St Saviour & St Cross Mission Chapel 1857-68

In August 1856 the Revd Charles Fuge Lowder, inspired by reading the life and writings of St Vincent de Paul, accepted the Rector's incitation to lead the mission at St George-in-the-East at the centre of the London Docks. Interestingly in the light of modern-day church planting, they corresponded at length over how much independence the Mission might have, Bryan King insisting courteously but firmly that church law required him, as Rector, to retain ultimate responsibility, with the clergy licensed as his assistant curates - a stance he was to maintain in all that followed. Lowder also discussed the situation with his parents, with whom he was very close.

Its first service was held at 49 The Highway on Ash Wednesday. He then rented a sailor’s house in Lower Well Alley. Later that year an iron chapel, dedicated to The Good Shepherd, was opened in Calvert Street [later known as Watts Street] in Wapping, with a house nearby. In the following year they rented the former Danish Church in Wellclose Square, which had been used by seafarers' missions but had lain empty for several years. It was named St Saviour and St Cross, an unusual dedication in England (though S. Croix and Santa Croce are common enough elsewhere in Europe). This reflected two new associations:

¶ the Society of the Holy Cross (SSC, from its Latin title), which Lowder and five others formed in 1855, dedicating themselves to lives of self-disciplined service to the poor and the extension of the Catholic faith. Membership required obedience to a rule of life: Lowder adopted the white rule, the strictest, requiring celibacy. 

¶ the Community of the Holy Cross, newly-founded by Elizabeth Neale (sister of John Mason Neale) who brought her sisters to work at the mission in the same year. [In 2011 the Community moved from Rempstone Hall in Leicestershire, a large listed mansion built in 1792, to more modest purpose-built accommodation nearby in Costock - their website is here.]  

The presence of the sisters, alongside one or more assistant clergy and layworkers, enabled the Mission to provide a wide range of activities and facilities alongside a very full programme of services: schools, a 'penitentiary' or refuge for prostitutes (started in Calvert Street in 1858, moving to Sutton the next year and to Hendon in 1860), St Stephen's Home (an industrial school for boys, which also moved from Calvert Street to Hendon), a hostel for homeless girls, night classes and parish clubs, an insurance scheme for dockers, coal for the poor and general poor relief. Over the next ten years, a club for working men and a boys' institute and club, with a drum-and-fife band, were established at Wellclose Square - this 1868 map [left] shows their location. Staff and activities moved between the various premises, but eventually the sisters settled in the Calvert Street house and the clergy at 44 Wellclose Square. Accounts from 1860 and 1863 give more detail of the work.

The mission pioneered high church practices (Lowder was possibly the first Anglican priest in London to wear eucharistic vestments), and attracted protests and attacks (on one occasion a dead cat was flung at him) – though these were mainly focused on the parish church itself: see the page on the Ritualism Riots. Lowder always sought to be loyal to the Church of England, and was distressed by the conversion of friends and colleagues to the Roman Catholic church. He was deeply affected when three of his curates (Wyndham, Shepcote and Akers) were received into the Roman Catholic Church on the same day - Akers having assured the congregation in his sermon the previous Sunday that the Church of England provided 'safety' and liberty! Lowder constantly pushed himself to the limit, and needed regular continental trips to recover from the stress of it all.

He wrote Ten Years in St. George's Mission (1867) and Twenty-one Years in St. George's Mission (1877) which includes this passage:

Wellclose Square, in which our Mission House was situated, is a large open square forming the meeting point of the three parishes of St George's, St Mary's Whitechapel, and St John's Wapping... The poverty of the place was very great.... In the midst of scenes of sin and misery the children were brought up, the school of too many the streets, abounding in temptation, echoing with profane and disgusting language, and forming a very atmosphere of vice.... The parish had very few redeeming features; scarcely any residents of education and respectability to foster a better spirit.... The church had little influence; what wonder that when the rector attempted to throw a little life into the services and teach the doctrines of the Church faithfully, that he should meet with opposition.... The mischief which afterwards burst forth in the St George's riots had been already smouldering.... It was in the presence of such a population, and in the face of such difficulties without and trials within, that the St George's Mission was now making ground in its campaign against sin.
[Life in the clergy house and church was conducted on semi-monastic principles....]
The first bell for rising was rung at 6.30; we said Prime in the Oratory at 7; Matins was said at 7.30, followed by the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.* After breakfast, followed by Terce, the clergy and teachers went to their respective work -- some in school, some in the study or district. Sext was said at 12.45, immediately before dinner, when the household were again assembled.... After dinner, rest, letters, visiting or school work, as the case might be, and then tea at 5.30. After tea, choir practice, classes, reading or visiting again until Evensong at 8.00. After service the clergy were often engaged in classes, hearing confessions, or attending to special cases. Supper at 9.15, followed by Compline, when those who had finished their work retired to their rooms.
* at first the Eucharist was only celebrated on Thursdays and saints' days, because of scrupulous regard to the Prayer Book rubrics about the minimum number of communicants. The daily celebration began in 1866.

