St Lawrence, Little Stanmore
A Christian Community
In the Anglican Tradition
The Church of S. Lawrence, Little Stanmore alias Whitchurch was almost entirely rebuilt in 1715 by James Brydges, first Duke of Chandos, following his purchase of the Cannons estate in Little Stanmore. Only the tower of the medieval church remains.
The Duke employed fashionable artists of his day to decorate his great mansion of Cannons, then under construction (since demolished). Those same artists - Antonio Bellucci, Louis Laguerre, Francesco Sleter - created the dramatic interior of the church. Walls and ceiling are covered with paintings of biblical scenes, some brilliantly coloured, others in sepia and grisaille. "Trompe - l'oeil" is used to considerable effect.

The paintings were recently cleaned and restored.The splendid woodwork includes an organ case carved by Grinling Gibbons. The Duke was an early patron of George Frederick Handel who would certainly have played on this organ but its character has been largely lost by inappropriate rebuilding.

The instrument has recently been restored to as Handel would have known it by the specialist organ builders Goetze and Gwynn of Worksop. Handel's most notable compositions whilst employed by the Duke are "The Chandos Anthems and Te Deum" and what is often regarded as the first English oratorio, "Esther".

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