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St Mary the Virgin - Bishopsbourne

In 1871-2, a major restoration of this church took place under Scott, when the boarded wagon roofs were put in the nave and chancel, he reseated the nave and the aisles and planned to renew the stonework around the windows at a cost of around £2000.


St Mary the Blessed Virgin - Brabourne

Scott began the restoration of the chancel of this church, which was taken over by Ewan Christian. He wrote about the church for the Kent Archaeological Society, Volume 10 1876, Archaeologia Cantiana.

St Peter's - Bridge

Between 1859-61, Scott undertook a ‘drastric’ restoration here, partly rebuilding the church. It was refaced with knapped flint and Bathstone dressings, and the vestry to the north-east and the tower stair-turret added. The west end of the north aisle was extended, with round-headed arches under the tower in a Decorated style.

Choir Stalls, Canterbury Cathedral - Canterbury

In the list that he made in February 1877 of ‘cathedrals & other Large churches of similar class’ that he had been engaged upon, Scott describes Canterbury as ‘in prospect’. In fact his only work at Canterbury was a scheme for new choir stalls. Willis was the acknowledged expert on Canterbury but after the Lichfield episode, Scott seems to have been rather wary of him. However his death, in February 1875, may have given Scott the chance to carry out a detailed examination of the medieval choir screen there. The results of this were published in The Archaeological Journal in March 1875. He then designed new choir stalls which were formally approved in May 1876 but not carved by Farmer and Brindley until after his death.

However, Scott’s plans and work at Canterbury led him into conflict with the anti-restoration movement, gathering momentum at that time. On 28 May 1877, with the RIBA President, Charles Barry, in the chair, J. J. Stevenson delivered his bombshell. It was entitled ‘Architectural Restoration: its principles and practice’. In it he cites Scott’s ‘admirable address on the evils of restoration’, read to the Institute in 1862 and then said:

It is difficult after reading his address to believe that any more old churches would be destroyed by restoration. Yet the process has been going steadily on, approved by clergy and architects, the press and the public.

However a paper published by the Institute in 1865, as a result of Scott’s address, he says, ‘seems to me to consist largely of recommendations for their destruction’. This was a short pamphlet entitled Conservation of Ancient Monument and Remains – General Advice to the Promoters of the Restoration of Ancient Buildings, which Scott as a member of the sub-committee of the Institute drew up as a directive for builders and Clerks of Works. In spite of Stevenson’s criticisms it was re-issued in 1888 in a revised and enlarged form.

Stevenson bewailed the fact that in the last thirty years so many old churches had lost valuable features, particularly those installed since the Reformation. He partly blamed the muddled nature of the Advice, as he called the pamphlet, where one paragraph said ‘a vigilant guard should be kept … against the theory that a restored church must be purged of all features subsequent to some favourite period’, while another stated that ‘one main object should be to get rid of modern additions put up without regard to architectural propriety’. He then spitefully said that he assumed that Sir Gilbert Scott had applied the word ‘modern’ in the case of the screen at Canterbury Cathedral to include work from the period of Charles II ‘or probably even of Edward VI’. Stevenson had probably seen Scott’s report of March 1875 in The Archaeological Journal, where he hoped that the fourteenth century screens would be faithfully restored from existing evidence ‘untampered with by modern ideas or prepossessions!’ But two days before he delivered his paper, Stevenson had gone to Canterbury and although the work had been approved by the church authorities, he must have been somewhat dismayed to find that nothing of Scott’s was to be seen.

