St Matthew Pell Street (Princes Square) 1848-1891             see also parish registers

New Mulberry Garden Chapel was built for the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion in 1805 - its story is told here. The Connexion left the area in the 1840s, and the building stood empty for a time. The Times of 1 March 1847 reported that Messrs Bromley and Son [of 17 Commercial Road] will sell by auction, at Garraways, on Wednesday, March 17, at 12, by order of the Trustees for the Sunday Schools and Almshouses belonging to the late Mulberry Garden Chapel, without any reserve, a valuable LEASEHOLD PROPERTY, comprising a spacious and lofty brick building of two floors, with extensive vaults under, and six tenements adjoining, situate on the West side of Prince's Square, St George's East. Although it was very close to the parish church, it was bought by the London Diocesan Church Building Society for £1,300 and initially opened as a mission chapel. Bryan King, the Rector, raised some concerns over creating a new district (as well he might - the church, though active, did not survive long), but gave his consent. Ewan Christian, architect to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, surveyed the building and insisted that it must be repaired and refurnished before it was fit for purpose. This was done, at a cost of £400 (provided by Mr Coope of Brentwood), and it was consecrated on 4 November 1859, with 650 sittings, and assigned a district by Order in Council on 7 March 1860, with the Bishop of London as patron (replacing the previous patrons). The Commissioners made a grant of £100 towards the minister’s stipend, which the Home Mission Fund matched, but the endowment was only £40 a year, and there was no house - the first minister lived at 17 Princes Square, near where St Matthew's National Schools were later built. His income was made up by a chaplaincy to one of the City warehouses and by private subscriptions.

It was opened at the height of the ritualism riots at the parish church, and some attempted to disrupt the services at St Matthew’s as well, even though it was evangelical and low church in style. A Band of Hope met there in its early years. Despite his connection with St George's, its first incumbent was among those who supported the minister of St Paul Dock Street in his bid to get a district assigned to that church, thereby enabling the closure of St Saviour & St Cross Mission Chapel (also a St George-in-the-East enterprise), claiming that Lowder, of the very high party, will subvert the work of the sailors' church and must be stopped.

An 1863 Guide to the Church Services in London and its suburbs lists Sunday services at 11am (HC on the first Sunday of the month) and 6.30pm, with a weekday service on Wednesday at 7pm. The 'Churches' section of Charles Dickens Jnr's 1879 Dictionary of London lists the Sunday services as 11am Matins, Litany & Ante-Communion and 6.30pm Evensong, with Evensong on weekdays at 7pm and Matins on holy days at 11am. It does not say when the Holy Communion was celebrated. They used 'Anglican music', and the hymnbook was Ancient & Modern Revised. (This was presumably the second edition of 1875 by William Henry Monk of the 1861 original plus the 1868 appendix.)
[This pattern - 11am and 6.30pm on Sundays, and Wednesday at 7pm - continued until the church closed.]

The organ, of 1866, was by A.W. Coleman, a local builder who was organist at St John Wapping (where he rebuilt the instrument, and gave the opening recital, the following year); he also built a large instrument (3 manuals, 34 speaking stops) at St John Bethnal Green, and began the rebuild at St Philip Stepney in 1872, but then ceased business - and perhaps died. He was for some time in partnership with Thomas Richard Willis, who had opened his Tower Organ Works at  29 Minories in 1827 - it burnt down in 1890. See further 'Notes and Queries' in the British Institute of Organ Studies Reporter vol 5.1 (1981).

This map (undated, but from the early 20th century) shows the former boundaries of the parish (St Matthew's is the area marked in green), and key buildings.See here for baptism and wedding statistics.


Clergy prior to the creation of St Matthew's as a district church

J.S. Hanna (1840s) - though his name does not appear in any registers.

