Nathaniel Hitch

Nathaniel Hitch
Nathaniel Hitch
Nationality English
Field Sculpture
Training Was sent by Farmer and Brindley to evening classes at Borough Polytechnic before setting out as a journeyman sculptor.
Works Mostly of an ecclesiastical nature apart from several war memorials and the work at the Blackfriars Public House.

Nathaniel Hitch was born in Ware, Hertfordshire in 1845, the son of a joiner and carpenter. It seems that he showed an early talent for working with his hands as in the vestry of Ware Parish Church there is a small model which he made at the age of 12. Hitch was apprenticed at an early age to Farmer and Brindley, a well-regarded firm of architectural sculptors on Westminster Bridge Road. They did work for the likes of Sir Gilbert Scott and Alfred Waterhouse.The excellent website “victorianweb” states that when serving this apprenticeship Hitch could have worked on the Albert Memorial, Westminster Cathedral and the Natural History Museum, all projects where Farmer & Brindley were used. Hitch would have “carved out rough-hewn forms ready for the master carver to add the fine details and finishing touches to the sculpture.“ [1] He then moved to work for Thomas Nicholls, a sculptor who was working at the time for the architect William Burges on Lord Bute’s Cardiff Castle. In 1891 Nicholls had carved nine sculptures of animals to designs by Burges. Originally on the walls of Cardiff Castle they were moved to Bute Park in the 1920s. Nicholls carved a hyena, a wolf, some apes, a seal, a bear, a lioness, a lynx and 2 different lions.[2] Burges incidentally worked with John Loughborough Pearson, an architect with whom Hitch was to become much associated. Hitch worked with several architects who used him to carve altarpieces, church furniture and other decorative features on churches they were commissioned to design. During his career he worked with H.P. Burke Downing,[3] H. Fuller Clark,[4] W.D. Caröe, Paul Waterhouse and T.H. Lyon but his most productive partnership was with John and Frank Loughborough Pearson.[5] He exhibited only once at the Royal Academy, showing a bust of F. Weekes Esq. there in 1884. For most of his life he ran a small business which was based at 60 Harleyford Road, Battersea, employing several highly skilled masons.[6] Hitch died aged 92 and records show that he was still working a year before his death!


Those works carried out in conjunction with William Douglas Caröe

• In the 1890s Caröe was the architect of the building at 55 to 73 Duke Street, near Grosvenor Square and Hitch carried out some general carving to the building’s exterior.

• Hitch carved, to Caröe’s design, the stone pulpit for the Huyton United Reformed Church in Huyton near Liverpool. Caröe worked on this grade 11 listed church between 1889 and 1890. [7]

• Again working with Caröe, Hitch carved the pulpit and a reredos for St John’s Church in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex. The pulpit is in oak with bronze lions at the base. Hitch also carried out some general carving for the church. The pulpit and general carving date from 1889 and the reredos several years later.

• To Caröe’s design, Hitch carried out the sculpture of Jesus on the Cross for the Dulwich College War Memorial. A full description of the memorial can be seen in the Dulwich Society Journal Winter 2010 issue which is available on the Dulwich Society's website.[8]

• Caröe worked on the design of the altar, reredos and panels in the Lady Chapel of the Church of St Margaret in Bodelwyddan in Denbighshire, all intended as a memorial to those Bodelwyddan parishioners who lost their lives in the Great War. Included in this work was a beautiful “Madonna and Child” carved by Hitch. A photograph of this work can be seen on the “ Imaging the Bible in Wales” website.

• In 1899 Hitch carved, to Caröe’s design, a memorial to Havelock-Allan in St Cuthbert’s Church. Darlington. The work is in marble and alabaster.

The Havelock-Allan Memorial in St Cuthbert’s Church, Darlington.

The wording on this memorial reads-


• Hitch stated in the papers lodged at the Leeds archive that he carried out work on an organ case for St Peter and St Paul's Church in Saltwood, Kent but as that organ was restored as part of the 1953 Coronation celebrations it is difficult to determine what that work was. However Canterbury Cathedral Archives do hold evidence of Hitch's involvement. This is a minute of a 1913 committee meeting when the organ case was mentioned. The minute mentions W.D.Caröe's involvement so one assumes that he designed the organ case involved.

• For St Dunstan’s Parish Church in Cranbrook, Kent, Caröe was asked to design a memorial dedicated to those who had died in the South African War. The monument is in limestone and comprises two cast iron plaques with an inscription in one and on the second the names of the seven soldiers who had died. Above the two plaques Hitch carved the official badge of the Buffs and below the words “Weald of Kent.” The inscription on the first plaque reads  : “IN MEMORY/ OF NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS/ AND MEN OF THE 2ND/ (THE WEALD OF KENT) VOLUNTEER BATT/ EAST KENT REGIMENT "THE BUFFS"/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR/ THEIR COUNTRY IN SOUTH AFRICA/ 1900 - 1902/ (NAMES)/.” St Dunstan’s is a pleasant little church. Its contents include a memorial to two brothers who died in the South African War by William Robert Colton and a splendid memorial to Thomas Webster, the artist, carved in relief by Thomo Thorneycroft.

Memorial by Nathaniel Hitch in St Dunstan’s Church, Cranbrook.

• Hitch did figural work for a reredos designed by Caröe for St Mary the Virgin’s church in Brecon, Powys. This was executed in 1928.[9] A photograph of this work can be seen on the “ Imaging the Bible in Wales” website.[10]

• For St Mary and All Saints' Church in Bingham and working to a design by Caröe, Hitch carved a wooden statuette of St George for the top of the church's lectern.

• Again working with Caröe, Hitch carved the figure of St George slaying the Dragon which stands at the top of the wooden screen in the chapel in Durham Cathedral originally dedicated to those members of the Durham Light Infantry who laid down their lives in the Great War but subsequently rededicated to cover all men of the Durham Light Infantry who died in action from 1758 to 1968. The central panel of the screen features the Durham Light Infantry Regular, Territorial and Militia Badges and the Regimental History. Panels at either side record the Battle Honours of the Regiment. The chapel also commemorates those members of the Regiment who served in the Second World War. In 1968 and following the merger of the Durham Light Infantry with the Somerset and Cornwall, Shropshire and Yorkshire Light Infantries, it was decided that the central panel in the memorial screen be replaced by an inscription commemorating 210 years of the Durham Light Infantry. This was designed by Pilkington Jackson. The original screen of 1923 was dedicated to members of the Durham Light Infantry who had laid down their lives in the Great War of 1914-1919 and it was this which was designed by Caröe. In the 1923 version the regimental badge was placed below the dedication, this badge flanked by the Arms of the See and of the Cathedral. Above the screen were Hitch’s figure of St George and the Dragon, flanked by St Cuthbert and St Oswald. Records do not show whether Hitch also carved the figures of St Cuthbert and St Oswald although this is a strong possibility. It has been said that the screen’s woodwork is in the tradition of the 17th Century work of Bishop Cosin. The original screen and chapel were dedicated on 20 October 1923 by the Bishop of Durham. A photograph of Hitch’s statue of St George slaying the Dragon is shown here.[11]

St George slays the dragon- Durham Cathedral.

• For St Mary’s Church in Stoke by Nayland, Suffolk and to the design of Caröe, Hitch probably worked on the figure of Christ on the Cross which was the main theme of the Great War memorial unveiled in March 1921. Hitch certainly included this in his list of works executed lodged with the Henry Moore Institute archive in Leeds. [12]

• For the Church of St Peter in Cranley Gardens, Kensington and working with Caröe, Hitch did various carvings including figures for the Morning Chapel off the North Transept. He also worked on the reredos, sedilia and canopy. The church dates from 1866-7 and Caröe carried out additions to it in 1907-1909 and 1922-1923. This Anglican Church closed in 1972 and is now an Armenian Church.

• In Dane John Park in Canterbury, Kent, is the memorial which remembers the Buffs and Royal East Kent Imperial Yeomanry’s service in the Boer War. The inscription reads “TO THE GLORIOUS MEMORY AND IN GRATEFUL/REMEMBRANCE OF THE DEVOTED AND HEROIC SERVICE/OF THE OFFICERS NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS AND MEN OF/THE BUFFS-EAST KENT REGIMENT/AND OF THE/IMPERIAL YEOMANRY OF EAST KENT/WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE COUNTRY’S CAUSE/DURING THE WAR IN SOUTH AFRICA 1899-1902/THIS MEMORIAL HAS BEEN ERECTED BY THEIR COM/-RADES IN ARMS BELONGING TO EAST KENT REGIMENTS/AND BY THEIR SORROWING FRIENDS IN THE COUNTY / NAMES ON SIDES AND REVERSE.” The memorial comprises an obelisk which rises from a panelled base. There are names on three sides. The front supports a pedestal with the figure of a soldier in Boer War campaign dress. The soldier stands at ease and wears a slouch hat and bandolier. There are regimental badges on three faces and on the front face and behind the soldier is a wreath. The memorial remembers a total of 234 men who died, The Right Honourable Earl Roberts [13] carried out the unveiling on the 24th May 1904. Hitch the sculptural work, the designer was William Douglas Caröe and the letter cutting was carried out by a young Eric Gill. See photograph .[14]

Memorial in Dane John Park with sculpture by Nathaniel Hitch- a soldier in Boer War campaign dress.

• For the Church of St Barnabus and St James in Walthamstow, Hitch carved a Hanging Rood designed by Caröe, this serving as a memorial to those who died in The Great War.[15] This work dates from 1921.

• Hitch carved a stone reredos for St. Mary the Virgin and St. Chad's Church in Brewood, Staffordshire in 1911.[16]

• Hitch worked with Caröe on the memorial brass to John Loughborough Pearson in Westminster Abbey. Pearson, who was for several years the “Architect Surveyor of the Fabric” at the Abbey, was buried in the centre part of the nave of the Abbey, next to his predecessor in the role, Sir George Gilbert Scott. The memorial brass was inserted in 1901. A depiction of the Crucifixion appears at the top of a long stemmed support and base with the words "Sustinuit et Abstinuit" (sustain and abstain) either side of the stem. The inscription round the border reads:

"Here lieth John Loughborough Pearson R.A. Architect Surveyor to this Fabric. Born July 5, 1817. Died Dec 11 1897.”

• For the Church of St.Milburga in Llanfilo in Powys, Caröe restored a late fifteenth/early sixteenth century carved screen and Hitch carved the figures of Peter, James, the Virgin and Child, Luke and Paul for it. Hitch also worked on the Rood.A photograph of this work can be seen on the “ Imaging the Bible in Wales” website.[10]

• For All Saints’ Church in Gresford, Wrexham, Hitch carved a reredos in 1913 this showing the Crucifixion with Mary and John on either side of Christ.[17] This church has some fine stained-glass windows by Clayton & Bell and holds what is regarded as the best collection of medieval glass in Wales and much medieval woodwork.[18]

• For St Mary’s and All Saints’ Church in Bradley, Staffordshire, and to W.D. Caröe’s design, Hitch completed carvings on a stone chancel screen . A photograph of one of the carvings is shown here.[19] In the Staffordshire Stoke-on-Trent archives one of the records (D3379/31) reads: “The Rood Screen, designed by Mr Caröe and executed by Messrs.Dart and Francis of Crediton, was presented to the Church by the Vicar, and dedicated on July 23rd 1914. The figures were carved by Nathaniel Hitch of London.”

Part of Screen in St Mary’s and All Saints’ Bradley, Staffordshire.

• Caröe used Hitch to carve the oak reredos in the Lady Chapel of St Helen’s Church, Sefton.[20] Two photographs of this reredos are shown below.[21] The reredos and other furnishings in the Lady Chapel were given by Lady Sefton in memory of a beloved daughter who had died in her teens.

Reredos at St Helen's
Angel on St Helen's reredos

Also in Sefton and to Caröe's design, Hitch worked on the Sefton and District WW1 memorial which takes the form of a stone calvary and stands at the junction of Bridges Road and Sefton Mill Road in Sefton Village. At the base of Hitch’s carving is the inscription. “TO THE IMPERISHABLE MEMORY OF THE MEN OF SEFTON AND DISTRICT WHO FOUGHT AND DIED FOR ENGLAND IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1919 AROUND BASE:(NAMES).”

• For St Giles’ Church in Bradford-on-Tone in Somerset and working with Caröe, Hitch worked on figures for a reredos. These were figures of the four Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These figures stand in arched niches on either side of a central panel. They are bearded except for John and all wear gold cloaks over white tunics trimmed with gold and red. Each holds a quill pen in his right hand and a red book with a gold clasp in his left. They all wear red sandals. Matthew has a red purse suspended from his girdle and John a gold one.

Each of the four Evangelists is identified by his attribute, carved beside him on his plinth and bearing a red sash with the saint’s name on it written in rustic capitals: a winged man, a winged lion, a winged ox and an eagle represent Matthew, Mark, Luke and John respectively. There is a nimbus behind the head of each saint. The saint’s niches are painted dark blue/green with a cinquefoil, gold edged, highlighted with red in the spandrels.

In the spandrels between each pair of saints, Matthew and Mark to the North, Luke and John to the South, is raised decoration painted gold, with stylised leaves, flowers and fruit, but different on each side.

A gold ball of oak leaves and “bell-flowers” is found above and to the North and South of Matthew and Mark and a ball of oak leaves and vine leaves similarly above and to the North and South of Luke and John. These match the carvings on the cill of the aumbry in the North wall of the chancel.

