Church of St Luke with Holy Trinity


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Charlton Church Lane, London, SE7 8UG


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Statutory Address:
Charlton Church Lane, London, SE7 8UG

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

Greater London Authority
Greenwich (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
TQ 41457 77835


Church, of 1630-1639, with additions of 1840,1874 and 1956.

Reasons for Designation

The Church of St Luke with Holy Trinity, Charlton, an early-C17 Gothic-style church with C19 alterations, is listed at Grade II*, for the following principal reasons:   Architectural interest:

* an early-C17 Gothic church with a classically inspired porch, altered in the C19, but retaining a substantial quantity of its C17 fabric; * for the C17 fixtures and fittings, including a pulpit of 1630, which carries the coat of arms of Sir David Cunningham;  * for the range of high quality funerary monuments, some by eminent craftsmen and sculptors, and including one commemorating Edward Wilkinson (d1561), master cook to Queen Elizabeth.

Historic interest:

* a relatively rare example of an early-C17 church; * built for the patron, Sir Adam Newton, tutor to Henry, Prince of Wales, who lived in nearby Charlton House.

Group value:

* with the adjacent Charlton House (Grade I).


The extant church of St Luke, Charlton, was re-built shortly after 1630, the work paid for by a bequest from Sir Adam Newton, tutor to Henry, Prince of Wales; Newton built Charlton House, opposite the church, in around 1607-1612. The work of around 1630, included the present nave (which includes the former chancel), north chancel chapel, south porch, and west tower; the north aisle was added possibly in 1639 (a C19 plaque in the north aisle that gives the date of 1693 for this work is thought to be incorrect).   In 1713 a vestry room with a charity school above was added to the east of the north aisle by Sir William Langhorn; these were demolished in 1840 when the chancel was extended. In 1874 another vestry and an organ chamber were built. The church has seen some considerable rearrangement since the C19; a C19 drawing shows a gallery across the west end, the pulpit in a different position, and box pews in the nave and old chancel. A further vestry and kitchen were added in 1956.   The church was originally known as the Church of St Luke, but is now known as St Luke with Holy Trinity. The Millennium Tapestry, illustrating the history of Charlton, hangs in the tower.


