When I was a young chorister at St Peter’s church, Staines, I always felt that I was singing in a cathedral. I probably had not seen a cathedral, certainly had not sung in one, but I had seen small village churches, most notably St John the Baptist’s in Lynmouth, to give me the impression that the dimensions and colour to be found at St Peter’s must be like a cathedral.
Many years later, I found myself in the choir of All Saints’ church, West Dulwich. I felt at home in the building, despite its immense loftiness, and saw distinct similarities between it and my much-loved St Peter’s. The two churches have more than just architectural features in common; they share an architect.
From this discovery came the desire to find out more, which led me and my fellow researcher, the Rev. Selwyn Tillett, to many parts of England, including Devon where I, coincidentally, was later to make my home for a while. Most of the research was done during the mid to late eighties. Laziness and another move, this time to the Shetland Islands, prevented any further work, until I found myself fired again to share my enthusiasm for this unsung architect’s mastery. I eventually published a summary of what I found out on a website, which I was able to update over subsequent years as more information came my way. I also had a paper published in “Ecclesiology Today” (issue 42, June 2010), which I subsequently realised contained several errors, which I hope I have remedied on this site.
I am no expert on architecture, a fact that will be patently obvious to the connoisseur. I am merely an observer of that which I find beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, and its converse.
My thanks to Selwyn Tillett for the hours and hours of travelling and researching he did with me, and his encouragement to get the project off the ground. My thanks also to Rundle and Jean Fellowes-Prynne for their unstinting help in supplying archive material, and to all the friends who have helped in so many ways.
Finally, the late Gwen Fellowes-Prynne, the architect’s daughter-in-law, was an inspiration and a wonderful source of anecdote and background information. It is to her memory that my research is affectionately dedicated.
Where I have quoted from a publication, I have used the original spelling and punctuation as far as possible, though I have avoided leaving spaces between words and their subsequent punctuation, unlike many journals of the late Nineteenth Century! In some journals where the abbreviation “l” is used for “£” I have adopted the latter symbol, for clarity. In the general unquoted text, I have adopted the modern convention only to use a full stop at an abbreviation where the last letter of the abbreviation differs from that of the full word.
As regards church locations, I have tried to maintain consistency by quoting the current geographical place name and county, rather than the county names from Fellowes Prynne’s time. In the case of Greater London, I have used modern borough names, followed by simply “London”.
My sincerest thanks to the following for their invaluable assistance in helping me put together this site.
Rundle and Jean Fellowes-Prynne, who provided family letters, notes and publications and allowed me to use these freely, and who in the early days introduced me to the wonderful Gwen Fellowes-Prynne.
The British Newspaper Archive Home | Search the archive | British Newspaper Archive
Helen Wilson for inspiration, information and ideas from her website on Pinwill Sisters The Remarkable Pinwill Sisters – From ‘Lady Woodcarvers’ to Professionals
The photographers who have generously allowed me to use their photographs on this site.
Tim Wheeler, for building and hosting the site and teaching me how to edit it.