Above the niches there is blind tracery with a cusped lozenge design and above this a frieze of billets. More blind arcading with trefoil heads fills the wall between the niches and the floor.

Hitch’s four figures were completed in 1926.

At the end of The Great War a new reredos had been proposed to serve as a war memorial and Col.S.H.Woodhouse of Heatherton House agreed to pay for an alternative scheme to celebrate his two sons’ safe return. However, his proposed funding did not run to a new reredos so the existing one was restored in 1921 and further work was carried out in 1925. The reredos is carved from grey-cream stone.

See photographs.[22]

St Matthew and St Mark on reredos St Giles’Church, Bradford-on-Tone, Somerset.
St Luke and St John on reredos St Giles’ Church, Bradford-on-Tone, Somerset.

• It was Caröe who designed the Church of St John the Baptist in West Byfleet near Woking and Hitch carved the font in Hopton Wood Stone.The font weighs two and a half tons, is hexagonal in form and made up with four blocks having the outline of a cup on each side. The inscription reads "JESUS BAPTIZARATUS ERAT - JESUS WAS BAPTIZED."' This church was completed in 1912.[23]

• Caröe designed the Memorial to General Sir Redvers Buller VC in The Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and the Mother of Him who Hung Thereon in Crediton, Devon and Hitch carved the sculpture of St George which forms part of that memorial.

A photograph is shown here.[24]

St George on Buller Memorial.

A photograph of the entire Buller Memorial can be seen here.[24]

The Buller Memorial.

In the top section of the Buller Memorial, this executed by Dart and Francis of Crediton and unveiled on 2 June 1911, the central seated figure is of “Our Lord as the Law Giver” and he is flanked by numerous “Angels of the Glory” and the archangels St Michael, St Gabriel, St Raphael and St Oriel. On the outside of this layer of the memorial are models of two of the many honours awarded to Sir Redvers: The Order of St Michael and St George “KCMG” and the Order of the Bath (Military Division) “KCB”.

In the middle section we have a sculpted altar cross on a large pedestal and the ends of its arms bear the emblems of the four evangelists:Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. To the left of the cross is an effigy of Joshua with angels above him and to its right is a statue of Godfrey de Bouillon, the leader of the First Crusade. Joshua and de Bouillon appear on the memorial as they, like Sir Redvers, were involved in historic sieges, Joshua that of Jericho, de Bouillon that of Jerusalem and Buller in the relief of the Boer siege of Ladysmith.

Beneath Joshua are Sir Redvers Buller’s coat-of-arms and beneath Godfrey de Bouillon the joint coat-of-arms of Sir Redvers and Lady Audrey Buller.

To the left of the central block of the middle section is another statue of St Michael the Archangel, and to his right Hitch’s statue of St George.

On St Michael’s left is a row of the coats-of-arms of towns which had given their freedom to Sir Redvers interspersed with flags of St George. The arms shown are those of Exeter, Plymouth, Penzance and Southampton.

On St George’s right are more coats-of-arms, one of Redruth and the others those of Trade Guilds with which General Buller had connections: the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, the Worshipful Company of Carpenters and the Worshipful Company of Skinners.

In the lower section is the Victoria Cross, awarded to Buller in 1879 and the badge of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps- Buller’s first regiment.

• For the Church of St Andrew and St Patrick in Elveden, Suffolk and to Caröe’s design, Hitch carved several figures for the reredos. The central panel of this reredos depicts Christ breaking bread before two disciples. Below is a photograph of St Matthew, one of the figures on the reredos.[25]

St Matthew- one of Hitch’s carvings on the Elveden reredos.

• In 1886 and again to Caröe’s design, Hitch carved the wooden triptych in St Leonard’s Church, Tortworth in South Gloucestershire.

• For St David’s Church in Exeter and working with Caröe, Hitch undertook the figural carving for the reredos and choir stalls. In the booklet “A Short History of The Building of Saint David’s Church” by The Reverend M.G.Smith. M.A. B.D.(Oxon), who was a former vicar of St David’s, he writes that Caröe “persuaded Nathaniel Hitch of London, probably the best “Gothic” carver in the country at that time, one who had collaborated with Caröe in furnishing St John’s Mountfitchett, to undertake the figure carving in the reredos and choir stalls, though the rest of the wood carving was done by local craftsmen.”

A photograph of the central panel of the reredos is shown here.

Central panel St David's Exeter reredos

The carvings on the Choir Stalls include important figures in the Church-

1. The niches on the south side deal with “Praise” and "Hymns.2 There is a representation of Ephraim of Edessa who represents the hymn writers of the Ancient Church of Syria and in another niche Gregory of Nazianzus who represents Greek hymn-writers. In another is Ambrose the “father of Church song.” Ambrose introduced from the East the practice of Antiphonal Chanting.

2. In the Boy’s Stalls on the south side are four kneeling figures of writers from among English Bishops. We have Ken once the rector of Brightstone on the Isle of Wight and author of “Awake my soul and with the sun” and “Glory to Thee, my God this night”. We then have Heber, Bishop of Calcutta, who wrote “From Greenland’s icy mountains.”, “The Son of God goes forth to war” and “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.”. We are then reminded of Walsham How,Bishop of Wakefield, author of “O Jesu, Thou art standing.”, “ For all the saints who from their labours rest.” and “We give Thee but Thine own” and finally we have Bickersteth,Bishop of Exeter, who wrote “Peace, perfect peace.” and “Till He come.”

3. In the Stalls on the north side the carvings deal with “Liturgical Prayer.” Leo, Gelasius and Gregory, Bishops of Rome in 440,492 and 549 were believed to have written important Sacramentaries. These Roman Sacramentaries are divided into three classes, the Leonian, Gelasian and Gregorian.

4. Further kneeling figures in the Boys’ Stalls are Osmund, nephew of William the Conqueror who wrote the “Sarum Missal.”, Archbishop Cranmer, head of the revising Committee by whom the First Prayer Book of Edward VI was issued in 1549, Cosin, Bishop of Durham, composer of the Collects for 3rd Sunday in Advent, 6th Sunday after Epiphany and Easter Eve who did invaluable work on the final revision of the Prayer Book in 1661, Andrews, Chaplain to Queen Elizabeth and Bishop of Winchester and author of “Manual of Devotion.

5. On the front bench-ends are four large figures representing the “Sources of Christianity”- St Gregory and St Augustine represent the Roman Source of English Christianity and can be found on the South Side,whereas on the North side we have St Columba representing the Scotic source and St David.

6. In front of the Choir Stalls the conversion of the Heptarchy is illustrated by carvings of six Kings and the Bishops to whom they and their people owed the introduction of Christianity. Ethelbert and Augustine/Edwin and Paulinus/Oswald and Aidan/Oswy and Chad/Kynegils and Birinus and Redwald and Felix.

7. Finally and in front of the Priests’ Stalls are four men associated with the organisation of the Church. There is Wilfrith, Theodore, Aldhelm and King Geruntius. These notes are taken from “Explanatory Notes on the Choir Stalls” - St .David’s Church. Exeter. Printed by Godfery & Co.Chapel Street.1900.

• To Caröe’s design Hitch sculpted the memorial to Archbishop Temple in Canterbury Cathedral. This features a kneeling figure of Temple in his robes and holding a book in one hand. The statue is in bronze. The figure of Temple is 7 ft high and is positioned under a canopy supported at each of four corners by angels.

• Hitch completed two major works for Caröe in Washington Cathedral. The first was the memorial to Bishop Henry Yates Satterlee which was unveiled in 1920 and the second the memorial to Bishop Alfred Harding, this consecrated in 1929. For the Satterlee work, Hitch executed Caröe’s design for the sarcophagus and ambon. Satterlee’s life-sized figure lies recumbent and attired in his Episcopal robes. The angels featured symbolize the Lambeth Quadrilateral of which Satterlee was one of the leading exponents. Around the figure and at the top of the base are inscribed important dates in his life and the words “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts; Heaven and Earth are full of Thy Glory, Glory be to Thee, O Lord Most High.” words which Satterlee spoke just before his death. On the base is carved an inscription to his wife Jane Lawrence Satterlee, who lies buried beside him. Bishop Harding’s life-sized figure is also attired in his Episcopal robes, and lies recumbent. He is attended by angels and his faithful bulldog who keeps watch. At the base are inscribed important dates of his life and inscriptions to his wife Justine Prindle Harding and his son Douglas Harding. A photograph of the Satterlee Memorial is shown below.

Bishop Satterlee’s Memorial in Washington Cathedral.

Those works carried out in conjunction with T.H.Lyon

• Hitch did work for the architect T.H.Lyon in the Church of St George the Martyr in Goodwood, a suburb of Adelaide in Australia. Hitch carved, to Lyon’s design, the Great War Memorial which stands just outside the church, the statues of the Virgin Mary and St George at the foot of the chancel facing the nave and the statue of St Michael in St Michael’s Chapel. Below is a photograph of the head of St George from the statue facing the nave as mentioned above. T.H.Lyon was the brother-in-law of Canon Percy Wise the Rector of Goodwood at the time that a move to a larger church was being envisaged as that occupied at the time was too small and Lyon was asked to design the new church that was to be the present day Church of St George the Martyr. There are some other works in the church which have been attributed to Hitch, namely a statue of St Anthony of Padua, the triptych in the Lady Chapel, the great Rood in the church, a life-size crucifix, the font and carvings of St Angus and St Alban.

Close-up of the statue of St George at St George the Martyr Church in Goodwood.

• Hitch carved all the figures for the reredos in St Peter’s Cathedral in Adelaide. This reredos is made from solid English oak and is 10.4m high. It was made at St Sidwell’s Art Works in Exeter, England by Herbert Read Company and was designed by the architect, T.H.Lyon. Nathaniel Hitch carried out all the figural carving which consists of five panels around which are eighteen niches holding coloured and gilded figures. The central panel depicts Christ Reigning in Glory and below this are four panels each one covering an incident in St Peter’s life. The statues in the niches at the top of the reredos represent four Archangels: St Uriel, St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael. Then there are statues of the Saints :George, Patrick, Andrew and David and then Edward The Confessor, The Venerable Bede and St Augustine of Canterbury. Then there feature Martha of Bethany, Catherine of Alexandria, Barbara, Margaret of Antioch, St Agnes and finally the Virgin Mary as a teenager with her mother Anne and then as a mother with the infant Jesus. At the very bottom of the reredos is panelling upon which are carved the emblems of the four Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

The reredos in St Peter’s Cathedral, Adelaide.

• Hitch carried out some figural sculpture for the Sidney Sussex College Chapel in Cambridge when it was refurbished by T.H.Lyon between 1911 and 1923. The non-figural carving in the Chapel was executed by Herbert Read of Exeter. Hitch carved some figural roundels, a statue of St Francis and a statue of St George with the arms of Archbishop Machray supported by cherubs below.

The figure of St Francis commemorated J.W.Reynolds who was killed in action in 1915.

Several close-up photographs of the statue of St Francis are shown in the gallery below and also one of Hitch’s roundels.

Close-up of St Francis.Sidney Sussex College Chapel
Roundel by Nathaniel Hitch-Sidney Sussex College Chapel.

Those works carried out in conjunction with H.P.Burke Downing

• Burke Downing designed the Hildenborough war memorial which stands on the Tonbridge Road in Hildenborough, Kent. It takes the form of a two-stepped base surmounted by a plinth, shaft and cross. In the centre of the arms of the cross is a relief sculpture of Christ on the Cross flanked by two angels and this was carved by Nathaniel Hitch. The memorial was unveiled on 5 October 1920. There are 37 names from World War I and 16 for World War II inscribed on the memorial

• Burke Downing designed the Merton Park war memorial which stands on the corner of Church Lane and Church Path in Merton. The memorial dates from 1920 and was unveiled on 21 September 1921. The memorial is made from Weldon stone. It features a cross and includes Hitch’s carving of a figure of “Christ in Majesty” in the centre of the arms of the cross. The inscriptions are “Lift up your Hearts” and “In Memory of the Men of Merton who gave their lives in the War 1914-1918.” The words “And in the War 1939-45" were added later.

• For the Church of St Barnabas in Mitcham, Surrey, Hitch carved a sculpture of St Barnabas. The statue stands on the front wall of the church which was built in 1914. See photograph. [26]

Statue of St Barnabas. Church of St Barnabas. Mitcham. Surrey

Burke Downing was the designer/architect.

• Working with the architect H.P.Burke Downing and around the year 1895, Hitch executed carvings on a Mayor’s chair for the Church of St George’s in Deal, Kent.

Again working with H.P.Burke Downing in 1931 Hitch carved a reredos in Ancaster stone in St Peter’s Church, Budleigh Salterton. This can be seen in the east end of the church. This church was built in 1893 and designed by the architect G.H.Fellowes Prynne. A photograph is shown below.[27] The reredos was dedicated by the Bishop of Crediton in July 1931. The central panel of the reredos shows the Good Shepherd and on either side relief panels feature the “Annunciation” and “Nativity.” Four central shields carry the symbols of the evangelists.

View of reredos in St Peter’s, Budleigh Salterton.

