Church of the Annunciation, Marble Arch

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Church of the Annunciation, Marble Arch
Church of the Annunciation, Marble Arch
Church of the Annunciation, Marble Arch is located in City of Westminster
Church of the Annunciation, Marble Arch
Church of the Annunciation, Marble Arch
Location of the Annunciation Church in London
51°30′52″N 0°9′31″W / 51.51444°N 0.15861°W / 51.51444; -0.15861Coordinates: 51°30′52″N 0°9′31″W / 51.51444°N 0.15861°W / 51.51444; -0.15861
OS grid reference TQ278810
Country United Kingdom
Denomination Church of England
Churchmanship Anglo-Catholic
Heritage designation Grade II* listed
Architect(s) Sir Walter Tapper
Style Gothic Revival
Parish St Marylebone Annunciation Bryanston Street
Deanery Westminster Marylebone
Archdeaconry Charing Cross
Diocese London

The Church of the Annunciation, Marble Arch, is an Anglican church in the Marble Arch district of London, UK. It is dedicated to the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Grade II*-listed Edwardian Gothic Revival building was designed by Sir Walter Tapper.

Worship at the Annunciation is in the Anglo-Catholic style and is supported by a tradition of choral singing. The church is closely linked to a local primary school, Hampden Gurney School.[1] The head teacher of the Hampden Gurney school is Ms. Evelyn Chua.


The Church of Annunciation is located close to Bryanston Square and Montagu Square in the neoclassical Portman Estate area of London, which was developed by Henry William Portman in the 18th Century.[2]

A chapel of ease known as the Quebec Chapel was founded on the present site in 1787 to commemorate the Battle of Quebec (1775). It is thought that this chapel was built on the site of the riding school of the Portman Barracks. By the early twentieth century the chapel had fallen into disrepair and it was demolished in 1911.[3]

Among the priests in charge of the Quebec Chapel was the theologian and hymnnodist, Henry Alford (1853–57) who wrote the hymn "Come, ye thankful people, come".[4][5]

The Annunciation has always had a close association with the Anglo-Catholicism movement started in the 19th Century, and in the early part of the 20th Century many of its adherents were strongly opposed to the growing Ecumenical movement. In May 1951 an interdenominational Christian rally was held in nearby Hyde Park to coincide with the launch of the Festival of Britain. A number of Anglo-Catholic clergy and lay people, led by Rev Hugh Ross Williamson,[6] held a protest meeting at the Annunciation Church to express their opposition to Bishops of the Church of England sharing a platform with Methodists, Baptists and other Non-Conformist churches, organisations which, in their opinion, did "not accept the traditional Faith of the Church". In a signed letter, they expressed the concern that "the participation of the Church of England may give the additional impression that Roman Catholics are the only religious body which defend the full Catholic Faith." The poet John Betjeman was among the signatories; although he admitted to T.S. Eliot (a fellow Anglo-Catholic and a churchwarden of St Stephen's, Gloucester Road) that he found the tone of the protest "somewhat extreme", he nevertheless declared "I have nailed my colours to the mast and cannot let down my co-signatories."[7] Writer Rose Macaulay also commented on the protest at the Annunciation, expressing dismay at opposition to the rally.[8]


Robert Bridgeman's triumphal cross dominates the nave

The present church building was built 1912-13 by the English architect Sir Walter Tapper, a pupil of G.F. Bodley (1827-1907) who was a leading designer of Mediæval revival architecture. It is a tall red brick church designed in the Late Gothic Revival (or Edwardian Gothic) style. It features stone dressings and flying buttresses and a gabled bell tower.[9] The single bell was cast in 1913 by John Warner & Sons of Spitalfields.

Nikolaus Pevsner referred to the church in his Buildings of England as "a fragment of a major medieval church".

The interior features a striking rood screen with a high triumphal crucifix atop an arch which is thought to have been crafted by Robert Bridgeman of Lichfield to designs by Tapper. The high altar reredos was designed by Tapper and executed by Jack Bewsey who also designed most of the stained glass.

Around the nave are plaster cast Stations of the Cross which were designed by Aloïs de Beule of Ghent (1861-1935). The lapidarium spanning the arch between the sanctuary and the Lady Chapel was designed by A. W. N. Pugin (1812-1852) and originally hung above the high altar of St Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham.

The organ was built in 1915 by Sir Frederick Rothwell with a case also designed by Tapper. The organ underwent restoration by Bishop & Son organ builders in 1989.[10]


  1. ^ "Worship". Annunciation church website. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "Local Area". Annunciation Church website. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "History". Annuncation website. Retrieved 4 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Duffield, Samuel Willoughby (2005). English hymns : their authors and history. [England]: Kessinger Publishing. p. 120. ISBN 9780766154292. 
  5. ^ "Alford, Henry.". Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "Vindex" (1996). Light Invisible: The Freemason's Answer to Darkness Visible. Poemandres Press. p. 29. ISBN 1564599973. 
  7. ^ Wilson, A.N. (2011). Betjeman. Random House. pp. 197–8. ISBN 9781446493052. 
  8. ^ Macaulay, Rose; Babington Smith, Constance (2011). Letters to a Friend. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781448203635. 
  9. ^ Historic England. "CHURCH OF THE ANNUNCIATION (1066358)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "The Organ". Annunciation Church website. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 

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