St Simon and St Jude

St. Simon and St. Jude (now St. Jude's United Church). Edward Buckton Lamb (1805 or 1806-1869). 1859. Kentish rag with Bath stone dressing; interior, coloured brick walls, also with bandings of Kentish rag and Bath stone. Englefield Green, Surrey. Photograph, caption and commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL.]

In his own time, Lamb's designs "aroused admiration and hostility" (Falkner), and this situation continues today. As for the hostility, one critic writes that his churches are easy to recognise because "they are too bad to be the work of anyone else" (qtd. in Falkner). Others are ambivalent: "The plan is a fine example of ambiguity from outside. It is cruciform with a tower over the S transept," explain Ian Nairn and Nikolaus Pevsner, "but with a longer nave away from the road, so that the chancel looks like the N transept, and the tower looks as if it were over the E end (which one could well believe from Lamb's work)." After that telling aside, the critique continues in a generally disapproving tone: "Tower top as though normal Gothic mouldings had melted together, the E window clearly trying to be Art Nouveau — cf. e.g. the blind panels beneath." The polychromatic interior walls of the church are described as "unforgettable" (ambivalent, again) and in case the remark about Art Nouveau seems anachronistic, the account concludes, "Lamb was clearly thirty years ahead of his time — and also alas of his style, so that the strictly architectural value is fairly small." As a postscript, Nairn and Pevsner describe the two "very curious little brick Gothic gabled MAUSOLEA to the Fitzroy family" in the churchyard as "obviously by Lamb" (213). Even R. E. Falkner's comment that this church is "among his happier creations because small in scale" is not really complimentary to Lamb. But it looks pretty enough in its setting, is distinctive, and (thanks to the mausolea) has an eye-catching approach.

Other Views and Related Material

References

Falkner, Richard E. "Church and School in Englefield Green." Reprinted in "St. Jude's United Church: Our Story." Viewed 22 September 2009.

Nairn, Ian, and Nikolaus Pevsner, eds.The Buildings of England: Surrey. 2nd ed., rev. Bridget Cherry. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.: University of Chicago Press, 1987.


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Last modified 22 September 2009