• For the Church of the Holy Spirit in Clapham, South London, Hitch carried out a series of carvings for the oak choir stalls and chancel screen. The church was built 1912-13 and has a grade 2 listing. It was designed by Burke Downing in the Gothic style. Hitch also worked on a oak rood with Our Lady and St John on either side of Our Lord and an ornate bishop’s chair or throne with the arms of the then newly created Diocese of Southwark on the back. The carved lettering on the Chancel Screen involves quotations from the Benedicite and Te Deum.Outside the church Hitch carved a statue of Christ instituting Holy Communion and Hitch also carved the crucifix on the Burke Downing designed war memorial.[28]

Carving on chancel screen.Church of Holy Spirit. Clapham
Carving on chancel screen.Church of Holy Spirit. Clapham
carving on choir stall.Church of Holy Spirit. Clapham
carving on choir stall.Church of Holy Spirit. Clapham
Rood in Clapham.

• Working for the architect H.P.Burke Downing and in 1934, Hitch carved an oak font cover for St Andrew’s in Kingswood, Surrey. It features the figure of the Christ Child with arms outstretched. In the same church and in 1935 Hitch carved a plaque representing the “Holy Family”.

• For St Mary’s Church in Gillingham, Dorset Hitch worked on the reredos with the architect H.P.Burke Downing. The theme of this reredos is the Adoration of the Infant Saviour. It is carved from Nailsworth stone and is some 12 ft wide. The central figures of the Virgin and Child are set under a richly carved canopy surrounded by figures of the Wise Men and Shepherds all sculpted in high relief the whole within a carved framework of stone surmounted by a cresting of rich design.[29] This reredos was given to the Church in 1925 by Mrs. and the late Mr.G.G.Matthews of Wyke House in memory of their two sons killed in the Great War. See photograph.[30]

Gillingham reredos. St Mary's Church.

Those works carried out in conjunction with John Loughborough Pearson and/or his son Frank Loughborough Pearson

Many works were started by John Loughborough Pearson and then completed by Frank after his father’s death. After his father’s death, Frank also did work on his own account.

• Between 1883 and 1885 John Loughborough Pearson carried out restoration work on St Helen’s Church in Burghwallis, near Doncaster. This restoration included a new reredos and Hitch did all the figural work for it.

• For St Paul’s Church in Daybrook, Nottingham and to John Loughborough Pearson’s design. Hitch carved a representation of "The Last Supper" on an alabaster reredos in 1895 and also worked on the Lady Seely Monument although the main sculpture of Lady Seely herself was the work of Sir Thomas Brock . For the same church Hitch worked on the pulpit and font in 1897. Some photographs are shown here, firstly of the reredos, then the pulpit.[31] The pulpit has three carved panels at the angles of which are carved canopied figures of Saints Peter, Paul and John. Hitch also carved the figures of St Peter and St Paul on the church exterior. The octagonal font is in Mansfield stone and the figures carved on it represent Truth, Faith, Hope, Charity, Courage, Industry and Purity. Hitch also carved several heads on the arches around the sanctuary and Lady Chapel.

Reredos “The Last Supper”. St Paul's Church. Daybrook. Nottingham
The pulpit at St Paul’s, Daybrook.

• Hitch also did some relief carvings for Sherwood Lodge. This is now the Headquarters of Nottingham Police. It is most probable that the reliefs were destroyed at the time of the building’s renovation; certainly their present whereabouts is not known.

• In 1893 working with John Loughborough Pearson, Hitch did the carving on the Bath stone reredos for St Mary’s Church in Pembroke. The central feature of the reredos was Christ in Majesty.[32]

St Mary’s Pembroke reredos.

• In 1885 John Loughborough Pearson was asked to design a reredos for St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney and he commissioned Hitch to carve that reredos. When the finished work arrived in Australia, the Sydney authorities objected to Hitch having portrayed the “Crucifixion” in the central panel. The carving of the Crucifixion was removed and replaced by a representation of the “Transfiguration”. This was not carved by Hitch but by Thomas Earp; however the two side panels carved by Hitch were retained and remain there today.

• In 1888 John Loughborough Pearson completed the architect G.E.Street’s work on the Western Towers of Bristol Cathedral and Hitch carved several statues for those towers. From 1897 to 1899 this time completed after his father’s death by Frank Loughborough Pearson, a high altar reredos was installed and Hitch carried out the figural work for it. The figures on the reredos are biblical saints, bishops connected with the See of Bristol and local celebrities including William Canynges and Hannah Moore. Hitch also carved a credence in stone this just to the right of the reredos and left of the Sedilia. A photograph of the reredos is shown here [33] Papers held at Bristol Archives also show that Hitch worked on the Bristol Cathedral choir screen in 1905 under Frank Loughborough Pearson’s direction.

View of reredos in Bristol Cathedral.

Hitch also carved a relief which can be seen on the wall behind the reredos and in the centre of a group of smaller figures. The photograph shown here is from Hitch’s Leeds album.

Relief on wall behind reredos- Bristol Cathedral

• The Cathedral Church of St Mary in Truro is thought by many to be John Loughborough Pearson’s finest work. Hitch did much of the sculptural work in the Cathedral including the figural work on the reredos, carvings above the north and south sedilia, two tympanum for the south porch, some sculptures for the inside of the Cathedral, including the "Transfiguration of Christ" above the South Door and carvings to the choir stalls so perhaps Truro was also Hitch’s apogee. Below we see the central panel showing the crucifixion and in the gallery we see two views of the carvings above the sedilia, a study of part of the central panel, one of the tympanum above the south porch and some of the side panels.

Part of Truro Cathedral Reredos- Central Panel

Here we see the full reredos.

thumb!The full reredos

The reredos was carved from Bath stone and erected in 1887.

In the lower of the two central panels we see Christ on the cross. His mother stands on His left and Mary Magdalene kisses His feet. St John stands on His right and we then have some Hebrew Rabbis and a group of Roman soldiers. One soldier carries the “INRI” inscription which will be placed at the head of the cross.

In the central panel above, the same Christ sits in glory.

On either side of these two central panels are columns each with eight pairs of adoring Angels in niches.

On each side of these central panels and columns are a series of further richly canopied niches in which are various relief carvings each relating to a biblical episode and thus making the reredos an effective instrument of teaching.

There are four such panels on each side. In the top left panel we have the sacrifice of Abel- the first recorded sacrifice in the bible. Next we have Noah and his family offering a sacrifice of thanksgiving from some of the animals who had survived the flood with them. In the panel below is the sacrifice of Isaac and in the final panel we see the story of the Passover.

In the four right hand panels we have the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden being defended by an angel, Moses’ brazen serpent, the Shewbread and the gathering of the First Fruits. Then in the panels on the far right of the sanctuary screen and above the sedilia we have the Gathering of the Manna, and water flowing from the rock at Kadesh after Moses had struck it with his rod

There are further carvings on the right and left hand side of the sanctuary screen and above the sedilia and the significance and meaning of these carvings and of the reredos itself are well described in Perran R Gay’s paper of 10th February, 2010. [34]

In the outer tiers of niches we see some of the prophets: Jeremiah, Joel, Zechariah and Malachi, with all but Zechariah carrying his name, are in the outer tier on the left hand side and Daniel, Amos, Isaiah and Ezekiel feature in the outer tier on the right hand side. Then in the inner tiers we have the Saints and Martyrs of the Christian Church. We have on one side, Edmund, the Christian King of the East Angles, defeated by the Vikings; Cecilia, patron of music and virgin martyr; George, soldier and martyr; and Vincent of Spain with his gridiron and on the other side Catherine of Alexandria with her wheel; Polycarp; Lawrence; and Alban the Roman soldier who was the first British martyr. Polycarp wears the full Eucharistic robes of a Bishop- chasuble, dalmatic and tunicle.

In the lower niches are the twelve apostles, the founders of the Christian Church. On the far left hand side we have Philip, with Latin cross; Jude; James the Less; Matthew with his book; James the Great with his pilgrim hat and staff; Peter with his keys; John with the chalice of the last supper; Andrew with diagonal cross; Bartholomew with knife; then Simon; Thomas; and Matthias.

Then in the lowest niches of the central pillars we have the four Evangelists, St Matthew, St Mark, St Luke and St John.

• In 1887, John Loughborough Pearson was charged with reconstruction of St Giles’ Church in Haughton, Staffordshire. This reconstruction included a reredos in Caen stone and Hitch carried out all the carving for that reredos. Hitch also carved the pulpit in Caen Stone and with red marble shafts. The reredos consists of three panels.

The central panel shows the Transfiguration and we see Jesus with Peter, James and John. “Six days later Jesus took Peter and James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain where they were alone; and in their presence he was transfigured; his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as the light.” St Matthew 17. 1-3. A photograph of the central panel is shown below. All photographs including the pulpit and the description of the reredos courtesy of Michael Cooksley.

St Giles’ Church in Haughton, Staffordshire

To the right and left of this central panel are eight smaller panels, these in groups of four. In the four panels on the left hand side are scenes from the Childhood of Jesus.

In the top panel first left, we see Mary and Joseph with Jesus lying in a manger. “After the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another ‘Come we must go straight to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us’ so they went with all speed and found their way to Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in a manger.” St Luke 2.16.

In the top panel second left we see Mary, Jesus and the Three Wise Men. “Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and bowed to the ground in homage to him; then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” St Matthew 2.11

In the bottom panel first left we see Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus fleeing to Egypt. “So Joseph rose from sleep, and taking mother and child by night he went away with them to Egypt, and there he stayed until Herod’s death.” St Matthew 2. 14,15.

In the bottom panel second left we see Jesus in the temple. “And after three days they found Jesus sitting in the temple surrounded by the teachers, listening to them and putting questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his intelligence and the answers he gave.” St Luke 2. 46.47.

A photograph of these four panels is shown below.

St Giles’ Church in Haughton, Staffordshire

In the four panels on the right hand side are scenes from the Passion .

In the first top right panel we see Jesus agonising in the garden of Gethsemane with the disciples asleep. Jesus had knelt down and prayed this prayer- “ Father, if it be thy will, take this cup away from me; yet not my will but thine be done.” And now there appeared to him an angel from heaven bringing him strength and in anguish of spirit he prayed the more urgently; and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. When he rose from prayer and came to the disciples he found them asleep, worn out by grief.” St Luke 22.42-46.

In the top second right panel we see Jesus betrayed and arrested. “While he was still speaking a crowd appeared with a man called Judas, one of the twelve, at their head, He came up to Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said. “Judas would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss? St Luke 22. 47-49.

In the bottom first right panel we see Calaphas questioning Jesus. “Jesus was led off under arrest to the house of Calaphas the High Priest, where the lawyers and elders were assembled. The chief priests and the whole of the Council tried to find some allegation against Jesus on which a death sentence could be based" St Matthew 26. 57-59.

In the bottom panel second right we see Jesus led away to be crucified. “Jesus was now taken in charge and, carrying his own cross, went out to the place of the skull, as it is called, (or in the Jews’ language, Golgotha.).” St John 19.17.

Below is a photograph of these four panels.

St Giles’ Church in Haughton, Staffordshire

After John Loughborough Pearson’s death, William Douglas Caröe became the church architect and in 1910 he designed arches and arcades which were placed on either side of the central panels. They held figures of six martyrs, all six figures were carved by Hitch in Hollington stone.

Below are photographs of these figures. We have three from the Bible being Zechariah, the first martyr, St Stephen, the first Christian martyr, and St James, the first Apostolic martyr. Then there are three martyrs from church history, Polycarp, representing the early church, St Alban, the first British martyr and Archbishop Cranmer, the Reformation martyr.

St Giles’ Church in Haughton, Staffordshire
St Giles’ Church in Haughton, Staffordshire

When John Loughborough Pearson was completing his work in 1888 a statue of the “Good Shepherd” was put in a niche above the porch. Hitch carved this statue and a photograph is shown below.

The Good Shepherd.

In 1948 Hitch’s son, Frederick Brook Hitch sculpted a statue of St Giles which stands inside the church on a support for the tower. This was designed by Alban Caröe, William Douglas Caröe’s son.

St Giles.

Information also taken from “Haughton Rectory or Four Country Parsons” by Thomas Fletcher Royds.

A photograph of the pulpit is shown below.

Pulpit in St Giles.

• In 1891 and to John Loughborough Pearson’s design, Hitch carved a reredos in Corsham stone for St Mary’s Church in Calne, Wiltshire. The figures on the reredos include various Wessex saints. Although the Leeds’ archive papers indicate that this is in all probability a carving by Nathaniel Hitch it should be said that Wiltshire Archives could find no mention of Hitch in their records for St Mary’s. The reredos, shown in a photograph below,[35] features the Crucifixion in the centre, the Nativity in the panel to the left and the Resurrection in the panel to the right. The original figures on the left of the Nativity were St Dunstan, St Edmund, King Alfred, St Aldhelm, St Birinus, St Oswald, St Gregory the Great and St Augustine. Between the Nativity panel and the Crucifixion panel we have from top to bottom, St John the Evangelist, St James and St Peter and then between the Crucifixion panel and the Resurrection panel we have, again from top to bottom: St Mary Magdalene, the Other Mary and the Blessed Virgin. To the right of the Resurrection panel were St Ethelreda, St Frideswide, St Witburger (Withburga), St Mildred, St Hilda, St Ethelburger (Ethelburga), St Catherine and St Agnes. In 1936 the position of the reredos was altered and the figures of St Gregory the Great, St Augustine, St Catherine and St Agnes were lost.

The St Mary’s Church, Calne reredos.

• For St Nicholas Church in Chiswick, London, and in 1884, Hitch carved the panels on the font and also sculpted a statue of St Nicholas. He was working to the designs of John Loughborough Pearson. See photographs below.[36]

Panel on St Nicholas Chiswick font.
Panel on St Nicholas font.
Panel on St Nicholas Chiswick font.
Statue of St Nicholas.