Church, of 1630-1639, with additions of 1840,1874 and 1956.   MATERIALS: red brick, with high pitched tiled roofs.   PLAN: the church is oriented east to west, with the tower at the west end and the porch to the south, which leads into the nave. The original chancel (now incorporated into the nave) was part of the around 1630 work; the present chancel was constructed to the east of the former in 1840. The extant north aisle is in two parts, the western half being the work added possibly in 1639, and the eastern half, the present Lady Chapel, being at least in part of the same date as the original chancel. At the east end, to the north of the chancel extension, is the 1874 vestry, with the organ chamber at the east end of the Lady chapel. Attached at the north-east corner is the 1956 vestry and kitchen block.    EXTERIOR: the around 1630 part of the church consists of the two-bay nave, porch, and tower; the brickwork of the porch, which is in Flemish rather than English bond, suggests that it may be slightly later. The porch has a shaped gable with round-arched entrance, which is rusticated, with a prominent keystone; blind arches enliven the west and east sides, and there are pilasters to the corners. The panelled door is original, its arch enriched by beams radiating from a cherub’s head. The tower is in three stages marked by storey bands; there is a battlemented parapet above a stone modillion cornice, and Y-tracery to the belfry windows. In the first stage, to the west, is a large Decorated-style window with a quatrefoil roundel, above paired cinquefoil lights; this model is repeated elsewhere in the earlier parts of the church.   The west wall of the nave has an oculus, apparently a later insertion, cut through the platband; this formerly contained a quatrefoil. The south wall of the nave has a Decorated window, as in the tower; the sundial above dates from 1933. The 1639 chancel is also of two bays, with a round-arched blocked opening to the west (former door to the squire's pew); the stone two-light trefoil-headed window to the east has a trimmed hood mould, and is set within a brick arch, but appears to be earlier than the existing church, and may have been retained from its C15 predecessor.   The 1840 chancel extension has a tall blocked opening to the south, with a stone-coped shaped gable. At the east end is a four-centred arched window, with three cinquefoil-headed lights. On the north side of the church, the two-bay aisle has Decorated windows, including an example in the eastern bay of the Lady chapel, which is a copy of the earlier model; its two-light western window may be another re-use or retention of earlier material. Between the windows, and at the end of the Lady chapel, are sturdy buttresses. The Lady chapel wall, has been rendered with faux brickwork.   The 1874 vestry extension at the eastern end of the church, has a plate-traceried, pointed-arched window, to the east, and a two-light, square-headed window to the north; there is a gabled porch to the south. The flat-roofed 1956 vestry block is very plain, with an entrance to the west.   INTERIOR: the two-bay nave is separated from the aisle by two round arches springing from a square pier; this and the engaged outer piers have a Classical appearance, with attached shafts to the corners; similar piers support the arch between the old and new chancels, and between the new chancel and organ chamber. The nave arcade is continued to the east, with lower arches on plain rectangular piers. The rebuilt roof area of the nave is understood to have been reconstructed in 1925, with plain tie-beams. The roof of the north aisle is flat, with a cornice. The old chancel has a C17 coffered roof, which is vaulted above the beams. This roof design is repeated over the later chancel and Lady chapel.   The timber panelled reredos, which extends across the east wall of the chancel, is painted with the figures of angels, and with Biblical texts. In the south wall there is a piscina, carved with wheat and vines. Against the south wall, there are high-backed choir stalls. There is a late-C19 altar rail with barley-sugar columns, and a similar rail screening the organ chamber from the chancel. The organ is by James Walker, and is dated in the National Pipe Organ Register as 1890. In the Lady chapel, a carved screen behind the altar is said to have been brought from the C17 chapel at Charlton House.   The polygonal pulpit is around 1630, with eared and scrolled panels, and is decorated with the arms of Sir David Cunningham, one of the trustees for the rebuilding. The hexagonal sounding board, which once hung above it, is now in the tower. The stone font is later-C17, with a shallow round bowl on a baluster; the bowl is carved with swags and shells, whilst the baluster is carved with acanthus. The pews date from the 1873 refurbishment. The majority of the windows contain plain, or C19 stained glass, with the post-war glass of the east window, being by C F Blakeman, and one window to the north aisle holds armorial glass of the C17.   The church contains a rich collection of monuments. On the south wall of the nave is a stone tablet carved with arms, commemorating Edward Wilkinson, master cook to Queen Elizabeth (d 1561), and by the south door there is a monument to Katherine, Lady Newton (d 1630), wife of Sir Adrian Newton, by Nicholas Stone – an aedicule of black and white marbles, with a broken segmental pediment. In the tower, there is a monument to Grace, Viscountess of Ardmagh (d 1700) and her husband, Sir William Langhorn (d 1714), benefactor of the church. This is of a similar type, but with the broken pediment scrolled, the tablet inscription carved with draperies, cherubs and flowers, and the whole flanked by standing allegorical figures. In the old chancel, Brigadier Michael Richards (d 1721), Surveyor General of the Ordnance, is commemorated by a very late example of a funeral monument with a free-standing man in armour; this is thought to be by Giovanni Battista Guelfi. The monument to Spencer Perceval, the prime minister assassinated in 1812, is a simple wall monument, with a bust by Francis Leggatt Chantrey (1781-1841), and is located at the west end of the north aisle. The church also contains some small late-C16, and early-C17 brass memorials.   The 1874 vestry contains a plaque, commemorating the erection of the 1715 charity school and vestry by Sir William Langhorn, and one noting their demolition in 1840 for the erection of the new chancel. The 1956 vestry block contains some fitted cupboards.


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

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Cherry, B, Pevsner, N , The Buildings of England, London 2: South, (1983), 247-7
National Pipe Organ Register, accessed 14 September 2017 from
St Luke's Church, The Village, Charlton: A Brief Guide


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: 17 Oct 2001
Reference: IOE01/05383/30
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr John Hardy. Source Historic England Archive
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