eloquence, the fine, flowing sentences, the vocal modulations, we were inclined to ask, “Cui bono?”  It seemed after all but beating the air—a strange confusion of Bible truth and man’s inventions and conceits; as distinct from sound reason as from sound doctrine.

St. Mark’s, Notting-hill.—Since our first article on this church we have availed ourselves of a second visit.  The Rev. E. K. Kendall, the vicar, of whose usual ministry we had heard very favourable accounts, preached the sermon.  Being p. 66the first Sunday after Epiphany, the rev. gentleman took his text from Luke ii. and 51st, “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them.”  The preacher had on the previous day discoursed on the visit of the Magi to the infant Saviour, and remarked upon the humility of these learned men in the presence of the Babe of Bethlehem.  He now passed to the still greater example of humility, presented in the life and conduct of the Redeemer himself, who dwelt at Nazareth in humble subjection to his parents, and visibly grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.  His mother, the lowliest of saints, might well think of these things, and wonder at the strange dealings of Providence which led her to exaltation by such a way of humility.  The present season was full of the same teaching—viz., that “Before honour is humility.”  There was not only the lowly mother called “Blessed” because the Most High had done great things for her; not only the humble wise men, laying aside the pride of human learning before the great mystery of Godliness, but there was the still more wonderful abasement of Him who is the Son of God, but still emptied himself of his glory and took on him the form of a servant, made in the likeness of man, and prepared for his Divine work by the life of simple obedience in the carpenter’s home in despised Nazareth.  Strange it may seem to us—strange in this nineteenth century, that humility should be thus set before us as pre-eminently a Christian grace, and that the title and admission to the blessings of the Christian covenant should be still declared, “Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall in no case enter the kingdom of heaven.”  “Be ye clothed with humility.”  The saints in all ages had learned as a first lesson on entering the Divine Presence, that the only seemly attitude of a sinner is one of self-abasement.  He would not have them to think that the religion of Christ was one suitable only for a world in its infancy and not in its manhood, as some in their pride taught; and therefore he would enforce the absolute necessity of all being clothed in the same humble garment.  The language of Scripture was undeniable in its inculcation of a teachable and childlike spirit.  The Old Testament was as clear upon this point as the New, both alike insisting on the duty of obedience not only in a child, but in a man, and this not only to the ordinance and revelation of God, but even for the Lord’s sake to the ordinance of man.  Ambition as such was in every one condemned.  It is the duty of man to use and not abuse the powers and gifts which come from God; and if he thus becomes great as the world reckons greatness, it is only because God has given him the power, and the responsibility of using that power well.  But those who measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves among themselves were not wise.  Christianity may be summed up in three words, Repentance, Faith, Obedience, and each of those implies that the man is humble—humble for his own faults, which abase him in dust and ashes; humble as to his own understanding, submitting to believe that which he cannot see; humble as to his own judgment—even in practical matters content to obey rather than behave as may best suit his own notions or convenience.  Was it not so, that this humility many would consider somewhat out of date.  True a man of extreme self-assertion was apt to wound the pride of his neighbours, and so come to be despised, especially if his pretence were without solid qualities to back it.  But did we on the whole esteem and admire those who are humble-minded; were we not too apt to judge as if such a quality were a sign of weakness in its possessor?  Or that, however lovely it might appear, it is not one of those virtues which ordinary men can afford to cultivate, but rather as a hothouse plant or tender exotic; too frail to stand the rough blasts of the world?  Were there not tendencies ahead which seem to show that humility is thought by some a virtue which might beseem the babyhood of civilisation; but that it is ours to practice a mode of thinking and acting natural to its manhood?  Repentance well enough if it only meant living by experience of the past; faith well enough for those devoid of critical faculties, but certainly not to be exacted for any dogmas or doctrines even from the unlearned, who should be left free to their own opinions; obedience well enough as a thing to be claimed so far as society may agree to lay down certain rules for its own protection or benefit, to which all citizens must submit as a matter simply of mutual convenience, not at all as a matter of duty.  He (the preacher) did not exaggerate when he said that such were the evil tendencies which seemed to him to be at work among us, contrary alike to the principles of true religion and true wisdom, repeating in a form suited to our own day the first temptation of our first parents in Eden.  Were they not reminded of the saying of Scripture—that in the last days “perilous times should come; for men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, having the form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof.”  He thought the lessons of the Nativity and Epiphany came as a very wholesome corrective to these tendencies.  The preacher went on to show that the causes of this want of humility were that God was forgotten, and self-abasing views of his holiness were, therefore, not obtained; and that men lost sight of the fact that this humility was a Divine grace, and insisted that it was not to be looked on as littleness, want of enterprise or subtle resource, and certainly not a want of power, and that the greatest of men have been most noted for humility.  A very effective p. 67sermon on the subject was brought to a close by a pointed and affectionate application of the truth, that this humility can alone lead us to true dignity and peace.  As a preacher, Mr. Kendall possesses a style of simple and engaging eloquence, with a clear utterance, one under which it is next to impossible to be inattentive.  Though advantage is taken of the M.S., the sermon is nevertheless preached, and that with considerable expression of manner.  Indeed, we are glad to observe the old style of simply reading over sermons in a perfunctory manner passing out of sight; and Mr. Kendall is a good example of the happy change.  The sermon was not too long or too short but struck the medium well, at the point of thirty-five minutes.  We were pleased in this case with the fine effect of a good pulpit to preach from.  St. Mark’s is one of the best pulpits we have seen, being of noble proportions and commanding, and is a good setting for any preacher who may occupy it.  This is no small matter in church architecture.