Lowder, who died in 1880, is commemorated in the Church of England calendar on 9 September.
Here and here are two unashamedly partisan portraits of him;  and see
Maria Trench Charles Lowder: A Biography (1882).

William Walsham How, whose story as Bishop of Bedford is told here, was a great admirer of Lowder, and wrote this sonnet [right] about him; see also the following one in this series, about Harry Jones, Rector of St George-in-the-East.
Like some tall rock that cleaves the headlong might
Of turgid waves in full flood onward borne,
So stood he, fronting all the rage and scorn,
And calmly waiting the unequal fight.
He fashioned his ideal — stately rite.
High ceremonial, shadowing mystic lore;
The Cross on high before the world he bore,
Yet lived to serve the lowliest day and night.
He could not take offence  men held him cold;
Yet was his heart not cold, but strongly just,
And full of Christ-like love for young and old.
They knew at last, and tardy homage gave;
They crowned him with a people's crown of trust;
And strong men sobbed in thousands at his grave.

Lowder was joined by the Revd Alexander Heriot Mackonochie (1858-62) prior to his taking charge of St Alban Holborn. Of his time at the Mission, the Revd T. I. Ball later wrote:

It was during the advent of 1859, in the chapel in Wellclose Square, that I first saw Mr. Mackonochie. The chapel was as a place for English worship, so unique in appearance, and is so associated with the memory of Mr. Mackonochie's earlier labours in London, that it deserves a word or two of description. The building, which stood in the middle of an old-fashioned square, and which was in summer-time almost hidden by trees, had nothing worth describing so far as outward appearance went, but directly you entered it you felt that you were in a church which had originally been built under other than British inspiration. It had, in fact, been erected at the end of the seventeenth century by Danish settlers in London for their own use. There was a thoroughly foreign air about it. First, it had much greater height than we should ordinarily give to a building of the same area. Then the arrangements were very non-English. At the east end was a shallow apse, open to the church above, but screened off from it below by a wooden partition, in the midst of which rose up a lofty pseudo-classical reredos, containing in the centre a large and inferior painting of the Agony in the garden, flanked by Corinthian columns, and surmounted by a pediment.

In those days (1859) High Churchmen were nothing if not Gothic, and so in front of the pseudo-classical reredos the clergy of St. George's Mission had placed an altar with a medievally designed frontal, on the gradine stood Gothic candlesticks, a Gothic cross was fastened to the reredos behind, and a Gothic cross adorned (or disfigured) the pediment above ... Against the lateral walls on either side of the reredos was, on the right side a royal pew or box, and on the left side an elaborately carved pulpit with extensive staircase. Between the two erections the floor was paved with black and white marble, and in this space stood medievally designed choir stalls for men and boys. Iron gates divided this sanctuary from the body of the church, which was seated with open benches ... It was in this church at a week-day Advent service that I first saw Mr. Mackonochie, who at that time was barely known in London beyond a very narrow circle. I remember that the service was dreary; there were very few people present, but the sermon spoke to the heart; and in the following January or February I offered myself to Mr. Mackonochie as a lay-helper in his work.

I still remember, after the lapse of twenty years, as well as if it had taken place yesterday, my first interview with him in his own room in the Clergy House at Wellclose Square. The room was a back one, panelled with drab-painted wood; well-filled bookcases stood against the walls, on which hung some pictures (mostly of sacred subjects, with one or two views of ecclesiastical buildings; between the window and the door of a little dressing-room stood a prie-dieu table with books on it, and a small crucifix in a triptych over it; the general furniture of the room (there was no carpet) was of the plainest and severest description. ... At that my first interview I was struck by qualities which I learned afterwards to revere and appreciate more and more as years went by. I remember so well how, on my raising or asking some question with regard to the doctrine of Holy Orders, Mr. Mackonochie expended infinite pains in discussing the matter to the very bottom, how he rushed to a cupboard and hunted out notes of college lectures in order to unearth some valuable opinion; this kind of painstaking treatment of a question raised by an unimportant stranger impressed me very much, and I think I may say that then and there a friendship arose which only deepened and matured as years went on, and which I feel and know death has not broken, nor even interrupted, on either side.

