A STOWE CHURCH CRI DE COEUR
For nearly a hundred years now, the School and Stowe Church have been the best of neighbours. The Church’s several memorial windows created by Old Stoics Laurence Whistler (Grenville 30) and his son, Simon Whistler (Chatham 58), famous glass engravers, could be said to epitomise the close connection between the two. Laurence, a pupil in the 1920s and also a much-published writer, always loved the little parish church. He wrote feelingly of the moment when Lord Cobham’s Elysian Fields necessitated its being boxed in with trees.
“High-handed his action may seem today; yet secrecy has given peculiar charm to the little thirteenth-century building…Last relic of an unsophisticated Stowe, it appears to exist in a different world from its neighbour…” Stowe: A Guide to the Gardens, 1956
There have been many mutual benefits from the close connection. For a long period, the Church’s vicars were also members of the Common Room. Memorable master-pastors included Clifford Fernihough, Hugh Hodge, Jos Nicholl, Michael Drury and Robert Jackson. Many Old Stoics will remember attending services in the-church-among-the-trees. Some have returned there to get married. Simon Whistler himself celebrated his Stowe wedding by engraving the signatures of himself and his wife on one small window pane and those of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and his wife on another. Whistler had carefully copied the Browns’ signatures from an entry in the Church Register of 1744. The building had done much service by then, of course. It far outdates Stowe House’s founding fathers, Sir Richard Temple, Lord Cobham and Earl Temple, all three of whom lie buried in its crypt. It is a church rich in history.
In late 2018, however, came the alarming news that there were serious structural problems with both the walls and the roof. The restoration work needed has been costed at just over £200,000. Stowe Church is an essential part of Stowe’s heritage, however, neither the School nor the National Trust have any responsibility for its upkeep. The Church is well attended, however, the challenge of raising the necessary funds is beyond the resources of the Parishioners alone.
Hence, this heartfelt appeal to any Old Stoics who are able to assist us in this endeavour which is crucial to the church’s continued existence.
Below are the BACS details of the Church Account or for further details please do get in touch via the details given below.
Account Name: Stowe PCC
Sort code: 30-91-39
Account Number: 00101978
Thank you very much indeed.
Richard Close-Smith, Appeal Chairman
Andrew Rudolf (Cobham 55), Dep Church Warden
Neil Fraser-Smith (Former Parent), Hon Treasurer