St Margaret's, Westminster

Last updated

St Margaret's, Westminster Abbey
St-Margaret's- Westminster.P1130954-PS (cropped).jpg
St Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey, with the Elizabeth Tower ('Big Ben') of the Palace of Westminster in the background.
Location City of Westminster, London, UK
Coordinates 51°30′00″N00°07′37″W / 51.50000°N 0.12694°W / 51.50000; -0.12694 Coordinates: 51°30′00″N00°07′37″W / 51.50000°N 0.12694°W / 51.50000; -0.12694
Founded12th Century
Rebuilt1486 to 1523
Official name Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret's Church
TypeCultural
Criteriai, ii, iv
Designated1987 (11th session)
Reference no. 426
CountryUnited Kingdom
Region Europe and North America
Open street map central london.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of St. Margaret, Westminster Abbey in central London

The Church of St Margaret, Westminster Abbey, is in the grounds of Westminster Abbey on Parliament Square, London, England. [1] It is dedicated to Margaret of Antioch, [2] and forms part of a single World Heritage Site with the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey.

Contents

History and description

The church was founded in the twelfth century by Benedictine monks, so that local people who lived in the area around the Abbey [3] could worship separately at their own simpler parish church, and historically it was within the hundred of Ossulstone in the county of Middlesex. [4] In 1914, in a preface to Memorials of St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, a former Rector of St Margaret's, Hensley Henson, reported a mediaeval tradition that the church was as old as Westminster Abbey, owing its origins to the same royal saint, and that "The two churches, conventual and parochial, have stood side by side for more than eight centuries – not, of course, the existing fabrics, but older churches of which the existing fabrics are successors on the same site." [5]

St Margaret's was rebuilt from 1486 to 1523, at the instigation of King Henry VII, and the new church, which largely still stands today, was consecrated on 9 April 1523. It has been called "the last church in London decorated in the Catholic tradition before the Reformation", and on each side of a large rood there stood richly painted statues of St Mary and St John, while the building had several internal chapels. In the 1540s, the new church came near to demolition, when Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, planned to take it down to provide good-quality materials for Somerset House, his own new palace in the Strand. He was only kept from carrying out his plan by the resistance of armed parishioners. [6]

In 1614, St Margaret's became the parish church of the Palace of Westminster, when the Puritans of the seventeenth century, unhappy with the highly liturgical Abbey, chose to hold their Parliamentary services in a church they found more suitable: [7] a practice that has continued since that time.

Between 1734 and 1738, the north-west tower was rebuilt to designs by John James; at the same time, the whole structure was encased in Portland stone. Both the eastern and the western porch were added later, with J. L. Pearson as architect. In 1878, the church's interior was greatly restored and altered to its current appearance by Sir George Gilbert Scott, although many Tudor features were retained. [8]

In 1863, during preliminary explorations preparing for this restoration, Scott found several doors overlaid with what was believed to be human skin. After doctors had examined this skin, Victorian historians theorized that the skin might have been that of William the Sacrist, who organized a gang that, in 1303, robbed the King of the equivalent of, in modern currency, $100 million. It was a complex scheme, involving several gang members disguised as monks planting bushes on the palace. After the stealthy burglary 6 months later, the loot was concealed in these bushes. The historians believed that William the Sacrist was flayed alive as punishment and his skin was used to make these royal doors, perhaps situated initially at nearby Westminster Palace. [9] Subsequent study revealed the skins were bovine in origin, not human.

By the 1970s, the number of people living nearby was in the hundreds. Ecclesiastical responsibility for the parish was reallocated to neighbouring parishes by the Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret Westminster Act 1972, and the church was brought under the authority of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey. [1]

An annual new year service for the Coptic Orthodox Church in Britain takes place in the church in October, and in 2016 Bishop Angaelos gave the sermon. [10]

The Rector of St Margaret's is often a canon of Westminster Abbey. [11]

Commemorative windows

St Margaret's, Westminster interior, 2016 St Margaret's, Westminster interior, 2016.jpg
St Margaret's, Westminster interior, 2016