[Commenting on his preparation of two teenagers for baptism, Ball adds]

On the eve of their baptism he insisted that the lads should undergo a thorough ablution (at that time he considered this as a part of a proper preparation for baptism), and a missionary student who was staying at the Clergy House was sent with the boys to a public bath with orders to see that the cleansing was perfect.


[E.A. Towle, ed Edward Francis Russell Alexander Heriot Mackonochie: A Memoir (London 1890), from Chapter IV, 1858-1862. See also Geoffrey Rowell The Vision Glorious (London 1991)]


Other priests

Among the colourful sequence of clergy who worked with Lowder and Mackonochie at the Mission (licensed as curates to the parish church) were


Henry Collins
 (1856-57): born in 1827 at Barmingham in Yorkshire, youngest of four sons of a clergyman, he grew up at Knaresborough House and after preparatory school in Stamford attended Rugby School under Matthew Arnold. He read for the bar at Durham, and was called, but soon after was ordained from Oxford in 1854. He worked at St Saviour Leeds, where there had been a spate of secessions to Rome - when Dr Pusey visited to preach the tension was too much for him and he collapsed in a faint. A contemporary at Wellclose Square described Collins: 
His very peculiarities – and he had many – were attractive, for though with reference to dress he sometimes set at nought all conventional ideas, he did so with such simplicity that, even while tempted to laugh at him, you were drawn more closely to him. He regarded the so-called 'religious life' as indispensably necessary to satisfactory work among the neglected people of east London; but in the cultivation of that life he sought the aid of the masters of devotion in the Romish rather than in the English church, and his preaching and manner of life exhibited a similar tendency.  Lowder's approach was very different!
Another colleague from the mission said he was a remarkable man, an enthusiast, and able to excite enthusiasm; a sweet-dispositioned man with winning ways and great readiness of speech.
Collins became a Roman Catholic in 1857, and in 1860 a Cistercian at the Abbey of Mount St Bernard, taking the name Father Austin OC. He wrote a history of the Cistercians and a collection of Cistercian legends, and edited various spiritual writings, including The Divine Cloud (the first modern version of The Cloud of Unknowing, in 1871) and the Devotions of Dame Gertrude More (1873), and translated various French Catholic works, including The Probable Validity of Anglican Orders Examined, with...suggestions on reunion. His hymn Jesu my Lord, my God, my all, written in 1852 when he was still an Anglican, remains in various hymnals, as do a few others. He died in 1919.

Hubert de Burgh (1856-58): from a wealthy Irish family, was born in 1830 and baptized in a free church in Dublin, and studied at Trinity College there; he was a curate at Lawshall in Suffolk, and in 1856 was briefly a chaplain attached to the Turkish contingent in the Crimean War. He was received into the Roman Catholic Church in 1858 and was (re-)ordained; by 1862 he was at St Mary, Grace Dieu Manor, Ashby-de-la-Zouch (where the chapel and priest's house were built by Ambrose de Lisle in 1842). In 1869 he went to the USA (banking with the New York Emigrants Bank), and served at Belleville, Essex County, New Jersey, where in 1876 he founded Our Lady of Grace church Nutley, for Irish and Italian quarrymen. In 1883 he moved to St Mary Plainfield, in Union County New Jersey, but by 1886 had returned to England, to St Edward New Hall in Burton-on-Trent (a large gothic chapel erected in the village by the Countess of Loudoun). In 1900 he was in Ashbourne, but died the following year in Blackheath, aged 70.

Joseph Abbot(t) Temple (1857-58) - born in Islington in 1829, studied at King's College London, and served curacies in Cripplegate and Devonport; after eighteen months time here, from 1858-70 he was licensed as curate of St John Westminster, and for a further two years at St Anne Hoxton, but also ran an educational institution, advertising in The Athanæum of 1863
PRIVATE GRAMMAR SCHOOL for Gentlemen, Waterfield-terrace BLACKHEATH, conducted by the Rev. J.A. TEMPLE, M.A. Terms for Boarders. Fifty guineas per annum, The course of Instruction affords a thorough preparation for the Public Schools. Younger pupils are under the especial charge of Mrs Temple.
He was also an examiner for the London Civil Service & University College Ltd (founded 1878) and an assistant examiner in Classics for London University. He reported an unathorised broker, one Frederick Hunnybun, with whom he had been in conflict over a debt. He died in Chiswick in 1901.

