St Cyprian's, Clarence Gate

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St. Cyprian's, Clarence Gate
St Cyprian's church, Clarence Gate - - 2415240.jpg
The exterior of St Cyprian's church
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St. Cyprian's, Clarence Gate
Location in the City of Westminster
51°31′28″N0°09′36″W / 51.5244°N 0.1599°W / 51.5244; -0.1599 Coordinates: 51°31′28″N0°09′36″W / 51.5244°N 0.1599°W / 51.5244; -0.1599
OS grid reference TQ2782
LocationGlentworth Street, Regent's Park, London NW1 6AX
CountryUnited Kingdom
Denomination Church of England
Churchmanship Anglo-Catholic
Heritage designation Grade II* listed
Architect(s) Ninian Comper
Style Gothic Revival
Years built1903
Parish St. Cyprian, Marylebone
Deanery Westminster Marylebone
Archdeaconry Charing Cross
Diocese Diocese of London

St Cyprian's Church is a Parish Church of the Church of England in the Marylebone district of London, UK, founded in 1866 by Father Charles Gutch. It is dedicated to Saint Cyprian, a third-century martyr and Bishop of Carthage and is located by the south-western corner of Regent's Park, next to Clarence Gate Gardens just off Baker Street.

Church of England Anglican state church of England

The Church of England is the established church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor. The Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, and to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.

Marylebone inner-city area of central London

Marylebone is an area in the West End of London, England, which is part of the City of Westminster.

Cyprian Bishop of Carthage and Christian writer

Saint Cyprian was bishop of Carthage and a notable Early Christian writer of Berber descent, many of whose Latin works are extant. He was born around the beginning of the 3rd century in North Africa, perhaps at Carthage, where he received a classical education. Soon after converting to Christianity, he became a bishop in 249. A controversial figure during his lifetime, his strong pastoral skills, firm conduct during the Novatianist heresy and outbreak of the plague, and eventual martyrdom at Carthage vindicated his reputation and proved his sanctity in the eyes of the Church. His skillful Latin rhetoric led to his being considered the pre-eminent Latin writer of Western Christianity until Jerome and Augustine. The Plague of Cyprian is named after him, owing to his description of it.



Father Charles Gutch, who was previously curate at St Matthias', Stoke Newington, St Paul's, Knightsbridge, and All Saints, Margaret Street, was anxious to acquire a church of his own in London, so that he could manage it in his own style. He proposed to build a mission church in a poor and neglected northeastern corner of Marylebone, which would require a portion of the parishes of St Marylebone and St Paul, Rossmore Road to be handed over. However, neither the Rector of St Marylebone nor the Vicar of St Paul's approved of the churchmanship of Father Gutch. Further, he proposed to dedicate the mission to St Cyprian of Carthage, explaining: [1]

St Pauls Church, Knightsbridge Church in London , England

St Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge is a Grade II* listed Anglican church of the Anglo-Catholic tradition located at 32a Wilton Place, Knightsbridge, London.

All Saints, Margaret Street Church in United Kingdom

All Saints, Margaret Street, is a Grade I listed Anglican church in London. The church was designed by the architect William Butterfield and built between 1850 and 1859. It has been hailed as Butterfield's masterpiece and a pioneering building of the High Victorian Gothic style that would characterize British architecture from around 1850 to 1870.

I was especially struck by his tender loving care for his people, the considerateness with which he treated them, explaining to them why he did this or that, leading them on, not driving them. And I said, 'If only I can copy him, and in my poor way do as he did, I too may be able to keep my little flock in the right path, the road which leads to God and Heaven'.

This caused further difficulties, and only a few weeks before the mission was due to be opened Dr Tait, the Bishop of London, protested, claiming that the dedication would be against his and his predecessor's rules, and suggested that the district be named after one of the twelve Apostles, instead. Farther Gurch pointed out that a number of other churches in the Diocese had recently been dedicated to other saints, and the dedication to St Cyprian was allowed to remain. The new church celebrated its first Eucharist on 29 March 1866. [1]

Archibald Campbell Tait Archbishop of Canterbury; Bishop of London; Dean of Carlisle

Archibald Campbell Tait was an Archbishop of Canterbury in the Church of England.

Bishop of London third most senior bishop of the Church of England

The Bishop of London is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of London in the Province of Canterbury.

Over the next thirty years, St Cyprian Mission Church flourished, but the church building could only hold one hundred and eighty people and became overcrowded. Lord Portman, however, refused to make available a site which would allow the building of a larger church, as he too did not like Gutch's churchmanship. Charles Gutch died in 1896, with his vision of a larger permanent church unrealised. The Bishop of London, Mandell Creighton, appointed the Reverend George Forbes, of St Paul's Church in Truro, Cornwall, as Gutch's successor. Forbes immediately stressed that a new permanent church was urgently required, and in 1901, Lord Portman agreed to sell a site for £1000, well below market value, provided that it could be demonstrated that sufficient funds were available to build the church and be ready for consecration by 1 June 1904. It was completed with almost a year to spare, and was dedicated to the glory of God and the memory of Charles Gutch by the new Bishop of London, Arthur Winnington-Ingram. At this time, the church interior was little more than four walls and pillars, although the altars were furnished. The completion of the interior decoration was to be left for succeeding generations. [1]

Edward Berkeley Portman, 1st Viscount Portman, was a British Liberal politician.