Notable windows include the east window of 1509 of Flemish stained glass, created to commemorate the betrothal of Catherine of Aragon to Henry VIII. [12] This has had a chequered history. It was given by Henry VII to Waltham Abbey in Essex, and at the Dissolution of the Monasteries the last Abbot sent it to a private chapel at New Hall, Essex. That came into the possession of Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire, the father of Anne Boleyn, then Thomas Radclyffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex, next George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, after him Oliver Cromwell, from whom it reverted to the second Duke of Buckingham, next General Monk, Duke of Albemarle, and after him John Olmius, then Mr Conyers of Copt Hall, Essex, whose son sold the window to the parish of St Margaret's in 1758, for four hundred guineas. The money came from a grant of £4,000 which parliament had made to the parish that year for the renovation of the church and the rebuilding of the chancel. [13]

Other windows commemorate William Caxton, England's first printer, who was buried at the church in 1491, Sir Walter Raleigh, executed in Old Palace Yard [14] and then also buried in the church in 1618, the poet John Milton, a parishioner of the church, and Admiral Robert Blake.

Weddings

As well as marrying its own parishioners, the church has long been a popular venue for society weddings, as Members of Parliament, peers, and officers of the House of Lords and House of Commons can choose to be married in it. Notable weddings include:

Other notable weddings include some of the Bright Young People. [21]

Baptisms

Burials

Funerals and memorial services

Other notable events

On Easter day 1555 in the reign of Mary I a Protestant ex-Benedictine monk, William Flower inflicted wounds to the administerer of the sacrament. He repented for the injuries but would not repent his motive which was rejection of the doctrine of transubstantiation. He was thus sentenced for heresy and a week later severed of his hand and burned at the stake outside the church.

During the First World War, Edward Lyttelton, headmaster of Eton, gave a sermon in the church on the theme of "loving your enemies", promoting the view that any post-war treaty with Germany should be a just one and not vindictive. He had to leave the church after the service by a back door, while a number of demonstrators sang Rule Britannia! in protest at his attitude. [32]

Choirs

The treble choristers for St Margaret's are supplied by Westminster Under School. The church also hosted the first performance by the UK Parliament Choir under Simon Over in 2000.

Organ

An organ was installed in 1806 by John Avery. The current organ is largely built by J. W. Walker & Sons Ltd. A specification of the organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register. [33]

Rectors

Mackenzie Walcott lists the following as officiating clergymen: [34]

Under the Ecclesiastical Commissioners Act 1840, this rectory was annexed to the canonry of Westminster Abbey then held by Henry Hart Milman, such that he and his successors as Canon would be Rector ex officio. [38] This arrangement continued until 1978. The Rector was often (and continuously from 1972 to 2010) also the Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons. [39]

Rector died in post

Organists

Organists who have played at St Margaret's include:

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Westminster Abbey</span> Gothic abbey church in London, England

Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic abbey church in the City of Westminster, London, England, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is one of the United Kingdom's most notable religious buildings and a burial site for English and, later, British monarchs. Since the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, all coronations of English and British monarchs have occurred in Westminster Abbey. Sixteen royal weddings have occurred at the abbey since 1100.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Peter Scheemakers</span> 18th century London-based Flemish-born sculptor

Peter Scheemakers or Pieter Scheemaeckers II or the Younger was a Flemish sculptor who worked for most of his life in London. His public and church sculptures in a classicist style had an important influence on the development of modern sculpture in England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Clement Danes</span> Church in London, England

St Clement Danes is an Anglican church in the City of Westminster, London. It is situated outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand. Although the first church on the site was reputedly founded in the 9th century by the Danes, the current building was completed in 1682 by Sir Christopher Wren. Wren's building was gutted during the Blitz and not restored until 1958, when it was adapted to its current function as the central church of the Royal Air Force.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Bartholomew-the-Great</span> Church in London, England

The Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great, sometimes abbreviated to Great St Bart's, is a medieval church in the Church of England's Diocese of London located in Smithfield within the City of London. The building was founded as an Augustinian priory in 1123. It adjoins St Bartholomew's Hospital of the same foundation.

A royal peculiar is a Church of England parish or church exempt from the jurisdiction of the diocese and the province in which it lies, and subject to the direct jurisdiction of the monarch, or in Cornwall by the duke.

Alan Campbell Don was a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, editor of the Scottish Episcopal Church's 1929 Scottish Prayer Book, chaplain and secretary to Cosmo Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury, from 1931 to 1941, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons from 1936 to 1946 and Dean of Westminster from 1946 to 1959.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Andrew Holborn (church)</span> Church in London, England

The Church of St Andrew, Holborn, is a Church of England church on the northwestern edge of the City of London, on Holborn within the Ward of Farringdon Without.

