Following last year’s Putney Debates festival at Putney Parish Church I thought it was the right time to check out its new permanent exhibition which is the festival legacy.
Although the Thames Path signage at Putney still directs downstream walkers away from the river and along Putney Bridge Road this is out of date. St Mary’s Putney is on the Thames Path. Indeed the path loops round the back.
The church is famous for the Putney Debates staged in 1647 by Cromwellians during the civil war. The participants’ radical ideas were too radical for Cromwell but their principles were incorporated into the American constitution. Leading lawyer Geoffrey Robertson and television historian Tristram Hunt both rate the event as very significant.
The free exhibition is not only a fascinating account of the debates but gives the background to the church building and the riverside village of Putney. Well worth seeing is the Bishop West chantry chapel built for him during his lifetime by the masons working on St George’s chapel at Windsor. The bishop was the son of a Putney fishmonger. It is interesting to find that his arms in the church include a fine pomegranate insignia as he was chaplain to Catherine of Aragon who also used the pomegranate as a crest.
Entry to the church is through the cafe which is a perfect stop for coffee or lunch. Soup and crusty bread is Â£4.95. I had homemade fish cakes, chips and salad for Â£6. If you are starting out at Putney it’s worth knowing about “chef’s UBER breakfast (mega size)” at Â£7.
The cafe is open daily 8.30am-6.30pm; Sat 9.30am-6pm & Sun 10.30am-6pm.
Sunday Eucharist is at 10am when you might recognise the Vicar as he is Giles Fraser who has a regular slot on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
See pages 46-49.