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Lukes Church
A Journey From Iron To Stone

02 04 06 08 12 14 18 20 22 The Iron Church St. Lukes Church The View From The Top Inside St. Lukes Church Worship Stained Glass Windows A Time To Remember St. Lukes Vicars The Grand Old Lady

Designed and edited by Alex Greenhead. First Edition: 2014. Many thanks to Jo Wheeler for allowing access to the St. Lukes Church archives.

The Iron Church

The birth of the St. Lukes Parish and the building of a permanent Church.

The Iron Church that used to stand in Silverdale Road.

Towards the end of the 19th century, Tunbridge Wells was experiencing rapid growth in the north, especially in the area between St. Johns Road and Upper Grosvenor Road. The Shatters Wood suburb, now the Silverdale Road area, was a distance from St. Johns Church. Their vicar, Rev. Henry Eardley arranged for open air services to be carried out in the district by Captain Batstone, a Church Army captain. The services went from being in the open air to being conducted in a tent, but this was soon to be

replaced by a Mission Room, which was opened on October 13th 1895. Built mainly from metal, it became known as The Iron Church and held about 200 people. It was built on a piece of land that ran between Silverdale Road and Upper Grosvenor Road. The work and worship of the Mission Church continued to grow, and in 1896, a church infants day school was started. The following year the site was extended and licensed for Holy Communion, irst celebrated at Easter.

In 1898, the Rev. A. D. Ferrier - Rowe came to St. Johns as a curate, and by 1903 his main work was in the rapidly growing Silverdale area. Around this time the district started being referred to as St. Lukes. In 1904 the Vicar of St. Johns made clear reference to the need to create a new Parish with a substantial Church, capable of holding about 500 or 600. Fund raising began, but building a replacement Infants School became priority as the old building was condemned. It was opened on the 18th October 1905. In the meantime, the pupils used the Mission Room, which now held 300 people. The wish to build a permanent church was still strongly in peoples minds, but it was not until the Golden Jubilee for St. Johns Church in January 1908 that a scheme for building a new Church was fully launched. By 26th May 1909, when the building committee appointed by the Bishop of Rochester irst met, 3,000 had been raised, with the initial

1,500 donation being given by Miss Adelaide Mitchell, with Mr. J. Deacon adding 500 and Mr. F. Smart a similar sum. The remainder constituted of smaller donations. By 1909, the land in Silverdale Road was now not considered suitable and the Iron Church was to become a Parish Room, so a piece of land in Wilkin Road (now St. Lukes Road) was purchased, again courtesy of Miss Mitchell. She laid the new churchs foundation stone on February 26th 1910, placing a sealed bottle underneath that contained a copy of The Times, The Courier, St. Lukes Magazine and coins of the period. On October 31st 1910, the church was consecrated by Bishop Harmer, the Bishop of Rochester at that time. St. Lukes had become a separate parish under the Bishop on 1st October 1908, but legally it was declared on the 22nd May 1911. Four days later, the Rev. A. D. Ferrier-Rowe became the irst vicar after previously being the Curate - in - Charge.

An open air service conducted by Captain Batstone.

Miss Mitchell laying the foundation stone in 1910. 03

St. Lukes Church

A new home for worship in the St. Lukes Parish.
St. Lukes Church was designed by Mr. Egbert Cronk, in an early 14th century style. It was built from Kentish Ragstone with Bath Stone details, with tiled roofs by Messrs. Strange & Sons. The cost of the building was estimated to be 7,500, with a capacity to hold 500 people. St. Lukes consists of a chancel, clerestoried nave and aisles, plus a square tower in the north - east of the church. The nave is 70 long by 39 high, with four moulded stone arches on cylindrical piers with moulded caps and bases. It also features clerestory windows. The aisles are each 60 6 long by 12 wide and the chancel 33 6 long. The chancel is separated from the nave by a stone arch that stems from carved corbels and clustered pillars. It has an apsidal sanctuary, and is raised above the nave by four marble steps and dwarf stone wall with a moulded coping. The original proposal for St. Lukes only shows a small spire, not a tower, but Miss Mitchell, in addition to her original gift, paid for the tower and the irst of the bells as a memorial to her parents. The towers lower section features an arched opening to the chancel for an organ, which was installed in 1915, and the provision for a set of bells, which was accomplished in 1919. In the same year, Gillett & Johnston made and installed the Westminster quarter clock on the tower. Due to the poor quality of gold leaf available soon after the war, it was re - gilded in 1923. In 1970 it was converted to electriication by John Smiths & Sons from Derby. Early church pictures show the tower without a peaked roof. In those days the choir would sing from the top on Easter Sunday morning. In 1920, Miss Mitchell proposed the tower should be heightened, which she said she would pay for, so this was done. The lagpole was moved to the garden at the front, but has since been removed. The tower is now topped by a weather - vane shaped as an ox, a symbol shown with St. Luke. Another change involved replacing the wooden fence for a wall topped with iron railings in 1931.

