About St John's

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St John the Evangelist

The first Anglican Church in Hook was built in 1886. It was known as the Tin Church  and stood on the corner of Elms Road and London Road, and was used until 1938, when a more permanent building was built. Originally St John's was not a Parish Church, as the church in Hook was technically a Chapel of Ease for the Parish of Newnham. Hook became a Parish in 1955, and in 2005 became part of the Benefice of Hook and Heckfield with Mattingley and Rotherwick, which is now called the Whitewater Benefice.

St John the EvangelistIn 1931 Edward Maufe had been commissioned to design a Church for Hook. In 1932 he entered and won the competition to design Guildford Cathedral, so it is not suprising that there are many similarities between St John's and Guildford Cathedral.

The foundation stone was laid on the 30 December 1937 by Colonel F G Barker who had given the land for the Church. The builders were Messrs W H Musselwhite & Son Ltd of Basingstoke who used local bricks for the building, and many of the headers are purple/blue to give a special decorative effect. The cost of the project was £36,000.

The completed building was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester, Cyril Garbett, on the 20th June 1938, six months after the laying of the foundation stone.

 

The Church premises were extended in the early 1990s, with a large new centre added south of the nave. Work was finished in 1992 when the Bishop of Winchester, Colin James, came to dedicate it and to consecrate the Lady Chapel. The architects were Plinke, Leaman and Browning from Winchester, and the builders were Collier and Catley from Reading.

Chi-RhoA distinctive feature of the exterior of the church is the tower which is 76ft high, topped with the ‘Chi-Rho’ symbol superimposed on a Cross. The Chi-Rho are the first two letters of the word Christ in Greek (The Greek word for Christ is Christos and the Greek lettering is Χριστος).

The church tower was built to take a small peal of bells though these were never installed. There is a single bell of around 65cm in diameter weighing just over 175Kg. It sounds the note F. It was made by Mears & Stainbank of London. The single bell from the Tin Church was restored by Graham Lewcock in 1993 and hangs in the Narthex of the Church Centre. It is thought to have been made by Gower's Foundry of Hook and put in the church when it was built in 1886. It is made of steel, approximately 40cm in diameter, weighs around 25Kg and is note F.

Inside St John's

The simple dignity of Edward Maufe's design is seen inside the church. The east window orginally contained a ‘Chi-Rho’ motif, but this was replaced by a window in memory of Frank George Matthews, a Midshipman in the Royal Navy who was lost with HMS Cressey on 22nd September 1914. The window shows St John the Evangelist, HMS Cressy and the words Fiat Voluntas Deiwhich means God's will be done .

HMS Cressey Window

The large cross which hangs above the altar was made by a local resident, Ted Blackman, it was designed to match a gilded cross which was donated by Edward Maufe and the matching candlesticks and the professional cross which were donated by Edward's wife.

The old pipe organ was bought by parishioners in memory of Meredyth Rose Griffin in 1964. It was built in 1900 by W Noble & Sons of London for a Methodist Church in Waltham Abbey. It has now been mothballed as we have a new digital instrument.

There is a link with the Coronation of King George VI in Westminster Abbey. The Coronation Canopy was later reworked for use in churches, and part of it became the blue and gold altar frontal used in St John's at festivals.

The Font is also made of Doulting stone, and has an oak cover with a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Both were donated by Hook & Newnham Girls' Friendly Society in 1938.

The Oak Triptych on the North wall was given to the Church in 1990 by Fred Mancey. It was a gift from a well-wisher to house the Post-war Brotherhood Banner, whose motto is Deeds Not Words. The Tudor Rose is the Brotherhood badge. The Anchor is for Hope and Tranquillity. The Heart pierced with the Arrow stands for Devotion.

190 tapestry kneelers were made between 1959-70 by parishioners. 40 more were made in the 1990s for the new Chapel and balcony. All keep to the theme of a cross in the centre and use the same dark green for the backgrounds. This gives the kneelers some uniformity and yet each is different.

inside

The Lady Chapel

MadonnaThe Lady Chapel was built as part of the Church enlargement in 1992, and is built in a semi-circle which is echoed in the semi-circular Altar. The altar is designed with the legs and supports forming a cross and the brass connecting rods symbolise the stigmata or five wounds of Christ.

The Madonna & Child was crafted and donated by Jacqueline Herbert of Dorking in memory of her sister in 1991.

Key Dates

1920-1978 The Rectory was in Station Road - now the site of Berry Court
1943 Burial ground at Church consecrated.
1955 Hook became an Ecclesiastical Parish
1959- 1970 Tapestry kneelers made by Church members (190 kneelers on a common theme)
Late l960s Tin Church was destroyed by fire.
1964 Dedication of pipe organ
1974 Church Hall built
1978 The Rectory in Sheldons Road.
1983 The present Rectory built beside the Church.
1988 Golden Jubilee and during this year: Consecration of Hook Village Cemetery
1992 Church Centre opened, Church redecorated and colour restored, Balcony installed to provide additional seating and Lady Chapel added.
1998 Diamond Jubilee and during this year: Hook Infant School and Hook Junior School made and donated the banners which until hang in the church
2002 Installation of Wyvern digital organ.
2007 Formation of the Benefice of Hook and Heckfield with Mattingley and Rotherwick.
2008 Peter Quinnell becomes Rector, and the Benefice becomes known as the Whitewater Benefice
2009

West Window Repair

Rectors of Hook

1938 - 1944 Horace Spence Footman.
1945 - 1951 Frederick Alexander Sanders.
1951 - 1959 Roy Aubrey Dacre (Rector of Hook with Rotherwick and Greywell from 1955-1959)
1959 - 1970 David Randall Howe
1970 - 1978 Colin R Rudd (Rector of Hook with Greywell from 1974)
1978 - 1988 Brian Gordon Richards (Rector of Hook from 1983)
1988 - 1995 Stuart J Foster
1996 - 2007 Neil Vigers
2008 - 2014 Peter Quinnell, Rector of Whitewater Benefice, incorporating the churches of Heckfield, Hook, Mattingley and Rotherwick