Sir Henry Cheere, 1st Baronet was a renowned English sculptor and monumental mason. He was the older brother of John Cheere, also a notable sculptor.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Peter, Westcheap</span> Church in London, England

St Peter, Westcheap, also called "St Peter Cheap", "St Peter at the Cross in Cheap", or "Ecclesia S. Petri de Wodestreet", was a parish and parish church of medieval origins in the City of London. The church stood at the south-west corner of Wood Street where it opens onto Cheapside, directly facing the old Cheapside Cross. In its heyday it was a familiar landmark where the City waits used to stand on the roof and play as the great processions went past. It was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, together with most of its surroundings, and was never rebuilt.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nicholas Monck</span>

Nicholas Monck was a Bishop of Hereford and Provost of Eton College, both royal appointments made by King Charles II following the 1660 Restoration of the Monarchy which was largely effected by his elder brother George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle (1608–1670), KG. Nicholas Monck was "a great assistant in the Restoration to his brother".

Ernest Morell Blackie was a British Anglican bishop in the 20th century.

Honouring individuals with burials and memorials in Westminster Abbey has a long tradition.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Sheepshanks (bishop)</span>

John Sheepshanks was an English Anglican Bishop in the last decade of the 19th century and the first one of the 20th.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dean and Chapter of Westminster</span>

The Dean and Chapter of Westminster are the ecclesiastical governing body of Westminster Abbey, a collegiate church of the Church of England and royal peculiar in Westminster, Greater London. They consist of the dean and several canons meeting in chapter and are also known as the Dean and Canons of Westminster.

The Archdeacon of Westminster is a senior ecclesiastical officer within the Chapter of the Royal Peculiar of Westminster Abbey in London. The holder of the post oversees relationships with the twenty-four parishes of which the Dean and Chapter are patrons, and is responsible for the pastoral care of the staff and volunteers of the Abbey.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Hartley Carnegie</span>

William Hartley Carnegie was an Anglican priest and author. In addition to parish ministries and chaplaincy, he served as Archdeacon of Westminster from 1918 to 1919 and as sub-dean of Westminster Abbey from 1919 to 1936.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons</span> House of Commons chaplain

The Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, also known as the Speaker's Chaplain, is a Church of England priest who officiates at services held at the Palace of Westminster and its associated chapel, St Mary Undercroft. The Chaplain also acts as chaplain to the Speaker and Members of Parliament. The first Speaker's Chaplain was appointed in 1660. The current officeholder is Patricia Hillas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas James Rowsell</span>

The Reverend Thomas James Rowsell was a popular High Church Anglican preacher of London who was made Honorary chaplain to Queen Victoria.

Anne Denman (1587–1661) was born in Olde Hall, Retford, Nottinghamshire. Through a second marriage with Thomas Aylesbury, she became the grandmother of Lady Anne Hyde, Duchess of York and great-grandmother of Queen Mary II and Queen Anne.

Edward Marshall (1598–1675) was a 17th-century English mason and sculptor. He served as King's Master Mason from 1660 to 1666.