The east end of St. Lukes Church pre-1919. 04

St. Lukes Church, with the tower now featuring a clock.

Re-tiling the roof in 1969 used an estimated 55,000 tiles.

A rare view of the west side of the church, taken in 1924.

A close-up of the weather vane and clock on the tower.

St. Lukes Church in 2012. 05

The View From The Top

A birds - eye view of the local area from the top of the tower.
Few people have been able to see the view from the top of the tower at St. Lukes Church, so here are a selection of photographs that were taken in January 2012 to show the surrounding area.

The view south-west looking towards St. Johns Church.

Looking west over Shatters Wood. 06

The view north over St. Lukes Road and neighbouring areas.

Looking down upon the Church Hall.

The view south towards St. Barnabas Parish Church. 07

Inside St. Lukes Church

The interior has seen the addition of many deining features.

The organ installed in the specially designed chamber.

An organ chamber was provided at the base of the tower, and on 18th October 1915 St. Luke's Day an organ built by Norman & Beard Ltd. was installed and dedicated. The organ underwent major renovation in 1991. On October 12th 1919, the clock and eight bells were installed in the tower and dedicated In Memory of Those Who Fell in the Great War 1914 1918 with one bell being inscribed with the phrase. The bells are clavier chime with ringing clappers and were cast by Gillett & Johnston of Croydon. Records show when the church was irst built there was one bell with a weight of 14cwt, with a diameter of 41 inches. It was cast by John Warner & Sons and is presumed to have been removed although no record exists of what happened to this bell. Information about the bells can be read on the board in the ringing chamber.

One of the eight bells, inscribed with the dedication.

A board detailing the bells is in the ringing chamber.

The Caen stone pulpit with marble pillars.

The brass lectern takes the form of an eagle.

The building and furnishing of the church both initially, and in later alterations and additions has relied heavily on the generosity of individuals donating monetary sums or purchasing items, often in memory of people who served the church. This generosity, which has enabled the beauty and the work of the church to grow, has been regularly noted from the time since the church was irst planned until the current day. The lectern is a brass eagle, presented by A. D. Ferrier - Rowe while the pulpit is of Caen stone with marble pillars and was given in memory of Rev. John Ferrier - Rowe by his widow and family. The font is also made from stone, with an oak cover bearing a cross that was given by the children of the Parish in 1913. A table font, bought with a bequest in 1994 is now used.

The font given by the children of the Parish in 1913.

The west end of the church.

The pitched pine roof.

A view of the pews from the lectern.

The Whyte Room, in memory of Canon Whyte.

Internally, the roofs are stained and varnished pitched pine, sitting upon arched ribs that are supported by stone shafts. The nave and chancel roofs are formed with trussed rafters, with the tower featuring a pine-framed spire. The wall surfaces are generally plaster, featuring stone dressings over archways. Tiled loorings cover the chancel and sanctuary with the space under the seats being paved with wood blocks and the aisles with tiled paving. The reredos is made from oak, with the sanctuary rail supported on polished brass standards. The prayer desk, choir stalls and seats in nave are also all oak. The choir stalls and pews in

the nave were in the church for its consecration, but the side aisles were furnished with chairs. The chairs were replaced by pews of Austrian Oak (to match those in the nave) in 1912. In 1996, the back of the church was improved with new notice-boards to improve displays and shelving for storage of service books. A small number of pews have since been removed to improve space at the front and back of the church. In addition, the North Porch was cleared and refurbished to be used as a room for prayer meetings and small services such as mid - week communion. This was named the Whyte Room in memory of Canon Whyte (Vicar 1954 1992.)