Joseph Leycester Lyne (nine months in 1861) – the eccentric 'Father Ignatius' was a self-styled Benedictine monk. Ordained deacon on condition that he did not proceed to priesthood, and abstained from preaching for three years, he was given a monastic habit by Dr Pusey, but his father objected to him wearing it. So too did Lowder – so he left. He eventually established a community at Llanthony, and in later life was ordained priest by an Old Catholic episcopus vagans. You can read more about him here and here, in A.Calder-Marshall The Enthusiast: An Enquiry into the Life, Beliefs and Character of the Rev. Joseph Leycester Lyne alias Father Ignatius OSB (1962), and there is a chapter about him in Bernard Palmer Reverend Rebels (DLT 1993). The cartoon, right, is from Vanity Fair  (1887), plus images from 1864 and an 1870s carte-de-visite by Samuel Alexander Walker, from the National Portrait Gallery.

Henry Aston Walker (1860-64) -  from Oriel College Oxford and Cuddesdon, ordained in Oxford in 1857, an accomplished and refined musician, he trained choirs at both mission chapels, introducing them to a mix of plainsong and popular hymnody, and continued his musical work as precentor of St Alban Holborn with Mackonochie (giving evidence at his trial). Samuel WIlberforce, Bishop of Oxford, attended a service there at which he presided and found it grave, earnest and devout. Here and in the coming years he published many settings of liturgical texts, and English versions of Latin anthems - as his obituaries noted, his pioneering work in this field tended to be overshadowed by his ritualism involvement. In 1873, his health broken by conflict, he went to the new church of St Matthias, Earls Court [now demolished], returning to the fray in 1879 by succeeding Fr Arthur Tooth (who had been imprisoned for ritualism offences) at St James Hatcham [now New Cross] which saw similar scenes to those a generation earlier at St George-in-the-East. He survived there for five years before moving to The Gables, East Bergholt in Suffolk (where in 1887 he was listed as an cattle-owner in the Berkshire herd book, and participated in the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology). In 1891 he became vicar of Chattisham, Ipswich, and died in 1906, aged 71, at the family home of his brother (a Major-General) in Enfield; his library of 3,500 books was put up for auction. Away from ecclesiastical conflict, he was the secretary of the British Pteridological Society (ferns) and contributed to gardening magazines. See here for more about his ministry at Holborn and Hatcham, and his interests as a collector.

James Percy Kane (1863-67), born at Alverstoke, Hampshire in 1852; after Trinity College Oxford, and a curacy at Cowley (1856-62) he came as Lyne's replacement. He moved on to St Paul Brighton for a further 8 years, and then held no further posts, but continued a peripatetic ministry, living at Newington, and assisting at the House of Charity in Soho, but based for a time at St Paul Brighton [see T.F. Willis below] and also at St Mary Magdalene, Bread Street in Oxford where he was described as a most hard-working and indefatigable man .... we used to say that he was made of cast iron, nothing fatigued him. He was a glamorous preacher, and featured in Mowbray's list of photographic portraits (price 1s.) during his time at the Mission. He later moved to Bury Lodge, Gosport; he collected stamps (in 1882 he sent Stamp News a puzzling specimen from Bhopal) and was something of an expert on the coronation service, advising the liturgist J. Wickham Legg on an 1890 monograph on the subject. Part of his library was sold by Sotheby's in 1897. He died in 1919.
He was related by marriage* to Sir Andrew Clark [left], a notable President of the Royal College of Physicians and other medical bodies, who worked at the London Hospital for twenty years (endowing a scholarship there) and treated the rich and famous, including royalty, from his consulting rooms in Cavendish Square; here and here are two contrasting accounts of his life. The Clarks stayed with Kane's unmarried sister at Gosport, and Kane was one of his executors when he died in 1893, leaving over £200,000 (including £80,000 to endow his baronetcy). The following year the Christian Evidence Society published his address The Physician's Testimony for Christ.
[*Mary Kane was Clark's eldest daughter; in 1891 she married the zoologist Oldfield Thomas [right] of the Natural History Museum and two years later inherited a small fortune, which she used to fund his collection of mammals. Inconsolable after her death, he shot himself at his desk in the museum in 1929.]

