Church of St Botolph-Without-Bishopsgate

This ancient City parish church houses the HAC’s Regimental Chapel, which commemorates those who died in the South African War, the First and Second World Wars and the conflict in Afghanistan. The church is, effectively, the Company’s Regimental church and houses copies of the Regiment’s rolls of honour.

The HAC and St Botolph’s Church

The association between St Botolph’s Church and the Honourable Artillery Company appears to have begun in 1877 and the rectors of the parish were successive Chaplains to the Company from this period until at least 1933.

The North Wall, however, has a monument with a much earlier association. This commemorates the burial in the church of Sir Paul Pindar, merchant, diplomat and customs farmer, who died in 1650 aged 84. Pindar was King James I’s ambassador at Constantinople until c. 1623 and had been admitted to the HAC in 1641. His name was entered in the HAC’s Ancient Vellum Book in letters of gold and his name is also included (again in gold) in the book’s list of those who had made a donation to the Company in 1635, although the details of his gift are not recorded.
At the eastern end of the north aisle is the HAC’s Chapel of St George. This houses war memorials to HAC members who died in the South African War 1900-1902 and to those who died serving in HAC units and Company members who died serving in other units of the Armed Forces in the First and Second World Wars. Duplicates of the Books of Remembrance at Armoury House for 1914-1919 and for 1939-1945 are also on display. The two HAC members who have died serving in Afghanistan are also remembered in the chapel.

In 1895, the Regimental Colours, consecrated in 1864, were laid up in the church. With this act, the HAC commemorated its long association with St Botolph’s and also the affection the Company had for its then Chaplain, the Revd Dr William Rogers. The South African War Memorial, commemorating six HAC members who died in this war was designed by Walter Crane and matches the much larger ‘roll of honour’, also designed by Crane, listing all HAC members who served in South Africa, mainly with the City Imperial Volunteers in 1900. The HAC tablets and tops of the flagpoles in the church were re-laquered and repaired in 1912. More recent Regimental Colours have since been laid up here.

The Memorial Cross to Lord Kitchener which stands in St Botolph’s Churchyard was the first memorial of the Great War in the City of London.  One side of the base also commemorates the officers and men of the Company who had so far died in this war and is dated 6 August 1916.  The Reverend Captain G.W. Hudson Shaw MA, the rector of the church and also chaplain to the HAC, suggested that the Company place this HAC tablet on the cross. The HAC’s Court Minutes also record that £1.3s.5d. was paid for feeding the Drum and Fife Band of the 3rd Battalion at the unveiling of the memorial.

Hudson Shaw had taken an active part in arranging for the ‘establishment and adornment ‘of the HAC’s chapel within St Botolph’s. His only son, 2nd Lt Bernard Hudson Shaw, a veteran of the HAC’s 1st Battalion, was killed in action on 22 January 1917 having been commissioned into the 13th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment. Hudson Shaw was Chaplain to the Honourable Artillery Company from 1912 until 1933. He had been plagued by bouts of ill-health and suffered a number of nervous break downs, probably due to over work, and died in 1944 aged 84. Hudson Shaw had studied history at Balliol College, Oxford, and was described in his obituary in the HAC Journal as ‘Stocky in build, with a moustache, a somewhat rasping voice and a North Country accent’. His ‘churchmanship’ was described as ‘”broad” with a touch of modernism’ and he was ‘something of a rebel against ecclesiastical authority’, having ‘sought (and found) trouble by inviting Miss Maud Royden to preach in his church contrary to the expressed wishes of his Bishop’. Maude Royden, a preacher and suffragist, began the official campaign for the ordination of women in 1929. She married the widowed Hudson Shaw in 1944, a few weeks before he died.