Algernon Sydney Thelwall (1848-50 and 1852-53, alternating with two periods as full-time secretary of the Trinitarian Bible Society which he had founded in 1831). Born at Cowes on the Isle of Wight in 1795, he graduated from Trinity College Cambridge in 1818 (18th Wrangler - a mathematical classification, though see here for some student translations of the Odes of Horace). He was ordained the following year, and spent seven years at the English church in Amsterdam as a missionary to the Jews (later, in 1847, publishing Old Testament Gospel: or Tracts for the Jews). He returned to become curate of Blackford in Somerset. He was a prolific writer of tracts and polemical works, defending the Church of England's position against Roman Catholics (including opposing the Maynooth grant) and Irvingites (eg A Scriptural Refutation of Mr Irving's Heresy 1834). In 1839 he produced The iniquities of the opium trade with China: being a development of the main causes which exclude the merchants of Great Britain from the advantages of an unrestricted commercial intercourse with that vast empire; with extracts from authentic documents, drawn up at the request of several gentlemen connected with the East-India trade. Examples of other writing include Thoughts in Affliction (1832); Letters to a Friend whose mind had been long harassed by many objections against the Church of England (1835); The Heidelberg Catechism (1850).

In 1843, when he was (briefly) minister of Bedford Chapel in Bloomsbury, he arranged a lecture series which the Protestant Magazine advertised thus:

Protestant Truth As Maintained In The Church Of England.—We rejoice to find that the Rev. A. S. Thelwall, whose name is endeared to every lover of the truth for which our martyrs bled, through his unwearying zeal in the sacred cause, has arranged a series of lectures, to be delivered on the momentous points of our common faith, now assailed by false brethren on every side. The following is the prospectus of this excellent plan—we trust many will avail themselves of it:—  [details follow of the 14 lectures, 4 of which Thelwall delivered himself]

While 'certain parties' do not scruple to avow their their object is 'the un-protestantizing of the National Church', does it not behove all those who really love the Church of England, to stand forward in its defence, and to maintain its Protestant principles, with a boldness and zeal proportioned to the energy and subtlety with which those principles are assailed or undermined?

Under the conviction that the present circumstances of the church require peculiar and vigorous exertions on the part of all its faithful ministers, it is proposed that a series of lectures should be delivered at Bedford Chapel, Charlotte Street, Bloomsbury, on Protestant Truth As Maintained By The Church Of England, by clergymen who are zealously and affectionately attached to the principles of that church, as set forth in its articles, homilies, and liturgy. To commence, 'if the Lord will', on Wednesday Evening, April 12th; and to be continued regularly every Wednesday evening till the course is concluded. Divine service to commence at seven o'clock precisely.

The countenance and encouragement of all true Protestants, and especially of all faithful clergymen, is earnestly solicited; and, above all things, their earnest prayers that this effort to uphold the truth of the gospel may be accompanied with the blessing of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and be made subservient to the true welfare of the church in these lands.

It is proposed that the sermons should be printed in a volume, as soon as possible after the course is finished.

From 1850 until his death in 1863 Thelwall was the Lecturer on Public Reading at King’s College London. His introductory lecture was entitled The importance of Elocution in connexion with Ministerial Usefulness. Breathing through the nostrils to avoid fatigue to the vocal organs was the secret, he claimed. In this, he continued the work of his father John Thelwall (1764-1834), poet and orator, friend of Wordsworth and Coleridge, who was a pioneer teacher of the new science of elocution (and who cured his lisp with false teeth - see here for a 'song without sibilants' which he wrote, perhaps to help those similarly afflicted). John Thelwall's 'logopædic' technique was published as Treatment of Cases of Defective Utterance (see Denyse Rockey 'John Thelwall and the Origins of British Speech Therapy' in Medical History 23 (1979), pages 156–175). However, John Thelwall was more widely known known as a political radical (naming his sons Algernon Sydney and John Hampden after 17th century republicans); he was unsuccessfully prosecuted in 1794 on a charge of high treason.
In 1828 A.S. Thelwall married Georgiana Tahourdin, from a Huguenot family, one of whom had been a curate at St George-in-the-East 60 years earlier; one of their sons, Sydney, was also a clergyman and scholar - a translator of Tertullian; incumbent of Radford Semele, he died in 1922.