In June 1877, Reverend William John Loftie (1839-1911) published an article in Macmillan’s Magazine entitled ‘Thorough Restoration’. Loftie’s article was much more of an outright attack on Scott than Stevenson’s paper and Scott promptly replied with a long article entitles ‘Thorough Anti-Restoration’ in the next Macmillan. Loftie attacked Scott’s proposals for Canterbury, which he had probably seen in The Archaeological Journal of 1875. He had already criticised them in The Times and, after the failure of the Society’s Tewkesbury attack, brought Scott’s proposals to the attention of William Morris as ripe for condemnation. Morris then fired off another of his famous combative letters on 4 June to The Times but again he had chosen the wrong subject at the wrong time. Scott in Macmillan shows up Loftie’s ignorance about Canterbury but is conciliatory towards the Society. He concludes his article with the following statement:

While I heartily sympathize with the new movement for the preservation of ancient monuments in its leading aims, I must protest against its being carried to the length of leaving our ancient buildings to fall into ruin, or to retain (in all cases) the effects of mutilation, disfigurement, and decay. And, as quite a secondary objection, I would venture respectfully to suggest that the legitimate aims of the movement are hardly likely to be furthered by overstatement or misrepresentation.

Scott’s work was carried out but his reputation damaged by such attacks.

Scott’s Recollections, IV 32, 233.
The Archaeological Journal, XXXII, March 1875, pp. 86-8.
Fisher, G., Stamp, G. and Heseltine, J., (eds), The Scott Family, Catalogue of the Drawings Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Avebury Publishing, Amersham, 1981), 24.
Transactions RIBA, 1st Series, pp. 219, 223.
Scott, G. G., Scott, G. (ed.), Personal and Professional Recollections (Sampson Low, Murston, Searle & Rivington, London, 1879), pp. 408, 421-36.
Scott, G. G., Personal and Professional Recollections, Stamp, G. (ed.), (Paul Watkins, Stamford, 1995), p. 510.
Parry, L. (ed.), William Morris (Philip Wilson, London, 1996), p. 75.

St Margaret's, St Margaret's Street - Canterbury

Scott restored this church in 1850, working on the exterior, adding a turret to the tower. He restored the interior reconfiguring the chancel and using new Decorative tracery. It is now a visitor attraction for the ‘Canterbury Tales’.

St Paul's Without the Walls, Church Street - Canterbury

Between 1854-6, Scott carried out a ‘thorough’ restoration of this church including adding a new south aisle and vestry, raising the top of the north-west tower, adding new decorative tracery and extending the north wall eastwards. He also refitted the church.


St Gregory the Great, Old Ruttington Lane - Canterbury

Scott built this church between 1849-52 as a memorial to Archbishop Howley (archbishop 1828-48) in a Decorated style in flint with stone dressings. In 1849 it was estimated to cost £3,425 and was to have a south aisle and a north chancel aisle, but it was pared back to the contracted price of £2,240.


St Bartholomew's Hospital Chapel, High Street - Chatham

This chapel was restored by Scott in 1877 when he added a north aisle and south vestry and reconstructed the nave, under the patronage of the Dean of Rochester.

The Archaeological Journal, published under the direction of the Central Committee of the Royal Archaeological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, London, 31, 1874, p. 75 and 32, 1875, p. 345.

All Saints - Chillenden

In 1870-2, this church was restored by Scott, including the addition of a shingled spirelet, an openwork porch on the south side and a wooden chancel screen. The walls and roofs were also repaired.


St Mary Magdalene - Cobham

Scott restored the external masonry and added a chancel arch to this church in 1860. He also reorganised the interior of the church including the addition of a new reredos.

St Peter Ad Vincula - Ditton

Restored by Scott in 1858-60 when he replaced the east window and the chancel arch, he also enlarged the church with a new vestry and reseated it along with general repairs to the structure.