The inside of the church pre-1919.

The inside of the church in 1953.

The inside of the church in 2012. 11

The Altar and Ferrier -Rowe Memorial Chapel.

This version of the altar has been in place since 1953.

In 1953, the Church received two gifts, the irst from Miss D. Ferrier - Rowe for 300 in memory of her sister, and the second, 50 in memory of the Misses Hitchens by their nephew. This made various improvements in the sanctuary possible, including a new carved oak altar and riddle posts with angels, plus blue and gold curtains of the same material used in Westminster Abbey for the coronation, although these no longer hang. At the same time, a new blue patterned carpet was given for the sanctuary and all the woodwork

and furniture was renovated and re - polished. The original altar and frontals were sent to Rev. Cecil Rhodes (Vicar 1944 1949) to be used in St. Augustines Church, Edgbaston, the Parish to which he had moved. The reredos is the original one put into the church when it was built. It is made from carved oak and has a gold letter inscription at the top stating Do This in Remembrance of Me with gold Alpha and Omega symbols placed respectively in the left and right panels.

The new altar was dedicated by Bishop Mann on 25th October 1953. The designer, Canon Laycock explained the meaning of his design in Decembers Parish Magazine.
The general idea underlying the design is the struggle of mankind against evil, and the plan of Salvation provided through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who both died and rose again to this end. The four columns represent the human race in the perfect family of Father, Mother, Son and Daughter shown as bearing the heavy burdens (indicated by the heavy upper mouldings) which are the lot of us all. Without the mercy and grace of God we would certainly fail; therefore, upon the mensa (table top) stand the three great symbols of our Lords death and resurrection. The cross in the centre tells of the wondrous sacriice ofered up on Calvarys Hill where He died that we might be forgiven. After His death friends took His body down from the cross, and buried it. Hence the cross is shown empty, and not as a cruciix. But He rose from the dead, so the two candles (representing His human side and His divine side) are lighted to remind us that He said I am the light of the world. In the centre of the three front panels (three because of the doctrine of the Trinity) is a circle enclosing a maze of lamboyant tracery which twists and turns all ways to represent the diicult pathway we must all pursue; but through it there can be seen a golden cross shining right in the middle of our way, and touching the circle of eternity at all its points. As you draw near to partake of the great Sacrament of Gods love these symbolic features before you should help to promote the sense of worship.

Ferrier-Rowe Memorial Chapel

Created in the North Aisle in memory of Rev. A. D. Ferrier - Rowe, the chapel was dedicated at the 40th Anniversary Service on Tuesday 31st October 1950 by Bishop Chavasse. The woodwork is of limed oak, with blue and gold curtains. The altar kneeler has an inscription In memory of Arthur Delph Ferrier - Rowe, irst Vicar of this Parish, 1910 1935. An additional kneeler was added in 1959 to enable more people to kneel.

The Ferrier-Rowe Memorial Chapel. 13

Stained Glass Windows

A beautiful, deining feature of St. Lukes Church.

The ive apse windows on the churchs east side.

The ive wonderful stained glass windows located behind the altar were dedicated on 11th May 1924, the central three given by the parish to the memory of Adelaide Anne Mitchell, the left one to the memory of Edward Maugham Kelsey (the Vicars Warden from 1911 1918) by his brother Mr. A. R. Kelsey, while the Vicar Rev. A. D. Ferrier-Rowe,

gave the right one in memory of his mother. The windows all depict stories from St. Lukes Gospel The Annunciation, The Presentation of Christ in the Temple, Christs Ascension, and Christ and the Doctors with the ifth one being of St. Luke and St. Paul, taken from 2 Timothy.

The Rabboni window on the south wall. The window in memory of Canon Whyte.

