|Christ Church Southgate Churchyard||Enfield|
Christ Church is the parish church of Southgate, built in 1861/2 near the site of an earlier chapel of 1615 built by Sir John Weld, who owned a large estate to the south. The Weld Chapel was used as a Chapel of Ease to All Saints Edmonton until 1862, when the new church was consecrated. Christ Church is known for its fine windows by Morris & Co. The small triangular churchyard is reached through an iron gate, and contains a number of early headstones, including a late C17th monument with skulls and an hourglass. A rectangular area in the grass is laid out as a war memorial and the churchyard has fine specimen and evergreen trees.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/03/2011
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Christ Church and its tall octagonal spire is visible from Southgate Green (q.v.). Southgate was a settlement at the south gate of Enfield Chase in the north-west of the parish of Edmonton, becoming a separate district in 1881 and then a borough in 1933. The present church was built in 1861-62, near the site of an earlier chapel built in 1615 by Sir John Weld, a wealthy brewer and the owner of Arnold's Court, later to become Arno's Grove and now the site of Arnos Park (q.v.), whose large estate was to the south side of the church. At that time Southgate was a small hamlet within the large parish of All Saints Edmonton (q.v.), which at 3 miles distant was a fair journey. Sir John applied to the Bishop for permission to build a chapel on his estate for the use of his family and servants, and the Weld Chapel, a small wooden building, was consecrated in 1615. The Chapel contained a memorial to Sir John, who died in 1622. It became a Chapel of Ease to All Saints, serving the growing population of the hamlet, as a result of which the building was enlarged a number of times over the years.
By 1859 a more substantial church was needed, particularly given the wealthy properties that now surrounded the village, and a faculty was granted to build a new church east of the Weld Chapel. The church, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, was built by public subscription and support from the local gentry, in particular the Walker family of Arnos Grove (q.v.), whose estate was adjacent to the church and who had strong connections to the Chapel, Miss Anna Walker having married the vicar, Revd James Baird. Revd Baird became the first incumbent of Christ Church and in order to create an easy route between the church and the Walker estate, a doorway was created in the east boundary wall of the churchyard. The new church was consecrated on 17 July 1862 by Dr Tait, then Lord Bishop of London who later became Archbishop of Canterbury. The old Weld Chapel was demolished in 1863 but its site outside the West door of the new church is approximately that of an enclosed area reserved for burying cremated remains.
Christ Church has some fine stained glass by Morris & Co. carried out from the early 1860s to 1899 including windows by William Morris, Ford Madox Brown, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones. The Lady Chapel has lancets dating from 1632 below canopies by Philip Webb, who also designed canopies for Rossetti's St James and St Jude. One of William Morris's figures, that of St Matthew, is said to resemble the artist.
The church is partly bounded by wall and partly hedged with holly with a good number of yews and laurel and is flanked by a pleasant garden area with well-kept lawn, shrubs, roses and separated from Waterfall Road by a brick wall and wooden gates. The small churchyard is reached through an iron gate, and is a triangular site with a holly hedge along the roadside, and a brick wall behind; it contains specimen trees, Corsican pine, holm oak and notable Lebanon cedar. It was described by Walford in the 1880s as 'well kept, and prettily laid out with firs and evergreens'. There are a number of early headstones among the grass, including that of Rebecca Shrawley (d.1683) with skulls and an hourglass. A war memorial is laid out as a rectangular of grass within a low stone wall with a cross at one end. A Friends of Christ Church was established in 2006 and organises lectures, concerts and other cultural events.
Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Arthur Mee 'The King's England: London North of the Thames except the City and Westminster' (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 1972); Edward Walford, 'Village London, the Story of Greater London, Part 2 - North and East', first published 1883/4 (1985 ed., The Alderman Press); The Paul Drury Partnership for LB Enfield, 'Southgate Green Conservation Area Character Appraisal', 2008; Bernard Byrom, 'Old Southgate and Palmers Green' (Stenlake Publishing, 2008)