Thomas Barton Hill (1863-??) was the son of the staunchly Protestant incumbent of St Stephen Islington (who shared the same name, and published widely, including a November 5 sermon on the popish Gunpowder Plot); a graduate of Wadham College Oxford, he had been Second Master at Godolphin School, Hammersmith and joined SSC in 1863. Later he was, briefly, vicar of Stonesby in Leicestershire (the patron being James Alexander Wood, a former curate of St George-in-the-East), where he died in 1877 - leaving a legacy of £400 for the education of Basuto boys in the doctrine of the Church of England.

Thomas Frederick WIllis (1863-65 - some listings specify 'C. Willis': was this perhaps someone else?) was born in Essex c1839, and after Exeter College Oxford was ordained deacon by the Bishop of Norwich in 1862 to serve at Great Yarmouth (where he married his first wife Eleanor). After two years at the Mission, he went as curate of St Paul Brighton (one of several churches in the town planned by the Vicar of Brighton, Henry Wagner, to promote Tractarian worship), returning to Oxford in 1867 as curate of Cowley - it was only in this year that he was priested, by the Bishop of Oxford - why the delay? - and then to Wantage from 1870-72. Having remarried (Eleanor Milner, at Brighton), he became curate of Dartington, in Exeter diocese, living with his large family, from both marriages, at Brooking Parsonage. His only son was killed in action in the First World War.

Edward Gifford Shapcote, born in Devonport and studied at Corpus Christi College Cambridge, was ordained in 1852; after curacies in Odiham (Hampshire) and West Lavington (Sussex) he served as Chaplain at the House of Mercy in Hendon from 1862-64, and then briefly here. He went as a missionary - with Bishop Twells, not with SPG - to Philippolis in the Orange Free State (founded in 1823 as a mission outpost for Bushmen), where there were disputes with the church council at Smithfield, referred to the bishop, over irregularities in the communion service; his two sons were born there. Returning to England with the boys, his wife Emily Mary - who wrote children's hymns and songs (including settings of eleven poems from Tennyson's In Memoriam), and devotional books - became a Roman Catholic, as did Shapcote on his return in 1868. He worked as a private tutor, and became sub-editor of The Tablet until 1883, dying three years later in Ongar. The elder son became a Dominican friar ('Father Lawrence') and a translator of Aquinas' Summa Theologica); the younger son Edward became a Roman Catholic priest. Emily died in Devon in 1909.

Laughton Alison (1864-65), from Park Hall, Charnock Richard in Lancashire (baptized at Euxton) via Trinity College Cambridge, was ordained deacon by the Bishop of Jamaica and priest by the Bishop of Exeter, serving his first curacy in Paignton. For a number of years he was the 'Foreign Secretary' of SSC, maintaing the list of those serving overseas. From 1867 to his death in 1892 (aged 53) he was Chaplain of the Society of St Margaret in East Grinstead [right], succeeding their founder John Mason Neale. Initially distrusted for his extreme views, he became much-loved, and the sisters dedicated the third edition of Neale's Sermons on the Blessed Sacrament to him. He was a keen traveller, keeping journals (now at Lambeth Palace Library) of trips around Europe in 1865, 1871 and 1887.

Frederick Bown (1865), an Associate of King's College London, had been curate at St Philip Clerkenwell and was briefly associated with the mission here before his sudden conversion that year. He trained in Rome as an Oblate of St Charles (a society of secular priests promoted by Wiseman and Manning, with a London base in Bayswater - cf Francis Wyndham below), and served at St Anne, Little Albany Street (a school chapel, originally 'The Queen of Martyrs & St Pancras' built in 1856, and the smallest Catholic parish church in London until it was rebuilt 80 years later) in whose presbytery he died in 1890, in his 55th year of his age and the 23rd year of his [Roman Catholic] priesthood, as The Tablet reported, though surely his age is wrong: he would have been too young for Anglican orders.

