Reasons for Designation
1917/0/10068 STATION ROAD
CHURCH OF ST PETER
Church, 1904, by Granville Edward Stewart Streatfeild (1869-1947).
MATERIALS: Red brick with stone dressings, under a roof of clay tiles. The fairly soft, but good quality brick is probably local, although the exact origin is unknown.
PLAN: Three-bay nave with a single west aisle, a timber-framed porch, tower and vestry (added in 1912) to the west and a two-bay chancel to the north. The dominant external feature is the tower under a weather-boarded upper stage and tall broach spire, clad in cedar shingles.
EXTERIOR: The church is Early English-inspired Arts and Crafts in style. The church is set on a deep brick plinth with stone coping. The bays are delineated by off-set buttresses; those to the west breaking the roofline and having tiled gablets, whilst those to the east abut the wall-plate. The west window, of five simple lancets, is set under an in-set stone rounded arch, whilst the three lights of the east window sit below simple hood moulds. The windows in the chancel, vestry and tower are slightly more elaborate, with 'Y'-tracery two-light mullions under a hoodmould. The chancel hoodmoulds drop down to meet the buttresses then continue as a stringcourse. Above the entrance, within the timber-framed porch, is an oak plaque bearing the inscription 'I have loved the Habitation of Thy house' (Psalm 26:8). The strap hinge iron-work of the external doors is matched in the slightly later vestry.
INTERIOR: The nave has octagonal stone piers supporting an oak arched-brace truss roof with king post struts, wind braces and metal ties. The timberwork of the roof structure is all chamfered. Most of the church's fittings are original and date from 1904 or within a few years. Most prominent are the oak-pegged, chamfered-edged, pews and choir stalls. These fit around the arcade to allow the pews to extend into the west aisle. The stone octagonal font is based on a simplified design of the nave piers. The reredos and panelling within the chancel were erected in memory of GJ Courthope in 1911. Both are in oak, of one construction phase, topped at the eastern end with fleur-de-lys filigree work. The central panel of the reredos reads 'This do in Remembrance of Me' with the Ten Commandments (as outlined by the passage from Exodus 20:2-17) on two screens, one to either side.
The five-light 1920 Tree of Jesse west window was made by James Powell & Sons of London. The vivid colours in a 'Whitefriars' style depict 21 characters including Jesse, King David, King Solomon, the Virgin Mary and Chirst as a child. All is above the dedication 'To the Glory of God and in Memory of George John Courthope of Whiligh who built this Church'. The three-light eastern window erected 'To the Glory of God and in memory of Frederic George Luck, Fanny Elizabeth Luck and Caroline Sophia Luck' is predominately of coloured glass figures in clear and coloured glass surrounds and depicts scenes from the New Testament including the crucifixion.
There is a herringbone timber floor and beneath this is the original underfloor heating system, which consisted of a fire chamber with flue vents running under the nave, accessed by an iron-hatch door.
There is a stone memorial plaque of 1976 to Andrew Young, former vicar of Stonegate and notable C20 poet; also further modest plaques, including one recording that the electric lighting was given in memory of John B Snell (d 1949) with the added inscription of 'Let your light so shine before men' (Matthew 5:16).
A lychgate stands at the west entrance to the churchyard.
HISTORY: Stonegate was originally part of the ecclesiastical parish of Ticehurst. In 1836 it became a district on its own and the first church was built in the northern part of the present churchyard. It was consecrated in June 1838 and paid for by George C Courthope of Whiligh. Stonegate gained full parish status in 1869 but remained, as it still does, in the civil parish of Ticehurst. By 1903 the old church had developed substantial structural problems. These resulted in its demolition and the present church was built in 1904, again through the generosity of the Courthopes; this time GJ Courthope the son of the original patron.
Church fittings such as the pulpit, altar table, and the font were donated by various members of the Courthope family and the lectern by a parishioner, a Mrs Allen. The clock was relocated from the demolished church. In April 1921, a brass war memorial was erected, to the Fallen from World War I. It reads 'TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN / MEMORY OF THOSE MEN OF / STONEGATE WHO LAID DOWN / THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR / 1914-1918 / THAT THE INHABITANTS OF OUR EMPIRE / MAY IN PEACE AND QUIET SERVE THEIR GOD' and bears fifteen names. There is a further plain rectangular plaque commemorating the seven servicemen who fell in World War II; reading 'TO HONOUR THE FALLEN / 1939-1945'.
Streatfeild, a London based architect, was educated at Marlborough College before gaining practical experience with Messrs Dyers, builders of Alton in 1886. He was a pupil of M Dentau of Evian le Bains (1887) before being articled to William Oswald Milne (1887-90). He then moved to work with Reginald Theodore Blomfield (1890-91) before becoming an assistant to Sir Thomas Graham (1891-93). Streatfeild was also responsible for designing the church of St Michael, Eastbourne, East Sussex (Grade II); other work included a garden house and a gateway for Hooton Pagnell Hall, Doncaster, South Yorkshire (both Grade II).
Andrew Young was vicar at St Peter's from 1941 until his retirement in 1959 and cemented his reputation as a notable poet whilst serving at Stonegate. Young was born in Elgin, Scotland and was educated in Edinburgh, where he prepared for the ministry in the United Free Church of Scotland. After World War I, Young became minister at the Presbyterian church in Hove (1920-38). During the 1920s and 1930s he wrote a succession of volumes of short reflective verses, several of which were published between 1920 and 1931. His reputation as a poet was established in the 1930s with 'Winter Harvest' (1933), meditations on religion and nature. He consolidated his standing with his 'Collected Poems' (1936), and the modern mystery play 'Nicodemus' (1936). Early in 1939 Young joined the Church of England and in 1941 he obtained the parish of Stonegate; in 1948 he was made a canon of Chichester Cathedral. An amateur botanist, he also shared his highly specialised botanical knowledge in: 'A Prospect of Flowers' (1945) and 'A Retrospect of Flowers' (1950) and 'A Prospect of Britain' (1956).
M Low, The Tree of Jesse Directory (2002)
'Rough Sketch for Church at Stone Gate, Wadhurst for G Courthouse Esq' dated July 1903, and signed by the architect, displayed within the church
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The Church of St Peter, built in 1904 to a design by Grenville Streatfeild is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural: the massing, detailing and quality of Arts and Crafts craftsmanship is evident throughout the church;
* Interior: the original fittings survive and are of good quality;
* Historic Associations: whilst vicar at St Peter's, Andrew Young cemented his reputation as a notable poet, and his association with the Church is commemorated by a plaque in the west aisle.
This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 30 October 2017.