Gerrards Cross Church, Buckinghamshire

This very unusual church dates to around 1859 when two sisters, Anna and Louisa Reed, had it built as a memorial to their late brother Colonel George Alexander Reid, former MP for Windsor.

At the time there was not really a village at Gerrards Cross, but just a scattering of houses around the Common, so the intention was to give the local people a church closer to their homes than any of the existing parish churches in the surrounding villages.

The sisters employed Sir William Tite, best known for his railway architecture, and nearing the end of his active life, to create the church. He was generally known for his classical facades and it must have come as something of a shock when the 61 year old architect suddenly created a Byzantime domed structure like St. James’!

The church is certainly one of the most unusual parish churches in England, and the most distinctive building in Gerrards Cross which began to grow as a town when the railway arrived a few years after the church was completed in 1861. Strangely enough the church’s large size accommodated the growing population well.

In 1969 Lulu and Maurice Gibb were married here and the actress Margaret Rutherford, together with her husband, Stringer Davis, are buried in the churchyard.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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