William Walker [aka Walter] Willan (1866-67): a clergyman's son from Corby, Leicestershire, attended Oakham School and graduated from Christ's College Cambridge in 1840 (having 'lost' four terms), he was VIce-Principal of Huddersfield Collegiate School (an Anglican foundation of 1838, whose proprietors held £21 shares) from 1842-46, and ordained deacon in 1843 and priest 1845 in Lincoln diocese. He next appears as curate of Wrawby with Brigg, in Lincolnshire, from 1860-62, and of Burnley in Lancashire from 1862-66 (where baptisms, weddings and funerals kept him busy) before coming to the Mission here. Further curacies followed -  at Southill with Callington in Truro diocese in 1871; back to East London to St Michael and All Angels Bromley-by-Bow in 1872 (marrying Margaret Currie in Tunbridge Wells that year); and Kidlington near Oxford in 1873. In 1875 he went as curate-in-charge of St Catherine Ventnor, on the Isle of Wight, remaining there (an active member of SPG) until his death in 1891 aged 76.

Francis Merrick Wyndham (1866-68), born in Sussex in 1839, of Merton College Oxford, formerly curate of Kington in Herefordshire (where he had been the diocesan secretary of the 'National Association for Freedom of Worship', which campaigned in the parliamentary elections of 1865 for the abolition of pew rents - some correspondence on the subject here), was another who converted overnight, and became the priest of St Charles Bayswater and rural dean. He wrote several books and pamphlets about Joan of Arc, a history of the Paris Sisters of Bon-Secours, a 'anti-masonic catechism of Freemasonry', a textbook on Latin and Greek as in Rome and Athens (1880) In 1859 he had made a tour of Norway which resulted in Wild Life on the Fjelds of Norway (translated as Villmarksliv i norske fjelle for hundre år siden). He commented that the smell of gamalost ('old cheese') followed him everywhere he went: for fuller details, see p152 of this intriguing article. A set of his papers was published in 1892.

George Akers (1864-68) - his family were early settlers in St Kitts and active in the abolition of slavery; his uncle Aretas Akers-Douglas later became Home Secretary and 1st Viscount Chilston. He was a student at Oriel College Oxford; before he came to the Mission he was F.G. Lee's curate at St Mary's Aberdeen, where 'advanced' services had been introduced (see here for details of a fellow-curate Thomas Dove's failure to become its incumbent). While at the Mission, he wrote a pamphlet Oxford University Election, which is the Church candidate, Mr Hardy or Mr Gladstone? (Masters 1865) - see here for more detail on this intriguing issue, and compare these comments of Rector J.L. Ross to his old friend Gladstone four years later when Gladstone was mooted as a candidate for the post of University Chancellor). He also offered to provide £4,000 from his family wealth to build a new church in Wellclose Square. Instead, he became a Roman Catholic in 1868; ordained priest in 1870, he served in East London, establishing the mission of The Immaculate Heart of Mary and St Dominic in Vallance Road in 1873, then was President of St Edmund's College Ware (training priests) and a Canon of Westminster, finally returning to the East End in 1896 to lead the staff of St Mary & St Michael in Commercial Road until his death three years later. A History of St Mary & St Michael's Parishpublished to celebrate their 150th anniversary, recalls his time there (p155 ff).

[ Joseph Redman, who had been a layworker at the Mission, also became a Roman Catholic priest; he was a Doctor of Divinity, and among his publications was an edition of Henri-Marie Bouden The Book of Perpetual Adoration: or, the Love of Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament (1873). He became involved in soldiers' missions, and with the Rev the Lord Archibald Douglas compiled The Soldier's Companion to the Spiritual Exercises [of St Ignatius] (1878). ]

North Green-Armytage (1865-67) - his father Joseph, from a corn-trading family, had inherited Thick Hollins Hall in West Yorkshire (now the site of Meltham Golf Club) but was ordained and later moved south - and published widely. North, born 1838, studied at St John's College Cambridge (as did his brother Joseph) and served his title at Winlaton, on Tyneside (then in Durham diocese - he was ordained along with George Cull Bennett, later Vicar of St John the Evangelist-in-the-East), before coming here. Further curacies followed, in Stepney, Liverpool, Frome-Selwood and Primrose Hill (all parishes of 'advanced' churchmanship), two European chaplaincies, and a spell as Chaplain of the House of Mercy, Ditchingham before he became incumbent of St Aidan's Chapel Boston in Lincolnshire from 1888-1905. He described himself as a  pronounced High Churchman, but wrote several books and booklets espousing the 'via media', including Anglo-Catholicism the Safer Way; or, Four Reasons for not going over to Rome (1890), Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament for the Sick Lawful (1895) and Alike yet Unlike; or, the Roman and Anglican Eucharists or Masses Compared (1907).
[Other publications included spiritual writings:
St Paul's Conversion: a sermon (1873), A Confirmation Catechism (1890), Calvary: Or a Guide for Holy Week (1890); Living Types: Sermon on the Holy Trinity (1912); more polemical or ecclesiological are The Laity in Synod: A Letter to the Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney (1870) - see here for some background to this issue, The Minor Order of Subdeacons (1889), Dr Littledale's Place in the Catholic Revival (1890, The Church in Wales (1893), Clerical Marriage and Celibacy (1894), Church Parties (1897), Four Grave Omissions of Duty; or Protestant Lawlessness (1899), The Case of Ischyras (189?) [a 4th-century Egyptian detractor of Athanasius], Importance of the Incense-Oblation (1901) and The Threefold Ministry (1917)].
The Green-Armytage family has produced artists, writers and publishers, and medics (giving their name to a particular gynaecological clamp). He died in 1927, aged 87, and is remembered by the Guild of All Souls on 15 January.

