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The 19th century


The Act Book of the Assemblée Ecclésiastique gives some information as to what took place in the 19th century. In 1823, the Assemblée forbade the schoolmaster from continuing to hold his school in the vestry, as the children had been breaking seats and windows in the Church. The Militia cannon were kept in the church as late as 1824, for in that year a special meeting was held to take steps to make it easier to get them in and out.

Rev Philippe Aubin, B.D. was appointed Rector in 1826. He was a young and vigorous man and made many improvements to the fabric of the church. He had the bell replaced in 1828. An organ, lent by the Seigneur of Samarès, was placed in the gallery. A large annexe was added to the west end to house the cannon and to act as a vestry and Sunday School. A new entrance was also made, since the annexe now blocked the west door. The north door was walled up to prevent draughts in 1833. In 1837, the stone from which the parish notices had once been given out was removed from the churchyard to make room for a grave.

The Restoration of 1880 was undertaken during the tenure of Rev Matthieu Lemprière but was in fact initiated by his predecessor Rev Charles Marett M.A., Rector from 1842-1876. In 1874, Charles Marett appointed a committee to draw up plans for a complete restoration. The annexe, which had been built at the instigation of Philippe Aubin, was entirely removed, allowing for the re-opening of the west door and for the unblocking of the west window. The nearby door was turned into a tiny vestry. A new entrance to the church was made in the south transept. The gallery was pulled down and the walls stripped of their plaster, so revealing the wall paintings. The high box-pews and the great square manor-pew in front of the pulpit were removed and replaced by the present seating. The chancel was restored to its ancient use with altar and altar-rails. A reredos was presented by Edward Mourant (Seigneur of Samarès Manor) and three new stained-glass windows were also presented (the window at the east end behind the altar, the Le Maistre window in the chancel and the Seale window in the nave). The two small windows in the north wall of the nave were given by Mr Philip Henry de Gruchy (owner of the shop which became the department store A. de Gruchy & Co. Ltd). The font, which had been ejected from the church during the Reformation and unceremoniously buried to the north side of the churchyard, was rescued at this time.

The restoration work took three years to complete at a cost of £1,535 (around £178,000 in today’s money). The church was re-opened for public worship on 29th March 1882, when the service was conducted not in French but in English – a sign of the changing times.