Pews

The current pews, although over two hundred years old, are not the original pews of the 1736 building. Initially, the 1736 pews were numbered and allocated to four hundred and four parishioners and their families. These original pews were open and were double sided with seats on both sides. They were rented out to individuals or families, with the most expensive pews to rent being nearest the chancel. In January 1778, the churchwardens decided to enclose their pews and those of the overseers. By 1807, the foundation of the pews was so badly eroded that it was decided to install a new set of box pews. These new pews were as high as the current backrow of pews and were all single sided, meaning everybody now faced the minister. During the 19th century, they were cushioned, which is not the case today.

The arrangement of the pews have changed significantly since 1808. There were more pews in both the south eastern and north eastern corners, facing inwards north-south towards the nave.  The south eastern corner pews were a similar design to the current higher pews at the west end of the church, having high curved backs and sides. These were removed during restoration work in 1939, with new clergy stalls being built out of the old wood. The floor under these pews was restored, with new stone paving being laid. The open space left by the removal of these pews was later used to build the Lady Chapel, and is currently where the piano is located. The north-south facing pews in the north eastern corner, the site of the present prayer corner, were presumably removed in 1939 as part of the restoration. However, there is no mention of this in the structural and architectural reports commissioned at the time. There is also no mention of them being removed during the post-Second World War restoration work. All we can say for certain is that they were removed at some point between 1900 and 1941, as they do not appear in a 1941 interior photograph of the church.

In a 1938 photograph of the church, taken in relation to the architectural restoration survey, the eastern facing nave pews were numbered with Roman numerals (a hangover from the time of pew rents) and had decorated doors. There were also plans during the 1938-39 restoration to remove pews from the western end of the church, but this could not be done for financial reasons. This was done however in the 1951 restorations, with two rows of pews being removed to create a larger baptistery space and allowing the font to be moved to its present location. By the 1960s, the first three rows of pews on both the north and south side of the nave were being used exclusively by the choir. During the early 2000s, the locks on the pews were taken off due to safety concerns.

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