A brief history of the St Paul's Church and the Parish
The church was built in the 1830s. In 1833 a cornfield was bought from John Parsley, owner of the Manor House, for £500 for the purpose of building a church for the people of Chipperfield and its neighbourhood. The architect was Thomas Talbot Bury (1811 - 1877) and the cost of the building was £1427 1s 10d The foundation stone was laid on 25th April 1837 and the church was consecrated by the Bishop of Lincoln on the 10th October 1838. It provided 400 places of which 176 were free.The most unusual feature of the church is that the custom of placing the chancel and altar at the east end was ignored and the chancel is at the west end.In 1899 the church was enlarged. The north door and vestry were added and the chancel increased in size. The fine lych gate was also added at this time. There had originally been a gallery and three-decker pulpit and these were removed. The present pulpit is in memory of Mary Blackwell. She was the wife of Robert Blackwell, who inherited the the Manor House on the death of his cousin, John Parsley, in 1850. The altar, the oak panelling in the sanctuary and the oak reredos were all designed by Nathaniel Hitch between 1920 and 1936.
The first organ was given in memory of Robert Blackwell, but it was replaced in 1964 by the present fine organ , which was originally installed in Belhaven Church, Glasgow. It underwent major renovation in 2005. Further restoration and upgrading was carried out in 2008 to bring the instrument up to latest standards and to deny the rodent population a free meal. In August 2019 new shutters, paid for by members of the church, were installed on the Swell, the original ones having warped over time; there is now a much better difference between ‘open’ and ‘closed’ volumes on the Swell manual. The organ is tuned summer and winter to keep it in good shape for services and special occasions, and you are very welcome to come and try out this fine pipe organ – contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Further gifts to enhance the beauty of the church have continued to be made right up to the present time. The window at the east end of the church was designed by John Hayward in 1966 and was given anonymously in memory of the donors. To the right of the organ is a new stained glass window installed in 1996 in memory of Norman Cowley. On the righthand side of the nave a window was installed in 1998 in memory of Barrie Chapman, organist from 1993 - 1997.
To provide a place for the congregation to meet for refreshments after a service, a narthex (an area separated from the nave of the church by a screen) was created in 1984. Since the Parish Room was built this area has been used for displays of information about organisations that we support and as an area where people are welcomed to the church before and after a service.
A Parish Room to provide much needed additional facilities was attached to the church and was formally opened by the Rt. Rev. John Richardson, a former vicar of the parish, in June 2000.