St. Saviour's church, Eddington, was built in 1868, and closed c1956.
Its churchyard is the main churchyard for the Parish of Hungeford.
This article covers the history of the church, and also includes much information on the churchyard and the burials there (kindly sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker).
- See also
- St. Saviour's Church, Eddington, c1920
- Poster for the Annual Dedication Service, 21 Jul 1885
- St. Saviouir's Church, c1912
- St. Saviour's Church, undated
- St. Saviour's Church interior, c1920
- St. Saviour's Church, from a glass slide dated 1923
- S.t Saviour's Church interior (Freeman's Series)
- St. Saviour's Church, c1910 [Collier, "C102"]
- St. Saviour's Church Choir, c1920. Back row (L-R): ??, ??, Joseph Neale, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??. 2nd back row (L-R): ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, ??, Fred Jessett, ??. 3rd row (L-R): ??, ??, ??, ??, ??Newhook, Rev TS Gray, Taylor (Chemist, Bridge St), ??, ??, ??. Front row (L-R): unknown. [Kindly sent by Stella Sampson]
- St. Saviour's Church 13 Sep 1972 (DM)
- St. Saviour's Church interior 13 Sep 1972 (DM)
- Removing the bell from St Saviour's Church, c1977.
- Plan of Burial Site E (1891-1909)
- The inscribed sarsen stone commemorating the paupers' graves, Mar 2011
- The Giant Redwood tree in St. Saviour's churchyard, Aug 2017 (by Dr Jimmy Whittaker).
- Looking south across the churchyard and the old St. Saviour's Church, 2014 (sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, Apr 2018)
- Plan of the St. Saviour's Churchyard areas (sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, Apr 2018)
- Plan of northern part of St. Saviour's Churchyard, 1909 (sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, Apr 2018)
- Plan of St. Saviour's Churchyard, looking west, 1909 (sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, Apr 2018)
- View across St. Saviour's Churchyard, 2014 (sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, Apr 2018)
- View across St. Saviour's Churchyard, 2015 (sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, Apr 2018)
- Entrance to St. Saviour's Churchyard, 2014 (sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, Apr 2018)
- View across St Saviour's Churchyard, 2011 (sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, Apr 2018)
- View across St Saviour's Churchyard, 2016 (sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, Apr 2018)
- Notice at entrance to St. Saviour's Churchyard, 2011 (sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, Apr 2018)
- Plan of St. Saviour's Churchyard (sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, Apr 2018)
St. Saviour's Church, Eddington, was built 'for the convenience of the northern part of the parish' and was dedicated in 1868.
The mid Victorian period was a time of great religious fervour - with church restoration and church building occurring across the country.
In Hungerford the Wesleyan Methodists were planning a large new Wesleyan Chapel in Charnham Street - which opened in 1869.
In the mid 1860s, perhaps being a little apprehensive of the possible effect of the new Wesleyan Chapel being built on the north side of the Bath Road, the Anglicans planned a new church in Eddington.
The land was given by William Honywood of Chilton Lodge, and the church was built by the local firm of Thomas Wooldridge (on the wharf) at a cost of £2,000. Of this £500 was given by Thomas P. Mitchell of Standen House, the rest of the money being obtained by subscription. [A sign above the door states that "The Incorporated Society for Buildings and Churches granted £60 in AD1866 towards the building of the church upon condition that all the sittings be free and unappropriated".
The foundation stone was laid and blessed on 30th May 1867.
The east window of stained glass on "The Ascension" was dedicated to the memory of the Rev Thomas Penruddock Mitchell (or Michell), a former vicar of Histon, Cambridgeshire. Rev Mitchell lived in Standen House (1847 PO Directory, 1850 Slater Dir, 1864 Billings Dir ) and later in Newtown (1869 PO Directory).
The stained glass windows in the chancel, which represented the Four Evangelists, were also gifts. There were two large and 12 small stained windows in the nave.
The pulpit was given by Jesse Hiller, Esq.
It is in Victorian Gothic Revival style in red and white brick, and was designed by Arthur Blomfield (later Sir Arthur Blomfield). It seated 250 people.
The Eddington Sunday School opened on 3rd May 1868, and the Dedication Service of the new church was on 21st June 1868. The preacher was Bishop Wilberforde. The offertory came to £211 7s 9d.
The church lamp was installed in 1870.
In 1872 the original organ, very probably a Harmonium ("for its size, a good and particularly sweet-toned instrument") was considered inadequate for the size of the choir and congregation. When the choir was singing forte, the there were complaints that the organ could not be heard! An organ fund was established to provide a replacement, and several fund-raising concerts and other events were held.
Work soon commenced, but in July 1873 the organ builder was "obliged to beg for an extension of time, in consequence of illness amongst his men".
