St Mary's Church, Putney

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St. Mary's Church, Putney
St Mary's, Putney 01.JPG
St. Mary's Church in 2014
DenominationChurch of England
ChurchmanshipLiberal Catholic
DedicationSt Mary the Virgin
Heritage designationGrade II*
ParishPutney Team Ministry
DeaneryWandsworth Deanery
(Episcopal Area, Kingston)
Vicar(s)Revd John Whittaker
Revd Chris Eyden
Director of musicTravis Baker
Organist(s)Graham Hallett
Churchwarden(s)Paul Donnelly
Maggie Wentzel

St. Mary's Church (in full, the Church of St. Mary the Virgin), Putney, is an Anglican church in Putney, London, sited next to the River Thames, beside the southern approach to Putney Bridge. There has been a centre of Christian worship on this site from at least the 13th century, and the church is still very active today. It is also noteworthy because in 1647, during the English Civil War, the church was the site of the Putney Debates on the English constitution. It has been Grade II* listed since 1955.[1]

The building itself has seen many changes; parts of the existing church have survived from medieval times, such as the 15th-century tower and some of the nave arcading, and the early 16th-century Bishop West Chapel, built by Bishop Nicholas West. Most of the building, however, dates from the substantial reconstruction of 1836 to the designs of Edward Lapidge. He largely rebuilt the body of the church in yellow brick with stone dressings and perpendicular windows.[2] Some of the medieval pillars and arches in the nave were retained, but both the north and the south arcades were widened.

In 1973 an arson attack resulted in the gutting of much of the church. Rebuilding was not completed until nearly ten years later, when the church was rehallowed by Rt. Revd. Michael Marshall the Bishop of Woolwich, on 6 February 1982. Since the restoration, the altar has not been positioned, as is usual, in the chancel or even at the eastern end of the nave, but instead halfway down the northern side of the nave, with the seating arranged to reflect this.[3] The architect of the restoration was Ronald Sims. The pipe organ is by the Danish firm of Marcussen & Søn.[4][5]

Inscribed on a wall of the church is a quote from the Putney debates (1647) by Colonel Thomas Rainsborough:

For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he.[6]

In 2005 a new extension to the church, the "Brewer Building", built at a cost of £1.7m was opened by the Bishop of Southwark.

St. Mary's is one of the two churches in the Parish of Putney, the other being All Saints' Church, Putney Common. The parish is within the Wandsworth Deanery, the Kingston Episcopal Area and the Diocese of Southwark. From 2000 to 2009, the Rev. Giles Fraser was the Team Rector of St. Mary's, where he campaigned to raise the profile of the Putney Debates (1647).[7]

Notable people associated with St Mary's[edit]

Nicholas West memorial


  1. ^ Historic England. "Church Of St Mary The Virgin (1065519)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  2. ^ Brayley, Edward Wedlake (1850). A Topographical History of Surrey. 3. pp. 477–8. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  3. ^ "The Nave (North Side)". Parish website. Retrieved 20 April 2007.
  4. ^ "Surrey (London, Greater), Putney, St Mary the Virgin (N17281)". National Pipe Organ Register. British Institute of Organ Studies. 12 October 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2008.
  5. ^ "Marcussen Organ".
  6. ^ Parish, Chris (16 December 2016). "Being British on". Being British. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  7. ^ Hunt, Tristram (26 October 2007). "Tristram Hunt on the Putney debates of 1647". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 October 2011.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°27′56.35″N 0°12′49.74″W / 51.4656528°N 0.2138167°W / 51.4656528; -0.2138167