St. Augustine’s, South Kensington.—The church of this name, since our former notice, has removed from the temporary iron building then used, to the permanent structure in Queen’s gate.  This was opened in an incomplete condition in September last, the works of the exterior not being finished and the chancel not built.  In consequence of these circumstances the Bishop of London declined to consecrate it, and service is carried on in the nave.  The edifice, when all complete, will have cost about 18,000l., more than one-half of which has yet to be raised.  The building of the chancel is therefore delayed, upon which we understand the Vicar, Mr. Chope, is intending to expend a large sum.  Meanwhile, a space is appropriated for a chancel and choir out of the nave, and under what is to be the chancel-arch.  The architect, Mr. Butterfield, has produced thus far an elegant interior, combined with strength.  Six beautiful columns of alternate blocks of Bath stone and Portland divide the nave on each side from the aisles, and support an equal number of imposing Gothic arcades in Bath-stone, and clerestory of variegated brickwork.  The windows of the clerestory are numerous, and form the only medium of light and ventilation.  The west front exterior is in the Decorated style, built of red and straw-coloured brick, with Bath-stone dressings.  A principal feature is the window tracery, which is elaborately carried out.  The style of the worship is precisely as in the former place, only we do not observe the same punctilio in separating the male and female portion of the audience.  At every repeat of the Gloria Patri, the clergy and choristers turn their backs to the people; the intoning was done, in the purest Gregorian tone, by the Vicar himself, and the Litany was chanted by one of the curates, kneeling in front of the altar with his back to the congregation.  As an instance of the effect of the Ritualistic style on the minds of persons brought up in the plain Christian worship of the Church of England, we may mention that at one part of the service, a gentleman, evidently a stranger from the country, turned and observed to us inquiringly, “I suppose this is a Church of England Church, is it not, Sir?”  He was clearly in perplexity upon the subject, and after he received our answer he looked on with growing astonishment through the whole service.  The sermon was preached by a visiting clergyman; who possessed a very good voice, but which, from some unfortunate peculiarity in its use, did not succeed in conveying to us at the other end of the church one single intelligible sentence.  Apart from sundry not unmusical modulations—alternating with whispers—the whole was a blank even to our somewhat practised ear.  The church has very grave acoustic defects, or the preacher equally grave defects in the management of his vocal organ.  Accommodation is here provided for 1,000 persons.  At the opening service it is recounted by persons present that the celebrant at the communion, at the close of the service, in presence of the people, drank up all the wine that remained, completely turning the chalice bottom upwards, and ate all the bread with scrupulous care.  There is a large metal crucifix fixed upon a block on the altar.  What is the real difference between this and its standing on the altar itself?  It is in “apparent connection with the altar,” and the vicar must know that this is a contravention of the law.  Two huge candle-sticks with candles are upon the altar, and occasionally lit at times “when not wanted for the purpose of giving light.”  This also is a thing not allowed.  Mr. Willis is building an organ for this church at a cost of 1,000l., towards which not 300l. has yet been promised.  Services—Sunday, Communion at 8 a.m.; matins, Litany, and sermon at 11 a.m.; second celebration at 12.30 p.m.; evensong and sermon at 7 p.m.  Week-day matins at 10 a.m.; evensong at 3 p.m.  Saints’ days and Thursdays, at 8 a.m., Holy Communion.  Full choral service on Sundays and the greater holy days.  Christmas-day, choral a.m., and carols at midnight.

St. Matthias, West Brompton.—The nave of this church is now being built, apparently in the same style as that of St. Augustine.  Meanwhile, the temporary structure is used within the outer building shell.  Mr. Haines, since our former notice, has not failed to refine Romewards upon his even then notorious Ritualism.  Some of his immediate neighbours, who occasionally attend his place, have expressed astonishment at his progress.  At the celebration of the Eucharist after a Sunday morning service we ourselves observed that it was difficult in reality to distinguish it from High Mass at the Pro-Cathedral or the Oratory.  There were three priests at the altar, with their backs to the audience, mysteriously manipulating the elements, crossing and recrossing each other, in frequent change of place, bowing each time to the centre, alternately kneeling and rising together, breaking the dumb motions with an occasional priestly murmur, given in exact imitation of the Low Latin monotone of a Romish priest, all varied now and then p. 68with a few stains in solo or chorus from the choir, which was in full force, apparently emulating the Mass music of other places.  All this in the dim light of a shaded chancel, with three sevens of candles burning on altar, flanked by two tall ones on the right and left—twenty-three candles in all—with sundry other movements of symbolical design, and we have the St. Matthias representation of the Mass.  The congregation was a full one for a Communion Service; but in the main composed of young persons, many of whom appeared to be present from curiosity or in the capacity of catechumens.

St. Paul’s Onslow-square.—On a second visit we had the opportunity of hearing the Rev. C. Molyneaux, vicar.  Having heard of his fame as an eloquent and Evangelical minister, we were anxious that the “Index” should not go forth in its separate form without a note which seemed necessary to complete our former account.  Our impression on hearing Mr. Molyneaux was that public report concerning him, had “nothing exaggerated,” nor “set down aught in malice.”  And, indeed, it is noteworthy that the general impression created concerning a minister is seldom far from the truth as to prevailing characteristics, although it may often be amenable to correction on those finer points which require experience and trained appreciation to estimate.  Mr. Molyneaux’s voice is moderately strong only, but his utterance is distinct, and therefore he can be well heard in every part of the church.  He preaches extempore; but has so well prepared his theme, that his thoughts and language flow evenly and briskly on without hindrance or incumbrance to the end.  We can truly say that we have never listened to a minister without a MS. with more of that pleasureable sense which arises from the feeling that he who is addressing us is perfectly free from embarrassment.  Nothing troubles a hearer more than to feel that the preacher has not thoroughly mastered his subject, and therefore is liable at every step to mental perturbation.  We can safely promise any who go to worship at St. Paul’s and to hear the Rev. Capel Molyneaux the most complete immunity from any such infliction.  The address is intelligible to every one, the eloquence is of that home-speaking kind which is most likely to find its way to the heart, and, doubtless, it does reach to the hearts of many; whilst the teaching is in the main of that unmistakable Gospel kind which enlightens without mystifying.  Mr. Molyneaux is at the antipodes from those “priests” who are oft in preaching up the “Church,” the “Clergy,” the “Altar,” much as though they were afraid people would forget their own professional importance.  In the ministry at St. Paul’s all this essential emptiness is scattered to the winds.  The great themes are Christ himself, his redemption for man, his glory, and the future of his faithful people.  On the latter subject the rev. gentleman discoursed on the day in question—“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Rev. xxi. 2.)  The preacher opened with expressions of gratitude that the new Lectionary had enabled them that day, for the first time in the history of their Church, to read under authority from the book of Revelation.  It was to him (the preacher) a remarkable and somewhat discreditable fact that the use of a book of Scripture into which the Holy Spirit had introduced words of special blessing had been, though not intentionally, yet virtually ignored and proscribed in the public service of the Church.  He intended to take advantage of the happy change now brought about to expound to the congregation the heavenly teaching of that important book.  In everything that Mr. Molyneaux said about the general blissful prospects of the faithful every mind would gratefully concur; but even this excellent minister is not without his peculiarities.  If men will have peculiarities of doctrinal views, we had rather far that they refer to the future than to the past, because here men can indulge their fancy with an innocence which they cannot when they take liberty with the accomplished and recorded facts of Bible history.  Prophecy offers a wide scope for the imagination to play in; and Mr. Molyneaux has lively imagination, and gives it a bold flight in dealing with the mystical book.  It was apparent enough that the preacher was a Millennarian; no doubt conscientiously so.  First, he considered the City itself; secondly, its relations to this earth; and thirdly, the general religious purpose and utility of such a revelation.  The preacher declaimed warmly against the “Spiritualists,” who explain everything in a spiritual sense only.  This city was “no shadow,” “no myth,” but “a real city,” “a locality,” “a glorious habitation.”  True there were figurative expressions in describing its “foundations, walls of precious stones, gates,” &c., but all this must represent something.  It indicated a reality, or else we were led astray from beginning to end.  This was evident enough.  But it was not quite so plain to our understanding when speaking of the relations of this city to earth, the preacher represented it as coming literally down to a position “contiguous” to earth, and there being situated with Christ the King and Ruler in it; and, by excessive glory, giving light to the saved nations of the earth, which (the earth) it was emphatically declared would “never be destroyed,” but would continue “for ever and ever.”  This descent of the city was to be the salvation of “the nations” then living; and Israel occupying the foremost place.  It was an error to suppose that the nations of the earth would ever be converted by the preaching of the Gospel, or that there would be anything different to what we witness now, before that great event.  No nation ever had been, no nation as such ever would be, converted until then.  The conversion of individuals would go on, and many now in sin may be and would be converted.  But nothing beyond this.  We confess to feeling a great deal of prophetic confusion under this teaching, because whilst the rev. gentleman was rapidly, and with some appearance of appositeness, quoting passages in p. 69proof his opinions, our mind instinctively reverted to other portions of Scripture which he did not refer to or attempt to explain.  But this, perhaps, he will do on some future occasion.  Thus one could not but think of the 11th verse of the 20th chapter, on the subject of the earth’s abiding—“And I saw a great white Throne and Him that sat upon it: from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them”—and in the very verse preceding the preacher’s text—“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”  It seemed to us a very heavy draw upon the imagination to ask us to believe that the descent of the city was to be a literal fact, without believing the context entitled to a literal accomplishment.  But as our object is not polemical we cannot pursue, if we sometimes permit ourselves to suggest controversy.  In conclusion we may say, notwithstanding some divergence of view in minor matters, how much we esteem the Rev. C. Molyneux as an able and earnest minister on all essential themes of the New Testament, and admire him for his sharply-defined Evangelical type; and as to vestment, declining to change the colour of his pulpit garb from black to white, although advised by the bishops.  If men think there is anything of principle at the bottom of the vestment controversy, they ought certainly to be decided and unflinching on the side they conscientiously take.  But Mr. Molyneux as a Premillennialist is quite another question; and we may be excused for expressing a serious doubt as to the possibility of maintaining the Chiliast theories on Scriptural grounds.