By September 1873 the Parish Magazine stated that "We are happy to inform our readers that the new Organ is almost completed. The builder, Mr Sweetland, of Bath, is so satisfied with his workmanship, that he has requested permission to exhibit the Instrument at the approaching Church Congress, at Bath, which takes place on 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th of October. Immediately after this, the Organ will be brought and erected in St Saviour's Church, and will be opened, DV, by a special service on Tuesday October 28. In consideration for being allowed to exhibit the Organ, Mr Sweetland offers to fill in some of the spare slides, for which he will not expect payment for two or three years. Our friends are reminded that there is still about £50 required for the work already done. It is hoped that this will be provided by the opening day. The organ, as it will now be erected, will consist of the following stops, &c:-
Great organ, CC to G:
1. Open Diapason
2. Stop Diapason
3. Spare slide for Viola
5. Harmonic Flute
6. Spare slide for Mixture
Pedal organ, CCC to F:
1. Open Diapason
2. Spare slide for Bourdon
Swell organ, CC to G:
1. Lieblich Bourdon
2. Lieblich Gedacht
3. Open Diapason
4. Suabe Flute
7. Harmonic Piccolo
1. Swell to Great
2. Swell to Pedals
3. Great to Pedals
4. Pedal Octave
Two combination Pedals to Great
Two combination Pedals to Swell
The opening service of the new Organ was indeed on Tuesday 28th October, and the Rev H W Miller, who was organist, "fully displayed the beauties and power of the instrument".
At the first service, Dr Hayne himself played. The preacher was the Bishop of Nova Scotia.
It took until August 1876 before all the funds for the new organ (£236 plus an additional £41 to cover additions advised by Dr Hayne, total £277) were obtained.
A new wrought-iron screen was installed in June 1884, by Messrs Singer, of Frome, at a cost of 50 guineas. It was "generally admired for its design and workmanship, but there are very different opinions as to the colour it should be painted, and the amount of gilding that wil be suitable". However, by Auggust 1883 , the anniversary of the church, the screen was fully paid for and "added grace to the beautiful chancel".
Unfortunately, it was reported in the Parish Magazine of March 1885 the "The organ at St Saviour's Church was not completed at the time of its erection for want of funds. The Pedal Bourdon Stop or Soft Bass was omitted, whilst it was necessary to have the large Open Diapason Pipes or Loud Bass in order to form a Screen. This Bass is far too heavy for ordinary use in a small Church; and it is now proposed to complete the organ by the addition of a Soft Pedal Bourdon Stop; the cost of which would be about £25.". The work was completed by August 1885 - to everyone's acclaim. Decoration of the exterior of the Organ was carried out by Mr Low.
The organist and choirmaster at St. Saviour's from 1871 to 1925 was Mr James Newhook, headmaster of the National School, 42 High Street, until his retirement in 1910.
Regular dedication festivals were held each July. (See the poster in the Photo Gallery advertising the festival on 21st July 1885). These included Choral Communion at 8.30am, Matins at 11.30am, and evensong at 7.30pm. Over and above these, were organ recitals, and, most importantly, "the tea", held in a marquee.
In June 1886 it was reported that "Great complaints have lately been made of damage done by boys and children to the graves, trees and flowers in St. Saviour's Churchyard. Any such offenders who can be detected will after this notice be severely punished."
An oak credance table carved by Mrs Nevitt Bennet of Hidden Cottage was donated in December 1897, and consecrated on All Saints Day, 1898. [It was moved to St Lawrence Church when St Saviour's closed].
The churchyard at St. Lawrence Church was getting very full by the 1880s.
In 1883 it had been proposed that land at the south end of the town donated by Miss Atherton (now Atherton Crescent) might be used for the parish "burying ground". Objections were received by Mr Davenport, the Bishop's Secretary, and the project did not go ahead. In 1886 the subject was brought up again, and Mr Burkett was tasked with designing a Lych Gate, which Mr Wooldridge was to build, along with an iron fence around the preiphery of the burial ground, all of which was to be sown with grass. In 1888 the Church Council ordered that all owers of adjacent property should be asked for their assent to this before anyone was buried there. It seems that all assented with the exception of Mr John Gooding, who steadfastly refused.
It was therefore proposed that two acres of additional ground to the north of the existing churchyard should be purchased from Col Honeywood (who was content with this proposal), and added to St. Saviour's churchyard.
At the same time that a proposal was made to use part of Miss Atherton's fund should be spent on the Mission Hall in Moon Lane. However, this did not proceed as it was contrary to Miss Atherton's wishes.
