Built: 1863 – 65
Architect: Sir George Gilbert Scott
Listing: grade 2
The Rev S R Davies, assistant priest of Lee, inherited money and decided to build a church. Scott was chosen as architect, and he was unlimited as to cost: £16,500 was spent. The church was begun in 1863, and consecrated on Easter eve, 1865. It was meant to have a tower and spire, but these were never built, owing to the nature of the site.
The walls are of Kentish rag, with Bath stone dressings: the detached shafts are of Mansfield stone. The style is Scott’s thirteenth-century, with some French details” ‘eclecticism of a chastened kind, and the union in some degree of the merits of the different styles’. The glass, all by Clayton and Bell, was mostly destroyed in the War. The reredos, by Charles Buckeridge, Scott’s young and trusted assistant, was carved, by Redfern and decorated by Bell (1873). A faculty was given on 11 September 1875 for a chancel screen by James Brooks, and a south chapel, to which the reredos, removed from the chancel, was to be taken. A further faculty, 20 June 1899, gave leave for a new marble credence, and iron gates to the chapel; the architect was P A Robson.
In common with many areas of London, St Stephen’s did not escape the bombs and after the war a fund was raised to augment the War Damage Grant to repair the destruction done to the East End stained glass windows and the roof. The work started in 1950 and began on the roof. In 1954, 14 years after the damage occurred, the stained-glass windows in the Chancel and the Lady Chapel were replaced to a design by Mr. J E Nuttgens. Those in the Chancel depict the work of Redemption, as in the originals, and the windows in the Lady Chapel portray three events in the life of the Virgin Mother.
The West End Gable has for over 150 years been embellished with a stone Martyr’s Cross, but time and the weather have finally proved too much and in December 2018 it was considered a danger and brought down. As part of the resulting necessary renovation of the west end wall there has been erected a facsimile of the original fashioned to the same design and in the same stone.