David Brown Moore was curate at St George's from 1851, Lecturer from 1854-59 (and perpetual curate of St Matthew's), and continued as chaplain of the workhouse into the next decade. Born in Rotherhithe in 1799, he was ordained in 1836 and had been a workhouse chaplain in Birmingham, and from 1846 the first incumbent of the new parish of St Andrew, Watery Street (or Garrison Lane), Bordesley, carved out of Aston parish in 1846 with a sandstone church in pointed Gothic style (costing £3,500) - a 'Commissioners'' or 'Million Act' church erected under Sir Robert Peel's 1818 Church Building Act, and the fifth church of the Birmingham Church Building Society, prior to the creation of Birmingham diocese in the diocese of Worcester. His stipend there was £150 plus pew rents. A school was established for 120 boys, 120 girls and infants, with an evening school on four evenings for those who worked during the day. He married Birmingham-born Hannah Cox, 28 years his junior, at St Dunstan in the West in 1849.
In London, he took on the remainder of a seven-year lease of 18 St Ann's Terrace, Hackney from the Revd Josiah Viney, a Congregational minister (and author of The Prison Opened & The Captive Loosed: Or, The Life of a Thief as seen in the Death of a Penitent (1854)) before the bishop moved him to 15 St George's Place. At the Old Bailey in December 1851 (scroll to case 123) five men and a woman were convicted - and four of them imprisoned - of cheating and defrauding him, as leaseholder of the house in Hackney, and several others, and also of acquiring a phaeton, harnesses and other items, by providing false references and then bolting, though by then the house was in the hands of an agent and Moore did not give evidence. He later lived at 78 Virginia Terrace [now Street], just off The Highway. He served as chaplain to the Essex and Colchester Hospital from 1859, and in the 1861 census (when he was 62) is shown as curate of Holy Trinity Hoxton, living at 76 Herbert Street, Shoreditch with his wife, 2-year old daughter Beatrice Mary and a servant. He died in London in 1882, and Hannah in 1898: she was buried at Grangetown Cemetery, Sunderland.

Thomas Tenison Cuffe was born in 1794, a distant descendent of Thomas Tenison, Archbishop of Canterbury 1694-1715, owning one of his bibles. His family were well-to-do Irish Protestants, centred on Grange, co. Kilkenny (though a namesake relative - his grandfather? - had been Provost of Sligo, and burgess of the borough there, from 1768 to his death in 1775). He was a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, ortdained in 1818 and curate in two Kilkenny parishes (in the diocese of Ossory) - Innistioge, around 1820, and Killbeacon, around 1827 - where he was one of the speakers at a meeting in Waterford to establish a local branch of the 'British Society lor Promoting the Religious Principles of the Reformation'.

He came to London around 1840 as minister of the Carlisle chapel in Kennington Lane, Lambeth (an Anglican proprietory chapel) - as one writer puts it, inhabiting the fringes of London Evangelical Anglicanism. During this time he was a member of the Protestant Association, speaking at its meetings in Trinity Episcopal Chapel schoolroom; he also supported the Evangelical Alliance, and the Church of England Young Men's Society. (This was founded in 1844, and a kind of Anglican and smaller-scale version of the YMCA. By the latter years of the century it ran an institute at the Leopold Rooms, Ludgate Circus, with the usual club facilities and some accommodation. The Norwich branch set up a football team in 1888 which still plays. In 1899 the CEYMS became part of the now-defunct Church of England Men's Society.) He was also a member of the Trinitarian Bible Society, and of the Church of England Young Men's Society (the first branch of which was established in Whitechapel by the evangelical Rector of St Mary Whitechapel, later becoming part of the Church of England Men's Society),  being a principal speaker at its second  anniversary meeting in 1846 (chaired by Lord Ashley and the Earl of Chichester, Chairman of the Church Missionary Society).

In 1842 Cuffe published a sermon on 'The Second Advent', the next year six lectures, by himself and others, on 'Justification by Faith, against the Tractarian heresy' (
there is reason to believe that a blessing has followed them, said the Protestant Magazine), and the next year a series of Lent lectures. In 1847 he became Vicar of Colney Heath, in Hertfordshire, where he founded the British Protestant League and Bible and Anti-Popery Mission, supported almost exclusively by clergy. It failed to find patrons: it was seen as a rival to the Protestant Alliance, and The Bulwark deemed it fraudulent, existing solely to collect money. It was still active in 1852, but died soon after: see here for a spat in Southampton between the two organisations.

Cuffe seceded from the Church of England in 1850 at the time of the Gorham judgement, when the Privy Council, a secular court, overturned the ruling of the church's own Court of Arches that the Bishop of Exeter was entitled to refuse to institute a priest because of his views on baptismal regeneration (a printed note of protest from local clergy against this meddling in doctrinal matters is pinned into the baptism registers of St George-in-the-East for this year). There were others who left the church for the same reason, believing baptismal regeneration to be a monstrous error - among them Charles Chapman, Chaplain of Tresco & Breyer in the Scilly Isles. Cuffe joined the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion; it was arranged that Carlisle chapel should cease to be Anglican and episcopal, and he remained its minister. In 1851 he published Reasons for Secession; or, Objections to remaining in the Established Church.

But in 1854, according to The Patriot of 19 June, The Rev. Thomas Tenison Cuffe, M.A.. late of Kennington, who some time back seceded from the Church and joined the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, has seen the impropriety of such a step, and, having expressed his deep regret to the Bishop of London, and his firm attachment to the doctrines and principles of the Church of England, His Lordship has, with the approval of the Bishop of Winchester [Kennington was at the time still part of Winchester diocese], admitted Mr. Cuffe to officiate in his diocese.
(It's possible that he had meanwhile had links with the Free Church of England, which broke from the Church of England from the 1840s while retaining the threefold ministry and the Book of Common Prayer: in its early days congregations were often served by Countess of Huntingdon clergy. In 1853 he delivered a course of lectures on Puseyism or the Tractarian heresy and schism at St. John's Free Church of England, Bridport Road, Edmonton.)

In the next few years he often baptized at St George-in-the-East and Christ Church, Watney Street in 1854, and at St Matthew's in 1858 - 'irregularly' according to a note by Bryan King in St George's baptism register, because St Matthew's had not yet been consecrated and did not have registers. At the time of his death at Prince's Square in 1858 he was listed in the
The Gentleman's Magazine as Perpetual Curate of St Matthew’s from 1856, on a stipend of £118.

Here is a page of texts and information about the various phases of his life and ministry.


The first Vicar (and also Lecturer at the parish church, officiating at a few baptisms and weddings in Bryan King's absence), from 1859-70, was Thomas Richardson. He was born in Lancaster, and as a young clerk in the City became involved with Christ Church Chelsea, whose vicar was an early total abstainer and keen distributor of tracts. Richardson trained at St Bees in Cumbria, since his uncle, the Mayor of Leeds, who financed him, disapproved of the 'Puseyite' universities. He served three curacies, in south London and the City, and preached regularly at the Royal Exchange. He was among the clergy mentioned by Lord Shaftesbury in his speech in a House of Lords debate of 1860, opposing the motion of Lord Dungannon to call attention to the performance of Divine Service at Sadler's Wells and other Theatres by Clergymen of the Church of England on Sunday Evenings; and to move a Resolution, that such Services, being highly irregular and inconsistent with Order, are calculated to injure rather than advance the Progress of sound religious Principles in the Metropolis and throughout the Country.

The incumbent of St Matthew’s, St George’s-in-the-East, a young minister, who has been very zealous in going about the poorer classes, and has acquired much experience of their character, states: I have preached at the Obelisk in Southwark, in Ratcliff Highway; I have preached for two seasons on the steps of the Royal Exchange; and last Sunday I preached at the Garrick Theatre. The place was densely crowded by persons of a class I never before got at. Mark these words, my Lords, never before got at, from a person so conversant with these classes. I have carefully inquired' he adds, from the city missionaries, and I find that their meetings are better attended, a deeper religious feeling pervades them, and their access to the homes of the people is much more easy.

Later in his speech Lord Shaftesbury quotes Richardson as saying My congregations have increased ever since I preached at the Garrick, and the increase has been from the lowest orders. Similar comments are quoted from R.H. Baynes of St Paul's - These services have in no way affected my evening congregation, though my church is nor more than three or four hundred yards from the theatre; from Charles Stovel - If anything, the evening attendance has improved; and from Hugh Allen, by then Rector of St George Southwark - None of my church services have been at all diminished, either in number or interest; and I have no hesitation in saying that these special services at the theatres, so far as they have come under my notice, were attended principally by the class of persons for whom they were instituted, and the attention given to my preaching there was as solemn and as marked as ever I witnessed in any church.

The Church Pastoral Aid Society provided curates, financed to the tune of £100 annually by William Wainwright, owner of a local sugar refinery. Many German sugar workers came to St Matthew's for weddings, because the fees at the German Church were high, and Richardson learnt German in order to conduct the services. This pattern continued in his successor's time - see here for more details. He established a branch of the Band of Hope (a temperance organisation for working class children, founded in 1847 and continuing as Hope UK helping children to make drug-free choices). He continued to preach around the country for the Home Mission Union, and throughout his life remained a keen distributor of tracts, both through organised congregational visiting and in the streets. (On one occasion he walked from Bournemouth to London distributing them.)  From 1870 to his death in 1901 he was the first vicar of St Benet Stepney; there he wrote a series of tracts under the title Faithful Boughs, and in 1876 founded a Bible and Prayer Union which claimed 30,000 members worldwide by the end of the century. I was awakened, he said, but did not find Christ  till I read my Bible personally. Richardson’s wife Anna (whom he married during his time at St Matthew's) wrote a memoir of her husband under the title Forty Years' Ministry in East London (Hodder & Stoughton 1903).  Here are some extracts from his notebooks from his time at St Matthew's, plus a paper read at a meeting of the Rural Deanery of Limehouse in 1864, advocating parochial temperance societies (he was secretary of the Church of England and Ireland Temperance Reformation Society, and listed among the 500 Anglican clergy who were 'total abstainers'), and his address to the 1870 Church Congress -  note his comments on poverty relief and emigration.

John Mortier Fidler [left] was the next Vicar (1870-89). He was born in Grenada in 1831, where for 32 years his father William (1796-1866) was a Methodist missionary, described by a contemporary as a faithful minister of the gospel, a strict disciplinarian, and a diligent pastor. His diary for 1825-27 records his first journey to St Vincent. Four of his seven children became or married Methodist ministers, and according to his great-great-great-grandson Kevin Laurence (born in Trinidad to a West Indian father and English mother) the Methodist ethos remained strong through four generations: cousins intermarried rather than marrying 'out'; they were teetotal; committed to education (two grand-daughters founded a school in Sydney, Austrialia, and a grandson was headmaster of a boys' school in Grahamstown, South Africa); and not without eccentricity - for instance, when William's grand-daughter Jessie went to the cinema she bought two entire rows of tickets to ensure that no-one blocked her view). John, however, became an Anglican! He worked as a chemist in the Midlands from 1846 to 1863 before training at King’s College London, serving curacies at St John Battersea - then in Winchester diocese - and came to St Matthew's after a spell with the London Diocesan Home Mission, Spitalfields. His wife Mary Ann (née Garton) - they married in Bridlington in 1855 -  died in 1865, aged 39; they had no children. At first he lodged with the Roberts family at 62 Philpot Street (near the London Hospital), and later moved to Prince's Square. He died of nephritis, aged 58, and was buried by his curate Charles Brooke.