Kensington Palace Chapel.—The palace is always associated with Kensington, being in the very heart of the parish, although strictly speaking not belonging to the parish.  It is this which gives to Kensington the distinction of the “Court suburbs,” although by some ancient eccentricity of events it is really situated in the parish of St. Margaret, Westminster.  Yet it comes properly within our province to notice it here, as far as the “Chapel Royal” is concerned, included in the familiar red brick pile spoken of as Kensington Palace.  It will probably be known to most readers that William III. was the first Royal proprietor and resident of the palace.  In the various alterations that monarch effected, he took care to impress upon the building the plain Dutch style; so that if we may attribute to him the existing chapel before it was used as such first in 1834, there is no ground for surprise at its extremely primitive and unpretending character.  It was the character of the man who breathed his last within those walls.  William was not one with a passion for magnificent palaces; but was as happy and content as his nature would allow in this place in society with his beloved Mary, whose death he lamented with the modest remark, “I cannot but grieve, since I have lost a wife who, during my marriage, has never been guilty of a single indiscretion.”  Queen Anne, both beloved and adored by her subjects, Prince George of Denmark, were much at this palace; also the two first Georges and Queen Caroline, who herself effected most of the improvements in the Royal residence.  It is impossible that we should forget to note in our day, that here her present Majesty passed her early days, and here too she held her first council on acceding to the throne.  In taking a seat in this little chapel, it is difficult to repress, even for higher considerations, a multitude of thoughts which gather around our modern English history.  It has nothing of architectural beauty to boast of, being nothing more nor less than a loft apartment in the palace set apart for Divine service.  The ceiling is heavily ribbed and panelled, the walls simply distempered, and the three arched openings to the west answer, without the slightest ornament, the sole useful purpose of admitting the light.  A dado all round forms a back to the high square pewing, and the communion table, which is fixed, without any ecclesiastical reference, at the south end.  There is a simple prayer-desk on the east, and a high pulpit on the west side, in which, in consequence of disproportion to the entire space, the preacher is well nigh lost to view.  The north end is occupied by the Royal pew, elevated considerably above the rest, and screened by crimson curtains.  The body of the chapel is filled with about forty chairs.  Any strangers, or people from without, are here accommodated, whilst the servants and other members of the household occupy the tall pews which run parallel with the walls—there being in all 71 seats.  The singing is assisted by a harmonium, the young lady performer on which is not cheered with much vocal companionship.  The instrument was presented by Queen Victoria.  The communion plate is marked with the initials and arms of William III., Queen Anne, and George II.  Worship is here conducted in a simple, homely manner; and the Rev. W. T. Bullock, the Chaplain, is a minister that has to content himself with that, and appears to have no disposition to go beyond.  His sermon, however, struck us as being more elaborate than necessary to the audience then present; but it must be remembered that he often has to address royal personages from that high pulpit.  The Princess Mary Adelaide of Teck, her circle and royal visitors, sometimes step into the high pew, and the minister is put upon his best efforts, and to be always ready is to be on the safe side.  On Sunday there is a short household service at 8.30 a.m.; full service, with sermon, at 11.15; evening prayer, without sermon, at 3.30; singing practice at 4 p.m.  Family prayer every morning at 8.30.  Holy communion first Sunday in the month.

St. Matthias, Warwick Road, West Brompton.—This church is now near completion.  The nave and aisles are built, and the flooring laid down.  It is Early English in style, the arcades and columns and lofty roof, with the distant stained window of the chancel, producing a pleasing, though quiet, effect.  The interior is everything here, the exterior is very plain, the lancet windows alone defining the structure.  There is no entrance from the west and principal front, and the public approach to the church is only by two doors—one on the north, and the other on the south side; an arrangement approved of by the Incumbent as one p. 70to prevent the gathering of idle persons around the entrance from the main road, and so securing greater quiet in the services.  The building is calculated to accommodate, on one floor, 1000 persons, and upon special occasions 1200 might find place in it.  It is built after the designs of Mr. J. H. Hakewill, of South Molton Street, by Messrs. R. Avis and Co., of Baltic Wharf, Putney.  In our former account we referred to the very superior organ with which this church is furnished, built by Mr. Henry Jones, of the Fulham Road.  We are pleased now to be able to give a complete description of this fine instrument.

Description of the Organ in St. Matthias’ Church, Warwick Road, Kensington.—This Organ has 3 Manuals, compass of each CC to C, 61 notes, and an independent Pedal Organ, compass CCC to F, 30 notes.  The Stops are arranged as under:—

Great Organ, CC to C, 61 notes.










wood 61


Open Diapason



metal 61


Rohe Flöte



wood 61





metal 49


Flute Harmonique



,, 61





„ 61


Flute Harmonique



,, 61


Octave Quint



„ 61


Super octave



„ 61


Great Mixture (4 ranks)



„ 214





„ 61





„ 61




Swell Organ, CC to C, 61 notes.





wood 61


Open Diapason



metal 61





,, 49


Lieblich Gedact



wood 61





metal 61


Flute Harmonique



„ 61


Super octave



,, 61


Mixture (3 ranks)



,, 183





„ 61





,, 49





,, 61




Choir Organ, CC to C, 61 notes.


Geigen Principal



metal 61





,, 61


Lieblich Gedact



,, 61


Flauto Traverso



wood 61





,, 61





metal 49





,, 49




Pedal Organ, CCC to F, 30 notes.


Great Bass



wood 30





wood 30





,, 30





[wood and metal] 30






Coupler.—Swell to Great Organ.


