Edward Habershon

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Edward Habershon
St Andrews Church, Queen Street, Hastings, built 1869
Matthew Edward Habershon

(1826-07-18)18 July 1826
Hampstead, England
Died18 August 1900(1900-08-18) (aged 74)
Leatherhead, England
Alma materApprenticed to his father Matthew Habershon
Practice(1) E & W.G. Habershon 1852–1863;[1]
(2) Habershon & Spalding 1863–1865;[2]
(3) Habershon, Spalding & Brock 1865–1879.[3]
BuildingsSt John the Baptist's Church, Hove
St Leonards-on-Sea Congregational Church
Holy Trinity Church, Ebernoe
St Andrews Church, Hastings
St Marks Church, Horsham
St John the Evangelist Church, Copthorne
Projectsinvolved in relocation of London's burial grounds, 1862

Matthew Edward Habershon (18 July 1826 – 18 August 1900), known as Edward Habershon, was an architect practising in London and south-east England. He specialised in neo-gothic buildings, especially churches and chapels. With his brother W.G. Habershon he designed St John the Baptist's Church, Hove, now a Grade II building. With E.P.L. Brock he designed a number of churches including St Leonards-on-Sea Congregational Church, also listed at Grade II. He designed St Andrews church in Hastings,[4] where Robert Tressell's large mural (now in Hastings Museum) was created.[5] In 1862 he was involved in the relocation of London's burial grounds, moving more than one thousand hundredweight of human remains.[6]



The father of Matthew Edward Habershon – known as Edward – was Matthew Habershon (born 1789, Rotherham; died 5 July 1852, Bethnal Green).[7] Edward's mother was Sarah Gilbee (1796–1851). Matthew practised in London and apprenticed his sons.[7][8] The elder son was William Gillbee Habershon (24 February 1819 – 24 August 1892). and the younger was Edward (born Hampstead 18 July 1826; died Leatherhead 18 August 1900)[7][9]

Edward married the widow Frances Elizabeth Williams née Heathcote (1822–1901) in Kensington in 1857. They had two children: Edward Neston Williams Habershon (1859–1933) and Alice Maud Habershon (born 1863). Around 1863 Edward and his family moved to Speldhurst and Lee in Kent; by 1881 they had moved permanently to Charlwood Park, Surrey; being self-supporting he could call himself a gentleman.[7] In the 1901 Census for Reigate Mrs Frances Elizabeth Habershon, in the last year of her life, is living with two companions who are "in charge", and she is described as "eccentric".[10]


On 9 February 1852, Edward was made ARIBA and on 5 November 1860 he was made FRIBA.[8]

When their father Matthew Habershon died on 5 July 1852, the sons inherited a large office in London, and a partnership which trained many architects, including Henry Spalding (ca.1838–1910) and E.P.L. Brock (1833–1895) who were articled to the brothers in 1857.[7][8]

In 1862 Edward Habershon was involved in the relocation of London's burial grounds, notably at Cure's College.[6]

I did it wholesale and had 220 very large cases made each containing 26 human bodies besides children and these weighed 434 cwt. There were 1,035 cwt of human remains sent in these cases alone. They were conveyed in the night and the Cemetery Company made arrangements for them. Each body has cost us less than three shillings. It was fortunate that such reasonable terms could be made at Woking Cemetery.

A more horrible business you can scarcely imagine; the men could only continue their work by the constant sprinkling of disinfectant powder. Mine was no easy task for the Bishop, the Warden, the parishioners and particularly the relatives have watched the steps taken, and the interviews with people and the correspondence has been great but all are more satisfied than could be expected.

— Architect Edward Habershon on the relocation of Cure's College burial ground, October 1862.[6]

In 1863 the London practice dissolved and a partnership was formed between Edward Habershon and Henry Spalding.[8] In 1865 they joined in partnership with E.P.L. Brock. In 1873 Spalding left the practice. Edward retired in 1879 and Brock carried on the practice, being admitted to FRIBA on 20 March 1882, one of his proposers being Edward Habershon.[7][8]

Works in partnership with W.G. Habershon[edit]

St John the Baptist, Hove, 1852–1854

This practice operated at 38 Bloomsbury Square, London WC from 1852 to 1863.[1][11]


Llanarth Court, Monmouthshire[edit]

A large reconstruction of an ancient house, undertaken in 1849-1851.[12] The result was described by the architectural historian John Newman as a "Neo-classical monster".[13]

Holy Trinity Church, Blendworth[edit]

This church was built in 1851–52 to serve the Hampshire villages of Blendworth and Horndean. It is Decorated Gothic Revival in style with a tall spire.[14]

St John the Baptist's Church, Hove[edit]

This church was built between 1852 and 1854. It has a three-stage tower (with ashlar spire that was added later) and is dressed with knapped flint and stone. The interior has carved corbels[15] In the 1850s Robert William Edis was apprenticed to the brothers.[16]

All Saints Church, Belvedere[edit]

The Habershons built this church as a proprietary chapel for Sir Culling Eardley, 3rd Baronet. Work took place between 1853 and 1861. It is now an Anglican parish church and has Grade II listed status.[17][18]

Belvedere railway station (demolished)[edit]

The original Belvedere railway station was built at the same time as All Saints Church. It was demolished and replaced in 1968 and again in 2000.[17][19][20]

Duncrub House and chapel[edit]

Duncrub House

The foundation stone for this house in Dunning, Perthshire, was laid in 1861, and construction took place 1861–1863. It was designed as a gothic mansion and offices for the 10th Lord Rollo (1835–1916).[11] In 1950 it was demolished, leaving part of a corridor link with the chapel, and the laundry building containing some masonry of 1773 and 1800.[21] The 1858 chapel is a B-listed building.[22] and is described thus: "Early pointed, bull-faced coursed rubble with ashlar dressings. East apse, south aisle, north-west tower with slated spike spire. Modern doorway in west gable." It has been a shed and sports hall, and as of 2013 was a holiday home.[21][22][23]

76 to 90 Kensington Park Road (even numbers on east side)[edit]

These London properties were constructed by Philip Rainey in 1859.[24]

78 to 94 Ladbroke Grove (even numbers on east side)[edit]

These London properties were built in 1861 and thought to have been designed by Edward Habershon.[24]

Works in partnership with Henry Spalding and E.P.L. Brock[edit]

St Leonards-on-Sea with spire missing

These works were carried out under the names of two practices: Habershon & Spalding 1863–1865;[2] and Habershon, Spalding & Brock 1865–1879.[3]


St Leonards-on-Sea Congregational Church[edit]

St Leonards-on-Sea Congregational Church was built between February and October 1864. It is built of coursed ore sandstone with Bath Stone ashlar dressings, and had a copper-clad spire which was demolished after the Great Storm of 1987. As a Grade II listed building it is mistakenly credited to Edward's brother William; but it was Edward who was employed in the Habershon-Brock partnership.[25][26]

Holy Trinity, Ebernoe[edit]

Holy Trinity, Ebernoe

Holy Trinity, the Anglican parish church at Ebernoe, West Sussex, was built at a cost of £1200 of polychrome local brick with an open belfry and steep boarded roof between 1865 and 1867.[7] W.R. Peachey, lord of the manor, laid the foundations stone at the east end. There are no aisles. There are lancet windows in the nave and chancel, the lancets at the west end being trefoiled. The east and west windows have tracery, and there are foliage corbels on the chancel arch. It had a plain interior which was later whitened.[27]

Temperance Hotel, now Eskdale Hotel[edit]

Constructed for Major Malcolm of Burnfoot between 1865 and 1867, this is a B-listed building in High Street, Langholm.[28][29]

St Andrews, Hastings[edit]

St Andrews, Hastings, 1869

The foundation stone of St Andrews Church, Queens Road, Hastings, was laid in November 1869.[4] It was constructed by John Howell,[7] whose fee was £3,235.[4] It held a congregation of 2,000, and was consecrated on 30 November 1870 by Richard Durnford (1802–1895), Bishop of Chichester.[30] It was decorated with a mural by Robert Tressell in 1905.[5][31] The building survived until 1970 when it was declared unsafe and demolished between August and September of that year. One panel of Tressell's mural was saved, and is now in Hastings Museum.[30][32] The mural is the Islamic-style decorative work covering the walls around the windows at the east end (see image, right).

St Mark, Horsham[edit]

St Mark at Horsham was a complete rebuild in stages of a previous church which had been designed in 1840 by W. Moseley. The tower and south aisle were built first in 1870; the nave was completed in 1872, and the spire in 1878. The nave had pink granite piers, narrow roofbeams and a pulpit "with figures on the side standing in trefoiled niches"[33] as designed by Habershon and Brock. The surviving spire is square with an octagonal spire, lucarnes and short pinnacles. The exterior of the 1870 building was rough-hewn stone, and the windows had complex tracery. The chancel was added later in 1888 by another architect. Between 1936 and 1949 the church became defunct and was temporarily closed. Services resumed briefly, then it closed again by 1982, to be partially demolished in 1988 to make way for a road and offices. The tower remains.[7][33]

St John the Evangelist, Copthorne[edit]

St John, Copthorne

St John at Copthorne, West Sussex was begun in 1877 and consecrated in 1880.[7] It was built in imitation of the late thirteenth-century style. It has a short, north-west tower and a stone broach spire made of smooth ashlar. The main building is faced with roughly dressed stone, and has lancet windows with simple tracery. The entrance is through the base of the tower. The interior is of polychrome brick, with arcades and chancel arch built of stone, and a braced nave roof. The east windows by A. Gibbs are original, being dated 1877; they depict St John, St Peter and the Good Shepherd. There has been some recent adaptation of the interior for liturgical purposes. [34]