The Temperance Record for October 1871 records that
At St Matthew's Princes-square, East, on Tuesday evening last the first meeting of the winter session was held in the Girls' School. The room was crowded, notwithstanding the admission was by payment. An entertainment was provided by Mr. W. Rains, assisted by the Misses Rawlings and Thompson, Masters Oliver and Jennings, Messrs. Gaved, T. Coates, Mason, and Woonton. Mr. E.A. Price presided at the pianoforte. Recitations were given by Messrs. Piper and Rains, and the latter gave a short address. Several pledges were taken at the close.

Charles Davies - who may have served for a time in this parish, and whose story is told here - included this description, in his 1873 book Orthodox London, of the Midnight Meeting for street workers held at St Matthew's Schoolroom, one of the various local attempts to address these issues. His journalistic style is the clue to the popularity of his works.


Charles Lacy Kingsmill (1864-67) was an Irishman, born in Kilkenny in 1830 (later drawing some income from a family estate there), and a graduate of King's College Cambridge. Ordained to serve at St Matthew's, after three further London curacies he went, with a wife and five young children, to be chaplain of the British Church at Batavia in the Dutch East Indies [left], also teaching at the gymnasium in Salemba; but he did not feel sufficiently stretched there - complaining of compulsory idleness - so moved to New South Wales in 1879 where he was rector of a succession of five parishes and became a Canon of St Saviour’s Cathedral, Golbourn. He was a popular preacher on a range of public issues, with a keen interest in European military history: the history of European warfare he knew as his alphabet, and while he was essentially a man of peace his voice and pen often warned Australia against the perils of the future. In a sermon in 1899 at the start of the Boer War he said war often saves more war, and there are worse things than war, and he challenged the Boers' biblical claim of racial supremacy: if you choose to piece together bits of the Bible ... you can prove anything you like. He died in 1910 at Manly, having broken his leg trying to stop a bolting horse. See Peter Edwards Arthur Tange: Last of the Mandarins (Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2006, pages 7-8).

Richard Hitchman (1869), like the vicar Thomas Richardson, was listed by the Church of England and Ireland Temperance Reformation Society as a 'total abstainer'. His time here was brief. He had trained at St Aidan's College Birkenhead, served curacies at St Peter's Derby (where he lectured on The History of the United Church of England and Ireland), Willington in Staffordshire (publishing a well-reviewed lecture on The Bible and Teetotalism), and Kent, before coming to London. He joined the Victoria Institute, or Philosophical Society of Great Britain (founded in 1865 as a response to Darwinism: it was not formally opposed to evolutionary theory, but shared the views of the 'broad church' Essays and Reviews, published to defend the great truths revealed in Holy Scripture ... against the opposition of Science falsely so called). Hitchman produced several other books and pamphlets, including Miracles (pamphlet of 1866), The Protestantism of the Church of England, Essays on the Christian Church and The Christian Priesthood (1867), and Rise & Progress of the Papal Power (1869, condensed from the Ecclesiastical History of Johann Mosheim (1694-1755)). In his next post, as curate of the new district church of St Paul Clerkenwell, he became committed to the cause of Canadian emigration, through the East End Emigration and Relief Society: see here for details of the proposed 'New Clerkenwell' settlement there.  Although aspects of the scheme were altered, it was broadly successful, and the Clerkenwell Emigration Society was renamed the 'Royal Canadian Emigration Club', with the motto 'piety, sobriety, industry'.

Frederick Haslock (or Hasluck) (1872-75) was born in Arnee, Madras in the East Indies; he married Hannah Ladbury in Stourbridge in 1863 (they had four children) and was ordained in 1872 to serve at St Matthew's. The following year he proposed the creation of a Total Abstinence Society at his masonic lodge, St John's (of which he was chaplain). After a stint at St Luke, Millwall he became curate-in-charge of the new Grove mission district at All Saints, Grays Thurrock - with an iron church, a mission hall and an institute - until his death in 1906 in Southend, survived by his second wife Louisa. (A permanent church, designed by Sir Charles Nicholson, was consecrated in 1927.) He appealed regularly for funds; in 1892, in the London Standard

HOLIDAY for the POOR—Who will send a DONATION towards giving one hundred women belonging to Mothers' Meeting, and Two Hundred and Fifty Sunday School Children, all of the poorest class, a Day at the Seaside, to the Rev. F. Haslock, Grays, Essex (London over the Border)

and in 1895 he endorsed To-Day - It is one of the best, healthiest and outspoken of our weeklies. In my work as a clergyman among 7,000 of the poorest of dock labourers and others, I have been much helped by its various articles, and many of the ideas which it so ably suggests for the improvement of our people, I try to put into practice - and he advertised regularly in it [right].

