HISTORY of St. Andrew's, Deal

With the increasing numbers of residents in North Deal during the nineteenth century, it became clear that a new church building would be required.
St George's - the Civic Church - could not on its own cope with the growing numbers that had precipitated its own construction as a chapel-at-ease to St Leonard's, the Parish Church. The old Workhouse site in West Street was thus acquired and by 1850 a competition of architects had been won by Ambrose Poynter to build a church in the Early English style.

The building had a cental aisle and two chapel aisles. From the very beginning it was of the Tractarian tradition reflecting the growth of the Oxford Movement which was gathering pace in England at the time. By 1867 a Chancel was added and, within twenty years, most of the stained glass, much of it by Alexander Gibbs of London, had been given by benefactors and installed. At about the same time, a set of wall tile murals was added (also by Gibbs, who created the tiled walls of All Saints, Margaret Street in London) and St Andrew's was a thriving parish in the Catholic Anglican tradition.

There are numerous photographs and press cuttings of processions in the parish, which must have been a bit of a culture shock in the late nineteenth century! A walk around the church will show some quite lovely furnishings and pieces of artwork. In the Lady Chapel there hangs a painting by Bernard van Orley of the Holy Family c.1520, oil on wood, probably from a larger altarpiece.

Just outside the Lady Chapel stands a fine new statue of Our Lady and the Christ Child by Peter Eugene Ball. This is carved from Welsh Oak and stands on a pillar of stone from the Cathedral stoneworks at Canterbury. She was commissioned in memory of Fr John King, former Rector, who died in 2002.

The magnificent new gallery Organ Case was installed in early 2006. It is the work of renowned ecclesiastical architect Stephen Dykes Bower, originally designed for St Peter's, Limpsfield in 1963, just three years after he completed the organ cases at Westminster Abbey.

The Stations of the Cross were also acquired at about the same time having come from a convent in West London. They are contemporaneous with the Chancel additions and pew furniture at St Andrew's and, as a consequence, look like they were custom made. Near the back of church, by the font, is a new icon, given to the church by Mrs Robinson in memory of her husband, Fr John Robinson. It was painted by monks on Mount Athos in Greece, and shows the Baptism of Christ by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. It is styled on a 1546 icon from a Cretan monastery.

At the turn of the twentieth century, a fine altar and pulpit were added and contain some quite good painted panels by a local artist. The altar has scenes from the life of Christ, while the pulpit (which is octagonal - that shape which is a cross between the square (earth) and the circle (heaven) representing the meeting place of the two) has panels showing figures from the early church in England. Around the walls of the building is a collection of various memorials to parish worthies and local dignitaries, including a fine window of St Martin of Tours dedicated to the memory of Fr Martin Edgar Benson, first Rector of the parish.