• In 1899 and to the designs of Frank Loughborough Pearson, Hitch carved alabaster sculptures for the altar and a gable rood for the chapel of St Peter’s Home in Woking. This was a convent but is now the Church of the Holy Cross, Maybury. I quote from the Woking History Society Newsletter 240 (Summer 2011): “For the magnificent high altar and baldacchino Frank Pearson adapted his father’s design for St Augustine’s (Kilburn) but on a more lavish scale. Originally dedicated to St Peter and inscribed to the memory of Rosamira Lancaster, it is made of oyster and pink alabaster and marble. The red marble columns supporting the baldacchino were specially imported to England for the first time from the Atlas Mountains in North Africa. Most of the carving, notably the panels depicting the life of Christ on the altar and the eight saints on the baldacchino were executed by Nathaniel Hitch. He was one of the finest Victorian craftsmen, and also made the three-figure rood on the east end of the roof overlooking Maybury.”

• St Agnes Church in Sefton Park, Liverpool was designed by John Loughborough Pearson and built between 1883 and 1885. It is probable that Hitch did some of the figural work for the reredos, working at this time for Thomas Nicholls and also worked on various sculptures on the arcade which divides the sanctuary from the apse, these being angel musicians. Above these is a continuous frieze in high relief representing the Adoration of the Lamb and, higher still, statues of angels under canopies between the clerestory windows.[37] Hitch certainly carried out various carvings to the ends of the choir stalls.

• In 1888 and to John Loughborough Pearson’s design, Hitch carved alabaster panels on a dark red marble pulpit for All Saints’ Church in Clifton, near Bristol. Sadly this church was destroyed during the German fire bombing of 1940 and there is no record of the pulpit having survived.

• The original reredos and altar screen at Beverley Minster was erected in the reign of Edward III between circa 1320-1340. At the time of the dissolution of the Beverley College of Secular Canons in 1547 the eastern face of the screen remained nearly as it was when built but the statuary on the western front was demolished and much of the carving mutilated. All that remained was covered over with plaster upon which was painted the Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed. In 1825-6 the reredos was rebuilt by Mr.Comins, the master mason, but this reconstruction fell short of filling the 12 niches and decorating the 36 panels.

In 1897 and to John Loughborough Pearson’s designs, Hitch carved twelve statues for addition to the screen this due to the generosity of Canon Nolloth who put up the required funds. Nolloth also funded completion of the thirty six panels which were filled by opus sectile mosaic by Messrs.Powell. [15]. The twelve additional statues, carved from Corsham stone, were of:-.

1. King Lucius who had founded the church of Beverley in the year 187. In Hitch’s figure he wears crown and armour and holds in his hand a model of an early church.

2. St Hilda, Abbess of Whitby at the time St John of Beverley was living in the monastery.

3. St John of Beverley who was consecrated Bishop of Hexham in 687. In the year 718 he retired to Beverley where he had rebuilt the Church and died in 721.

4. Brithunus who was a disciple of St. John and the first Abbot of Beverley.

5. The Venerable Bede, disciple and biographer of St. John of Beverley by whom he was ordained deacon and priest.

6. King Athelstan who holds in one hand the dagger which he left as a pledge on the Beverley Altar.

7. Eborius the first recorded Bishop of York in the year 314.

8. St Gregory the Great. He is shown with a dove whispering into his ear: the emblem of inspiration.

9. St. Augustine of Canterbury.

10. St Ailred. Born at Hexham in the year 1110 he became Abbot of Rievaulx and one of the Saints of the Cistercian Order.

11. Ethelberga, a Christian Princess of Kent.

12. Eadwine, King of Northumbria.

Photographs of the twelve figures are shown here.[38]

Beverley Minster Screen
Beverley Minster Screen

Hitch also carried out sixteen for the Beverley Minster organ screen which was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, made by James Elwell of Beverley, and completed in 1885. Hitch’s figures include King David with a harp, Jubal, Miriam, St Ambrose and an angel with a hurdy-gurdy. Photographs of two of these carvings are shown below.[39]

Beverley Organ Screen
Beverley Organ Screen

• Working with John Loughborough Pearson, Hitch carved the new pulpit in Peterborough Cathedral. A photograph is shown here.

Pulpit in Peterborough Cathedral.

• John Loughborough Pearson designed the upper section of the huge reredos in New College Chapel, Oxford and Nathaniel Hitch did all the figural work. This reredos replaced one in stucco dating from 1789 by Wyatt.[40] The reredos has five tiers of figures and at the bottom some marble reliefs by Westmacott. In the immaculately kept New College Archives are a series of sepia photographs of Hitch’s figures taken before they were sent from his workshop near Vauxhall to Oxford and in record 3140 are letters dated between 1883 and 1892 relating to the reredos and these include several letters written by Hitch himself. Some of these letters show the lengths to which Hitch went to ensure that his statues were true to life. In the instance of the statue of William of Wykeham we read how a mask was made of the Winchester effigy of William of Wykeham and then sent to Hitch so that he could be sure that he achieved an accurate likeness. In looking at the relationship between architect/designer and sculptor one is sometimes struck by the way in which the architect/designer received credit for a particular work with the sculptor very often getting little or no mention and one letter written by Hitch shows that this did matter to him. In this letter he thanks the addressee for sending him a newspaper cutting, one assumes about the reredos, and notes “They name the architect I notice but not the sculptor.” We also learn from these letters of the great care taken in the detail of each of the individual statues. St Peter carries the keys, James Minor a club and Simon a saw.etc.etc.A photograph of the complete reredos is shown below and a close-up of the statue of Moses complete with tablet and horns.[41]

The reredos in New College Chapel, Oxford.
Statue of Moses – part of the reredos in New College Chapel,Oxford.

Another photograph shows more of the individual figures.[42]

More of Hitch’s carvings on New College Chapel reredos.

• For the parish church of Bradfield St George in Suffolk, Hitch carved statues of St George and St Alban and these stand in niches and serve as a war memorial remembering those 19 local men who died in The Great War. It was unveiled on 30 July 1920 by the Venerable G.Hodges. Frank Loughborough Pearson was the designer.[43][44] See photograph. [45]

Statue of St George by Nathaniel Hitch in Bradfield St George Church in Suffolk.

• For Rochester Cathedral Hitch carved several figures in niches for the choir screen, all to Frank Loughborough Pearson’s design.[46]

• When Lord Astor commissioned John Loughborough Pearson to design Two Temple Place on the Embankment, Hitch was brought in to carve all the external embellishments to the stonework, except for those above the porch and for the interior carried out several commissions including the relief portraits in the Main Hall. Below is one of Hitch’s external carvings and then one of the relief portraits, this of Shakespeare’s Juliet. Hitch also carved some very ornate bench-ends and a photograph of one of these is shown below as it highlights Hitch’s prowess as a wood carver.

Close-up of Hitch carving on seat-end in Two Temple Place.
A Nathaniel Hitch “Grotesque” on the exterior of Two Temple Place.
Juliet- Hitch carving in Two Temple Place.

• Lord Astor also commissioned a triptych altarpiece for the family chapel within the Octagon Temple at Cliveden. This was executed in the late 1890s. Frank Pearson was the supervising architect and Hitch carried out the carving. The whole altarpiece is uniformly gilded, with cabuchons of semi-precious stones in the frames. The subject is the Adoration and the two wings of the triptych feature more attendant merchants or possibly shepherds. The central panel is topped by carved angels and a central finial representing the Lamb, all gilded. The altarpiece is set on a base with three more reliefs of angels bearing shields of arms: a double panel flanked by single outer panels. The creation of the chapel and the conversion it involved of Leoni’s Octagon Temple of 1735, may charitably be put down to the tragic death in 1894 of Astor’s wife Mary, only a year after his purchase of the estate. The chapel is in the lower room with the floor removed above to create a small domed octagonal chapel. The first, second and third Viscounts Astor are buried there, with red marble commemorative slabs in the floor which is of Opus Alexandrinum.[47] A photograph is shown below this from a Hitch album in the Leeds archive.

Cliveden Chapel.

• On the exterior of the North Transept of Westminster Abbey and as part of John Loughborough Pearson’s work at the Abbey between 1888 and 1889 Hitch carved twenty eight statues. These were of St Raphael, St Uriel, St Michael, St Gabriel, St Alban, St Aidan, Venerable Bede, Archbishop Theodore, St Augustine, Paulinus, St Benedict, St Dunstan, Roger Bacon, Robert Grostete, St Boniface, St Edmund, Matthew of Westminster, William Caxton, Walsinus, Edwin, King Richard, Anne of Bohemia, King Henry V, Catherine of Valois, Abbot Ware, Abbot Littleton, Dean Goodman and Williams the Lord Keeper. English Heritage/National Monument Records have black and white photographs of the clay models for these statues under their reference HIT01. Photographs of some of these statues are shown below.

Robert Bacon and Robert Grostete,
Matthew of Westminster and William Caxton.
Dean Goodman and Williams, Lord Keeper.

• John Loughborough Pearson carried out some restoration work for Westminster Hall in 1888 and Hitch carved some heraldic animals on the staircase in the Great Hall. He also sculpted some statues in the turret on the west end of the Hall and general carvings both inside and outside the Hall.

• Hitch carved the three niche figures above the north porch of the church which is all that remains of John Loughborough Pearson’s restoration of All Hallows Barking; the north porch had survived the German bombing in 1940 when the church was almost totally destroyed. The church was restored after the war and is now All Hallows by The Tower/St Dunstan in the East. The three figures are: St Ethelburga who was the sister of Erkenwald the founder in the seventh century of Barking Abbey (the original church on this site had belonged to that Abbey), the Virgin and Child and Lancelot Andrewes. Andrewes had been Bishop of Winchester in the reign of James I and was baptised in All Hallows. Both Bishop John Fisher and Archbishop William Laud were buried in All Hallows Barking and it was from the church tower that Samuel Pepys watched the Great Fire of London. William Penn was baptized in the church and President John Quincy Adams was married there. The Revd P.B.”Tubby” Clayton was the rector of All Hallows in the inter-war years and the TOC H lamp burns perpetually on a tomb chest at the east end of the church’s north aisle. [48] A photograph of the statue of the Virgin and Child is shown here.

Statue of Virgin and Child at All Hallows by The Tower.

• All Saints’ Church in Hove, Sussex, commissioned by the Reverend Thomas Peacey, is a good example of a church designed by John Loughborough Pearson but actually built with the assistance of his son Frank. Hitch’s work here is arguably some of his best and the carving on the reredos and the bishop’s throne is of the very highest standard. Pevsner described the reredos as “sumptuously carved.”.[49] Hitch also carved the sedilia. The church was built just after Truro Cathedral which it is said to resemble and although not by Hitch it has a fine pulpit, several stained glass windows designed by Clement Bell and a William Hill & Son organ with a delicately carved organ case, this designed by Frank Loughborough Pearson. The “Stations of the Cross” are worthy of study and there is also an opportunity to admire some of Eric Gill’s lettering on the memorial to Bishop Crotty on the north wall and near the stairs in the north-east corner of the church, this designed by Gill’s fellow sculptor James Woodford. The reredos was designed by John Loughborough Pearson and erected under the supervision of his son Frank and at the very top of the reredos and under canopies are four angels carrying symbols of kingship, priesthood and power: a crown, a censor, an orb and a sword and below them are shields with the monogram IHS and Alpha and Omega. Below the angels is the central panel with a life-sized figure of Christ crucified and with angels crowning His sacred head. At the foot of the cross stand Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the Apostle John, Mary Magdalene, Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus. We also see the Centurian with a spear and Nicodemus who was to assist at Christ’s burial. Beneath are seven shields bearing the emblems of the Passion: the dice, the scourge, the hammer and pincers, the crown of thorns and nails, the sponge, the spear and ladder, the pierced hands, feet and heart, and the seamless garment. To the left of this central panel are the figures of Isaac with a bundle of sticks for his sacrifice, Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness, and David with a harp. To the right are the three prophets who predicted the Passion: Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel. Under canopies to the left of the Patriarchs are St George, St Stephen and St Andrew and on the right hand side St Patrick, St Alban and St David. Above the bishop’s throne are representations of early Sussex Christians and Bishops. Along the wall behind the throne are Claudia and Ethelwalch to the left and St Cuthman and Gundrada to the right. Around the top of the throne are, and from left to right, St Wilfred, St Richard and Charles Poore. There are further figures over the sedilia these being Bishop Andrewes, Bishop Juxon, W.F.Hook, Bishop Durnford and Her Majesty Queen Victoria ( Victoria was the reigning monarch at the time of All Saints’ construction and her son Edward VII worshipped in All Saints on occasions). Below is a photograph of the central panel of the reredos taken on a visit to All Saints’ on 30 June 2011.[50] The figures of angels above the reredos are dated 1901-8 and the reredos, bishop’s throne and sedilia were all executed in 1908. The four angels above the reredos were carved from manganese limestone and Sussex sandstone. The reredos, bishop’s throne and sedilia are all carved from manganese limestone.

The central panel of Nathaniel Hitch’s reredos in All Saints Church.Hove.

