Church of St Nicholas


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Church of St Nicholas, St Nicholas Road, Sutton


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Statutory Address:
Church of St Nicholas, St Nicholas Road, Sutton

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
Sutton (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Parish church. Rebuilt 1862-4 in Gothic style by Edwin Nash, incorporating monuments from the earlier church on the site. The north chapel was converted into an organ chamber in 1899.

Reasons for Designation

The Church of St. Nicholas, a flint and stone church in Gothic style of 1862-4 designed by Edwin Nash, replacing a medieval parish church, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* As one of the architect's most impressive and complete churches;

* The church contains an unusually high number of monuments, from the early C17 onwards, many transferred from the earlier parish church on the site, some of which are of more than special interest; also charity boards and a medieval piscina from the earlier church;

* The Brownlowe Monument is a major work by the sculptor William Stanton.

Group value:

* The church is part of a related group including the Gibson Mausoleum and a number of churchyard monuments.


The manor of Sutton belonged to Chertsey Abbey from before the Norman conquest to the Dissolution when it passed to a succession of mostly non-resident owners. In the C18 the village became a coaching stop on the route to the races in Epsom and then Brighton and by 1800 it was a small village sprawling up the hill from the common (now the Green) to the Cock Cross Roads. The arrival of the Sutton to Epsom railway in 1847, the Epsom Downs line (1865) and the more direct line to London via Mitcham Junction (1868) led to rapid change. Middle class development took place at Benhill and in the area the area around the railway station, while Newtown, east of the High Street, was more working class. The High Street shops developed quite rapidly, probably largely in the 1870s and 1880s, and by 1900 Sutton was a small commuter town in the countryside beyond London. In the 1920s and 1930s whole area was engulfed by suburban development.

The present Church of St Nicholas is an 1862-4 rebuilding of earlier churches. The first was probably a Saxon church built by the Abbot and monks of Chertsey Abbey, who were granted the manor of Sutton from an early date. This church was partly re-constructed at the end of the C13 by the Abbot of Chertsey, John de Rutherwyck; the list of Rectors dates from 1291. These included Joseph Glover who resigned in 1636 to emigrate to America and brought the first printing press to New England. The tower was rebuilt circa 1790 and an extension was added on the north side of the nave by 1825.

However in 1862, as a result of increasing population in Sutton, it was resolved that additional church accommodation was necessary and the architect Edwin Nash's plans for a complete rebuilding of the existing church in Gothic style were approved. The new church was built by 1864 and monuments from the old church were transferred to the new building.

The north chapel was converted into an organ chamber in 1899. In the 1920s a medieval piscina was discovered in the churchyard and placed in the south Lady Chapel.


Parish church. Rebuilt 1862-4 in Gothic style by Edwin Nash, incorporating monuments from the earlier church on the site. The north chapel was converted into an organ chamber in 1899.

MATERIALS: dressed flint with stone dressings. Red tiled roofs with several courses of alternate curved and pointed tiles, except for the spire which is shingled.

PLAN: a four bay nave, two bay chancel, north and south aisles, a south aisle chapel, a north aisle chapel converted to organ chamber in 1899 and a north-east vestry.

EXTERIOR: the west tower is of four stages with a shingled broached spire and angled buttresses to the three lower stages. The top or bell stage has triple louvred openings with drip moulds and corbels. The third stage has clock faces, also with drip moulds and corbels. The south and west sides of the second stage have an arched window, on the west side with trefoil heads and an oculus. The west side also has an arched doorcase with corbel heads and colonnettes. The north side has two trefoil-headed lancets to the second stage and a narrow arched entrance.

The south aisle is of four bays with triple arched windows, buttresses and a gabled south porch with pierced wooden barge boards inscribed 'How amiable are thy dwellings thou Lord of Hosts'. The lower south chapel of two bays has paired lancet windows divided by buttresses and triple arched east window.

The taller chancel has a five-light arched window with trefoil heads.