,, Swell to Choir Organ.


,, Swell to Pedals.


,, Great Organ to Pedals.


,, Choir to Pedals


,, Choir to Great Organ.





Great Organ



Swell ,,



Choir ,,



Pedal ,,









Composition Pedals, &c. &c.

1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th

Act upon the Great Organ.

5th, 6th, and 7th

Act upon the Swell Organ.


Ventil to Great Organ.


Tremulant to Swell.


Swell Pedal.


Great Organ to Pedals.

St. Jude’s, South Kensington.—Since our earlier article on this church was printed, some slight changes have taken place in the service,—the most conspicuous of which is the adoption by the Vicar in deference to the view taken of the question by the Bishops, of the surplice in the pulpit.  The Rev. R. W. Forrest, however, has not changed the tone of his preaching, if he has seen fit to change in the matter of vestment.  He is still evangelically effective, and does not appear to have diminished the number of his friends by the incident.  Not, however, that it has passed without remark; but no one suspects Mr. Forrest of general Ritualistic designs.  By the kindness of the Architects, the Messrs. Godwin, of Brompton, we are enabled to produce an excellent view of the interior of this fine church, and also a view of the exterior, as it will be when, as we hope, not long hence, the tower and the spire will be completed.

The Swedenborgian Church at Kensington.—The chapel in the Mall, Kensington, which had been successively a sphere for the ministration of the Rev. Mr. Offord, and the Rev. Dr. Schwartz, but purchased by a gentleman in the North of England, redecorated, and endowed with an income of 300l. a year, for the use of the Swedenborgian or New Jerusalem Church.  The pastor is the Rev. Dr. Bayley, of Argyle Square, and the dedication festival took place on Thursday afternoon, the 21st of March, 1872.  The ceremonies consisted of a service in the church, conducted by the Rev. Dr. Bayley, Rev. Dr. Tafel, and Rev. W. Bruce, a tea-meeting, and the annual gathering of the New Church Association, when an excellent selection of vocal music was performed.  Large numbers were present on each occasion.  The chapel has been entirely refitted at considerable cost, and is now seated for nine hundred.  There are two handsome octagon pulpits, one on each side of the communion, and built of a mixture of very rare South American wood and Japanese elm, the panels being elaborately and tastefully carved.  The communion-table is of the same material, and also the font, which is octagon, and has a basin of solid silver.  The chapel has a good organ, by Wadsworth, of Manchester.  The whole of the improvements have been most tastefully executed by the Messrs. Dove Brothers, of Islington.

The Presbyterian Church.—This congregation, formerly meeting in the above chapel, still carry on service in the Mall Hall very near to it, but the Presbytery are assisting it to acquire a new p. 71and commodious church, and delay is mainly occasioned by the great difficulty experienced in procuring a suitable site for the building.  It is, however, not improbable that a site will open in the Kensington Park Road, northward, than which a more important one could scarcely be selected.


The Surplice in the Pulpit.—A conference of clergy and laity was held on Wednesday, January 24, 1872, at Exeter Hall, to consider the Bishop of London’s recommendation in his recent charge, that clergymen should wear the surplice in the pulpit.  The points to be discussed had previously been submitted by circular to 1,250 Evangelical Churchmen.  On the motion of the Rev. J. C. Ryle, the following resolutions were adopted, with four dissentients: 1. “That the general adoption of the surplice as the pulpit dress, before the legality of such dress is duly established by law, is highly inexpedient, inasmuch as it is a departure from long established usage, is contrary to the recommendation of the Ritual Commissioners, and is not desired by the laity; and furthermore is likely to give grave offence to many congregations, and to disturb the peace of the church.”  2. “That this resolution be signed by the chairman, and embodied in a memorial, on behalf of the conference and the bodies represented in it, to be forwarded to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and made public in any way the Council of the Church Association and the Committee of the Clerical and Lay Union may think best.”  In the course of the discussion, the Rev. Capel Molyneux, Vicar of St. Paul’s, Onslow-square, South Kensington, said that he would never consent to be inveigled by the bishops into giving up first one thing and then another merely to please the Ritualistic Romanisers in the Church.  The surplice was the badge of priestcraft, and he thanked God he was not a priest.  (A Voice: What are you, then?)  He had always preached in his gown, and he would continue to do so until the end.  He would urge all Evangelicals never to preach in a surplice, but to let the black gown be a badge of those who faithfully preach Christ.  The Rev. J. C. Ryle, the Rev. Mr. Money, &c., spoke in a similar strain, and expressed determination to resist the suggested change of vestment to the end.

p. 72ESSAYS.


Of Established Churches there are 25 in Kensington, giving 30,020 seats, or an average of 1250 each; and of this number, 10,883, or rather more than one-third, are free.

Of Nonconforming Chapels and other places, such as rooms or halls, 25, furnishing accommodation for 15,550, of which 5370 are free seats.

The Roman Catholics have four churches, which are the foremost of that persuasion in London.  The Pro-Cathedral provides 1100 seats, inclusive of 150 free; the Oratory 1200, 200 being free; the Church of the Carmelite Friars 800, none free; and that of St. Francis 500, none free.

There is one Non-Sectarian Church, the Talbot Tabernacle, with 800 sittings, 200 of them free; and two Non-Sectarian Halls, with space together for 400.

The Followers of Swedenborg have one Chapel, with accommodation for 1000, no seats being definitely free.

Thus it will be seen that all the denominations together supply 49,070 seats, more than three-fifths of which are found by the Church of England; 15,550 by Protestant Nonconformists; and the remainder 3500 by Roman Catholics.

The numbers allotted to English Nonconformity stand as follows:—Baptists, 7450; Congregational, 2600; Wesleyan Methodists, 2250; Primitive Methodists, 300; Scotch Presbyterian, 600; Plymouth Brethren, 150; Non-Sectarian, 1200; Swedenborgians, 1000, =15,550.

The Established Church is, therefore, relatively strong in Kensington; and when we consider that the whole of this Church accommodation, with a single exception or two, has been provided by voluntary effort, and without the slightest pecuniary aid or benefit from the State, it must be accepted as a striking evidence of the popularity of that Church.

The principal parish Church, now just completed and about to be opened at a cost of but little under £40,000, is built entirely upon the voluntary principle.  We have only heard of one instance in all this mass of property in which a helping hand has been extended, even by the Bishop of London’s Fund, and then only to the extent of about £2000.  West London Churchmen have been deemed capable of doing their own work, and have been left to do it, and certainly they have done and are doing it.

p. 73It is also to be observed that the different ecclesiastical schools in the Church, by mere dint of rivalry, have done comparatively little in this great work.  There are three or four decidedly Ritualistic Churches; two or three High Church; two Broad Church, which affects doctrine chiefly; and all the others are really and truly Evangelical Churches, and varying but very slightly, if any thing, in form and ceremony.  Church extension may, therefore, be regarded as a genuine and earnest out-come of English protestant Churchmanship, prompted by higher motives than those connected with Ecclesiastical disputes.

