George Fellowes Prynne


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ST. AUSTELL Cornwall
Holy Trinity

The postcard of the interior was sent back in 1903.  As I am sure I do not have full details of all the  work George Fellowes Prynne did here, I feel sure that the image is likely to show some of his work between when he restored the tower and his work in the 1920s (for example the priests' stalls and lectern, which would appear from observation to be likely GFP additions).

The tower, in 1896

…was thoroughly restored under the direction of Mr. G. H. Fellowes Prynne at a cost of some £300, the leadwork and many of the belfry timbers being replaced by new material, and the stonework extensively renovated.

The chapel was restored in memory of the Hicks family. The altar rails were adapted from the design for those at Bushey Heath, on which Fellowes Prynne had made a £13 loss.

As for the baptistery, the records available from the archives of Dart and Francis (1921-4) give an idea of the intricacies and complexities of arrangement which had to take place between church, architect and contractor before anything could be done. The full record (as still preserved) for St. Austell Church is now summarised.

  • 5 May 1921 - D & F were instructed to proceed with two oak arches, for the north and south aisles (given by benefactor Mr. Hancock).
  • 21 July 1921 - Fellowes Prynne was asked to submit a design for a rood screen.

[Nothing more until]

  • 6 April 1922 - Altar rails for St. Michael’s Chapel delivered.
  • 8 April 1922 - The above were dedicated. The architect had hoped to be present, but in a letter of 7 April 1922 sent his apologies as he was ill.
  • 11 April 1922 - to say the dedication went as planned. Mr. Hancock has requested a design for a lower screen, about 3’ high, to be fixed on a step at the back of the chapel. Also he wanted an oak panel on either side and above altar to connect with riddel posts.
  • 19 May 1922 - The dwarf screen was given the go-ahead, and
  • 6 July 1922 - it was fitted. At this occasion, Mr. Hancock took the opportunity to request a Baptistery in stone and suggested Clipsham stone from Rutlandshire quarry as a suitable match.
  • 4 Oct 1922 - Fellowes Prynne was asked for an estimate for the required baptistery.
  • 10 Oct 1922:
1. West End Memorial, lower portion only, in oak £80
1a. West End Memorial, upper portion, in coloured alabaster with 4 white alabaster figures, black marble and mother of pearl inlay, etc., etc. £280
2. Panelling on South Wall, in oak £240
3. Screen on North side, in oak £55
4. Screen on East side, in oak (including doors) £327
5. Granite floor £195
6. Moving Font and so re-fixing, and shortening seats North side of Baptistery £13

The next batch of correspondence relates to the design and construction of the magnificent font cover.

  • 17 Feb 1923 - Problems being encountered because the suspension gear could not cope with the weight of the cover. It was also agreed that Fellowes Prynne should ask Mr. Snell of Plymouth to carve the figures in cedar for the cover, and that Dart & Francis would do those in oak. It is not clear why there was a need to use cedar, but there is reference later on (below) to Mr. Snell’s ability to tint cedar to make it tone with oak.
  • 31 Aug 1923 (D & F to Fellowes Prynne): We are very grateful for your kind expression of appreciation of the work in the Cover and can assure you that we are very pleased to have been associated with the production of it from your beautiful design.
  • Then on 1 Sep 1923 they wrote to him: We have received a post card from Mr. Hancock as follows:- “I think you had better ask Mr. Prynne what Arms he has fixed for the shield.” …and requested the architect’s instructions.
  • 11 Sep 1923 - Congratulations were to be sent to Mr. Snell on a good job, with the tinting done well.
  • 23 Nov 1923 - the cover was now complete.

Further requests for designs were received from St. Austell:

  • 13 Aug 1923 - In the midst of all the correspondence concerning the font cover, an estimate was requested for an oak seat to be placed south of the Churchwarden’s seat. The cost was quoted as £60. The Shilson seat (Mr. Shilson being the donor) was fixed in place the next month.
  • 8 March 1924 - Request received for a design for tracery for the outer ends of the new nave seating.
  • 3 May 1924 - Request for a design for a litany desk.

There is no surviving evidence of any further dealings between the parties. However, observation indicates that Fellowes Prynne was involved in other items in this church.