Restored or altered[edit]

St Mary, Broadwater[edit]

Restoration work by Habershon and Brock on St Mary, Broadwater is undated.[7] They may have supervised work on the building after the dispute between builder C. Hyde and the church authorities started in 1866.[35]

St Giles, Dallington[edit]

The replacement of the nave of St Giles at Dallington, East Sussex was completed in 1864; it replaces a nave built around the 15th century, and adjoins a 16th-century tower. The 1864 nave has "varnished roof timbers with cusping and rounded ties".[36] There is 15th-century-style tracery, and an arcade with large, crocketed capitals in imitation of an earlier style. The interior is low and without a clerestory, like the previous 15th-century nave that it replaced. The two metal plates bearing the Ten Commandments on the west wall are original to the 1864 rebuild.[7][36]

St Clement, Halton[edit]

The work on St Clement at Halton, Hastings was completed in 1869 but the building was demolished in 1970. There appears to be no record of the nature of the works by Habershon and Brock.[7][37]

St Leonard, St Leonards-on-Sea[edit]

St Leonard was completed in 1864, but was bombed in World War II.[7][38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "DSA Architect Biography Report: E & W.G. Habershon". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. 2013.
  2. ^ a b "DSA Architect Biography Report: Habershon & Spalding". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. 2013.
  3. ^ a b "DSA Architect Biography Report: Habershon, Spalding & Brock". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. 2013.
  4. ^ a b c "Hastings Chronicle". New St Andrews church. 5 March 1869. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  5. ^ a b "The National Archives". The Fred Ball Collection of Robert Tressell material and early Socialist Documents. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  6. ^ a b c Clarke 2006, pp. 111–112.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Sussex Parish Churches". Architects and Artists H: WG Habershon; ME Habershon. 2011. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  8. ^ a b c d e "DSA Architect Biography Report: Edward Habershon". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. 2013.
  9. ^ Obituary: The Times, 21 August 1900
  10. ^ 1901 Census for Reigate, Surrey, RG13 625
  11. ^ a b "DSA Building/Design Report: Duncrib House". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. 2013.
  12. ^ Cadw. "Llanarth Court (Grade II*) (1925)". National Historic Assets of Wales. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  13. ^ Newman 2000, pp. 264–5.
  14. ^ Bullen et al. 2010, p. 186.
  15. ^ Historic England. "Church of St John the Baptist, Church Road (south side) Hove, Brighton and Hove, East Sussex (1187551)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  16. ^ "Obituary: Sir R. W. Edis". The Times. 25 June 1927. p. 14.
  17. ^ a b Binney & Pearce 1979, p. 231.
  18. ^ Historic England. "Parish Church of All Saints, Nuxley Road, Belvedere, London Borough of Bexley (Grade II) (1064197)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  19. ^ Brown & Jackson 1990, p. 78.
  20. ^ "Belvedere". Kent Rail website. David Glasspool. 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  21. ^ a b Historic Environment Scotland. "DUNCRUB CHAPEL, (NOW SHED: MR. MARSHALL) (Category B Listed Building) (LB5914)". Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  22. ^ a b "DSA Building/Design Report: Dunscrub House Chapel". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. 2013.
  23. ^ Video of Duncrub chapel as holiday home
  24. ^ a b "The Ladbroke estate: Select list of lessors and lessees". Survey of London. 37: Northern Kensington: 251–257. 1973.
  25. ^ Elleray 1979, §155.
  26. ^ "Heritage Gateway". Listed buildings online: Congregational Church Of St Leonard, Including Attached Walls And Piers. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  27. ^ "Sussex Parish Churches". Ebernoe – Holy Trinity. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  28. ^ "DSA Building/Design Report: Temperance Hotel". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. 2013.
  29. ^ Image of Eskdale Hotel, Langholm
  30. ^ a b "1066 online". History of Hastings town: St Andrews Church. 1999–2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
  31. ^ "1066: Robert Tressell Society". Photographs of Tressell's mural in St Andrews. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  32. ^ 1066 Online: St Andrews Church
  33. ^ a b "Sussex Parish Churches". Horsham – St Mark, Carfax. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  34. ^ "Sussex Parish Churches". Copthorne – St John. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  35. ^ "Sussex Parish Churches". Worthing – St Mary, Broadwater. Archived from the original on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  36. ^ a b "Sussex Parish Churches". Dallington – St Giles. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  37. ^ "Sussex Parish Churches". Hastings – St Clement, Halton. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  38. ^ "Sussex Parish Churches". Hastings – St Leonard, Marina. Archived from the original on 30 April 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2011.


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