Old images and photographs of St Stephen’s

The earliest sketch of St Stephen’s that we have discovered, c. 1845 shows the early 17th century pulpit on the north side of the nave (where it is today). The East window has yet to be filled with stained glass.

A watercolour by Aaron Penley shows the interior of St Stephen’s in 1857, shortly after the church was ‘restored’ in 1846–7; the most obvious part of this restoration being the remodelling of the pulpit into a ‘triple decker’, with space for the priest and clerk below. Whilst we may feel a little sentimental about this, it actually only remained in position for about 50 years.

The earliest photograph of the inside of St Stephen’s, c. 1880, showing the Georgian Box Pews, pulpit and clerk’s desk, candles for lighting, and an early organ. The screen is but a skeleton of its former (and future) self. Rev’d White’s East Window has been installed by this stage.

The Screen, Chancel, and High Altar of St Stephen’s, approximately 1887. Compared to the previous photograph, the Chancel has been decorated with elaborate tiling, the clerk’s desk has been removed and the pulpit lowered. The candles have been removed, and music stands for a choir have been installed near to the organ, which is just out of view.

The interior of St Stephen’s, 1902. Note the screen has been given a new top. The pews immediately in front of the screen have been removed or replaced, a new brass lectern is in the centre, and a large dossal curtain behind the High Altar.

Looking through the screen to the High Altar, c. 1960. The large dossal curtain has been replaced by a shorter, liturgically coloured curtain. It’s clear from this photograph that in the 1960s, the main services on a Sunday were Matins and Evensong, as the altar is covered in vases of flowers.

The view of St Stephen’s from the gate hasn’t changed much at all in the last 150 years, except for more burials and foliage in the churchyard.

More pictures of St Stephen’s and the surrounding village of Hackington on the Historic England Archive click here (this is a link to an external website over which we have no control)