History of our church - Rev'd Fanshawe Bingham M.A.
Second Rector of Horfield
Responsible for the enlargement of the Chancel and building of the Lantern Tower and Lady Chapel, completed in 1893. Retired due to ill health in 1899 but lived for a further thirty years and died in 1930 aged 89. Buried with his wife Gertrude in the churchyard of St Nicholas, Tooting-Graveney, London.
Rev'd Fanshawe Bingham had been the vicar of Box in Wiltshire for only two years when he was offered the Benefice of Horfield and was appointed as Rector of the Parish in succession to Rev'd Henry Hardy in November 1878 at the early age of 37.
Born on 27th May 1841, was an Altar Server at the age of seven at Holy Trinity Church in Rugby - he later studied at Trinity College Cambridge where he attained his M.A. and was ordained priest by Rt. Rev'd C.J. Ellicott, Lord Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol in 1868.
When Rev'd Fanshawe Bingham arrived in Horfield in 1878 it was still a large country Parish some two miles outside the City of Bristol, six miles in circumference enclosing in excess of 1300 acres with an increasing population from 1222 in 1871 to 2378 in 1881 - in addition the Horfield Barracks had been completed in 1847, the Rector had been Chaplain to the Forces and the Parish Church came to be used as the Garrison Church; consequently it was "inconveniently crowded" whenever the troops were present and it became evident to Rev'd Fanshawe Bingham by 1881 that further church provision would soon be required.
A site was promised for a Mission Church to be built at Golden Hill and a Church Building Committee was formed, but whilst a £1000 sum had been offered by the Church Commissioners, the conditions attached could not be accepted by Rev'd Fanshawe Bingham and the offer was withdrawn.
Rev'd Fanshawe Bingham and his Building Committee next made an appeal to the Bishop's Church Extension Committee for financial assistance towards building the Mission Church but as this was not forthcoming it was resolved to proceed with an earlier proposal to enlarge the Parish Church to be funded by a local appeal for subscriptions and private donations.
Together with this appeal a local advertisement invited architects for a premium to submit suggestions as to how bets an enlargement of the Parish Church could be achieved whilst leaving the mediaeval Tower intact. The plan eventually selected was submitted by Mr Henry Crisp, a Bristol architect, drawn in 1884 but signed and dated June 1885; although now in a very fragile condition, the following photographs clearly show the details as proposed and the subsequent endorsements made by Rev'd Fanshawe Bingham.
This enlargement was estimated to cost £1600 and although the Building Fund had existed for almost ten years donations were slow to arrive, so it was decided in 1887 to proceed with the plan by completing the Tower Vestry as a memorial to the 50th year of the reign of Queen Victoria, and this work was commenced on the 7th March 1887 and completed in September the same year by William Cowlin & Sons Ltd. at a total cost of £194 18s 0d (£194.80).
Considerable financial difficulties continued. Rev'd Fanshawe Bingham had suggested as early as 1886 that a Lantern Tower should be placed over the Crossing and a revised drawing was eventually produced by Mr Henry Crisp, then in partnership with Mr George Oatley - later Sir George - and this is dated June 1891. Sadly Rev'd Fanshawe Bingham considered the second clerestories to be not required, as is confirmed by his endorsement on the plan.
The Chancel as it appeared following the enlargement carried out in 1847 by Rev'd Henry Richards - the original of this photograph is undated but is certainly after 1882 and shows the carved Eagle Lectern already in position whereas in the Horfield Miscellanea Rev'd Fanshawe Bingham would appear to infer that it was not given by him until 1893. It can only be assumed that he gave it at a much earlier date following his appointment as Rector in 1878 - sadly it was lost when stolen by thieves in 2003.
The Central Lantern Tower and the Lady Chapel have yet to be built and the column capitals carved, all of which were added in 1893. The earliest form of gas lighting using Bat's Wing Burners had been installed around the capitals in 1882 but candle lighting seems to still be in use, with the row of candles on top of the Chancel Screen.