Among the nonconforming bodies, the Baptists are by far the most numerous here.  It is, however, very observable that they do not appear to base the strength of their cause upon their denominational views as to Baptism by Immersion; but in every case except one, and that a very small Church, have what is called “open communion,” and admit to fellowship Christian believers of good repute generally, even though they disagree on that denominational point.  They are, therefore, to be distinguished from the Ana-Baptists, who insist upon re-baptism before communion; whilst they are equally far removed from the Particular Baptists, who preach particular Redemption.  The peculiarities of Calvinism are rarely, if ever, heard from their pulpits.  The body, then, that have obtained in Kensington, it may be of some importance to remember, are the General Baptists, who are characterized by liberality of sentiment, both as it regards Church conditions and doctrinal teaching.  The largest of these Churches is that of Westbourne Grove, under the pastorate of the Rev. W. G. Lewis.

Congregationalism is not largely represented in Kensington, and mainly centres in one or two Churches, viz. that presided over by the Rev. Dr. Stoughton, in Allen-street, formerly of Hornton-street, and that at Horbury Chapel, under the Rev. W. Roberts,—the former being the older and larger Church.  This is highly vigorous and prosperous, and has been progressively so under the now lengthened ministration of Dr. Stoughton.  Aided by the well-known Catholic sentiments of this minister, Independency, in the parish of Kensington, has received a breadth of sympathy with Christian people of other denominations which enables it to maintain the most friendly relations with all.

Wesleyanism has not hitherto displayed the popular adaptation here by which it is characterized in many parts of the country, not excepting the chief centres of population.  Its efforts, however, in this direction, are yet young, and cannot be expected to have gathered the strength and influence of age.  It finds, moreover, at least in this part of the metropolis, abler, keener, and more active rivals than in rural parts, or in most provincial towns.  The Wesleyans, from their connexional principle, have an immense advantage over other bodies, as it regards the mere building of places of worship, for which, if they chose, they need not be in the least dependent upon mere local effort.  If recommended by Conference, a general subscription for a first-class chapel in Kensington would be opened in the connexional organs, and closed in a few weeks, with surplus funds at the bankers, over the amount actually required for the purpose.  This is a wonderful material facility for any Church to possess, and if the raising of material fabrics were necessarily signs of real success, then it is quite certain that no nonconforming body in the land could compete with the Wesleyans.  But in the present condition of society, and distribution of the Churches and Church influences, if there is not sufficient p. 74interest in any given locality to build a Chapel wholly or mainly at its own cost, there is but little probability of creating a sufficient interest for the future by simply making it a present from a distance.  It might or it might not succeed; but the probability is that it will not.  One body of Christians cannot be every where, and there must be some points at which it will be weak.

Scotch Presbyterianism is also without vigorous expression in Kensington.  Always and every where an exotic Southward, it does not seem greatly to flourish.  It is a mission, established mainly for the benefit of Scotch residents or travellers, and was never intended to interfere with our native religious and Ecclesiastical growths.  Yet we are glad to see it among us.  It is a great way of showing how united the United Kingdom is, and our Scotch brethren, with their northern crispness and rigidity, ought to be perfectly at home with us.

In touching on Romanism, we have it in this large suburb in all the strength and fascination with which it has hitherto been imported into the metropolis.  Here the wealth of its richest English adherents and foreign residents combine with the talent of its foremost men to give it popular effect.  This has been accomplished to a limited extent only; for the result at present is by no means commensurate with the efforts put forth.  Yet Protestants may not slumber upon this fact.  Romanism here is making a distinct and anxious bid for popular sympathy and local influence, and presents a calmly active energy and fertility of resource which might awaken vigilance if it need not create alarm.  Its preachers are eloquent and earnest, its Churches and ritual are gorgeous and costly, its music is enchanting, its monastic orders, its conventual settlements, and all their attached agencies are quietly and ceaselessly at work, and their schools, are diligently plied.  Just as we go to press, the foundation stone of a new “Home” is laid at Kensal New Town, and with it, ground taken up for a large Church.  This is hard by the new Protestant Church of “St. Andrew’s and St. Philip’s” on the one hand, and the Baptist Chapel on the other.  No stone is being left unturned; and should Ultramontane projects fail in this part of the suburbs, it will be a grievous discouragement to it all over London.  It was the promised land marked out for Romanism by Cardinal Wiseman, and Archbishop Manning is striving to lead the people up to possess it.  Should he ever succeed in a conspicuous degree, it will be owing as much to Protestant shortcomings as to his own efforts no doubt; but at present there is, on this head, but little reason to complain as far as building of Churches and Chapels is concerned.


That we live in a Church-building age is made manifest in the foregoing pages.  Of the fifty-three Churches and Chapels in Kensington, fifteen have been erected and opened within the last five years; sixteen others within ten years; and in all within the past twenty years there have been no less than forty-three erections.  Five Churches and Chapels are over twenty years of age, three over thirty, and two have stood for a century,—p. 75and still remain.  The old St. Mary Abbotts has succumbed to the weight of years, and a new and splendid fabric has just taken its place.  A half a million of money is represented in these structures, by far the larger half of which has been raised and expected within the last decade.  Whatever the verdict of posterity may be upon these buildings from an artistic point of view, it will not hesitate to accord the high merit of distinguished energy and liberality.  As to Architecture, some few of these erections embody and will hand down to future times examples of the improved taste of our day; but for the most part they have been erected under pressure of urgent necessity, arising from the rapid and overwhelming outflow of population towards the western suburbs.  The question has been all along how places could be erected with sufficient speed to save new communities from habitual forgetfulness of the Sabbath and public worship for the mere want of places in which to assemble.  Never has been in the past, never probably will be in time to come, an extensive suburban area like this so rapidly covered with habitations of men and all the concomitants of our social life.  So recently as 1845, when the Church of St. John was erected on the crest of Notting-hill, the eye ranged from that eminence north and west only over open fields, and it was thought at the time that the Church had been placed too far in the country.  Yet St. John’s now stands in the centre as it were of a vast city, the unbroken lines of which stretch around and away for miles.  St. John’s would never now be thought or spoken of as “in the fields” any more than St. Paul’s, Knightsbridge, or St. Mary’s, Paddington.  The same is true of many other Churches first erected on the border-land; and it is not until we realize the extraordinary rapidity with which this mighty change has been wrought, that we can understand the comparative hurry in which some of the Churches have been built; but in most cases they are substantial buildings, and offer scope for further decoration and filling up of the Architect’s original designs as opportunity offers.