St Mary in Castro - Dover

After having been used as coal store and semi-derelict for fifty years, Scott restored the main body of this church between 1860-2 with his clerk of works J. N. Marshall on behalf of the War Department so it could again become the Garrison Church. The drawings were actually addressed to J. Burlinson at Spring Gardens and Baker-King exhibited a drawing of it in 1861, so it was a combined office job, Scott writing about the project in Archaeologia Cantiana, ‘The church on the Castle Hill, Dover’, Volume 5, 1863. However, his work here is subject to the usual preconceptions about his restoration projects fuelled by the criticism at the end of his life which has influenced commentators for over a hundred years:

His [Scott’s] work here does certainly show a real and not entirely typical concern, to harmonize with its surroundings. Thus his nave windows, for example, are round-arched and turned in brick, in similar fashion to the blocked Saxon S. doorway, and his N. doorway is a thirteenth century piece in every particular except date(!), and while it is not easy to tell how much mediaeval work remained to guide Scott in 1862, pre-existing work by no means always restrained the nineteenth century church builder who thought he had something better to offer. As for the height of the restored nave, Scott certainly had the line of weathering in the tower W. wall to inform him of this, for it is clearly visible in the photograph taken just before work commenced. It stands just a little taller than the chancel which, in turn, rises only a little above the transepts. The roofs to all of these parts of the building are presumably also Scott's.

The surprise is evident at his sympathetic restoration.


St Mary of Charity - Faversham

Scott worked on this eighteenth century building several times. In 1858 he faced the tower with flint and Bath stone, restored the internal vaulting and west portal.

St Mary of Charity font and reredos - Faversham

Scott's drawings show that he designed a new reredos and font for the church in 1867.

St Mary of Charity, second restoration - Faversham

In 1873-5, Scott undertook a complete restoration of this church and reworked the nave and chancel, including a reseating. The restoration of the chancel was completed by Ewan Christian.


Proposed Plan for new church - Frindsbury

In around 1855-60, Scott designed a plan for a new church here. A perspective view from the south-east survives of it, although the church never appears to have been built.

St Dunstan's - Frinsted

Scott restored this church for Lord Kingsdown, working on the interior between 1867-8 and the exterior 1868-70. His clerk of works was John Chapple. The walls were later stencilled by Bear and Grylls to designs by his son, George Gilbert.


All Saints, Highgate - Hawkhurst

This was a large church built by Scott in 1861 as a chapel of ease for the parish church. It was built for the Rev. H. A. Jeffries and his sister, Miss Charlotte Jennings, out of pale sandstone, the interior faced with ashlar. It has a shingled broach spire and plate tracery, with north and south aisles. The fittings include a brass lectern, brass rail and stone pulpit.

Christchurch - Hougham in Dover

This church was built in 1843-4 with Moffatt and the builders John and Parker Ayers of Dover. The land for the church was given by the Board of Ordnance on condition that there should be space reserved in the church for 50 soldiers and a proportionate number of officers, the money needed for building the church raised by subscription. It has now been demolished with flats on the site.

All Saints - Langton Green

Scott built this church between 1862-4 in Early English style in sandstone. It has a nave, chancel and bellcote with dormer windows, with stained glass by William Morris, Burne-Jones and Ford Maddox-Brown dating from 1865-6.


Lee Priory and stable block - Littlebourne

Scott was clearly not proud of his work at Lee Priory, near Canterbury, as it is not mentioned in the Recollections. It was originally designed by James Wyatt between 1785 and 1790 in the Gothick style. Scott hated this type of architecture and in about 1865 he recased the exterior in diapered brickwork, altered the windows and chimneys and added a large service wing while keeping most of the pretty ‘Strawberry Hill’ interiors, for Francis Philips. At the same time, he built a new stable block which has been adapted to form the present house, the original house becoming dilapidated after the owner’s death and subsequently demolished in 1955.

Honour, H., ‘A House of the Gothic Revival’, Country Life, vol. 111, 30 May 1952, p. 1666.
Colvin, H., A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840 (Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1995), p. 1116.

St Nicholas's - New Romney

In 1874, Scott carried out a survey and design for the restoration of the western bays of the nave and the base of the tower of this church. This work was eventually carried out after his death during the 1880s.

St Mary's - Patrixbourne

In 1857, Scott restored both the interior and exterior of the church, putting in new north and south arcades in the nave and rearranging the interior.