Mandell Creighton English historian and a bishop of the Church of England

Mandell Creighton was a British historian and a bishop of the Church of England. A scholar of the Renaissance papacy, Creighton was the first occupant of the Dixie Chair of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Cambridge, a professorship established around the time that history was emerging as an independent academic discipline. He was also the first editor of the English Historical Review, the oldest English language academic journal in the field of history. Creighton had a second career as a cleric in the Church of England. He served as a parish priest in Embleton, Northumberland and later, successively, as a Canon Residentiary of Worcester Cathedral, the Bishop of Peterborough and the Bishop of London. His moderation and worldliness drew praise from Queen Victoria and won notice from politicians. It was widely thought at the time that Creighton would have become the Archbishop of Canterbury had his early death, at age 57, not supervened.

Truro city and civil parish in Cornwall, England

Truro is a city and civil parish in Cornwall, England. It is Cornwall's county town and only city and centre for administration, leisure and retail. Truro's population was recorded as 18,766 in the 2011 census. People from Truro are known as Truronians. As the southernmost city in mainland Britain, Truro grew as a centre of trade from its port and then as a stannary town for the tin mining industry. Its cathedral was completed in 1910. Places of interest include the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro Cathedral the Hall for Cornwall and Cornwall's Courts of Justice.


The church was designed by Ninian Comper in a Gothic Revival style and built in 1903. It was built in red brick with stone dressings. The building has a nave, aisles and clerestory, but no tower, and features Perpendicular window tracery and stained glass by Comper. St Cyprian's was designed to reflect Comper's emphasis on the Eucharist and the influence on him of the Oxford Movement, and he said his church was to resemble "a lantern, and the altar is the flame within it". [2]

Ninian Comper British architect

Sir (John) Ninian Comper was a Scottish-born architect. He was one of the last of the great Gothic Revival architects, noted for his churches and their furnishings. He is well known for his stained glass, his use of colour and his subtle integration of Classical and Gothic elements which he described as unity by inclusion.

Nave main body of a church

The nave is the central part of a church, stretching from the main entrance or rear wall, to the transepts, or in a church without transepts, to the chancel. When a church contains side aisles, as in a basilica-type building, the strict definition of the term "nave" is restricted to the central aisle. In a broader, more colloquial sense, the nave includes all areas available for the lay worshippers, including the side-aisles and transepts. Either way, the nave is distinct from the area reserved for the choir and clergy.

Clerestory architectural term

In architecture, a clerestory is a high section of wall that contains windows above eye level. The purpose is to admit light, fresh air, or both.

The interior, also in the Perpendicular style, features a white and gold colour scheme with ornate furnishings, including a finely carved and painted rood screen and a gilded classical font cover. The timber hammerbeam roof features tie beam trusses with panelled tracery spandrels. Comper's stated aim was "to fulfil the ideal of the English Parish Church ... in the last manner of English Architecture". [3]

Rood screen partition between the chancel and nave found in medieval church architecture

The rood screen is a common feature in late medieval church architecture. It is typically an ornate partition between the chancel and nave, of more or less open tracery constructed of wood, stone, or wrought iron. The rood screen would originally have been surmounted by a rood loft carrying the Great Rood, a sculptural representation of the Crucifixion. In English, Scots, and Welsh cathedral, monastic, and collegiate churches, there were commonly two transverse screens, with a rood screen or rood beam located one bay west of the pulpitum screen, but this double arrangement nowhere survives complete, and accordingly the preserved pulpitum in such churches is sometimes referred to as a rood screen. At Wells Cathedral the medieval arrangement was restored in the 20th century, with the medieval strainer arch supporting a rood, placed in front of the pulpitum and organ.

Baptismal font article of church furniture intended for infant baptism

A baptismal font is an article of church furniture used for baptism.

Hammerbeam roof A decorative, open timber roof truss typical of English Gothic architecture

A hammerbeam roof is a decorative, open timber roof truss typical of English Gothic architecture and has been called "...the most spectacular endeavour of the English Medieval carpenter." They are traditionally timber framed, using short beams projecting from the wall on which the rafters land, essentially a tie beam which has the middle cut out. These short beams are called hammer-beams and give this truss its name. A hammerbeam roof can have a single, double or false hammerbeam truss.

The building is regarded as one of London's most beautiful churches. Ian Nairn described the church as "a sunburst of white and gold and all-embracing love… the moment you go in through the door you know that everything is absolutely right". [4]

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 3 "St Cyprian's Church History". St Cyprian's Church. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
  2. Brooks, Edited by Chris; Saint, Andrew (1995). The Victorian church : Architecture and society. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN   978-0-7190-4020-7.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  3. Historic England. "Church of St Cyprian, Clarence Gate (1237476)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  4. "Why Ian Nairn, outspoken critic of postwar modernism, is as relevant as ever". The Grauniad. Retrieved 29 December 2013.

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