The province and purpose of the Temporary Iron Church has been most marked in Kensington.  There are but few exceptions to the rule that, as to the later erections Iron has been the pioneer of stone or brick.  It is utilized for the first formation of districts and sub-parishes, and for the collection of congregations.  The young clergyman settles himself down to a new locality, puts up the Temporary Church at a small cost,—in the midst of bricks and lime, heaps, and scaffolding all around; the houses, however, are soon completed and occupied, and in two or three years he feels himself strong enough to turn his attention seriously to a permanent erection, and in many cases in an incredibly short time the work is accomplished, and the useful Iron friend is sold or hired out to some brother minister who wishes to imitate the process in another place.  Of course the Iron Church comes in for its share of contempt from the fastidious.  It is “dingy-looking,” unattractive in every architectural respect, and denounced with its so-called “tin-kettle” bell as a disfigurement to the neighbourhood, and offensive to the ear.  But it does a good work notwithstanding, and ought to be highly prized and respected for its work’s sake.  There are, moreover, instances in which some of the objectionable features can be got over, and, at least, the interior of the Iron Church be made elegant and inviting.  The nicest individual ought to feel pleased with an interior like that of St. John the Baptist’s Church in Holland-road; where Mr. Edmeston, the Architect, has displayed a taste and contrivance which almost impose on one the idea that he is in a well-built permanent Church p. 76instead of a temporary one.  He had previously exhibited great taste in his treatment of the interior of St. Peter’s Notting-hill, which is considered one of the most beautiful in London; and with a far inferior subject at St. John the Baptist’s has not been wanting to himself.  Indeed, we could scarcely have believed that so good general effect could have been wrought out between iron walls.  The people at that Church can well be content with their lot for some little time to come, should it not yet be convenient to build in a more costly and enduring style.

We are glad to be able to supply in these pages views of a number of the principal Churches and Chapels, which will give the reader a better idea of the state of Church Architecture among us than any pen and ink description without their aid.  To begin with the new parish Church; both the exterior and interior are seen as reduced for this work from larger drawings, by permission of the Architect, Mr. G. G. Scott, by Mr. Avery, the photographer, of the Ladbroke-road.  They make beautiful pictures, and show an edifice which, when all complete, will be in every way worthy of the Court Suburb.  We have also a capital drawing of the old Church—In Memoriam—taken expressly for the “Index,” that it might not be quite lost sight of amidst the superior splendour of the modern temple.  And to complete the series, Messrs. Hill and Son, of the Euston-road, have enabled us to introduce a woodcut of the magnificent new organ they are building for the Church, and whose tones will be heard at the opening in a few weeks’ time.  These illustrations of themselves would have been sufficient to give unusual interest to the work; but we are favoured with many more.  Kensington Churches, as a whole, are so fairly and fully illustrated, that nearly every style of building is seen that has hitherto obtained among us.  St. Peter’s, Onslow-gardens, through the esteemed favour of the founder and patron, C. J. Freake, Esq., shows a fine interior as well as neat exterior; and St. Jude’s, South Kensington, the same—only in the latter case the spire represented is not yet built.  St. Paul’s, Onslow-square, is a specimen of plain unambitious gothic, in great measure purposely so, as according with the order of things instituted there; but partly, also, from the necessity existing at the time for making haste with the work.  St. Mark’s, Notting-hill, is an example of another kind, and by the kindness of the Rev. E. K. Kendall, the Vicar, we are enabled to introduce an excellent engraving.  Mr. Keeling has here displayed professional skill and freedom,—as also in St. George’s, Campden-hill.  The picturesque effect both in outline and detail is boldly sought, and successfully obtained; and we have a good view of the exterior.  Mr. Varley’s Tabernacle, as will be seen, is putting on a very improved countenance, under the hands of Messrs. Habershon and Pite, and from being utterly devoid of attraction, will be henceforth recognized as an ornament to the neighbourhood.  The beautiful Church of St. Barnabas, one of the very best specimens of Ecclesiastical Architecture in the parish, together with its useful appendage the “Church House,” are seen by favour of the Rev. Dr. Hessey, who has kindly supplied the blocks for the purpose.  The “Church House” is capable of being converted at any convenient time into a building of greater parochial importance; and, in fact, considering the popularity of the Church in that immediate neighbourhood under the good influence of Dr. Hessey, the time may not be far distant.

Through the good offices of Mr. Bridgnell, of Warwick-gardens, we have an engraving Wesleyan Chapel there.  It is the nearest neighbour of Dr. Hessey’s Church, and p. 77one of the best productions of Mr. W. Pocock, who is a popular Architect in Wesleyan circles.  He has here produced a Chapel, or rather a Church, which, for architectural expression and cheapness combined, may compare with any thing we have seen.  Nothing has struck us more in this review of our Churches than the unaccountable difference in the mere cost of production.  In Kensington we can point to Chapels and Churches that have cost the promoters nearly as much again as the Warwick-gardens Wesleyan Chapel cost, and are barely half so large, commodious, or beautiful.  In this matter there surely must be an open path to improvement.  It is painful even to think that £8000 and £10,000 are expended upon places inferior in every respect to others that cost about half the sum.  It is good for people who are thinking of building to take this fact into consideration.  If they desire to have superb structures, and are prepared to pay for them, let them take care they have full value for their money; if otherwise, and they have only moderate means, still let them get as much as their funds can procure.


The great variety in Church Music which we have noticed during our tour of the churches naturally leads us to some remarks upon this subject.  We cannot doubt that great exertions have been, and are still being made, to secure what is considered by the promoters a becoming performance of this part of public worship.  We have not entered a church or chapel where singing the praises of God has not formed a prominent feature of the service, for it so happens that we have not been able to find a Quakers’ Meeting in all the parish of Kensington.  In some cases the “service of song” is redundant and all-pervading in the worship, which may be said to consist almost entirely of singing in one form or another, i.e. by the minister, the choir, or the congregation, either in their different parts or together.  In Roman Catholic places one is prepared to expect a super-abundance of music of a certain kind; but we have found in at least four English churches in the parish an almost equally exuberant display.  In the majority of cases, however, a better proportion is maintained in this in its relation to other parts of Divine Service.  In nonconforming congregations there is clearly a general desire to bring up the standard of their musical performances to the requirements of the times, and in several instances this has been accomplished with great success.  We find included in their programme the Te Deum Laudamus, and sometimes an anthem with the words taken from Scripture, which, added to the usual hymns in use—sung as simple chorales in unison by the whole congregation—make a pleasing variety in the service, and often conduce to the best devotional effects.  The degree of this of course depends greatly upon the skill of the execution, which again depends upon the degree of musical knowledge and capacity possessed.  In some cases we observe a tendency to cultivate congregational singing in harmony, but it does not well succeed, for the manifest reason that all the congregation are not adequately trained to part-singing.  It thus sometimes happens that a number of the people persist in unisonal singing to the best of their ability, whilst the p. 78more educated with their music before them struggle on for the effect of harmony by rigidly adhering to their own parts.  This creates confusion, and greatly mars the effect of the whole,—an evil which, we can only hope to see remedied by a more general diffusion of the whole,—an evil which we can only hope to see remedied by a more general diffusion of musical knowledge.  If the time has come when music is to be insisted on as one part of ever child’s education, the period cannot be far distant when a more perfect state of things will obtain.  We cannot conceive a more delightful effect upon the mind than that producible by a whole congregation singing in perfect harmony some of those beautiful hymns which embody, when merely read, so much of elevating sentiment.  We are compelled, however, to notice that the majority of the hymn collections we have seen, both in churches and chapels, contain compositions so inferior to the ideas themselves which possess the mind of any intelligent worshipper, that, guided by the words before the eye, it is impossible to rise to the highest sense of devotion.  The conclusion is, therefore, forced upon us, that any considerable advance in musical education must be supplemented by a thorough revision of these collections, or by putting them aside altogether in favour of others that shall comprise all their beauties, and rigidly exclude their deformities—the feebleness of sentiment and expression, the doggerel and frequent lack of good sense.  The age is in want of a master-mind in the important department of hymn composition and collation for the service of the sanctuary.  If any able writer and compiler should be so inspired, he might now labour with the greatest advantage to Christian worship, if he can combine the religious fervour and enlightenment of some earlier hymnists with the science of the present times.