Henry von-der-Heyde Cowell (1868-9) - born in Faversham in 1837, as a philosophy student at King's College London in 1860 he had edited an annotated edition of George Berkeley's 1733 text The Theory of Vision Vindicated & Explained. Ordained in 1866, after curacies in Coventry and Stepney, he came to the Mission as London Diocesan Home Missioner, in charge of St Saviour's, for a year; in 1867 he married Amelia Elworthy in Wellington, Somerset and they had three daughters. From 1869 he served the new parish of St Paul Paddington [the church was closed after bomb damage in 1944]; his household had two servants and a governess. In 1877 he spoke at the Church Congress about the certain stigma that came to attach to clergy who were supportive of the Charity Organisation Society; in 1886 he published a Companion for Confirmation Day. In 1892 by an exchange of livings he went to Wilmington in Rochester diocese, retiring in 1905; he was also chaplain of Swanley Convalescent Home. He died in 1924.

Edward Williams - an Australian, ordained in 1848 by the Bishop of Newcastle, NSW to serve the missionary district (10,000 square miles, with a population of 2,000) of Liverpool Plains. Services were held in various local buildings, including the petty session clerk's hut in Wee Waa which was originally the judicial centre of the region. Three years later a parsonage and St Paul's Church were built at West Tamworth*, where he stayed as incumbent until 1861, leaving for England after an emotional service at which he was reduced to tears several times, and with a testimonial purse containing £81. After three years at Holy Trinity Missionary College in Shrewsbury and a curacy in Birmingham, in 1869 he succeeded Cowell as Home Missioner, attached both to St Saviour's and to St Stephen Spitalfields, and living in Victoria Park, Hackney. He returned to Australia in 1885, as Rector of York, in Western Australia, where he died in 1899, aged 76, from injuries received, the result of a carriage accident, whilst discharging his duty. His wife Selina died in Perth in 1909; they had six children.
[* nowadays, Tamworth is sometimes claimed to be the global centre of line-dancing.]

Dispute and closure

When the Rector Bryan King tried to have a district assigned to this church for the Mission, the minister of St Paul Dock Street, Dan Greatorex (who was a firm Protestant), objected: in a letter of 1863 he described Lowder as Bryan King's co-adjutor and a Romanizer. He stirred up other local clergy, including Thomas Richardson at St Matthew Pell Street, to protest about the subversive spread of 'Puseyism' in Stepney. The Bishop settled the dispute by having a district assigned to St Paul's in 1864. (It had not previously had parish boundaries because it was the 'Church for Seamen of the Port of London'). Since the Mission fell into this district, Greatorex closed it, and bought the building for £2,000, intending to convert it into a school. So all the Mission's activities transferred to Wapping.

By now the parish of St Peter London Dock had been created. The church was consecrated on 30 June 1866, with Lowder as its first Vicar. The following week the cholera epidemic broke out, and Lowder's courageous ministry to the afflicted earned him the title of 'the Father', then simply 'Father' - the first use of this title, it's claimed, in the Church of England. But this, and other subsequent events such as the tragic death of Mackonochie in a Scottish blizzard, are not strictly part of our story. The parish has its own comprehensive website. The Rector runs an addictive blog about parish life.

There is one further feature to note. Throughout the 19th century, and almost to the end of the 20th, Wapping was a distinct and separate community, physically (it was only accessible via four 'canal' bridges, and cut off when these were raised), socially and psychologically, and some say that this divide continues (compounded by the curious neologisms of 'North / South Wapping'). And yet the Mission apparently managed to straddle it.


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