About this church
Raphael built the church in 1846 as a family chapel and named it after St Raphael. It was completed in 1848 but he died soon after in November 1850. His nephew, Edward, inherited the property and opened it to the public as the first Catholic church in Kingston.
Through successive bequests, the church and land became the property of Captain Hon George Savile, brother to the 6th Earl of Mexborough, a Yorkshire family.
The traditional design consists of nave, aisles and chancel, with walls made of Bath stone. There is a square tower or campanile of three storeys projecting from the façade and enclosing a belfry. The clock was made before 1770 by Henry Hindley and probably acquired from the Savile family in Yorkshire.
The interior is Renaissance, incorporating a range of graceful Ionic arcade columns supporting semi circular arches along a tall, narrow nave which has clerestory windows mounted high over the aisle roofs. The whole of the sanctuary, the High Altar, the round pulpit and the baptismal font are made of white Sicilian marble.
The richly stained glass windows above the High Altar depict three scenes: the middle one shows young Tobias with the Angel Raphael. Beneath is the Coat of Arms of the Savile family.
On the left Jesus is shown in the Garden of Gethsemani, and on the right, the Angel Gabriel announcing to Our Lady that she is to be the Mother of God. Tt the front of the church are six plaster statues that probably originated in Germany and are over 100 years old. The three on the right aisle are of Our Lord, Our Lady Saint Joseph; the three on the left are of St Peter, St Paul and St John the Evangelist.
The organ was constructed by Bishop & Starr, organ builder to Her Majesty Queen Victoria. It is believed to have been played by Chopin and many other celebrated musicians.
Beneath the High Altar is the Savile family crypt, where the remains of Alexander Raphael lie in a brass studded coffin with ten members of the Savile family.