christ church

christ church

Reformed Episcopalian church

 

The Reformed Episcopalian Christ Church, together with a Sunday School building to its rear, was built in newly-built Park Road (this part, to the west of modern Queensway, is now called The Park) and completed in 1880 at a total project cost of about £3,600 (roughly £1.5 million at 2017's value). The land it was built on had been the extreme eastern tip of the wedge-shaped Ram Park.

It was built in the Early English Revival style with a nave and chancel and boasted a polygonal apse and a spirelet. It was designed to seat a congregation of 500.

Henry Stiby, ironmonger, amateur photographer and later Mayor of Yeovil, served for several years as Superintendent of Christ Church Sunday School and was known as 'The Children's Friend'. His photographs of the church are shown below.

Sadly, the congregation of Christ church dwindled dramatically and in 1904 the church fabric, together with the Sunday School building, were demolished. The church had lasted just twenty five years. The stone, wood and other materials were used to construct a short terrace of houses, Christchurch Villas, on the site. Christchurch Villas were themselves demolished for the construction of Queensway in the 1980s. The site of Christ Church, and Christchurch Villas, is now the western end of the Park Road / The Park pedestrian bridge over Queensway.

 

map

 

Based on the 1886 Ordnance Survey the newly-built Christ Church is seen at centre with the Sunday School behind it. This section of (also newly-built) Park Road would later be cut off by the construction of Queensway and be re-named The Park.

 

gallery

 

Christ Church photographed shortly after completion in 1880. The building would only stand for twenty five years.

 


This photograph was taken by Yeovil Photographer Jarratt Beckett and published in his 1897 book  "Somerset viewed through a Camera".

 

A photograph taken by Henry Stiby around 1885 of the Reformed Episcopalian Christ Church in The Park (at left) soon after its construction. The house at right was Stiby's own house in which he spent the final forty or more years of his life.

 

Also taken by Henry Stiby shortly after the church opened, this is probably the only interior photograph of the church.

 

Another Stiby photograph showing Henry Stiby (back row, third from right) with friends, seated outside Christ Church c1885.

 


Courtesy of Bill and Audrey Robertson

Christchurch Villas, at left, built using materials from the church and schoolroom.

 


Courtesy of Bill and Audrey Robertson

A closer view of Christchurch Villas.

 


Courtesy of Yeovil - A Trip Back to the Past

The font was taken from Christ Church and placed in Sidney Gardens. In this photograph (I'm guessing from the 1950s) the font stands on its original full-height plinth.

 


Courtesy of Bill and Audrey Robertson

The old Yeovil High School for Girls building in the Park, photographed in the 1990s when it was used as the art department of Yeovil College. Notice in the foreground, sitting in the flowerbed, is the old font from Christ Church on a severely truncated plinth.

 

The truncated font from Christ Church, now moved to a flower bed close to The Park. Photographed in 2015.