In 1889, Dr Major was the tenant of the two acres of land, and he was given notice to quit. The two acres were purchased for £120. Mr Wooldridge built the wall and Lych Gate. A permit from the Secretary of State was received after the Inspector of Churchyards (Mrs Hoffman) had made proper enquiries, and the Medical officer of Health, Dr Woodforde, had agreed. The official deed was signed and sealed in December 1890.
In September 1890 a Home Office officer inspected the Parish churchyard at St Lawrence Church, and it was expected that the church yard would be closed to burials before the end of the year (with certain exceptions).
A Notice of Closure of the Old Churchyard was dated 25th March 1891, and at Michaelmas 1891 the Vicar and Churchwardens gave notice to interested parties that they would have to pay one shilling per year to keep a grave with a mound, else the area would be levelled (see Photo Gallery).
This new area was consecrated by by the Lord Bishop of Reading on Tuesday 10th March 1891.
The churchyard at St. Lawrence's Church was levelled in December 1892.
Standing on high ground overlooking the Kennet valley and the town of Hungerford, the churchyard to the north of the church is still used today as the parish burial ground. Follow this link for the plan of the Garden of Remembrance (Cremation interments) in St Saviour's churchyard (kindly sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, January 2018). See links at foot of this article for pics of the Memorial Stones, also sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, January 2018).
In May 1898 the Parish Magazine reported that "The Vicar and Churchwardens desire to call attention to the fact that the Old Burial Ground (at St. Lawrence's Parish Church) is practically full, and that no burials will in future be allowed to take place in that portion of the church yard. All burials must henceforth be in the New Ground, except in cases where provision has been made for a second internment in a once-used grave."
A marble "pavement" for the chancel was added in October 1890.
St. Saviour's was by this time badly in debt. Although the choir was very well thought of, the loyal congregation was gradually getting less. From now on there is a constant pleas for bigger offertories, and the Parish Church had to give some of its money to St. Saviour's in order to try to keep them solvent.
In 1895 Rev W.A.G. Gray was appointed Vicar of Hungerford. He was very distressed at the scanty attendance at both churches. It seemed to him that the church had got out of touch with what he called "the labouring and artisan populations - especially the men".
He therefore invited an evangelist of the Church Army to take on duties at Hungerford. This was Capt Hatten (see St John's Mission Hall). He and Rev Gray encouraged people to participate, and church attendance increased. The Dedication Festival was restarted in 1896.
In Jan 1898 the choir had new violet cassocks and white surplusses, and the server was dressed at this time in scarlet.
The churchyard had been used to its capacity by 1898, and all new burials were in the new ground above the church. For some years the old ground had been neglected . A levy of one penny in the pound was made on everyone in the parish to help with the maintenance of the ground. Many people had in the past put up their own crosses and statues without permission from the church, authorities, and without paying any fee to the church. This added to the confusion and untidiness of the whole. The fee for digging a grave was 4s for one 5ft 6in grave, plus 1s per foot!
On the retirement of Rev Gray in 1900, it was revealed that he had, amongst other kindnesses, provided an endowment for St. Saviour's.
In 1901 women were introduced to the choir for the frst time.
In December 1951, new wrought iron gates at the entrance to St. Saviour's Church were installed in memory of Mr & Mrs Astley. The dedication service was led by Bishop Roscow Sheddon, Vicar of Wantage.
The church was in regular use for nearly 100 years until it closed c1956. The vicar and curates of the Parish Church of St. Lawrence were the officiating clergy.
The organ was sold on 9th October 1973 for £375 to Mr Felix J C Pole, of Headley, Newbury.
In 1977 St. Saviour's was sold to Melvyn Fraser, who converted it into a private house known as Church House.
The churchyard north of St. Saviour's Church is still the parish cemetery.
In March 2011 the area of the area allocated to the graves of the paupers of the parish (from the Workhouse) was marked with an inscribed sarsen stone. (See "Remembering 'the poor of the parish'" NWN 10th March 2011).
It is interesting to note that one of the largest trees in Hungerford stands in the middle of St. Saviour's churchyard.
It is a Giant Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum, otherwise known as Giant sequoia, Wellingtonia or Californian redwood). These wonderful trees were introduced into the UK (by William Lobb) in 1853. The St. Saviour's tree is growing well (about 21m tall in 2019), and was probably planted when the additional two acres was added to the St. Saviour's churchyard in 1891. It is interesting to note that from this tree one can see the other Giant Redwood in Hungerford, which stands in the grounds of the old Priory off Priory Road (now Redwood House). [With thanks to Dr Jimmy Whittaker, January 2018].
- Parish Magazines, esp Feb 1873, Jul 1873, Sep 1873, Nov 1873. Mar 1885, Aug 1885, Jun 1886, Sep-Oct 1890, Apr 1891.
The following information was sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, January 2018: