The church is a Grade I listed building, made of brick with stone string courses, battlements, parapets, pinnacles and dressings.
The most impressive architectural feature of St George’s is the octagonal stone Lantern with flying buttresses and balustrades. It was built to provide a navigational guide to shipping in the Channel. Unfortunately, like the rest of the building, it has suffered greatly from the eroding effects of salt-laden winds, rusting iron dowels and pollution — to the extent that it had become a dangerous structure. Restoration of the Lantern began in 2001 and was completed in 2004 at a cost of £1,204,000. The vestry roof at the rear of the church has still to be replaced (likely cost in excess of £100,000). In 2021, English Heritage placed the church on the Heritage at Risk register, particularly because of the degrading stone.
Round the top of the Lantern are letters spelling the name of “St George”. The tower is 136 feet high and contains a set of tubular bells. It is not strong enough to carry a peal. The Vulliamy clock, which was donated in 1829 at a cost of 250 guineas, is one of the main timepieces in the town with dials facing south, north and west. The Lantern is illuminated at Christmas time and in future will be illuminated during winter.
The interior of the church
Inside the church, the style is English Gothic, with some examples of Early English and Perpendicular influences. The church is a high light building with tall slim pillars bearing a quasi-triforium and ribbed roof vaulting. On three sides of the church are balconies which, together with the nave pews, can provide seating for 1300 people.
On the walls of the aisles are tablets commemorating those in buried in the crypt.
The Chancel is the part of the church which houses the Choir stalls and the organ. The Hill organ is a Grade II listed organ which has four manuals.
Part of the screen in front of the Chancel was installed in 1886 to commemorate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria and was extended in 1901.
The High Altar is set in the Sanctuary. Unfortunately, the original East window depicting the twelve apostles and presented to the first incumbent by grateful parishioners was destroyed during the Second World War and was replaced in 1961 by the present lights showing the Crucifixion and Ascension of Christ; St Matthew, St Mark, St Luke and St John — the four evangelists; and the four patron saints of the United Kingdom — St George (England), St David (Wales), St Andrew (Scotland), and St Patrick (Ireland).
To the left of the Chancel steps, the brass lectern with the eagle bearing the Word of God dates from 1876. To the right of the steps, the high oak pulpit replaced an even higher one in 1884. Near the pulpit is one of two War Memorial Books in the church.
The Chapel at the East end of the South Aisle is know both as the Lady Chapel and the Victory Chapel. The only original glass in the church — the Harvey Memorial window — is here. Above it are two medallions from their original windows. Other windows in the church have been replaced following the war.
The Dunkirk Memorial window, installed in 1961, shows the Little Ships sailing from Ramsgate Royal Harbour to evacuate troops from the Dunkirk beaches in 1940. The window also shows housewives who greeted the returning men with food and blankets, the evacuation of troops from the railway station and the receiving of Holy Communion in the Crypt where services were held during the wear. The badges of six organisations involved in the rescue operations are depicted.
The inscription reads: Deliverance for the shipwrecked, Health for the sick, Safety for those troubled by war.
Immediately under the window is a casket of sand from the Dunkirk beaches. At the back of the church, the mural above the West Gallery by Henry Weigall shows angels bearing a departed saint to heaven.
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A short summary of St. George’s past.
Read up on our planned Restoration project.