References

  1. 1 2 Westminster Abbey. "St. Margaret's, Westminster Parish details". Archived from the original on 5 March 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  2. Pevsner, N.; Bradley, Simon (2003). The Buildings of England: London 6 – Westminster. Uxbridge: Penguin. ISBN   0-300-09595-3.
  3. McManus, Mark. "St. Margaret's, Westminster". Archived from the original on 11 June 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  4. Hawgood, David. "St. Margaret's, Westminster". Genuki (Genealogy UK & Ireland). Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  5. From "Memorials of St. Margaret's church, Westminister, comprising the parish registers, 1539-1660, and other churchwardens' accounts, 1460-1603", reported in Notes and Queries (1914), p. 518
  6. John Richardson, The Annals of London: a Year-by-year Record of a Thousand Years of History (University of California Press, 2000), p. 81
  7. Wright, A.; Smith, P. (1868). Parliament Past and Present. London: Hutchinson & Co.
  8. Scott, George Gilbert (1995) [1879]. Stamp, Gavin (ed.). Personal and Professional Recollections. [London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington] Stamford: Paul Watkins Publishing. ISBN   1-871615-26-7.
  9. Catharine Arnold, Underworld London, Crime and Punishment in the Capital City , Simon & Schuster 2012, page 15
  10. Messages from Prince of Wales, politicians, church leaders at Coptic New Year Service, Westminster Abbey dated 24 October 2016, at indcatholicnews.com, accessed 12 January 2018
  11. "Interview: Robert Wright, Sub-dean of Westminster Abbey, Rector of St Margaret's". Church Times. 26 May 2009. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  12. Dean and Chapter, Westminster Abbey. "St Margaret's Church – The east window". St Margaret's Church. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
  13. 1 2 H. B. Wheatley, Peter Cunningham, London Past and Present: Its History, Associations, and Traditions, p. 467
  14. Smith, Christopher. "Sir Walter Raleigh – Execution". Britannia Biographies. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  15. R. E. C. Waters, Genealogical memoirs of the extinct family of Chester of Chicheley p. 91
  16. Hodgkin, Lucy Violet (1947). Gulielma: Wife of William Penn (1st ed.). London: Longmans, Green and Co. p. 28.
  17. Pepys, Samuel (1987). Samuel Pepys (ed.). The Illustrated Pepys: extracts from the Diary. Harmondsworth: Penguin. ISBN   0-14-139016-6.
  18. 'Milton, John', in Journal of the Society of Arts dated 8 November 1867, p. 755
  19. Gilbert, Martin (1991). Churchill: a life. London: Heinemann. ISBN   0-434-29183-8.
  20. "Oxford DNB article: Macmillan, (Maurice) Harold". Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
  21. Taylor, D. J. (2007). Bright Young Things: the lost generation of London's Jazz Age. London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN   978-0-7011-7754-6. (American ed.: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York, 2009)
  22. Robert Edmond Chester Waters, Genealogical memoirs of the extinct family of Chester of Chicheley (1878), p. 105
  23. Maurice Petherick, Restoration Rogues (1951), p. 327
  24. 1 2 The Gentleman's Magazine , Volume 189 (1850), pp. 367, 368
  25. William Coxe, Memoirs of the Administration of the Right Honourable Henry Pelham Volume 1 (London: Longman, Brown, Rees, Orme & Green, 1829), p. xxx
  26. Felicity Nussbaum, ed., The Global Eighteenth Century (2005), p. 232
  27. "Nicholas Boscawen". Westminster Abbey. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  28. Oliver Cromwell Westminster Abbey
  29. John Chambers, Biographical Illustrations of Worcestershire (1820), p. 347
  30. E. Angelicoussis, "Jennings, Henry Constantine (1731–1819)" in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004, ISBN   0-19-861411-X
  31. Westminster Abbey. "Ignatius Sancho". Westminster Abbey. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  32. Alan Wilkinson, The Church of England and the First World War (London, SCM Press, 1996), p. 221
  33. "NPOR [D01260]". National Pipe Organ Register . British Institute of Organ Studies . Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  34. Walcott, Mackenzie Edward Charles (1847). The History of the Parish Church of Saint Margaret, in Westminster. Westminster: W. Blanchard & Sons. p. 84. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  35. J. L. Chester, The Marriage, Baptismal, and Burial Registers of the Collegiate Church or Abbey of St. Peter, Westminster, Volume 10 (Harleian Society, 1876), p. 197
  36. "Onley, Nicholas (ONLY671N)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  37. Courtney, William Prideaux (1898). "Taylor, John (1711-1788)"  . In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography . Vol. 55. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  38. "Ecclesiastical Commissioners Act 1840: Section 29", legislation.gov.uk , The National Archives, 1840 c. 113 (s. 29)
  39. "Speaker's Chaplain". The Church in Parliament. Church of England. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  40. "Farrar, Frederic William (FRR849FW)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  41. "No. 26686". The London Gazette . 6 December 1895. p. 7063.
  42. "The Deanery of Westminster". The Times. No. 36897. London. 13 October 1902. p. 9.
  43. "Bishop Hensley Henson – Master of Dialectic", obituary in The Times , 29 September 1947, p. 27
  44. "William and Mary Carnegie". Westminster Abbey . Retrieved 8 August 2014. William Hartley Carnegie Canon of Westminster and Rector of St Margaret's 1913–1936. Sub Dean 1919–1936. Born 27 February 1859. Died 18 October 1936. ...
  45. Westminster Abbey – Sinclair appointed Rector of St Margaret's (Accessed 23 February 2016)
  46. Dwight's Journal of Music, p. 331
  47. William Charles Pearce,A Biographical Sketch of Edmund Hart Turpin, 1911