He was involved with poor law schools, and was chaplain of the ship Exmouth, built in 1840 and taken over by the Metropolitan Asylums Board in 1876, moored off Grays and providing training for poor boys for the regular and merchant navies [right in 1893].  In 1881 fourteen of the boys (aged 12-15) were from St George-in-the-East district. It was replaced by a newer vessel in 1905 [far right in 1917] which served until 1939.

He also gave weekly religious instruction on the training ship Shaftesbury, established in 1878 by the London School Board for 350 boys of whom 70 might be Roman Catholics (increased to 500 / 100 in 1881), occasioning this letter to Henry Gover of the LSB and printed in the church weekly Guardian in 1893:

It is with considerable reluctance that I am induced to write to you in reference to the various newspaper reports of what you said at the meeting of the London School Board of May 4 on the subject of 'Rules and Regulations for the Shaftesbury'. In the Guardian, of May 10, and several other papers, you are reported as having said: The Church clergyman would not seem to care so much for the welfare of the people as did the Roman Catholic priest, for the Catholic priest was ready to give religious instruction freely, while the Church clergyman treated the matter in a mercenary spirit. Mr. Sinclair, who preceded you, is reported to have said he thought it contemptibly mean that any clergyman should want remuneration for giving religious instruction to children. Now I feel quite sure neither of you gentlemen would have made a statement in such strong terms had you been acquainted with the following facts:—For more thani two years last past I have personally and regularly visited the training-ship Shaftesbury once a week (Wednesday mornings) to give religious instruction to the Protestant boys, and this instruction is purely religious, not dogmatic nor doctrinal. Once in each year, so soon as I receive notice from the Bishop of the diocese that he purposes a confirmation either in my own or a near church, with the sanction of the captain and head schoolmaster, I mention the subject to the boys on board, explain carefully the nature and object of confirmation, then I tell the boys if any of them wish to he conflrmed, they may give in their names to the head master; no pressure whatever is put upon them. When I receive the list I arrange to meet these boys alone, weekly, for about six weeks, in order to give them the special instructions required. On a convenient day after they are confirmed they all attend All Saints' Church to make their first Communion; and if you will kindly give me the pleasure of meeting you at your City office, I will show to you the books, memorial cards, &c., which I give to each boy at my own cost. In two years not less than 106 boys have been thus prepared by me and presented to the Bishop, and have won from him the highest commendation for their reverence and good behaviour. I have done this without any hope or thought of payment, only from pure love of the boys, and I have certainly never asked to be paid for it. But, curiously enough, the first and only intimation I had of the question of payment being raised was from the Roman priest whom I meet weekly. My only reply then was, If the Board offer it I shall accept it, but will never ask for it, and to this I still adhere and am still doing the work. I have not written this with any desire or wish for publicity, but solely that you should know that there is a clergyman not quite so mercenary as some would imagine

Gover withdrew his charge against Haslock, but maintained that his criticism of the Church of England, in view of the facts then before the Board, had been just.

Alfred Enoch Wicks (1876-77), born 1846 in Cumbria and trained at St Bees; St Matthew's was the fourth of seven curacies, after St Denis York, Hertfordshire and St Thomas Bethnal Green, going on to Colwich (Staffordshire), Homerton and Cheswardine (Shropshire), before be became in 1881 vicar of St Bartholomew Tosside (also known as Tossett, or Haughton), a small community in the Forest of Bowland, in the diocese of Ripon. He retired in 1912 (with a £50 pension granted by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners) to Kneeton Vale, Sherwood, in Nottinghamshire, and died there in 1934 aged 88. His son Alfred Ernest, who unlike his father studied at Cambridge (St Catharine's College) and trained for ministry at St Aidan's College Birkenhead, was Rector of Hollesley in Suffolk from 1929-49.