• For St Michael and All Angels Church in Headingley, Leeds, Hitch carved some relief sculptures on the John Loughborough Pearson designed pulpit. The theme of the carvings is preaching and teaching. The four large panels show, from left to right: St John the Baptist in the wilderness, Jesus delivering the Sermon on the Mount, St Peter preaching to the multitude on the day of Pentecost (with the flames of the Holy Spirit on the figures’ heads) and St Paul, probably at Athens. Alternating with these are five long narrow niches containing single figures. These are Old Testament figures holding scrolls with their names and above are the Evangelists (the writers of the four Gospels), and St Paul (with a sword). The pulpit is made of marble and alabaster. Hitch also carved some ornate bench ends for the church Choir Stalls. There are four choir stalls involved and therefore eight carvings in total. On the Lady Chapel side and left to right, the carvings represent the Nativity, the presentation of Jesus in the temple (Luke ch.2), the baptism of Jesus and Jacob wrestling with the angel (Genesis ch.32). On the organ side we have, and again left to right, the meeting of Abraham and Melchizedeck (Genesis ch.14), the Annunciation (Gabriel appearing to the Virgin Mary.(Luke ch.1), Adam and Eve (Genesis ch.3) and Jesus’ charge to Peter “Feed my sheep” (John ch.21) This church, whose steeple can be seen from Headingley Cricket ground, has a splendid reredos designed by Temple Moore and built by Thompson & Sons of Peterborough.[51]

• For St. Bartholomew's Church, Thurstaston in the Wirral, Hitch created a reredos in alabaster and various other sculptures. These were completed in 1885, Hitch again working for John Loughborough Pearson.

• In 1895 and to designs by John Loughborough Pearson, Hitch carved several oak statuettes for the Bishop’s Throne in Norwich Cathedral.

• For St Martin’s Church in Leicester and again working with John Loughborough Pearson, Hitch executed some carvings for an oak altar table and carved statues for the South Porch and general carvings on the new porch. These works were carried out in 1897. This work is referred to in one of the Hitch listings in the Henry Moore Archive but the records of St Martin’s do not mention Hitch, only Pearson.

According to the information in the Leeds archive the seven statues represent: St Guthlac who had set up a hermitage on the Welland which eventually became Crowland Abbey, St Hugh of Lincoln, a 12th century Carthusian who became Bishop of Lincoln in 1186 and rebuilt the Cathedral, Robert Grossteste, the 13th century Rector of St Margaret’s and later Bishop of Lincoln, John Wycliffe, the 14th century Rector of Lutterworth, the Earl of Huntingdon (Henry Hastings), William Chillingworth and William Connor Magee, who had been Bishop of Peterborough and been responsible for building many churches in Leicester.

These seven statues are situated over the entrance on the South (Vaughan) Porch.[52] St Martin’s became Leicester Cathedral in 1927. There is also every possibility that Hitch carved the statues of St Martin, St Katherine, St George and St Dunstan on the sides of the porch. They were executed at the same time as the seven statues over the porch.

• Hitch states in his list of major works that he carried out several commissions for Lincoln Cathedral between 1893 and 1894 and although the Cathedral's archives make no mention of Hitch there is ample evidence of his having carved the sixty seven statues in the choir stall area and many of the quatrefoil panels in sets of three in the choir stalls. It is also probable that he worked on the bishop's throne. Amongst those represented by the statues in the choir stall area are St Mark, St James, St George, the Venerable Bede, St Thomas, St Nicholas, St Lawrence, St Edward, St Augustine, St Catherine, St Thomas and St Lucy. In 1899 Hitch carved further statues for the choir stalls, on this occasion working with Sir.A.W. Blomfield.

We feature two photographs of Hitch’s “grotesque” figures in the quatrefoil panels.

Choir Stall carving- Lincoln Cathedral
Choir Stall carving- Lincoln Cathedral

• In 1897 John Loughborough Pearson helped design the monument to Bishop Lord Arthur Hervey in Wells Cathedral. The sculptured figure of the bishop was by Sir Thomas Brock but the Wells Cathedral Archives have a document which shows that Pearson designed the sarcophagus and was assisted by Hitch (one assumes with the carving although this is not entirely clear as that document says Hitch was “paid £ 250 for the design”) [53]

• From 1894 to 1896, Hitch carried out work for the Catholic Apostatic Church in Maida Vale, all with John Loughborough Pearson as architect. This church does not permit photographs to be taken of the interior so it is not possible to show Hitch’s work in this instance. Hitch carved an alabaster altar and a statue of the Good Shepherd.

• Hitch carved the alabaster reredos at St Mary's Church in Streatley [54] to John Loughborough Pearson's design. He executed the work in 1893. The central panel shows the Crucifixion and on the left side of this is a scene from our Lord's childhood and on the right side the Resurrection. Between the panels and on either side are smaller statuettes, the four outer ones being the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. A statuette on the north side of the central panel is of Aaron and on the south side is Elias, the two representing priests and prophets. The reredos was erected in memory of Mrs.Stone, the then lady of the manor, and funded by the Stone family. Streatley and it's neighbour Goring are pleasing little Oxfordshire villages and Streatley featured in Jerome K.Jerome's "Three Men in a Boat." Laurence Binyon the poet who wrote "For the Fallen” :"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old." lived in the Parish and Richard Adams wrote "Watership Down" when living in Streatley. Adams and his family were worshippers at St Mary. Photographs of the reredos are shown here and a full photograph of the reredos can be seen on the church’s website.[55]

The reredos at St Mary’s Streatley.
The reredos at St Mary’s Streatley.
The reredos at St Mary’s Streatley.

• Working again with Frank Loughborough Pearson, Hitch carved the reredos for St Matthew’s Church in Douglas on the Isle of Man. The work was finished in March 1916. It is in the form of a triptych, carved in wood, decorated in gesso, gilded and painted. It is 13 feet high from the Altar step to the top of the cornice, and 14 feet across the wings. The design is intended to illustrate the "Doctrine of the Incarnation" and the central subject consists of a representation of the Adoration of the Magi; carved in high relief. In the centre is the Virgin Mother, seated under a curtained canopy, with the Holy Child on her knee, and, grouped around, the three kings in attitudes of adoration, presenting their gifts, with Saint Joseph in the background. In the panels on either side are soldiers and servants attending the Kings. In the top panel is the figure of our Lord seated in Majesty, with hands extended in blessing, and on either side angels with censers. On the wings are figures executed in gesso . The lower panel represents St. Matthew, in whose honour the Church is dedicated, then St Clement, St. Ignatius, and St. Polycarp, the three sub-apostolic Fathers. The predella is decorated in gesso work, with four angels holding shields bearing the instruments of the Passion on a richly decorated background. On the moulded base is the text, "Et incarnatus est de Sancto Spiritu.".[56] A photograph of the triptych is shown here. In an article in the “Isle of Man Examiner” dated 11 March 1916 the reredos was described as “one of the most beautiful works of ecclesiastical art in the Island”.[57]

The reredos/triptych in St Matthew’s Church, Douglas. Isle of Man

In his papers lodge with the Henry Moore archive in Leeds, Hitch also lists the figural work on the reredos in St Ninian’s Church in Douglas as being his work. In the Isle of Man archives the papers held covering St Ninian’s make no mention of Hitch’s involvement but credit the oak reredos in that church to Jones and Willis Limited of Birmingham. There is however evidence elsewhere that Hitch did sometimes work for Jones and Willis so it is quite likely that he had a hand in the St Ninian’s work.The St Ninian’s reredos includes a carving of St Cecilia.

• It was firstly John Loughborough Pearson and then his son Frank who carried out restoration work for All Saints’ in Maidstone. The church roofs were all renewed, as a memorial to Archdeacon Dealtry and Hitch carved twenty oak figures for the wall posts. The figures are placed above stone corbels. sixteen of these are in the chancel area and are figures from the New Testament including the twelve disciples and the other four are in the nave area and are figures from the Old Testament. Hitch also carved the triptych in the church’s Holy Name Chapel and in all probability did the figural work for the stone reredos. Photographs of the reredos and triptych are shown below.[58]

The All Saints’ Maidstone Triptych.
The All Saints’ Maidstone Reredos.

• For St Stephen's Church, Bournemouth working to John Loughborough Pearson’s designs, Hitch did carvings on the marble pulpit and stalls in 1889 and in 1898 worked on the Altar Table and Triptych (reredos). The pulpit shows three scenes from the New Testament. In the centre Jesus is shown preaching the Sermon on the Mount to his disciples and at the sides we have St Peter preaching on the first Whitsunday (Pentecost) and St Paul preaching at Athens. See photographs below.

Pulpit at St Stephen’s, Bournemouth.
Pulpit at St Stephen’s, Bournemouth.
Central panel of pulpit in St Stephen’s Bournemouth- The Sermon on the Mount.

The triptych which towers above the altar has the crucified Jesus in the centre, with the Blessed Virgin and St John standing on either side. On the left is Elijah and his raven and on the right the Prophet Isaiah. On the left wing of the triptych are St Stephen and Moses and on the right we have St John the Baptist and David. Above are the figures of four bishops: St Ambrose, St Augustine, St Clement and St Swithun each of whom has had a church dedicated in their honour in Bournemouth. As it was Moses and Elijah who appeared with Jesus at his Transfiguration, Hitch has carved around the cross of Christ representatives of the Old Covenant and the New and Easterns and Westerns, all gathered in united adoration. See photograph of the reredos below.

The reredos in St Stephen's Church, Bournemouth.
The Triptych in St Stephen’s Church Bournemouth.

The central panel of the High Altar shows the Adoration of the Magi and on the left the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and on the right the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.[59]

The central panel of the Altar Table at St Stephen’s, Bournemouth.
The Annunciation. St Stephen's Bournemouth.
Jesus is presented in the Temple.St Stephen's Bournemouth.
The Adoration of the Magi.St Stephen's Bournemouth.

Hitch also carved the Altar in the Lady Chapel and the carvings on the choir stalls these to Frank Loughborough Pearson’s design. These are in Baltic oak and amongst the figures carved are St Cecilia, patron saint of music, St Catharine, who was martyred on a wheel, St Stephen and various other saints, martyrs and church leaders. The panels at the end of the pews show miracles performed by Jesus and parables told by Him.

• Hitch carved a pulpit in marble for the Anglican Church of St Matthias in Burley, Leeds. Sadly this was deemed unfit a few years ago and replaced. Hitch’s pulpit is stored in the church cellars. The pulpit was to John Loughborough Pearson’s design and was completed in 1892.

• In 1896 and to John Loughborough Pearson’s design, Hitch carved a mahogany triptych for St John’s Church in Upper Norwood.

• To Frank Loughborough Pearson’s design, Hitch carved a reredos in 1911 for St Mary the Virgin church in Great Chart, Kent. It was given to the church in 1912 in memory of Colonel John Leslie Toke of Bucksford Manor who had been the rector’s warden from 1895 to 1903. The reredos consists of one main section and two side panels. The central panel depicts Christ blessing children and groups on the left side represent Hope, Charity and Faith and on the right side Justice, Fortitude and Prudence. Beyond are figures of the Virgin Mary on the left and St Luke on the right. The reredos is in Portland stone. The inscription reads: “TO THE PRAISE AND GLORYOF GOD/ AND IN LOVING MEMORY OF/COL.JOHN LESLIE TOKE OF BUCKSFORD GT CHART/WHO DIED 2nd MAY 1911. AGED 71 YEARS/ERECTED BY HIS WIFE AND DAUGHTER.” See photograph below.

The reredos at St Mary, Great Chart

• It was working to Frank Loughborough Pearson’s designs that Hitch carved a sedilia and altar table for Wakefield Cathedral and whilst the papers held by the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds confirmed that Hitch carried out this work, the Cathedral Archives and those of the Wakefield Archives did not in fact mention Hitch by name.

• Also under supervision from Frank Loughborough Pearson, Hitch carved the three porch sculptures at St. Mark's in Barnet Vale. When the porch at St. Mark's was dedicated in 1909 only the central statue of the Good Shepherd was in place, said to have been adapted from a statue in Florence. The statue of St. Mark was added in 1917 in memory of Norman Child who had fallen in the Great War. The final statue, that on the right, was to have been of St. John the Baptist, patron of St. Mark's' mother church, but some years later, in 1926, St. Alban was chosen instead, and his statue was erected in memory of Cyril Catford who also fell in the Great War. A photograph of these statues is shown below.[60]

Three Statues Barnet Vale.jpg

• In 1898 and to the design of John Loughborough Pearson, Hitch did the figural work on the triptych for St John’s Church in Redhill, Surrey. The central panel of the triptych represents the Crucifixion, with the Virgin and St John: on one side of this is the Agony, on the other side the Entombment. Beyond these come four small figures, two on each side, representing four of those who “saw His glory and spake of Him”- Abraham, David, Isaiah and St John the Baptist. The large panels at the extremity of the wings contain, on the one side the Nativity, on the other side the Resurrection. Above these come the four Evangelists, two on each side. Above these again are the four “Doctors” of the Western Church-Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine and Gregory. The carved figures which crown the whole represent Our Lord, with Moses on His right and Elijah on His left hand side. Outside these are two angels on each side. These seven figures were carved by Nathaniel Hitch, the frame was made by Messrs.Moos and Messrs Clayton and Bell carried out the gilding and decoration.

In the March 1898 Parish magazine of St John’s one reads the following –“Mr.Pearson thought that in our white Chancel some colour was very much wanted, and accordingly designed this Triptych for us, to which indeed we believe that some of the last working hours of his life were given. We hope that it may prove as successful as the other features of the Church which we owe to his genius.” Pearson died on 11 December 1897. .

