Marking a double celebration in the Chapel at Gordon’s School, the Bishop of Guildford The Right Reverend Andrew Watson visited on Tuesday (14th May 2019) to lead the 125th Dedication Anniversary of the beautiful Victorian Chapel and the restoration of its stained glass windows.
The Bishop, who is Vice-President of the Gordon Foundation, the charitable arm of the school, addressed a congregation of staff, students and parents as well as former Gordon’s students (Gordonians). He compared life 125 years ago to today and spoke of the dramatic differences between then and now, adding: “Some things never change and the school motto ‘Semper Fidelis’ [Ever Faithful] is just as relevant now as it has ever been.”
The Chapel, dedicated to St Edward the Confessor was erected at the school in West End, Woking in May 1894 by private subscription, at the instance of Queen Victoria in memory of her grandson HRH The Duke of Clarence and Avondale. Designed by the renowned Victorian architect William Butterfield, it contains leaded window lights with stained and painted glass windows. It was Grade II Listed in 2017.
Within the Chapel are many interesting artefacts; exhibits and memorials. The Oak West Door is flanked by a Chinese Banner presented by the Emperor of China to General Gordon, which was presented to the school by his sister Augusta. C W Joy’s painting of ‘Gordon’s Last Stand’ is on loan to the school by the City of Leeds Art Gallery
The Chapel is regularly used for morning assemblies and Chapel Service on Parade days throughout the year during term time. Students are confirmed there and it is also used for baptisms and weddings by members of the Gordon’s community.
In 2017 stained glass specialists found that detailed conservation work was required, some of which was high priority. A fundraising target of £28,000 was launched by the school and thanks to contributions from the Rowan Bentall Charitable Trust, Allchurches Trust Limited as well as parents, staff; Gordonians and the collection from the retiring Chaplain the Reverend Denis Robinson, the stained glass is now preserved.
In 1894 the Dedication Service was conducted by the Bishop of Winchester and attended by HRH The Prince of Wales. The Reading of Psalm 122 formed part of that Service and in this year’s Dedication Service, was read by student Joe Van-Ryneveld.
Guests enjoyed tea on the lawn outside the chapel afterwards.