George Fellowes Prynne

 

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WHITSTABLE Kent
St. Peter

A typical red-brick “town” church, with a number of expected Fellowes Prynne features (including the tower not having been completed!). A description of the building appeared in the Whitstable Times in 1925, from which the following extracts are quoted.

The completed church is a building of much character and dignity. Outwardly it presents a bold appearance, and a sense of strength is given by its lines of construction, by the courses of stone in the brickwork, and also by the long, narrow lancet windows with their setting in stone. The high pitched red tile roof is a great feature in the building, and a singularly attractive and beautiful piece of work… The interior of the building consists of a long Nave with two Aisles, or Aisle passages. The Nave is divided from the Aisles by five 16 foot red brick circular arches on either side, with bands of stone at intervals. The combination of arches and Aisles, with the added effect of the lancet windows, is very striking. The whole building gives the impression of space. In addition to the Nave and Aisles, to Transepts have been added. These transepts add greatly to the Eastern end of the Nave, and also to the two chapels on either side of the Chancel. The whole church is arresting, both by its entire unity, and also by the striking way in which it breaks into, and is relieved by, its component parts…

The piers sustaining the arches are cased in a framework of wood. The interior of the roof is wood, with a barrel shaped ceiling, ending in a strong dental wall plate.

An interesting feature is added to the Church, by the Western end of the Nave floor being slightly higher than the Eastern. This enables those at the end of the Church to see over the heads of those in front, and also produces a special effect on the building as a whole.

There is some interesting correspondence regarding the arches. In a letter to the Rev. Hyla Holden, the incumbent at the time, Fellowes Prynne wrote on 6 March 1923:

Now with regard to the Church, I will certainly instruct my Quantity Surveyor to proceed as soon as possible with the Quantities, and as I should be extremely sorry to leave out the insertion of stone in the Arches, as it would spoil the whole character of the interior treatment, I propose getting out alternative estimates with and without, as the difference I am sure will not be great. Red brick work carried out without relief in such a position always gives a heavy appearance and a cheap and chapel-like effect, in a comparatively small building, which I would like to avoid at all costs.

It would appear the Fellowes Prynne had originally intended a larger building, with the chancel and sanctuary farther back, a longer nave and a number of side chapels. This was adapted to the existing more suitable scale, and, apart from the missing tower, the church was built to his adapted plans.

The illustration shows the architect's original conception of the exterior.