Croydon Minster

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Croydon Minster
The Minster Church of St John Baptist at Croydon
Croydon Minster from the North East
Country United Kingdom
Denomination Church of England
Dedication John the Baptist
Style English Gothic
Parish Croydon
Deanery Croydon Central deanery
Archdeaconry Croydon archdeaconry
Episcopal area Croydon area
Diocese Diocese of Southwark
Vicar(s) Colin J Luke Boswell
Curate(s) Milo Brandon
Organist/Director of music Ronny Krippner
Organist(s) Tom Little, Martin How
Organ scholar Nick Graham
Churchwarden(s) Gail Winter

Croydon Minster is the parish and civic church of the London Borough of Croydon. There are currently more than 35 churches in the borough, with Croydon Minster being the most prominent.[1] It is Grade I listed.

Six Archbishops of Canterbury were buried in the church: in date order these were Edmund Grindal, John Whitgift, Gilbert Sheldon, William Wake, John Potter, and Thomas Herring.


The church was established in the middle Saxon period, and is believed to have been a minster church: one which served as a base for a group of clergy living a communal life, who may have taken some pastoral responsibility for the population of the surrounding district. A charter issued by King Coenwulf of Mercia refers to a council which had taken place close to what is called the monasterium (meaning minster) of Croydon.[2] An Anglo-Saxon will made in about 960 is witnessed by Elfsies, priest of Croydon; and the church is also mentioned in Domesday Book (1086).

The earliest clear record of the church's dedication to St John the Baptist is found in the will of John de Croydon, fishmonger, dated 6 December 1347, which includes a bequest to "the church of S. John de Croydon".[3]

In its final medieval form, the church was mainly a Perpendicular-style structure of late 14th and early 15th-century date. It still bears the arms of archbishops Courtenay and Chicheley, believed to have been its benefactors.

In 1867 the medieval building was gutted by fire. Under the direction of Sir George Gilbert Scott it was rebuilt, incorporating some of the medieval remains (notably the west tower and south porch), and essentially following the same design, while extending the building's footprint further east. It was reconsecrated in 1870. It still contains several important monuments and fittings saved from the old building.[4]

The church was elevated to the status of Croydon Minster (the modern honorific title) on 29 May 2011, the first such change in the diocese of Southwark.

Croydon has strong religious links, Croydon Palace having been a residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury from at least the beginning of the 13th century to the beginning of the 19th. The Bishop of Croydon is a position as an area bishop in the Anglican Diocese of Southwark. The current area bishop is Jonathan Clark, who was consecrated on 21 March 2012, and the current vicar is Colin J. Luke Boswell, Vicar of Croydon and Chaplain to the Whitgift Foundation.


The West Tower of Croydon Minster

The church has a large four-manual pipe organ, much of which is by William Hill & Sons and dates from 1869. A specification of the organ is on the National Pipe Organ Register.

There is also a small organ in the St Nicholas Chapel which was obtained from St Mary the Virgin, Preston Candover in 1997. A specification of the chapel organ is on the National Pipe Organ Register.

Organists and Masters of Choristers

Before the fire of 1867 records are incomplete, but include:

After the fire of 1867:

  • John Rhodes 1857 - 1868
  • Frederick Cambridge 1868 - 1911
  • F. Rowland Tims 1911 - 1918
  • H. Leslie Smith 1918 - 1948
  • Edward Shakespeare 1948 - 1952
  • J. A. Rogans (Hon) 1952 - 1953
  • B. Aldersea 1952 - 1957
  • J. A. Rogans (Hon) 1957 - 1958
  • Derek Holman 1958 - 1965
  • Roy Massey 1965 - 1968
  • Michael Fleming 1968 - 1978[5]
  • David Brookshaw 1978 - 1980
  • Simon Lole 1980 - 1985
  • Carl Jackson 1986 - 1990
  • David Swinson 1990 - 1992
  • Peter Nardone 1993 - 2000
  • Nigel McClintock 2000 - 2007
  • Andrew Cantrill 2008 - 2012
  • Tom Little (Acting) 2012 - 2013
  • Ronny Krippner 2013 -

Organists Laureate

Organists Emeritus


The tower houses a ring of 12 bells cast by the Croydon firm of Gillett & Johnston in 1936, replacing an earlier ring of eight. The eight original bells were recast and hung with new fittings in a new frame with four additional trebles. The new ring of 12 was dedicated by the Bishop of Croydon on 12 December 1936 and the first peal on the new 12 was rung for the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937.

The tower and ringers are affiliated to the Surrey Association of Church Bell Ringers.


  1. "Croydon Churches". Eden/National Church Database. 2003. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  2. Harris, Oliver (2005). The Archbishops' Town: the making of medieval Croydon. Croydon: Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society. p. 250. 
  3. Sharpe, Reginald R., ed. (1889). Calendar of Wills proved and enrolled in the court of Husting, London, AD 1258-AD 1688. 1. London. pp. 401–2. 
  4. "History of Croydon Minster". Croydon Minster. 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-30. 
  5. "Michael Fleming". The Independent. London. 2006-02-27. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 

External links