• For St Margaret’s Church in Horsforth in Yorkshire, Hitch did the figural work on the reredos. It was designed by Frank Loughborough Pearson and portrays the risen Lord triumphantly proclaiming the glorious truth of the resurrection. The figures in the top row are all of angels. From left to right, they are: The Angel of Passion with cross/Raphael, the Angel of Guidance with staff, water bottle and wallet/Michael, the Angel of Justice with sword and scales/Gabriel, the Angel of Purity with Lily/Uriel, the Angel of Light and the Angel of the Resurrection. There are also two angels in the centres of the side panels.The bottom figures are representations of the Patron Saints of the United Kingdom, of the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds and of St Margaret’s itsef. From left to right, they are: St. George of England (in battle array)/St. Wilfrid (with bishop's mitre, crook and robes)/St. Andrew of Scotland (holding a model of the cross saltire on which he died) /St. Patrick of Ireland (with conquered serpents)/St. Margaret of Antioch (crowned, bible in hand and slain dragon at her feet) and St. David of Wales (with emblematic dove on his shoulder).[61] The building of the full church had taken many years. The original designer of the church was John Loughborough Pearson and the nave and chancel were completed and dedicated in 1883 but the belfry, spire and porches were only dedicated in 1901. The dedication of the reredos came much later on 23 July 1911. As already stated the design was by John Loughborough Pearson’s son who also designed a reredos for the Lady Chapel. Some photographs are shown here.[62]

Horsforth reredos.
St George on Horsforth reredos.
Angel of Passion- Horsforth.

• For St Andrew’s Church in Boothby Pagnell, Lincolnshire and working with John Loughborough Pearson in 1897, Hitch carved a mahogany triptych in low relief. The theme of the reredos is the “Passion.” In the central panel we see Our Lord on the cross and to his right and left are angels bearing reminders of the Crucifixion: nails, the crown of thorns, a spear and sponge and a cross.

Central Panel of Boothby Pagnell triptych.

• For Holy Trinity Church in Ayr, Scotland, Hitch carved the pulpit. This dates from 1892. This church is the only complete example of John Loughborough Pearson’s work in Scotland and the church was built in stages between 1888 and 1900. The pulpit is carved from Caen (Normandy) stone. It shows the twelve apostles, with Jesus as the Good Shepherd in the centre and St John the Baptist (patron saint of Ayr) and St Paul on either side. See photograph below.[63]

Nathaniel Hitch’s carving on pulpit in Holy Trinity Church Ayr.

• Hitch worked with John Loughborough Pearson on the old St Paul’s Church in Maidstone. In 1894 Hitch did the figural work for a stone reredos and in 1897 he worked on a mahogany triptych for the North Chapel. Sadly this church burnt down in 1963.

• In 1891 Hitch worked with John Loughborough Pearson on the mahogany reredos in the St Michael’s Chapel in St Augustine’s Church in Kilburn. The theme here is angels, and the reredos and figures in the apse depict St John’s vision of heaven in the Book of Revelation. On the wall behind the reredos are the four and twenty elders seated. Below is a photograph of part of the left hand side of the reredos.

Part of Nathaniel Hitch’s work on the reredos in St Michael’s Chapel in St Augustine’s Church Kilburn.

• For St Mary’s Church in Ashford, Kent, Hitch carried out carvings on the pulpit. See photograph below. The pulpit dates from 1897 and is in polished Hoptonwood stone. It was designed by John Loughborough Pearson. It has columns in Devonshire marble. The pulpit depicts Christ the Good Shepherd flanked by the four evangelists. In Hitch’s list of works held at the Henry Moore Institute Archive in Leeds, this church is described as “Ashford Old Church”.[64]

Pulpit in St Mary the Virgin Church. Ashford.Kent

• Hitch carved the pulpit for St Ninian’s Cathedral in Perth, Scotland, this to Frank Loughborough Pearson’s design. The carving depicts St Cuthbert holding the head of King Oswald, St Kentigern preaching to the workers, St Patrick preaching to Irish princesses and St Columba, seen with King Brude. The pulpit was completed in 1901. See photograph below.[65]

Pulpit at St Ninian’s Cathedral.

• Working with John Loughborough Pearson in 1892 Hitch did the figural work for a wooden triptych in St Mary’s, Laverstoke. See photograph below.[66]

Laverstoke triptych.


• Working with the Scottish architect F.A.Walters, Hitch executed an altar piece for St Mary of the Angels Church in Worthing, Sussex. This work was carried out in 1902. The church records of October 1902 state- "A beautiful Altar dedicated to the Holy Souls, as a memorial shrine to the deceased Catholic relatives of the Dowager Lady Loder was erected in the North Aisle at her Ladyships sole cost. The design was by F.A.Walters, the stone work by Hatch (sic) of Vauxhall. Brasses by Hardman."[67] See photographs below. [68]

The altar piece at St Mary of the Angels Church. Worthing
The lower part of the altar piece at St Mary of the Angels Church.Worthing. Christ lies recumbant within an arched recess.
The upper part of the altar piece at St Mary of the Angels Church.Worthing.

• For St Mary the Virgin Church in Uttoxeter worked on a reredos to commemorate those lost in the Great War. The inscription reads “GREATER LOVE/ HATH/ NO MAN THAN THIS/ THAT A MAN/ LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS”. The reredos comprises a wall-mounted alabaster plaque made up of five panels. The central panel carries a relief carving of the crucifixion surmounted by angel figures in relief. Each of the five panels is surmounted by ornate finials.

• To the design of Paul Waterhouse, Hitch was involved in creating the aumbry in St Mary Magdalene Church, Munster Square, London. Hitch also carved the figures on the war memorial which stands in the grounds of the church. Photographs are shown below.[69] The inscription on the war memorial reads-


War Memorial St Mary Magdalene
Aumbry in St Mary Magdalene.Munster Square


• Hitch includes in his works the war memorials at St Teilo’s in Llantilio Pertholey and Llantilio Crosseney. Hitch’s carving of Christ on the Llantilio Pertholey cross has been badly worn away by exposure to the elements and it is barely discernable. Both Llantilio Crossenny and Llantilio Pertholey are near Abergavenny.

• Hitch did the sculptural work on the war memorial on Beacon Hill, Hindhead, south west Surrey. The memorial is a Doulting stone gable crucifix on a plinth and a two-stepped hexagonal base. It stands on a paved area in the churchyard of St Alban’s Church. The dedication reads

"To the glory of god and in loving memory of the men of this parish and others who died for their country in the two world wars and in thanksgiving for those who served and were kept safe this cross was erected by parishioners and friends"

The memorial was designed by Mr CG Hare of Messrs Bodley and Hare of Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London. It was dedicated on 14 December 1919.

• For St Andrew’s Church in Cobham, Surrey, Hitch carved an oak reredos. He also completed some carved panelling for the church. This work was carried out circa 1930. In this instance the reference to this work in the Leeds archive did not make it clear as to whether the Cobham work was by Hitch or his son Frederick Brook Hitch. A photograph is shown below.[70]

Cobham reredos.

• Hitch carved the pulpit and completed the figural work for the reredos in the Parish church of Woodham in Surrey. The pulpit is on the north side of the nave arch, is carved from oak and was dedicated on Sunday 26 October 1913 by the Archdeacon of Surrey. The reredos was designed in early 14th Century Gothic style by the Reverend Ernest Geldart and was executed in 1915 in Corsham stone from Corsham quarries and was dedicated in 1915. At the time of dedication only the central panel was complete and the niches were unoccupied, but at rapid intervals the figures were completed and the reredos was dedicated by the vicar on Easter Eve 15 April 1922. An aumbury and arcading on the north wall was added in 1918 and the work completed in 1921. Again Hitch did all the carving involved.

The central panel of the reredos is surmounted by a canopy in carved stone and contains a representation of Our Lord as the everlasting Priest “after the order of Melchizedek “ surrounded by Cherubs and bearing the sacramental Cup and Bread of Life. He stands upon an altar, from whence, beneath his feet, there issue the four rivers of the Gospel. On either side, kneeling angels adore him and offer incense, which the Prophet says should accompany the “Pure Offering” in every place. On the base of the pedestal are carved the words from the Te Deum- "Tu Rex Gloria Christe" (Thou art the king of Glory, O Christ).

The statues inserted in the niches and the wall panels complete the theme of the reredos “ALL THY SAINTS GIVE THANKS TO THEE” for they represent saints of every age and all climes, including England. The evangelists are shown above the central niches, not in human form, but as the four living creatures revealed to St John in the Heavenly Vision:- the Angel of St Matthew, the lion of St Mark The Ox of St Luke, and the Eagle of St John. All bearing scrolls inscribed with the first words of their gospels in Latin : - “Liber generationis Jesu Christi”; “Initium Evangelii Jesu Christi”; “Fuit in diebus herodis”; “In principio erat Verbum.”

The names of the sixteen saints represented and from north to south are St Francis of Assisi, St Hilda, Abbess, St Helena, matron, St Edward the Confessor, King, St Swithun, Confessor, Venerable Bede, confessor, St Paul, Apostle, St Peter, Apostle, St Stephen, Martyr, St George, Martyr, St Jerome, Doctor, St Augustine of Hippo, Doctor, St Columba, Missionary, St Faith, Virgin, St Etheldreda, Queen and Abbess and St Hugh of Lincoln, Abbot. Special interest attaches to the figure of St Swithun as he carries a small model of Winchester Cathedral.

St Swithun, the friend and educator of Alfred the Great was Bishop of Winchester A. D. 860, and in the “Bededictional of St Ethelworld” ( a magnificently illuminated manuscript, formally one of the Treasures of the Chapter and now in the British Library), there is a drawing of the cathedral showing the columns and capitals, the roof with its red tiles and above it the golden weathercock. By kind permission of the Dean a tracing was made of the copy given to the Chapter by the Duke of Westminster the then owner and from this a drawing was made which Hitch followed for his sculpture.[71]

Hitch also carried out the carving on the front altar in the Lady Chapel. The central panel represents the moment of the presentation of the Holy Child in the Temple. Simeon is holding the child, while Mary is kneeling in an attitude of deep devotion and St Joseph is standing a little behind with his head inclined in prayer. On each side are panels with carved lilies with their leaves open. A photograph is shown below of Hitch’s carving of “Our Lord as the Everlasting Priest”, part of the reredos.[72]

Part of reredos in Woodham Parish Church.

• Hitch sculpted the Madonna and Child at the Holy Well, Dunsford, Surrey. This was erected by the Dunsford Amateur Dramatic Society.

• For the Church of All Saints’ in Great Braxted, Essex, Hitch probably carried out some relief carving on oak panels for the reredos; there are six oak panels in all. Two panels feature angels holding scrolls and four panels feature saints. Two of the saints are St Peter and St Paul and the other two are most probably St Cedd and St Alban. All Saints’ has been in the Diocese of London- St Paul and of course of Chelmsford- St Peter and St Cedd. The church also came under the Diocese of St Albans from 1877.

Below are photographs of one of the angels and of the four Saints.[73]

St Peter and St Paul.
St Alban and St Cedd.
Angel with scroll.

• For the Church of the Holy Cross in Seend, Wiltshire and working with the architect A.J. Style, Hitch carved the pulpit. It is carved from Caen stone with sculptured panels on each side of which and below the book-desk are small octagonal columns of polished Derbyshire fossil. The tracery and spandrils of the arches are inlaid with polished red marble. The design of the pulpit was intended by Style to stress the importance of two of the main requisites of a Christian life: faith and works. In the four panels of the pulpit the reliefs cover the visit of the Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, the presentation of Christ in the Temple, John the Baptist in the wilderness and St Luke the Evangelist. The Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre’s records include a full description of the pulpit in a copy of the North Wilts Church Magazine of 1 August 1884.

• Hitch carved a screen for St John’s (Teacher) Training College in Battersea this to the design of the architect A.H.Ryan-Tenison. This work was carried out between 1910 and 1914. The chapel was demolished in the early 1930s.[74]

• In 1897 and working with the architect C.Ford Whitcombe, Hitch carried out exterior and interior carving for St Mary’s Convent in Chiswick.

• Hitch did work for St Jude’s in the Gray’s Inn Road but this church was demolished in 1936.

• The Church of St Peter’s, Clapham has a wrought iron chancel (rood) screen with gates surmounted by a carved wooden rood and Nathaniel Hitch carved the figures on that Rood. A photograph is shown here.[75]

Hitch’s Rood in St Peter’s Clapham.

The gates were designed by J.E.K.Cutts and made by Bainbridge Reynolds. The 14 Stations of the Cross were subscribed for by the congregation and placed in the church in March 1911. They were carved by a Bavarian artist in the Austrian Tyrol. The most striking feature of St Peter’s is the great reredos over the High Altar. This was completed by Easter of 1919 and was intended as a war memorial for the Great War. It is the work of C.E. Kempe. The central panel represents the Risen Lord whilst two Roman soldiers are shown sleeping below him. On the right side are the four Greek Doctors of the Church whilst on the left side stand St Peter and the other Mary, with the four Latin Doctors.

• A statue to commemorate Brythnoth was carved by Hitch in 1907 to commemorate the hero of the Battle of Maldon of 991 AD. This statue was placed on the south facing wall of All Saints Church in Maldon, Essex.[76]

• For the “Town Church” as it is known in St Peter Port, Guernsey, Hitch worked on a reredos with St Cecilia carved in relief. A photograph is shown below.[77]

St Cecilia in St Peter Port.

• In 1893 and working with the architect E.Swinfen-Harris, Hitch carved an oak triptych for St Mary’s Church in Moulsoe, Buckinghamshire.

