Here’s a nice little Surrey church for you.
And once inside, there’s a feature at the far end that is quite unusual,…
…which is this wrought-iron chancel screen actually designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, and I don’t suppose he designed that many of these.
The north wall features the inscribed names of the dead from both World Wars.
If anyone can explain to me what ‘Smirburnian’ refers to – a school, a place – I’d be most grateful [now sorted – see comments after the post].
The most interesting, if not visually pleasing, aspect of the churchyard is this monstrosity. These are the graves of Gertrude Jekyll (left), her brother Sir Herbert Jekyll (right), and his wife Agnes (centre). And believe it or not, this is a Lutyens design, and not, quite frankly, one of his better efforts, in my opinion.
Gertrude, of course, worked hand-in-hand with Lutyens during the design and planting of the flowers and shrubs that today still adorn the many CWGC cemeteries across the Western Front. She even has her own website, and if you check, you will see mention of her garden drawings, which is where my path first crossed hers, as it was yours truly who first digitized many of her garden plans, some fifteen years ago now. She seems to have dogged my footsteps ever since – once you’re aware of Gertrude she, or at least her work, crops up all over the place. The words on her headstone, incidentally, were chosen by Lutyens: Artist, Gardener, Craftswoman.
Gertrude first met Lutyens in 1889 when she was already forty six and Lutyens was a mere twenty. I don’t think the fact that she was so much older than him is much appreciated, and I am quite sure that, despite Lutyens fame by the early 1920s – he was knighted in 1918 – it was Gertrude Jekyll, by then approaching her eighties, who pulled the strings when it came to her part in their cemetery co-operations.
Busbridge war memorial, also designed by Lutyens, can be found in the other section of the churchyard, and we’ll have a look at it next time.