It should be laid down as an unalterable rule that the object of all sacred music intended for the use of the sanctuary is to enable as many of the congregation as have voice and inclination to join in the service of holy song.  Tested by this principle the congregational adaptation of music would seem to be the most, if not the only, suitable method.  We would not say that other forms might not occasionally be employed with advantage to musical expression, and, perhaps, to the exciting of religious feeling in the hearer; but choral-singing and anthems ought not to be adopted as constant and principal parts of public worship, as is now the case in many churches.  The reasons against this are obvious: it excludes the people from participating in the devotions, and is apt to turn them into mere admirers of human art and skill, whilst it tends to the introduction of a florid style, bordering too closely on secular music, and not consistent with the solemn grandeur, the mingling joyousness, and plaintive emotion which ought ever to attend Christian worship.  Some years ago it was felt, and justly so, that the musical part of public worship had been too much neglected, and had fallen into disrepute.  A revival to a proper standard of efficiency was necessary, and in seeking to promote this some have fallen into the other extreme.  In a number of parish and district churches the choral, that is, cathedral service, is adopted, without any regard to the fact that this form of song was never designed for such use, and intended only for cathedral and college foundations, where the entire body performing it were understood and expected to have a competent knowledge of the musical art.  Its general application was never contemplated, and, as far as our observation goes, it cannot be done without prejudice to other and still more important branches of public worship.  It will be seen that in some churches nearly the whole of the service is now song, and to such an excess is this carried, that there is p. 79scarcely any time left for the sermon.  And this is intentionally so; for some clergymen do not hesitate to say that the sermon is of little consequence, and that they make no account of it as compared with the other parts of their service.  The minister chants his portions of the Liturgy from beginning to end in a monotone.  The choir with the people alternately chant the versicles and responses; the Psalms for the day are chanted.  Then there is the service of the hymns, alternate chanting of the Litany, intoning and responding to the commandments in song, singing of the Nicene Creed, the Sanctus, and Gloria in Excelsis, and other parts permitted to be sung by the rubrics, and, added to all, the anthem by the choir, which is often of considerable length.  In this kind of service there is scarcely any thing left soberly to be said which the common people can readily appreciate and heartily join in.  If they are not up to the music they cannot follow, and if they cannot imbibe the words they have no profit.  The music, too, is often of that kind which bars their uniting in it intelligently.  It would seem proper that the Psalms should be chanted.  Their very name seems to point out that there can be no objection to this; but the objection lies against the music to which they are generally set.  The Gregorian and other cognate chants are adopted because of their ease and simplicity, being within the compass and ability of every one’s voice; but the sense of the words, upon the meaning of which the very essence of devotion depends, is almost totally sacrificed to the music.  The words are slurred over, and often whole sections of verses are necessarily dropped, so that if what is really sung were put down on paper no sense whatever could be made of it.  Unless music can be rendered more conservative of the words and sense of these inspired compositions, it would be better far to read them alternately, as is done with good and lively effect in many churches.  On what ground the Nicene Creed is chanted instead of being said, and why the minister monotones the commandments as well as the people sing the responses to them, is not easy to comprehend.  Notwithstanding the superstitious belief of the Jewish people, we dare believe that the Ten Commandments were never given by Moses from Mount Sinai in a recitative.

It is therefore evident to us that, whilst in some of the churches the musical standard is slightly too low, both in quality and decree, and a certain languor results therefrom to the service, on the other hand true spiritual vigour in the worship is still more endangered by the opposite extreme to which we have referred.  In a just medium lies all the virtue and good effect of Church Music.  It should neither be so much as to obscure or invade unduly other parts of public worship and service, nor be so little as not to assist them.  It should neither be so florid as to dissipate devotional feeling, nor so dull as to prejudice its cheerfulness.


The population of Kensington at the recent census was ascertained to be 121,100, and we have seen that the total of accommodation made by all denominations for public worship is for 49,070 souls, or, in round numbers, allowing for possible crowding, 50,000.  p. 80The proportion is, therefore, above the average in most parishes; and although at no given time will the full amount of accommodation be taken up, yet the average attendance on the Lord’s Day at the principal services is good.  Out of the 50,000 that might attend, from 35,000 to 40,000 will be found at the morning service, and from 30,000 to 35,000 at the evening.  If we allow one-half the number in the evening to be of those who attended in the morning—and experience shows them to be in larger proportion—we have still the suggestive fact forced upon us for reflection, that a very great number never attend at all.

The following table, showing in detail the population of the several Ecclesiastical divisions of the parish, has been prepared by order of the Vestry of Kensington, and obligingly sent us by Mr. G. C. Harding, the Clerk.  It will be very useful to refer to in connexion with the foregoing accounts of the Churches and Chapels situated in the several wards, parishes, and districts mentioned.

Summary of the Population of the Parish of St. Mary Abbotts, Kensington.


Ecclesiastical Division.








The Ward of St. Mary Abbotts, Kensington.

St. Mary Abbotts








St. Barnabas








St. Philip








St. Stephen








Part of St. George
















The Ward of Holy Trinity, Brompton.

Holy Trinity








St. Peter








St. Paul








St. Augustine








St. Mary
















The Ward of St. John, Notting Hill, and St. James Norland.

St. John








St. James








Part of St. George








St. Peter








All Saints








St. Mark








St. Clement
















Grand Total of the Parish of St. Mary Abbotts, Kensington, April 2, 1871.


































The new Parish Church has progressed slowly towards completion; and it is hoped by its promoters that it may be opened by the first week in May.  The builders, however, have a slight misgiving on this point, and suspect that Whitsuntide will be here before it is ready to receive a congregation.  On either supposition the time is near; and it is remarkable that our own “opening,” or publication of the “Church Index” in the parish, is exceedingly opportune, as it regards the consecration of the new edifice.  Our readers will be able now to consult our pictures and letterpress of the Church, at the same time that they see the original.  We must, however, remind them that the pictorial illustration is more complete than the building will be for some time to come.  The beautiful tower and spire which give such effect to the exterior in the picture, will not attract the admiring gaze of the beholder for a year or two.  We hope, however, it may be sooner than some imagine; for we confess it is painful to us to see a fine edifice like this waiting a long time for its headpiece and chief ornament.  The project for obtaining stained windows has not hitherto fully succeeded so far as the public are concerned; but one window in the north aisle has, we are informed, been arranged for privately, by a lady as a family memorial, at a cost of not less than 300l. or 400l.  It is considered by some that the Church is already sufficiently Mediæval and ornamental, and that without any addition, it will offer as it now stands too strong a temptation to the Ritualists to covet the prize for themselves.  But during the present Vicar’s life, it may be deemed safe from the effects of any conceivable machinations of this kind; and it must be hoped that after that the strength of Evangelical sentiment will be such in the town, as to prevent its perversion from its original type of ceremony and doctrine.  For our own part, we hope, at least, yet to see the east window filled with stained glass of good Ecclesiastical design; nor need this detract one iota from the strength of that true Evangelical spirit which we trust, from the day of the opening, will be for ever enshrined in this temple.  We opine, however, that the extra cost is the main cause of hesitation on this head.  And at this we are not surprised; for the outlay on the Church as a whole has been large, and any considerable extra expenditure would have to be provided for chiefly by those who have already done so nobly.  It is well not to strain matters too far; and if the building of the tower and the stained windows were both left to the rising generation to accomplish hereafter, that which has already attained maturity in Kensington need not be ashamed of its own work. [81]


