St Saviour's Church Westgate-on-Sea

A Brief History Of St Saviour's Parish Church

Beginnings

The Church was designed by Charles Nightingale Beazley who had also been appointed as the architect for the Westgate-on-Sea Estate in 1870. The first turf was cut on 23 July 1883 and the Foundation Stone visible under the East Window was laid by Sir Erasmus Wilson on 28 August 1883.

It is built in Gothic style with Kentish Ragstone blocks and door and window surrounds in Bath Stone. The pillars inside the Nave are also Bath Stone. The windows were originally made of muff glass (slightly tinted) which is still evident in the large west window and the upper (clerestory) windows. A full height decorative wood screen separated the nave from the chancel.

Building was completed within 12 months and was consecrated on 23 July 1884 by Archbishop Benson. The total cost was £6000, equivalent to approximately £300,000+ today.

At this time, Westgate-on-Sea was in the early stages of development and was seen as an exclusive retreat for wealthy patrons from London who were effectively building their holiday homes on the Estate. Many of the additions to the church are attributable to those early wealthy residents.

Timeline

1886

The organ was installed. The decoration on the organ pipes was added around 1893-95 paid for by a wealthy widow.

1887

The glass in the east window was replaced with stained glass made by Kempe who had a renowned studio in London.

1893-95

The stencilling in the Chancel was added, again paid for by the wealthy widow who paid for the decoration of the organ pipes.

1902

The Reredos made of Derbyshire marble and alabaster was installed in the memory of the first vicar , Augustus Lyne, who died two years earlier. You will see other memorials to Augustus Lyne in the Nave. At the same time, the glass in the south aisle windows were replaced with stained glass, from the Whitefriars Studio.

1906

The full height screen was removed and replaced with the half screen seen today.

1908

The door in the west wall was installed. This necessitated the removal of the one pew that extended the whole width of the church. Also the stained glass was installed in the south west window. The north west window was replaced with stained glass a few years later.

1916

The present day pulpit replaced the original. It was erected in memory of the second vicar Townsend Mylne. At the same time a 17 ¼ cwt bell was installed in his memory in the tower to replace the original small bell.

1920

The glass in the north aisle windows were replaced with stained glass from the renowned studio of Kempe. At the same time, the War memorial Chapel and tablet was erected to the memory of the 78 men from Westgate who died in the First World War.

1975

A ring of six bells was installed in the tower. The treble was cast from the metal of the Mylne bell installed in 1916 and the remaining metal sold to pay for the installation work. The other five came from the redundant church of Holy Cross in Canterbury, three of which are from the 17th century, another dated 1739 and the oldest a rare Stephen de Norton dated circa 1375.

2003

Ramp installed in the north entrance to facilitate access for the disabled. Total cost £8260.

2003-2005

Pews removed from the area between the font and west wall to create area suitable for social activities. Creche created at the end of the south aisle from those pews removed. Also further pews removed from the side aisles.

2004

Substantial restoration work carried out on the tower and roof. The roof was extended and realigned to direct rainwater away from the stonework. Total cost amounted to £139,000.

2005

The Cross of Blessing was installed to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. It was paid for by public subscription and donated by the Friends of St Saviours. At the same time, the memorial to the fallen of the Second World War was moved from beneath that of the First World War to its present position.

2012

Substantial restoration work carried out on the west wall and window. Total cost amounted to £92,200



Material courtesy of Dr Dawn Crouch, Curator of The Westgate Heritage Centre.

For further information contact The Westgate Heritage Centre at www.westgateheritagecentre.org.uk

Contacts

For all church enquiries please telephone
01843 831869

Parish Priest
Reverend Dr Peter Rowe

Honorary Assistant Priests
The Reverend Susan Wing
The Reverend Lesley Valiant

Churchwardens
Mrs Brenda Carter
Mrs Christine Attwood

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