George Rogers (1881-82) trained at St Bees and was ordained in Edinburgh in 1878, as a missionary priest of High School Yard (where John Wesley had preached over a century before, in 1763, recording in his diary I preached at seven in the High School yard, Edinburgh. It being the time of the General Assembly, which drew together not the ministers only, but abundance of the nobility and gentry, many of both sorts were present; but abundantly more at five in the afternoon. I spake as plainly as ever I did in my life. But I never knew any in Scotland offended at plain dealing. In this respect the North Britons are a pattern to all mankind.) Rogers came here three years later, and then to St Paul Shadwell from 1882-84. Seven further, and equally brief, curacies and other posts followed: Pokesdown in Hampshire; St Thomas Stamford Hill; St Matthew Bethnal Green; Braxted, in Essex; an assistant chaplaincy at St Katharine's, then based in Regent's Park; St Augustine Kilburn; and St Paul Knightsbridge - most of these being in the catholic tradition - with no further recorded posts after 1900.

John Jones (1883-85), formerly a Baptist minister, was ordained by the Bishop Robertson of Missouri in 1872 at the behest of the Ecclesiastical Authority of Illinois; he officiated at many baptisms during his time here.

Charles Hyde Brooke (1886-90) - see here for details of his interesting life.


Charles Stanton Gray was the final curate (1895-97) and left, explained Turner, because of the reduction of clerical staff to normal limits. Ironically in view of the first vicar's ardent teetotalism, Gray's family were major brewers, maltsters and corn merchants in Essex. In 1828 his grandfather had founded a brewery in Springfield Road, Chelmsford [left] - eventually sold in 1974 to cover death duties, and the site redeveloped. His father had acquired another family brewery in Halstead, where the family lived at The Red House, but sold it in 1876 to Thomas Francis Adams and retired, with his wife and five children, to Hastings at the age of 40. There, in 1886, aged 22, Charles Stanton Gray junior set up business briefly as a photographer, at St Andrew's Studio, 104 Queen's Road and then at 25 White Rock (on the seafront) -  carte de visite right. He then studied at Emmanuel College Cambridge and was ordained in 1888, serving curacies at Kingston-on-Thames, Acton and St Barnabas Kensington before coming to St Matthew's; a variety of further curacies followed at Esher, Gedling, St John's Drury Lane and back in Kingston before he became incumbent of Hasleton (with Long Melton and Yanworth) in rural Gloucestershire - a Lord Chancellor parish with a population of 190. He retired to Bournemouth and died in 1938, aged 73, leaving a benefaction to his college, Emmanuel Cambridge, for those intending to seek ordination (now used to help fund research students).

As Charles Booth commented in 1902, There are two churches connected with this parish, and the necessary centralization of the work is shown by the absolute failure of the second church to fill any useful role as a local place of worship. St Matthew's was the first Stepney church to close – and perhaps had always been somewhat surplus to requirements as a place of worship, being so close to the parish church. When regular worship ceased, it was used as a parish hall for a variety of activities -
There is a very good evening gathering at the sub-parish church of St Matthew's, reported Sunday At Home in 1895, and Henry Iselin, curate at St George's from 1898-1916, ran youth clubs for girls and boys here. By the 1920s the girls' club activities had transferred to the parish church under the name 'St George's and St Matthew's Girls' Club', and the building became a non-parochial boys’ club. The official parish title remained 'St George-in-the-East with St Matthew' until further pastoral re-organisation after the Second World War.  

In 1937 the officials of the boys' club asked the Ecclesiastical Commissioners if they might buy the building. The Commissioners were surprised to hear that it was still standing as the Order for closure specified that it should have been demolished. The club was ejected, and the building duly pulled down! The site was sold for £400 which was given, after the War, to the building fund of St Mark’s South Ruislip.

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