St John the Baptist's - Penhurst

This church was subject to a ‘drastic’ restoration by Scott between 1864-5. The north aisle and chancel east wall were rebuilt, new south windows were put in and a new timber chancel arch.

Christchurch, Vale Square - Ramsgate

Between 1845-52, Pugin was building St Augustine's Abbey Church in Ramsgate. An appeal led by Lt. Hutchinson raised £8000 to build a new church on the Westcliff and to counteract the effect of Pugin’s church. Scott built Christchurch between 1846 and 1847, in a lancet style, but this was completely different to the lancet style associated with the Commissioners. It is a picturesque composition with hardly any external ornament; large areas of plain rugged walls, small windows and over-hanging roofs. It has a tower with a shingled spire and an octagonal vestry. It was, as John Newman says, an ‘earnest attempt to adopt medieval parish-church forms’.

Newman J., West Kent and the Weald, Buildings of England (Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1969), p. 410.

Rochester Cathedral - Rochester

Scott's sketchbook shows that he had visited Rochester in 1865 and in the following year he was invited by the Dean and Chapter to give his opinion on the state of the fabric of the cathedral. He examined the building in 1867 and presented his report in the June of that year. The exterior, he states, had ‘undergone such serious mutilation and disfigurement and suffered so seriously from decay’, while internally at the east end, ‘every ancient feature’ had more or less perished or been demeaned. However no action was taken. A new Dean was appointed in 1870 and The Builder hoped that this would lead to the restoration being carried out. It also reported that funds suppressed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners now amounted to between £30,000 and £40,000, and reinforced the case for restoration by commenting that the removal of some houses on the south side of the High Street had ‘opened up a fine new view’ of the north-eastern portion of the cathedral.

Scott was duly commissioned to carry out the work early in 1871 and in the April of that year, he sent the Dean and Chapter a letter outlining his proposals. The eastern portions ‘are throughout of fine Early pointed architecture, and though sadly mutilated and decayed, their design is in the main intelligible’. By 15 July 1871 Scott's preparations were so far advanced that The Builder announced that the work was ‘shortly to be commenced’, and the builder would be George White of Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, who was already working for Scott on Salisbury Cathedral. The first stage would be to restore the clerestory windows in the nave and The Architect said that the floor of the chancel would be lowered to reveal the bases of the pillars and that the ancient windows at the east end would be restored.

Lewis Nottingham, who had restored the cathedral between 1825 and 1840, retained a large triangular Perpendicular window at the east end of the choir. In his report Scott felt that this ‘uncouth’ window should ‘give way to the integrity of the Early English design’. He replaced the ‘uncouth’ window with three lancets and decided to raise the pitch of the roofs over the eastern parts of the church to their original level and to restore the western transepts. These had been ‘most monstrously transmogrified yet parts of the old work in an advanced state of decay (almost perished) The design had been recovered from these remains, aided by old prints’. Although Scott had persuaded the Chapter to give the north-east transept and the east end high gable walls, there was not enough money to raise the roofs behind them. He hoped ‘that the roofs might follow but as yet they have not’. In fact they never did and the two unattached gables stand today, like pieces of elaborate stage scenery.

Internally the work of lowering the chancel meant that the interior of the choir and presbytery had to be gutted, repaved and refitted. This work commenced in 1873 with Scott's assistant, Charles Baker King, particularly involved with the choir stalls. All the old canopies, misericords and return stalls had disappeared, but by removing the later pews lower parts of the old stalls were revealed, enabling ‘almost the whole design to be made out and reproduced’. Scott also provided a new Caen Stone reredos, a choir pulpit and covered the new floors of the choir and presbytery with tiles by Godwin. These cost £382 and were ‘founded largely on portions of the old ones found some of which remain’. When lowering the stalls Scott found traces of a diaper pattern on the rear walls and on the back of the choir screen. This incorporated the fleur-de-lys and three leopards which King Edward III had adopted for his arms in 1340 and above the patterns on the side walls were traces of shields. The walls were decorated by Clayton and Bell following ‘exactly evidences clearly found excepting the shields of which we did not discover the bearings have been filled with those of the Bishops of Rochester’. Scott was helped in his heraldic research by Stephen Tucker (1835-1887), of the College of Heralds, who was a prominent member of the Royal Archaeological Institute in the 1870s, which may have been how Scott knew him.

