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. It 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 in the Parish of Newnham. Hook became a Parish in 1955, and in 2007 became part of the Benefice of Hook and Heckfield with Mattingley and Rotherwick, which is now called the Whitewater Benefice.
In 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 balcony over the back of the church with extra seating and a large new centre added south of the nave, containing a variety of rooms including the coffee shop and Lady Chapel. 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.
A 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. Chi and 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 Tin 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 Cressy 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.
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 processional 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.
For the St John's Church diamond jubilee in 1998 the local schools made and donated the two large banners which can be seen in the first picture above. The Infant school children cut out hand prints, which formed the pattern on the Infant School Banner. The Junior School Banner is a picture of St John's with a group of children in their school uniform. Although those children are now adults, there are a number who are still part of our Church family.
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.
A hundred and ninety tapestry kneelers were made by parishiomers between 1959 and 1970. Forty 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.
The Lady Chapel
At St John's there is a small chapel which is open during the day for prayer (even when the main church is closed). Follow the signs go through the archway, and enter through the door at the back of church (which is also used for the office). We also use the Lady Chapel for our midweek communion (when it is in person) and the Monday/Mother's Prayers etc.
The 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. You will also find that this altar is used in the main body of the church when we have a more informal service, e.g. for All age worship.
The Madonna & Child was crafted and donated by Jacqueline Herbert of Dorking in memory of her sister in 1991.
|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 1960s||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 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 - Hook Infant School and Hook Junior School made and donated the banners which hang in the church|
|2002||Installation of Wyvern digital organ|
|2007||Formation of the Benefice of Hook and Heckfield with Mattingley and Rotherwick.|
|2008||The Benefice becomes known as the Whitewater Benefice|
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|
|2008-2014||Peter Quinnell, Rector of Whitewater Benefice, incorporating the churches of Heckfield, Hook, Mattingley and Rotherwick|
|2015-||Marion de Quidt|