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The reredos

The Reredos (altar screen)

The establishment of a memorial to the late Reverend T. H. Labey (Rector from 1932 to 1947) had been under consideration for a number of years following his death. It was eventually decided that it should take the form of a new reredos, to be designed by Mr George W. Baden-Beadle, of Faith Craft-Works Ltd, Abbey Mill, St Albans, Hertfordshire. The company had a good reputation: it had organised the Festival of Britain Exhibition of Church Art at Lambeth Palace in 1951.

On 30th September 1959 an application for a faculty was made to install a new 8’ altar along with reredos, riddel posts and curtains. Unfortunately, Mr Baden-Beadle was taken ill and died before the completion of the work. This not only led to delays but also resulted in the installation of a reredos of rather unfortunate design and colouring. According to an account written in 1913, there used to be a beautiful reredos in Caen stone containing panels of the Agnus Dei. A photograph taken in that year shows panels depicting the four Apostles. This was presumably the reredos which was installed at the time of the 1880 Restoration, and which was given by Edward Mourant, the then Seigneur of Samarès.

An Ecclesiastical Assembly was accordingly held on 19th March 1963, during which it was proposed that the rather harsh colouring of the new reredos be toned down as it was not in harmony with the rest of the chancel, and also to remove the St Clement coat of arms and the Jersey crest (the three leopards). It was agreed that the new scheme should be left to the discretion of the Rector and Churchwardens, but not before the brothers of the late Rev T.H. Labey had been consulted and had raised no objections.

The present oak altar rails were given in memory of Major John S. Crill, who was killed at Melun in August 1944, and also in memory of Squadron-Leader Henry Vernon L’Amy, who died in an aircraft accident in France, also in August 1944. This joint gift, together with the furnishings of the sanctuary, and the Labey Reredos, were dedicated by the Rt Rev Kenneth Lamplugh, Bishop of Southampton, on 30th May 1956.