The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex
Church of St John, Tunbridge Wells drawn by The Illustrated London News - 1858
Source: Private collection
Church of St John - 1858


The Conservative Land Society having purchased the beautiful estate of Woodbury Park, at Tunbridge Wells, the directors, following their usual practice on the allotment of an estate, set apart a site for the erection of a church. As the want of church accommodation in this favourite and still-growing watering-place was much felt, a local committee gladly availed themselves of the proffered site, with the addition of one for a parsonage, as a free gift from the society. Principally through the exertions of the Rev. E. Hoare, Incumbent of Trinity Church (brother to the London banker), a fund was provided, and the foundation-stone of St. John's-on-the-Lew laid in June last. The sacred edifice was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury last month.

Mr. A. Gough, of London, was the architect, whose elegant design will be seen in our Illustration. The building is cruciform, consisting of nave, transepts, and chancel, of brick and stone. The length is 82, width of nave 23.6, and across the transepts 48 feet. The height of the spire above the tower is 88 feet to the top of the vane. Externally the chief features are the windows, especially over the western entrance that one being of circular form, carved with tracery of a plain buoyant character. The roof in the interior is open, of oak-stained timbers. The church will accommodate nearly 500 persons, with capacity for further extension. Money is, still required to make up an endowment fund; but under the exertions of Mr. Hoare this, it is believed, will not be long wanting.

The Conservative Land Society, in their desire to minister to the spiritual wants as well as otherwise to improve the localities in which they purchase properties, have set apart church sites at St. Margaret's, Richmond, Reading, Forest-hill, and Maidstone, in addition to the one mentioned. The new church at Tunbridge Wells is the first monument of their liberality in this respect.

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