• For St Peter’s Church in Bentley, Yorkshire, and in 1886, Hitch worked for the architect J.Cobb and carved a figure of St Peter over the church porch.

• For the Church of St Marwenne in Marhamchurch, Cornwall, Hitch carved a calvary for the churchyard.

• Hitch carved an oak Reredos for St Paul's Church in Chipperfield, Hertfordshire. He executed this work between 1920 and 1936. A photograph of the central panel of the Reredos is shown below. St Paul's is a fine little church on the edge of Chipperfield Common. It has a splendid collection of kneelers. St Paul's was built in the 1830s and the architect was Thomas Talbot Bury. Hitch also carved the oak choir stalls and screen altar rails.

The reredos in St Paul’s Chipperfield.

• For St Saviour’s Church in the centre of Guildford, Surrey, Hitch carved the reredos.St Saviour’s was founded in 1870 and was originally known as the 'tin tabernacle' before a new brick church was built to replace it. It was William Edward Peters, the first vicar of the parish (1890-1926) who can be credited with pushing for the present church to be built of mainly bargate stone in the gothic style and the church was finally dedicated on the 7th October 1899 by the Bishop of Winchester, Dr Randall Davidson.

The reredos, panelling and Holy Table were commissioned by the parishioners and friends to commemorate Peters’ ministry.

Below is a photograph of the central panel of the reredos and the tablet which explains its history. [78]

The St Saviour’s Guildford reredos
Peters' tablet.jpg

• St Mary the Virgin Church in Kemsing, Kent, and working with the architect W.F.Unsworth, Hitch helped restore the old Rood Screen and executed a new pulpit, this in 1894-96. A photograph of part of the pulpit is shown below.[79]

Part of pulpit St Mary the Virgin, Kemsing.

• For St Andrew’s Church in Minterne Magna in Dorset and working with the architect A.H.Ryan Tenison, Hitch carved some oak bench ends in 1897.

• Working with the architect C.E.Ponting, Hitch helped in the restoration of the screen to the chancel at St Mary, St Katharine & All Saints Church in Edington, Wiltshire. This work was completed in 1891. The screen was decorated with foliage, vines and pomegranate crests. Interesting to note that the poet George Herbert was married in this church in 1629. The church also holds the Taylor Memorial with a most beautiful relief carving by Sir Francis Chantrey. The choir stalls are worthy of note being the work of Jones & Willis of Birmingham with carving by Harry Hems the great Exeter craftsman.

• Hitch did the sculptural work for the Lord Craven Mausoleum in Hamstead Marshall.[80]

• For the then premises of Atkinsons the perfumiers at 24 Old Bond Street in London Hitch carried out some stone carving and architectural sculpture. The building is now occupied by Salvatore Ferragamo. The tower above the premises houses London’s only carillon.

• In 1920 Hitch worked on the war memorial in All Saints' Church in Steep, Hampshire. Included amongst the names on this memorial is that of the poet Edward Thomas who lived at Steep prior to enlisting in the Army. See photograph below.[81]

War Memorial in All Saints' Church, Steep

• Hitch carved several statues representing the trades of Nottingham for the architect Fothergill Watson. Watson had been commissioned to design a new building for the Nottingham and Notts Banking Company on the corner of Thurland Street and Pelham Street, Nottingham. The bank had just built a new HQ building on Thurland Street also designed by Fothergill and were left with a prime corner retail site. The plans for a shop were drawn up in 1882 and the shop was built shortly afterwards Hitch’s statues being added at the top of columns on the shop’s frontage. Sadly the shop was demolished in the 1920s when the bank was extended. It is not known whether the statues survived and if they did where they are now. In the Henry Moore Institute archives’ collection of papers lodged by the Hitch family one can see photographs of some of these statues.

• Hitch carved the statue of Samuel Brunts now at Brunts School in Mansfield. The original school was founded through a bequest of Samuel Brunts in 1709. Brunts was a very successful 18th century resident of Mansfield in Nottinghamshire and he left money when he died for various charitable works. In 1887 the Brunts Charity commissioned Fothergill to rebuild one of its properties, The Black Boy Inn on Long Row in Nottingham and in 1897 they had him draw up plans to further extend the hotel and as part of this extension Fothergill was asked to add a statue of Samuel Brunt. The Black Boy Inn was demolished in 1970 and the statue moved to the Mansfield School. Hitch also carved a relief of a black boy to act as a sign for the inn but the whereabouts of this sign is unknown. In the Henry Moore Institute archives’ collection of papers lodged by the Hitch family one can see photographs of the Black Boy Inn sign which is a particularly fine piece of carving. A reproduction of this photograph is shown below by permission of the archive.

Black Boy Public House Nottingham.

• For the church of St John the Evangelist in Lockerley, Hampshire and in 1892, Hitch carved a reredos in alabaster and marble whose theme was “The Last Supper”. This church was designed in 1890 by the architect J Colson. See photograph of reredos below.[82]

”The Last Supper”

• For the parish church of St Erth in Cornwall Hitch carved a reredos and several stall ends. These are in the Lady Chapel known as the Trewinnard Chapel this named after the family who endowed the chapel.

• For the church of St Mary & St Michael’s in Egremont, Cumbria, Hitch carved figures for the oak reredos. Described as a “minor gem of Victorian Gothic architecture” this church was designed by the Cockermouth born architect Thomas Lewis Banks who practised out of Whitehaven. The builder was John Smith of Egremont. This replaced an earlier church which had a history going back over 750 years. The church has a fine font and pulpit as well as several notable stained glass windows. Parts of the church use rose-red Egremont sandstone taken from John Smith’s quarries at Ringingstones and Bankend.

Two photographs of the reredos are shown here.[83]

Reredos in Egremont.
Reredos in Egremont.

• For the Church of St John the Evangelist in Bury, Sussex, Hitch carved some oak panelling with an intricate frieze of wheat and grapes for the chancel. The chancel was rebuilt in the 19th century and Hitch also carved the reredos. There is also a fine carved altar, this the work of J.Philips The altar and reredos were to the design of the vicar at the time, Revd John Sale (1887–1915). See photograph.

Carving of wheat and grapes in St John the Evangelist Church, Bury, Sussex.

• For All Saints’ Church in Saint Andrews, Scotland, Hitch carried out several commissions. This church was built early in the 20th Century. It was founded in 1903, gradually developed, and it was in 1939 that the rectory, the last building to be completed, was finished. Hitch’s best known work in the church is the hanging rood over the chancel steps which was a memorial to members of the Hull family but he also carved the wooden gates at the entrance to the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. He also carved the reredos in that chapel and this features four figures connected with the Body of Christ: we see Nicodemus and Veronica on the left side and Joseph of Arimathea and Mary Magdalene on the right. Hitch also carved the case for the organ and the wooden gilded font cover,the carving representing a church with open doors.[84]

• For the Passmore Edwards Public Library (St George-in-the-East Free Library) in Cable Street in the East End of London, Hitch carved two reliefs entitled “Literature” and “Art”. They were placed above the library entrance. They were a gift from Passmore Edwards. Sadly the library was badly bombed in 1940 and the building was subsequently demolished. The two reliefs did not survived but photographs of them are shown below, these taken by Hitch himself. The Henry Moore Institute archive, who hold the originals of these photographs, have kindly given permission for them to be reproduced.

Passmore Edwards Public Library.
Passmore Edwards Public Library.

• Sculpture for the Chapel of the Sacred Heart for St Anne’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Leeds.[85][86] The Cathedral and presbytery were designed by John Henry Eastwood but it was S.K.Greenslade who designed the Chapel of the Sacred Heart and used Hitch for the chapel’s sculpture in 1904. The marble altar incorporates an alabaster panel depicting the Last Supper and the reredos has the sacred heart in the centre with an image of Moses and the Crucifixion on either side. With the passage of time the alabaster panel has become very worn and it is very hard to make out the detail of Hitch’s carving. Below is a photograph of the reredos.

Reredos in the Chapel of the Sacred Heart.

• The architect E.Swifen Harris designed St Philip’s Church in Cheam which was built from 1894 to 1896. Hitch carved a triptych and wall screens for the church. Sadly this Anglican Church was closed due to structural problems and demolished in 1978. The present whereabouts of these works is unknown.

• For Holy Trinity Church in Barrow-upon-Soar in Leicestershire, Hitch carved a reredos with the theme of the “Last Supper”. See photograph below.[87]

Part of reredos.Holy Trinity Church. Barrow-upon-Soar.

• Hitch did the figural work on the “Emmott” mausoleum in St Mary’s Catholic Cemetery, Kensall Green. Below is a photograph of the relief above the mausoleum door. Hitch also did the sculptural work for the Wernher Mausoleum near Luton Hoo erected in 1912.[88][89]

Relief on “Emmott” Mausoleum.

• For St Mary’s Parish Church in Kidwelly, Hitch carved an oak lectern.

• Hitch sculpted the Memorial to Dean Farrar which can be seen in the porch of St Margaret’s Church by Westminster Abbey. See photograph below.

Memorial to Dean Farrar.

• Hitch worked on the Sefton and District WW1 memorial which takes the form of a stone calvary and stands at the junction of Bridges Road and Sefton Mill Road in Sefton Village. At the base of Hitch’s carving is the inscription. “TO THE IMPERISHABLE MEMORY OF THE MEN OF SEFTON AND DISTRICT WHO FOUGHT AND DIED FOR ENGLAND IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1919 AROUND BASE:(NAMES).”

• For St Mary’s Church in Saffron Walden, Hitch carved five statues which stand on plinths within the church.

The statues of St Mary the Virgin to whom the church is dedicated and of St James the Patron Saint of Walden Abbey under whose jurisdiction the church originally came, are placed on plinths on the south wall of the church. These were erected in 1920. The statue of St James was modelled on a young officer killed in November 1918, Lt James Renault Saunders of the Coldstream Guards. The statue was given by his mother in his memory. Mrs Saunders had been married in the church in 1894.

The Parish Magazine of February 1919 gave details of the statues to be commissioned and said:

“We have obtained an estimate of the cost from Mr.Nathaniel Hitch, of Vauxhall, an eminent sculptor, who has done much similar work at Westminster Abbey, Truro Cathedral, Beverley Minster and All Saints Maldon. He has also sculptured the memorial to Archbishop Temple in Canterbury Cathedral.”

Three other statues stand on the North wall these also dating from 1920. One is of St Nicholas and is placed above the site of the mediaeval chapel dedicated to him, another is of John Leche who was the vicar of the church from 1489 to 1521 and the third is of Leche’s sister, Dame Johanna Bradbury. It was John Leche and his sister who were primarily responsible for the rebuilding and extension of the church between 1450 and 1530.

The statues were dedicated by the Bishop of Chelmsford on 13 November 1920.

A photograph of the statue of the Virgin Mary is shown below.[90]

Statue of St Mary and Virgin in St Mary’s Church, Saffron Walden.

• To the design of the architect A.Heron Ryan Tenison, Hitch carved figures for a memorial rood beam for St Michael and All Angels Church in Pirbright, Surrey. This was erected in the church on Wednesday, 26 March 1924, and dedicated on the following Sunday morning by the donor, the Vicar. The rood beam bore the inscription- "To the Memory of Alice Anna, wife of Arthur Neild, Vicar of Pirbright, who entered into rest on St Philip and St James' Day, 1923." Some time after 1966 the rood beam was removed. The Calvary was hung over the chancel arch on chains and the flanking figures of the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist were placed on the beam corbels. See photograph below of the carving of Jesus on the Cross now hanging over the chancel arch.[91]

Pirbright Rood.JPG

In the churchyard of St Michael and All Angels is a war memorial in the form of a Calvary and this was the work of Nathaniel's son, Frederick Brook Hitch.[92]

• John Betjeman declared the public house the Black Friar to be “the most perfect art nouveau in London” and this public house designed by H.Fuller-Clark, boasts sculptural work by Hitch, Frederick T Callcot, Henry Poole and E.J. and A.T. Bradford. This public house dates back to around 1875 but it was Alfred Pettitt, who was the publican there in the first quarter of the twentieth century, who commissioned a total make-over. Pettitt called in H.Fuller-Clark and he was to transform the building! Hitch and Callcott worked on the first phase of the building's decoration in around 1905 with Hitch carving a series of stone grotesques on the exterior and similar work in wood for the interior. The second phase started in 1917 and now Hitch carved in oak a relief featuring music making monkeys for the bracket for the clock with the motto “Tones Make the Music”and also carved the tiny capitals with the names of drinks and other mottoes on them in the simulated window embrasure of the niche or snug. The two monkeys forming the clock bracket play viola de gamba and horn.There are ten of the miniature capitals, each one illustrating a word or phrase: “Rum Punch” “Food”, etc.[93] In the exterior grotesques shown below Hitch amusingly carves two imps blowing horns, two others dancing to their music. We have a friar feeding pie to an ass, a friar cutting into a cheese watched by two starvelings, a friar sitting on a barrel and singing to the accompaniment of two grotesque instrumentalists. We have a group of grotesque musicians, gnomes carrying lanterns and gnomes singing. We see some images of these grotesques in the gallery below. Frederick T Callcott completed some copper sculptures for the pub’s interior: “Carols, flanked by Summer and Winter”/”Tomorrow will be Friday”/”Saturday Afternoon”/”Friar with Hour Glass and Friar preparing to boil an egg” with further work of this nature being added by Henry Poole: “ A good thing is soon snatched away”/”Don’t advertise, tell it to a gossip”/”Contentment surpasses Riches” and “ Four Imps representing Art, Literature, Music and Drama”. Poole also created some hanging lamps and some ceiling reliefs . E.J.and A.T Bradford added several keystones and capitals illustrating Aesop’s Fables and various nursery rhymes.

