Photographs by Colin Price and text by Jacqueline Banerjee, 2020. You may use these images 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 a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. Click on the images to enlarge them.

Left: The Church spire. Right: The winged figure representing St Matthew on one of the buttresses at the corners of the tower.

The (former) Agapemonite Church of the Ark of the Covenant, Upper Clapton, London, a Grade II* listed building by Joseph Morris & Sons. 1892-95. The Berkshire architect Joseph Morris (1836-1913) was joined in his practice by his sons Francis (1872-1908) and Henry Silver (b.1877) (see Brodie 213, 215). The listing text tells us that the west tower, spire and sculptures were by A. G. Walker.

The other three Evangelists, in their symbolic forms, at the other corners of the tower. From left to right: (a) The winged lion of St Mark. (b) The winged ox of St Luke. (c) The eagle of St John.

Left: The west door, its elaborate ironwork picked out in red: "The deep-recessed door has paired marble columns and extensive hingework" (listing text Right: The iconostasis, which is a much more recent addition, consequent on the change of sect. Unfortunately, it hides the sanctuary's mosaic wall and the impressive apse windows designed by Wallter Crane. In itself, however, it fits quite comfortably into its iconographically rich context. As Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner say, there is "much symbolic decoration everywhere" here (485).

When the last of the Agapemonites died, the church became the Ancient Catholic Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd (1956-2007), and it is now the Georgian Orthodox Cathedral Church of the Nativity of Our Lord. It is on Rookwood Road in Upper Clapton, London N16 6SS, at the north end of Clapton Common.

Related material


Baker, T. F. T., ed. "Hackney: Protestant Nonconformity." A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10, Hackney. London, 1995: 130-144. British History Online. Web. 12 October 2016.

Brodie, Antonia. Directory of British Architects 1834-1914. Vol. II (L-Z). London: Continuum / RIBA, 2001.

Cherry, Bridget, and Nikolaus Pevsner. London 4: North. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002.

"The Former Ark of the Covenant." Historic England. Web. 12 October 2016.

Created 31 March 2020