Inventory Site Record

Christ Church Churchyard, The Chapel on the Hill

Christ Church Churchyard, The Chapel on the Hill (Lewisham)

Brief Description

Christ Church was built in 1854 as the parish church of Forest Hill, although its tower with tall spire, which is a local landmark, was not erected until 1885. The church has now been redeveloped as flats, with a small chapel created at the east end, and the former churchyard is only partially accessible. The churchyard had some fine tombs and gravestones, including a red granite obelisk marking the family grave of George and Mary Baxter. By the west wall was a memorial in the form of a pinnacle to members of the Tetley family of tea fame, dated 1872, and to the right of the main entrance was the gravestone to the Hennell family.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Forest Hill Parish Church
Site location:
Church Rise/South Road, Forest Hill
SE23 2UJ
Type of site:
Open to public?
Opening times:
Part of the grounds are accessible at weekends and holidays only
Special conditions:
Public transport:
Rail: Forest Hill. Bus: 75, 171, 185

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/04/2012
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news.

Full Site Description

Christ Church is a gothic ragstone church designed by Ewan Christian, who built the National Portrait Gallery and was architectural adviser to the Ecclesiastical Commission. The north aisle was added in 1862, and the tower and spire in 1885. The churchyard is bordered by hedge, with railings to Church Rise. The red granite obelisk to the left of the main entrance marks the family grave of George and Mary Baxter. George had married Mary Harrild in 1827, daughter of Robert Harrild who manufactured printing equipment and was developer of the Sydenham Park Estate. Baxter developed a more economical method of printing in colour, which he patented in 1835. He died in an accident with a horse drawn vehicle, and is remembered in the small park, Baxter's Field (q.v.), which is named after him. Alexander Hennell (d.1915) was the architect of Crystal Palace District Cemetery, now known as Beckenham Crematorium and Cemetery (q.v.).

Christ Church ceased to be the parish church in 2004 and the building is being redeveloped as flats, with the east end converted into a small chapel and community resource now known as The Chapel on the Hill. It was rededicated by the Bishop of Woolwich on 5 September 2010. The parish of St George's Christ Church and St Paul's is now served by a new church on the site of the old St George's Church, demolished due to subsidence. The enlarged parish now includes St Michael Lower Sydenham and is the Parish of Forest Hill St George with St Michael and All Angels Lower Sydenham. The old churchyard is no longer accessible to the public during school term time. Weekends and holidays part of the grounds are accessible to the public although it has been redeveloped and the graves moved. There is a small walkway of newly planted trees leading up to the door of the church, a very small memorial garden planted out with spring bulbs, and the rest of the area is turfed.

Sources consulted:

Darrell Spurgeon, 'Discover Sydenham and Catford', (Greenwich Guide-Books, 1999); J Coulter & J Seaman 'The Archive Photographs Series: Sydenham and Forest Hill', (Chalford, 1995).

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Site management:
to be confirmed
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
Local Landmark

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