The following most seasonable remarks occur in the Annual Pastoral Letter recently issued by the Rev. Dr. Hessey to his parishioners of St. Barnabas, Kensington:—

“Since I last addressed you in this form our Bishop has delivered his primary charge, the very watchword of which is the Parochial System.  Convinced as I am of the value of that system to our country, I rejoice in having my own views on the subject confirmed by so high an authority.  It is in virtue of that system, still by law established among us, that I have written to you, from year to year, not merely as the minister of a particular place of worship to which a certain number of Christians habitually resort, but as one to whom the care of a certain number of souls spread over a certain area is actually committed; as one who is expected to care for rich and poor alike, and to form as it were a link between them; as one who is responsible ecclesiastically to the Bishop of the Diocese, but in a far higher sense to the Divine Head and Pastor of the Church.

“Some distinguished men have thought that the parochial system has had its day, and ought now to be forgotten.  Every day’s experience, however, tends to prove that such is not the case; for never has that system shown more vitality and efficiency than during the last thirty years.  To take a single instance which is familiar to us all: I know not how, without the parochial system, provision could have been made for the pastoral care of what is technically called the suburban village of Kensington.  It now contains upwards of 121,000 souls; and yet rapidly as its population has been increased, fresh churches have been built for the use of that population, to which parochial rights and duties have been successively attached; and each new parish has again been subdivided, as soon as the necessity has occurred.  Such repeated subdivision is still going forward; and, as you are aware, a Temporary Church, within the Parish of S. Barnabas, has already a conventional district attached to it, and waits only to be replaced by a permanent building in order to have its district legally assigned.  When Mr. Booker commenced the temporary building, the site selected was part of an open field.  It now is surrounded by houses, which appear to find tenants as fast as they are built.

“But for the facilities of Subdivision furnished by the Parochial System which still exists among us, I should find myself at this day perhaps weighed down with the care of a population of more than 14,000 souls.  Whereas now our population is such that every inhabitant may know his Pastor if he will, and the Pastor may know at least each family, if not each member of his flock.”

The New Lectionary.—In treating of this the Doctor says,—

“We have thankfully availed ourselves of the New Table of Lessons, which now forms part of our Church’s Prayer Book, having been issued on the same authority as the Prayer Book itself.  We have never been among those who wish to see the Prayer Book itself revised, and we rejoice to find that in such divided and controversial times as these, that work is not likely to be taken in hand.  But in regard to the reading of the Scriptures p. 83in Church, the case is wholly different.  At the time of the Reformation, the Bible had been so long kept back from the people, that it was most desirable that the whole of it should be brought within their reach.  And in an age when but few persons could read and still fewer possessed copies of the Scriptures, there was no better way of making God’s Word known, than the frequent and public reading of the whole of it in the Church.  This was accordingly done, and hence the Table of Lessons contained nearly the whole Bible, with the exception of certain portions of unfulfilled Prophecy, which in the excited state of the public mind were liable to be misunderstood.  The case, however, is different now.  Those who worship in the Church are, for the most part, able and willing to read the Bible also at home, and are not likely to be misled by the visions either of Ezekiel or St. John.  These Books are therefore read among the rest, and the Lessons in general are so selected as to be more appropriate in subject to the days on which they are read; and from their brevity more likely to be retained in memory.  The Old Table of Lessons provided Lessons only for Morning and Evening Prayer, but it is now found that not a few persons attend both an Afternoon and an Evening Service; it has therefore been arranged that there should be two sets of Evening Lessons for every Sunday, one of which may be used in the afternoon, and the other in the evening.  There are also many persons, especially among the poor, who are able to attend but one Service on Sunday, and that an Evening Service.  Formerly they could hear no second Lesson except those from the Epistles; but now they hear the Gospels alternately with the Epistles; for in the former half of the year the Gospels are read in the morning, the Epistles in the evening; while in the latter half this arrangement is reversed.  Much has been said about the difficulty of finding the proper Lessons, and the necessity of purchasing new Prayer Books.  There is, I believe, no such necessity.  A few days will make the new arrangement as familiar as the old, and a copy of the new Calendar and Table of Lessons, to be fastened in any Prayer Book or Bible, may be purchased at any shop for one halfpenny, having been printed by authority at the smallest possible price.  I would hope that none will omit to provide themselves with such a Table of Lessons, and I think that in the use of it they will find great advantage.  And let me here suggest that the advantage will be far greater to those who attend the daily services than to those who are able to attend on Sundays only.  Let me therefore suggest to these last that if they wish to study their Bible systematically, the New Table of Lessons will form an excellent guide for the reading of the Holy Book at home.”


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Plan of Redcliffe Estate, Kensington

p. iiThe West London Hospital

West London Hospital, G. Saunders, Architect


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[0]  This advertisement and those following come at the front of the published book, but have been moved to the end to make the eBook more readable.—DP.

[21]  Mr. Wesley’s Journal reveals, as follows, his presence in Kensington twice; but says nothing about the preaching, except his discourse to the smith and his servant.  But the fact of his being subsequently there and lingering in the Gardens would seem to argue that he went there on preaching missions:—

“Monday, August 22, 1743.—Passing through Kensington found my mare had lost a shoe.  This gave me an opportunity of talking closely for near half an hour both to the smith and his servant.”

“Saturday, July 6, 1754.—I spent two hours in the Gardens at Kensington.  They are just fit for a king, far more grand than pleasant; and yet nothing so grand as many parts of the Peak in Derbyshire.”

[81]  Since writing the above the new Church has been consecrated.  The works having been pushed forward, it was in a sufficient state of preparation by the 14th of May, on which day the Lord Bishop of London consecrated the edifice, just three years after the old Church had been closed.  A large and influential assembly gathered within the walls of the new building, comprising many people of various denominations.  To these the Right Rev. Prelate discoursed on Christian unity, in a truly Catholic spirit and manner; and after the sermon the offertory taken by collection from pew to pew amounted to £358 7s. 2d.  Of this amount £196 10s. 4d. was in paper; £61 in sovereigns; £38 10s. in half-sovereigns; £62 6s. 3d. in silver, and sevenpence in copper.