Friar cuts into cheese.
Friar feeds ass.
A happy friar

Leeds Museums & Galleries (Henry Moore Institute Archive)

In writing this article much use was made of this archive’s resources in particular Collection Reference 1999.1 and 2004.6 and their help should be acknowledged. It was to prove invaluable in the search for other works.

Other possible works

• In his list of major works at the Henry Moore Institute Archive, Hitch mentions an alabaster font for a church in Shaldon near Teignmouth in Devon, this to Caröe’s design and also includes a photograph of the font, this being a figure of John the Baptist. Hitch tags the photograph “a youthful John the Baptist in alabaster”. This font was traced to St Peter’s Church in Shaldon but neither the church records nor those of Devon Archives made mention of Hitch as the carver of the font.

• In his list of works Hitch included the War Memorial at St Mark’s Church in Haydock, Lancashire and Hitch included a photograph of the statue of St George on that memorial in the Leeds’ papers. St Mark’s confirmed that the actual statue matched the photograph but did say that their records of the War Memorial did not include the sculptor’s name. It seems reasonable in the circumstances to attribute the sculpture of St George to Hitch. A photograph is shown below.[94]

St George on the St Mark’s Haydock War Memorial.

• Hitch’s list of major works mentions figural work for a rood in St Michael’s Church in Golders Green. London Metropolitan Archive hold various papers for this church but no papers dealing with furnishings before 1952. The church of St Michael originated as a mission church and from 1910 services were held in a temporary iron church in Golders Green Road. In 1914, when the parish was taken from that of St Mary, Hendon, work began on the building of a new church. This church, a large Gothic building of buff brick, was designed by J.T. Lee of Tufnell Park. Two more bays were added to the nave in 1925 and a low north western tower, surmounted by a classic cupola, was added in 1960. From 1970 the church was shared with the local Greek Orthodox community which had previously used Christ Church, Brent Street. St Michael's Church was closed in 1979 on union with St Alban the Martyr and is now used wholly by a Greek Orthodox congregation.

• In another list of major works done there was a reference to a reredos in St Barnabas Church, Temple Cloud in Somerset. That church does have a fine reredos but neither the church records nor those at Somerset archives made reference to Hitch as the carver.

• It is possible that Hitch did some carvings for Brisbane Cathedral. In the list of his work in the Henry Moore Archive in Leeds, Hitch includes reference to sculpture on stalls and a litany desk for that Cathedral, but the Brisbane records show that the work was done by Luscombe & Co of Exeter. It is quite possible that Hitch was sub-contracted to do the work by Luscome & Co but this does not show up in the Cathedral's archives. It should be noted that Luscombe & Co were registered as builders.

• Again in the Leeds listings there is reference to a font cover for St Michael’s Church in Croydon. The church has a font cover but neither their records nor those held at Croydon archives actually named Hitch as the carver.


Nathaniel Hitch’s obituary in “The Times” read :


Mr.Nathaniel Hitch, who died in London on Friday at the age of 92, was a notable craftsman and sculptor. A native of Ware, in Hertfordshire, he came to London at the age of 14 and for over 70 years he worked continuously. He was responsible for the entire decorative sculpture in Truro Cathedral when it was built 50 years ago, the reredos and sculpture to the screen in Bristol Cathedral, the great reredos at All Saints’ Church, Hove, and the statues which complete Street’s screen in the Chapel of New College, Oxford. His later work included the recumbent statues of Bishop Satterlee and Bishop Harding, both in Washington Cathedral, U.S.A. and of Bishop Owen in St David’s Cathedral. Sydney Cathedral and Adelaide Cathedral both contain sculpture by him for their reredos as does also Calcutta Cathedral, and his work is to be seen in Canterbury, Lincoln and Peterborough Cathedrals, Beverley Minster and Westminster Hall. The Astor Estate Office, now the Incorporated Accountants’, on the Thames Embankment, Hever Castle, and Cliveden, for the late Lord Astor, contain many examples of his ability in a classic direction. He leaves a son, Mr.F.B.Hitch, who is also a sculptor. The funeral will be in Brompton Cemetery today, after a service in Lambeth Parish Church at 2 o’clock.

Mr.Burke Downing writes:-

Mr Nathaniel Hitch was an able and scholarly sculptor and his friends lose one for whom all who knew him had the highest regard and respect. He was keenly interested not only in his own work, but in the work of others and in the problems of his art. He was trained in the Gothic tradition. The stone figures on the North Transept of Westminster Abbey are his and the great Christus in the church of St John-the-Divine, Kennington. Some of his best work was done when he was well over 80, including “The Adoration of the Saviour” in stone, some 12 ft by 6 ft., for the altar piece in Gillingham Church, Dorset, and the reredos in Budleigh Salterton Church, Devon. He made many beautiful things, working all his days cheerfully and quietly in devotion to his art.”

Notes 1

At the Henry Moore Institute Archive in Leeds there are several lists of works which were claimed to have been executed either by Nathaniel Hitch or his son Frederick Brook Hitch. In several instances however the works listed could not be traced/verified as by Hitch. There were also some photograph albums in which there were photographs taken by Hitch of works executed. Some were tagged with a note as to the location of the work involved.

Amongst these works were:-

1. In one of the Hitch lists he included work on a triptych in teakwood for St Helen’s Bishopsgate, this work executed to John Loughborough Pearson’s design in 1894. It has not been possible to conclusively link Hitch to the triptych in that church. In another list it was stated that Hitch had executed a war tablet for the same church but the church could not confirm that they had the tablet.

2. Hitch included in his listings sculpture for a reredos for St Matthias’ Church in Northampton, this to a design by the architect M.H.Holding. Holding was indeed a Northampton based architect but there is no record of a St Matthias Church in Northampton or for that matter in Northamptonshire. A suspicion that Hitch might have meant St Matthew’s Church in Northampton drew a blank in that the reredos in that church was by William Aumonier. Aumonier was an accomplished sculptor in his own right and it would have been odd for him to have used Hitch.

3. For Cambridge University Library, Hitch referred to statues carved for the gateway leading to the quadrangle, these executed in 1888 and to John Loughborough Pearson’s design. These statues could not be traced.

4. There were photographs in one album of reliefs tagged as being for “Wadhurst” but it was not possible to confirm that these reliefs are still in existence. It was assumed that the reference was to Wadhurst Park in Sussex. See images below:

Wadhurst Park relief.
Wadhurst Park Relief

5. Other photographs were tagged as being for works in Clare College, Cambridge but the college were unable to locate and confirm the pieces in the photographs. One of the Hitch lists also included a reference to Hitch having done exterior carving for the Clare College (New Wing).

6. One Hitch list included a reredos for the Royal Navy barracks in Chatham. These barracks no longer exist and there is no trace of the reredos’ current whereabouts. The same comments apply to a reredos for the Royal Navy barracks in Deal. See photograph below of the Chatham work.

Chatham reredos

7. Several photographs were marked “Beddington” . Neither St Mary’s, the Parish Church in Beddington, nor the local Beddington History Society nor the Surrey History Centre were able to identify the works photographed. As far as St Mary’s is concerned Hitch claimed to have carved a reredos, lectern, altar and some kneelers and there are such items in that church’s Carew Chapel. It is very likely that Hitch carved these but insufficient proof could be obtained to make a firm attribution. Below are two photographs of works from the Leeds papers both identified as for “Beddington Terrace” and designed by Joseph Clarke.

Work for Beddington Terrace.
Work for Beddington Terrace

8. Another work listed was a reredos and sculpture for Mary Sumner Church, Westminster but the present residents of that building, which is no longer a church, were not aware of the whereabouts of these works.

9. There was a photograph of a reredos tagged “Woburn Ch” but enquiries to St Mary’s Parish Church in Woburn and to the Woburn Estate were unsuccessful in that the photograph was not recognised.

Notes 2

As will be seen from Hitch’s letterhead, he often described himself as an “Architectural Sculptor and Modeller.”

Hitch letterhead.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Wikipedia article on the so-called “animal wall”.
  3. ^
  4. ^ .
  5. ^
  6. ^ Detailed biography of Hitch.
  7. ^ Description of church including Hitch’s pulpit.
  8. ^
  9. ^ “The Buildings of Wales- Powys”. Founding Editor Nikolaus Pevsner. Richard Haslam. ISBN 0 14 0710 51 5.
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ Courtesy of the Chapter of Durham Cathedral & Marion Whyte.
  12. ^ Reference to Stoke by Nayland War Memorial.
  13. ^,_1st_Earl_Roberts.
  14. ^, Courtesy Tim Knight.
  15. ^ Pevsner-Architectural Guides. “London 5:East”. ISBN 0-300-10701-3.
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ See
  19. ^ Information & photograph courtesy David Beech/ William Wilkinson
  20. ^'s_Church,_Sefton.jpg.
  21. ^ Courtesy Gordon Corbett.
  22. ^ Courtesy Colin Dinsdale and June Best.
  23. ^ includes a photograph of the font.
  24. ^ a b Courtesy Keith Barker.
  25. ^ Courtesy Gillian Turner.
  26. ^ Courtesy Father Joabe Cavalcanti.
  27. ^ Courtesy Brian Hawkes.
  28. ^ Photographs courtesy Rev.Jeremy Blunden/ information courtesy of Robert Bowles.
  29. ^ Description from “Western Gazette”.
  30. ^ Courtesy Teresa Goatham.
  31. ^ Courtesy Olive R.Taylor.
  32. ^ “The Buildings of Wales- Pembrokeshire” by Thomas Lloyd, Julian Orbach and Robert Scourfield.
  33. ^ Courtesy Jenny Tabrum. Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania.
  34. ^
  35. ^ courtesy Richard Moore and Alan Gray
  36. ^ Courtesy Peter Hammond.
  37. ^ The Buildings of England. Lancashire: Liverpool and the South West. Richard Pollard and Nikolaus Pevsner. ISBN 0-300-10910-5.
  38. ^ Courtesy of John Phillips of Friends of Beverley Minster.
  39. ^ Also courtesy of John Phillips of Friends of Beverley Minster.
  40. ^ “The Buildings of England. Oxfordshire” by Jennifer Sherwood and Nikolaus Pevsner. ISBN 0 14 0710.45.0.
  41. ^ Photographs courtesy Lawrence OP.
  42. ^ Photograph courtesy cameliatwo.
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^ courtesy Simon Mann
  46. ^ “The Buildings of England-West Kent and the Weald”. Edited by Nicholas Pevsner. John Newman. Second Edition. ISBN 0-14-071038-8 .
  47. ^ source
  48. ^ Pitkins Pictorials. ISBN 0-85372-446-6. An informative booklet on this church.
  49. ^ The Buildings of England- Sussex by Ian Nairn and Nikolaus Pevsner.
  50. ^ Notes taken fron G.E.Payne’s guide to “All Saints, Hove, Parish Church”
  51. ^ Short history of church.
  52. ^
  53. ^ Fabric record Book for 1897 (ref/DC/FAB 2/4, P.26-7) held by the Wells cathedral archives.
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^ History of St Matthews.
  57. ^ Manx Museum. Douglas. Isle of Man.
  58. ^ courtesy Lionel Marchant
  59. ^ Church’s own website.
  60. ^ Photograph and information courtesy Juliet Gass
  61. ^ St Margaret’s Website with photograph of reredos.
  62. ^ Courtesy Derek Grasby.
  63. ^ courtesy Archie Thom Director of Music.Holy Trinity Church. Ayr.
  64. ^ Photograph courtesy Dr John Salmon.
  65. ^ Courtesy Margaret Lye.
  66. ^ Courtesy Brenda Bond
  67. ^ Information courtesy Mrs.A.D.Dowds.
  68. ^ Courtesy Antionette33.
  69. ^ Courtesy Fr.Martin Poole.
  70. ^ Courtesy David Cooke
  71. ^ Courtesy Stephen Moore and a 1931 Guide to the church.
  72. ^ Courtesy Stephen Moore.
  73. ^ Courtesy Lorna Crick.
  74. ^ Andrew Saint. English Heritage.
  75. ^ Courtesy George Gray.
  76. ^
  77. ^ .Courtesy Susan Ilie-Guernsey Ancestry.
  78. ^ Courtesy George Dean.
  79. ^ Courtesy James Oakley.
  80. ^,r:0,s:0&tx=89&ty=72. Photograph.
  81. ^ Courtesy Tony Struthers.
  82. ^ Courtesy James Pitkin.
  83. ^ Courtesy Richard Lee.
  84. ^
  85. ^ website
  86. ^
  87. ^ Courtesy Kathryn Timmons. Barrow Upon Soar Heritage Group.
  88. ^
  89. ^
  90. ^ Photograph and other information courtesy of Mr & Mrs Hamish Walker. Hamish Walker is the Chief Guide and Archivist of St Mary’s.
  91. ^ Photograph and information courtesy R.J.Palmer/Notes & Collections for a History of Pirbright. Miss Mary Cawthorn & Henry Curtis F.R.C.S.
  92. ^
  93. ^ Public Sculpture of the City of London by Philip Ward-Jackson. ISBN 0-85323-977-0.
  94. ^ Courtesy Alan Roberts.

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