|Christ Church, Erith||Bexley|
Christ Church was built in 1874 to serve the growing population of Erith, which only developed significantly after the railway arrived in 1849. The area was formerly estate lands of Erith Manor and the Wheatley Estate, the latter situated where the town centre now lies. The churchyard has not been used for burials and is laid largely to grass, planted with specimen trees including a row of lime on the Victoria Road boundary. Within the churchyard is the 1920s War Memorial in the form of a marble cross on a stepped plinth.
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The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
The northern boundary of the parish of Erith is the Thames, and the riverside was once the site of one of Henry VIII's naval dockyards, remaining important for shipping. Much of the area was the estate lands of the Manor of Erith, which had numerous illustrious owners over the centuries, many of whom were buried in the parish church of St John the Baptist (q.v.). In 1734 the Manor was bequeathed to John Wheatley. The Wheatley Estate was where the current town centre now lies and Avenue Road was laid out c.1769 to form the driveway to the newly built Manor House. In the late C18th, Erith consisted of one small street and the town did not develop significantly until the arrival of the railways in the mid C19th, Erith station opening in July 1849. The Manor House was demolished in 1858 and the Wheatley Estate was sold in 1874. Christ Church was built in 1874, the parish created from that of St John's Erith. It was designed by Jean Piers St Aubyn, with the spire and tower added in 1915 also designed by St Aubyn. The exterior of the church is grand but not exciting and it is the interior that holds greater interest with hammer-beam roof, attractive patterned brickwork and stained glass, and also good internal wall paintings by Ward and Hughes. One of the stained glass windows depicts the coronation of Edward VII and Queen Mary, which may be only one of three others in the country.
The churchyard grounds are laid largely to grass, planted with specimen trees including a row of lime trees on the Victoria Road boundary, which also screen the site from the busy arterial road that runs to the north. It has not been used for burials. Adjacent to the church is the former Sunday School, built c.1892, and is similar in style to the church. Within the churchyard is a War Memorial of the 1920s in the form of a marble cross on a stepped plinth.
Darrell Spurgeon, 'Discover Crayford and Erith', Greenwich Guide Book, 1995; Edward Hasted, The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent volume 2, 1797 pp227-263; Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2: South (Penguin) 1999; LB Bexley, 'Lesney Park Road Conservation Area, Area Appraisal and Management Plan', 2009