A more recent addition is the north wall nave window dedicated in May 1994 to the memory of Canon Whyte (Vicar 1954 1992.) The subject matter of the Good Samaritan relects his close relationship with the Samaritans he was closely involved in the foundation of the Tunbridge Wells branch as well as work of a similar nature. Designed by Keith and Judy Hill, the central design is of handmade antique glass, painted, stained and kiln-ired in their studio. The background is in cathedral glass, matching the adjacent windows.

In the bottom right corner Glasbys signature is visible.

To celebrate the churchs 21st birthday on November 1st 1931 All Saints Day several items were dedicated, including the Rabboni window on the naves south wall. It was dedicated to John Gresswell, who had been church warden since 1910. The window depicts Jesus appearing to Mary in the garden.

The location of the two windows next to the Ferrier-Rowe Memorial Chapel.

The two windows by the Ferrier - Rowe memorial chapel were designed by A. Buss, an artist working for the Shoreditch irm of Goddard & Gibbs. The process for designing the windows was long, initially starting in 1958 with a plan for one window, which then changed to two. They were itted and dedicated in June 1959, in

memory of Benjamin Payne, Frank Stoneman, Charles Morris and Harry Waters, all founding members of the Mens Fellowship, with the former two also being church wardens. The windows feature the symbols of the cruciixion at the top of one window, with the communion symbols at the top of the other.

The location of the three lowest windows on the west wall.

The three lowest windows on the west wall of the church, two of which show the evangelist symbols and one the Agnus Dei, were mentioned in the Couriers account of the churchs consecration as

being in the apse windows. Recent research into the windows shape and Parochial Church Council records when the current Glasby windows were installed in 1924 suggests they were moved.

A Time To Remember
St. Lukes features many commemorative tablets and a Memorial Garden.
In addition to the dedicated stained glass windows, there are also a large number of commemorative tablets around the church, a small selection of which are visible here, as well as a memorial garden located on the east side of the church. The largest memorial, the War Memorial Tablet is located on the south wall of the chancel. It originally had 90 names of those who died ighting in the Great War, but in 1949, 23 names were added to for those who died in World War .

The St. Lukes War Memorial Tablet, containing a total of 113 names. 18

The commemorative tablet for the porch.

The commemorative tablet for Miss Mitchells generosity.

The commemorative tablet for the pulpit.

The St. Lukes Church Memorial Garden. 19

St. Lukes Vicars

Those people who have led St. Lukes Church and its parish forward.

Rev. Arthur D. Ferrier-Rowe


Rev. Arthur W. Moloney


Rev. Cecil Rhodes



Rev. Donald MacLeod Lynch


Rev. Robert A. Whyte


Rev. James A. Wheeler


Rev. Caroline M. Glass-Gower



The Grand Old Lady

Miss Adelaide Anne Mitchell, the generous benefactress of St. Lukes Church.
Known by many as the Grand Old Lady of St. Lukes, Miss Adelaide Anne Mitchell lived to the magniicent age of 91, and was a highly respected and admired person. She was a generous lady, who made much of St. Lukes Church and Infants School possible. Her good work and deeds have always been associated with the early history of St. Lukes Church. Miss Mitchell was born in 1830 under the shadow of Westminster Abbey, attending the adjacent St. Margarets Church. She was the seventh daughter and last surviving child of James Mitchell, who died when she was a child. She lived for nearly 50 years in Westminster until her mother passed away, moving then to Clapham for 17 years, where during that time she lost three sisters in very quick succession. Ill - health led her to move further away from the city, settling in Tunbridge Wells in 1895. A church member for over twenty years, her desire to extend the religious work in this part of the town was evidenced by her gift of the site for St. Lukes Church, as well as the Infants School. She also gave a substantial sum of money towards the building of the church, entirely giving the tower in memory of her parents. She laid the churchs foundation stone in February 1910. Miss Mitchell always felt that nothing could be too good for the House of God, and though many things were wanted and had been wanted since the church was built the furnishing of the church

The foundation stone laid by Miss Mitchell in 1910.

was a most expensive task she was always ready and eager to do the best she could to help. Her mentality to lend a helping hand won her way into the hearts of her fellow parishioners by her devoutness and kindly interest in the welfare of those she was so often brought into contact with.

May you ind here, Peace to pray,

Joy to share, And love to pass on.

St. Lukes Church mission statement