StGeorges Gravesend Wednesday 22 November 17

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Church History

Church History

Memorial to General GordonThe Memorial Tablets

Of principal interest are the two on either side of the church arch.

One commemorates Princess Pocahontas who, in 1617, was buried in a vault of the original church beneath the present chancel.

The other is a memorial to General Gordon, Commander, Royal Engineers from 1865 to 1871. He was a considerable benefactor to the poorer people of the town.

Noteworthy also is the tablet, bellow the gallery by the stairs, which commemorates the abolition of pew rents for the church in 1897.

The Present Building - Interior

The Porch

A handsome sconce, presented by William and Jane Russell, is situated in the porch, although prior to 1926 it hung in the chancel an was gas lit. The small door at the north-east corner leads to the ringing chamber and the tower.

The two boards commemorate a number of different charities; among them that of David Pinnock who provided the original almshouses in King Street, and David Varchell, a former Churchwarden, who died in 1703. In his will, he provided the Minister to preach a sermon annually on the Sunday before Christmas at about six o'clock; five shillings to buy candles, one and sixpence for the Clerk, one shilling for the Sexton and two and sixpence for the Churchwardens,in addition to a loaf of bread and sixpence for forty poor people. For many years, it was the custom for the boys from the Old Free School, who were clothed under his will, to attend the service and each time his name was mentioned to stand up and bow!

The Nave

When the church was built, a three-decker pulpit was installed in the centre of the south wall, where the war memorial in now situated. It incorporated a sounding board which was made into a table for the workhouse in 1819. Opposite was the north gallery which ran full lengh of the north wall; the main door to the church was in the middle of this wall beneath the gallery. The existing stairs at the north-west corner led initially to this gallery, and the balustrades and panelling are original. The staircase is "of Good and substantial Oak of the Growth of Kent".The Nave

The church of 1732 was equiped with box pews, retaining special pews for the Mayor and Corporation and the Churchwardens. The pews at the east end were positioned facing west towards the pulpit which was the focal point of the church ,not the altar.

In 1764, a westgallery was built, and an organ by George England instaled out of a legacy of £400 bequeathed by John Ison, the proprietor of "The Catherine Wheel" inn opposite the old Town hall in the High Street. A south galery was aded in 1819, reflecting groth in the congregation at St. George's. At the same time, the pulpit, minister's desk and clerk's desk were moved to the center of the chancel. A few years later, in 1831, upper galleries were added on either side of the England organ and furnished with forms for two hundred children. The outlines of these galleries can still be detected on each side of the organ. Gaslight was introduced in 1838 which prompted a move from afternoon to evening services.

The number of churches in Gravesend increased rapidly between 1830 and 1870 in line with the expansion of the population and a revival in church worship. This new energy affected St. George's for, in 1872, the box pews were replaced by open sittings and the three-decker pulpit superseded by a smaller one situated on the north side of the chancel arch with a reading desk on the south side.

The present font was purchased at this time and placed at the west end of the church where it remained until 1968. What happened to the Georgian font is no known.

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Sunday Evening - 6PM
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