By June 1874 The Builder reported that upwards of £10,000 had already been spent on the restoration, of which Canon and Mrs. Griffith had donated £3,000 for the fittings of the choir. The Reverend Dr. Griffith (1789/90-1879) seems to have been particularly astute with money as he brought a successful prosecution against the banker, Sir John Paul (1802-1868) and his partners in 1855, for having defrauded their customers of £22,000. Paul and his fellow fraudsters were sentenced to fourteen years transportation at the Old Bailey, the bank collapsed and Griffith was given the means to make a splendid donation to his cathedral.

J. T. Irvine arrived at Rochester as Clerk of Works, in August 1874, having completed his work for Scott at Bath, although he continued his investigations into the little Saxon church at Bradford-on-Avon. He soon became involved in supervising the painting behind the choir stalls. They had discovered some older wall decoration behind the Sub-Dean's stall, which ‘the Dean would not permit to remain but it has been taken out & preserved in a frame, I think in the Chapter room’. In January 1875 Scott wrote to Irvine asking him to help to smooth matters between him and the Dean: ‘Cannot you get the Dean to act more cordially? I have never done anything to my knowledge to excite these strange feelings in him yet he seems to act as my opponent’. Nevertheless, the choir was reopened for services on 11 June 1875, although the work was far from complete and on 24 November, Scott delivered his fourth report to the Dean and Chapter.

This report, perhaps arising from Irvine's investigations, is alarmist about the state of the structure of the Norman nave. Rochester is unusual in having no floors to the triforia, which are narrow double-sided galleries with views down into both the nave and the aisles and connected by passages cut through the nave piers. Scott strengthened the nave walls by filling-in these passages while the outer aisle walls, without being properly tied to the main arcade by triforium floors, were leaning over. But as Scott said, they:

are almost wholly of a date some 150 years back They no doubt had gone over so much that they were rebuilt. Their foundation was of loose chalk & had given way This is now banked up (underground) with Concrete …

This work was carried out by Irvine, who identified the true age of the so-called Norman walls as about 1664 and discovered what Scott calls ‘many interesting matters underground & has constructed many theories on them which I feel unable to explain’. Scott seems to have been rather in awe of Irvine's archaeological expertise, as well as in his ability to calm irate clerics.

At the outset of the restoration it was intended to concentrate on the eastern portions of the church, but Irvine's discovery of the state of the nave meant that funds intended for projects such as the new high roofs, were no longer available. By August 1877 the work was therefore practically complete and Scott was trying to find a new appointment for Irvine. In September The Architect published a list of the cost of the work, which it had obtained from the Dean. Scott had been paid £711-16s-6d in fees and White the builder, £5,238. Farmer and Brindley received £2,833 and Clayton and Bell £613. A total of £11,396 had been raised, of which had been £11,264 expended. This sum presumably included a new bishop's throne which seems to have been a later addition to Scott's work.

The diocese of Rochester since 1836 covered only the town of Rochester south of the Thames, and the whole of the counties of Essex and Hertfordshire to the north of the river. In June 1875 this strange arrangement was abolished by Parliament when the new diocese of St. Albans was set up incorporating Essex and Hertfordshire, and Rochester became an extended area on the south side of the river. The Bishops of Rochester lived at Danbury, in Essex, where Scott had restored and enlarged the church in 1866. Thomas Legh Claughton became the Bishop of Rochester in April 1867 but when he became the first Bishop of St. Albans in 1877, he stayed on at Danbury and the new Bishop of Rochester had to find another residence. Claughton also brought his throne from Rochester to St. Albans so Scott had to add a new throne to his work at Rochester. Rochester was Scott's last great cathedral restoration.