The north aisle is of four bays with triple arched windows with trefoil heads and a gabled porch with an arched doorway with stone corbel heads. The north chapel, converted to an organ chamber, has a five-light triple bay. The north-east vestry has a stone chimney, two stone mullioned windows and a narrow entrance on the north side and a triple window on the east side.

INTERIOR: the west tower has a wood and glazed screen. The nave has a pointed arched arcade on circular columns with stiff-leaf capitals. The walls have been whitewashed. Both nave and aisles have boarded wooden roofs supported on stone brackets; they retain original pews. The west wall of the aisles have C18 wooden charity boards. The south aisle west end has an 1860s square stone font on a circular base with engaged corner columns. The south chapel contains a medieval pillar piscina from the earlier church. An elaborate cast iron screen separating the nave and chancel incorporates a hexagonal cast iron pulpit with wooden floor and handrail. The chancel retains choir stalls, wooden altar rails and an alabaster carved reredos.

STAINED GLASS: the chancel east window has New Testament scenes from the Annunciation to Christ appearing at the empty tomb.

The south chapel's east window, a memorial to Laura Frances Still of circa 1863, depicts the Crucifixion and other scenes. The south chapel has a pair of memorial stained glass windows at the south-east end to Albert Price Still (d 1864) of Christ stilling the waves and the Raising of Lazarus. A pair of memorial stained glass windows at the south-west to John Ruck (d 1859) include the Good Samaritan. The south aisle's eastern window is a memorial window to John and Maria Sarah Ruck of 1898, depicting the Madonna and Child flanked by the three Kings. Further west is a Chambers memorial window of circa 1887, Christ the Healer flanked by St Nicholas and St Cuthbert. Furthest west is the memorial stained glass window to Arthur Reed Jackson (d 1904), of St George flanked by Angels.

The north aisle retains only small fragments of stained glass following Second World War bomb damage.

MONUMENTS: the west tower contains a marble wall monument to Sarah Glover (d 1629) with kneeling figures of a son and three daughters, obelisks, side panels and skulls. Her husband, the rector, Joseph Glover resigned as Rector in 1636 to emigrate to America and brought the first printing press to New England.

The south aisle's west wall has the marble wall monument to William 1st Earl Talbot (d 1782) with a coat of arms above a carved sarcophagus, and a wall monument to Isaac Littlebury (d 1710) with an urn, drapery, putti and winged skull. The south wall has a wall monument to Sir James William Morrison Knight (d 1856) depicting a tomb, grieving female and angel. There is a floor slab to Henry Wych, Rector (d 1678) and one to Catherine Holmes (d 1766) and Robert Holmes (d 1782).

The south chapel has a wall monument to the Rev James Sanxay (d 1766) and members of his family, erected in 1830.

The chancel has wall tablets to Francis Gosling Esq (d 1856), Robert William Turner, Rector 1922-1955 and Charles Cotton King (d 1841)

The former north chapel, now the organ chamber, has an elaborate marble monument to Dame Dorothy Brownlowe (d 1699) by William Stanton. It comprises a full length lady leaning on her left arm with three children, two weeping, one pointing to a Glory surrounded by cherubim on a curtain, the tassels gilded. On the top are two cupids with golden trumpets, at the sides are pilasters with gilded coronets and urns. It is mounted on a gadrooned and panelled plinth with an inscription on an oval tablet.

The north aisle has a marble wall monument to Maria Addington (d 1764), a wall memorial to Laurence Turner Blades killed at Ypres in 1915, a war memorial in three colours of marble to the Old Boys of Sutton High School who fell in the two World Wars, a wall monument in black and white marble to William Payne (d 1816) and his wife Ann (d 1852), a wall monument to Thomas Newte Esq (d 1806) and a wall monument to the Rev Giles Hatch (d 1800).


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Bridget, Cherry, Nikolaus, Pevsner, The Buildings of England London: 2 South, (2002), 655
Gunnis, R, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851, (1968), 367-8


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 19 Jun 2000
Reference: IOE01/00053/21
Rights: Copyright IoE Miss Patricia Philpott. Source Historic England Archive
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