Scott’s Sketchbook, p. 31.
Holbrook, D., in Yates, N. and Welsby, P. A., Faith and Fabric: A History of Rochester Cathedral 604-1994 (Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 1996), pp. 206-8.
The Builder, XXVIII, 25 June 1870, p. 503.
The Builder, IXXX, 15 July 1871, p. 553.
The Architect, VI, 22 July 1871, p. 47.
Myles, J., L. N. Cottingham, 1787-1847, Architect of the Gothic Revival (Lund Humphries, London, 1996), p. 79.
Scott’s Recollections, IV 192, 194-8.
Hope, W. H. St. John, The Architectural History of the Cathedral Church and Monastery of St. Andrew at Rochester (Mitchell and Hughes, London, 1900), pp. 92, 110-11.
Fisher, G., Stamp, G. and Heseltine, J., (eds), The Scott Family, Catalogue of the Drawings Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Avebury Publishing, Amersham, 1981) , 65, 66.
Anson, P. F., Fashions in Church Furnishings 1840-1940 (Studio Vista, London, 1965), p. 150.
Beaulah, K., and van Lemmen, H., Church Tiles of the Nineteenth Century (Shire Publications, Princes Risborough, 2001), p. 39.
The Architect, XVIII, 8 September 1877, p. 135.
Newman J., West Kent and the Weald, Buildings of England (Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1969), p. 461.
Letter in Royal Commission for Historic Monuments (S), Scott to Irvine, January 1875, 11 August 1877, 7 September 1877.
Scott, G. G., Scott, G. (ed.), Personal and Professional Recollections (Sampson Low, Murston, Searle & Rivington, London, 1879). p. 350.
London Survey Committee, College of Arms (1963), p. 165.
The Builder, XXXII, 20 June 1874, p. 533.
Boase, F., Modern English Biography (Frank Cass, London, 1965), vol. I, cols 1244-5.
Companion to the Almanac or Year Book of General Information of 1856 (Knight and Co., London, 1856), p. 232.
Taylor, H. M., ‘J. T., Irvine’s work at Bradford-on-Avon, Archaeological Journal, 129, 1972, pp. 89, 104.
Building News, XXVIII, 18 June 1873, p. 705.
The Builder, XXXVI, 24 August 1878, p. 884.
Medway Archive, DKc/Emf/65/4.
Murray, [King, R. J.], Handbook to the Cathedrals of England, Southern Division Part II, Chichester, Canterbury, Rochester (John Murray, London, 1861), p. 499.
The Architect, XVIII, 8 September 1877, p. 135.
Chadwick, O., ‘The Victorian Diocese of St Albans’, in Runcie, R. (ed.), Cathedral and City, St. Albans Ancient and Modern (Martyn Associates, London, 1977), pp. 74, 82.
Pevsner, N. and Ratcliffe, I., Essex, Buildings of England (Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1979), p. 155.

St Bartholomew's Hospital Chapel, Deal Road - Sandwich

This chapel was subject to a ‘heavy’ restoration for the Rev. Thomas Wood, started by Scott in 1877 with a contract for £994. Scott also completed drawings for the project and the tracery of the east window was renewed in 1878. However, the main restoration was carried out after his death by John Oldrid, finally completed in 1887.

St Peter and St Paul - Tonbridge

Scott started a church restoration here in 1858 which was later completed by Ewan Christian in 1879.

St Margaret's - Underriver

This church was built by Scott in 1867 for the Hon. John Davison MP, at a cost of £2,500, as a memorial for his mother. In late thirteenth century style, with a west end bell gable, it is a plain building with a nave and chancel, constructed of local sandstone. Although the builder, Henry Constable, completed the construction in 1867, consecration did not take place until 16 July 1875.