Quinta Sunday School


T. Raffles Davison

Son of Thomas Davison, minister of the Quinta Church.

Raffles Davison was the architect of the Quinta Sunday School



Woldingham has been the home of many
well known people and one of the most
distinguished of all her residents was T.
Raffles Davison who passed away after many
months of illness on May 5th, 1937 in his
84th year.

Mr. Davison came to live in Woldingham
more than forty years ago when it was a
little known place in the depths of the
country. He built Kingshaw on the Upper
Court Road where he lived with his wife, son
and daughter for many years, making a
charming garden of terraces and woodland
paths. He also built a theatre there where
he with his family and friends produced plays
which provided great entertainment for the

After the War, Mr. Davison moved to
Whistler’s Hollow which had been designed
and built by his son Rupert who was one of
the promising young men killed in the Great
War. There he lived till the death of his
wife in 1930.

T. Raffles Davison was said to be at one
time the best Architectural Artist in England
and he had a world wide reputation. He
began to draw at the age of four and thousands
of beautiful pen and ink and pencil sketches
have been published by him. He made
perspective drawings of nearly all Sir Aston
Webb’s designs, including the Victoria
Memorial, the refronting of Buckingham
Palace and the S. Kensington Museum. He
was eagerly sought after by all the famous
architects of his day, including Sir Edwin
Lutyens and Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the
drawings of whose Liverpool Cathedral are
probably his highest attainment.

The Architectural room of the Royal
Academy always had several of his beautiful
pen and ink drawings which no one, as a leading
architect said, with the least sense of style
could fail to recognise at a glance.

He held many exhibitions of his work in
London also in New York, and fortunately a
book of collected drawings was produced in

Mr. Davison was Editor of the British
Architect for 38 years and during that time
published a series of “Rambling Sketches”
which numbered 10,000; he was also con-
sulting Editor of the “Builder.”

He was one of the founders of the London
Society and wrote several book’s.

Many people have said that the country is
all very well in the summer but how dull in
winter. The writer well remembers Mr.
Davison saving that it was because of the
winter that he liked to live in the country.
He loved bare trees and was never tired of
sketching them and their different character-
istics. Newcomers will only know this
artist by his drawing on the cover of the
Parish Magazine, but his friends are the
happy possessors of many inimitable draw-
ings of Woldingham in bygone days, deftly
portrayed by his magic pen and pencil.

Someone wrote of him “His drawings like
his mind are full of the vigour of youth, but
a youth tempered by the experiences of a
long and arduous life directed towards one
end, that of recording both contemporary
architecture and anything else which appealed
to a nature whose first instinct was a love of
beauty in structure and a fellowship with
those he has so often helped.”

As the only pupil he ever had, the writer
has many personal recollections of happy
hours spent at Kingshaw or sketching in the
garden. Always genial and hospitable with
a keen sense of humour, T. Raffles Davison
was a most generous and staunch friend,


(This first appeared in the Woldingham Parish Magazine.
We are thankful to Jan Ward—a descendent—for supplying a copy.)



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The Quinta Congregational Sunday School was built in 1882 by the local landowner, Thomas Barnes, who also built the Quinta Congregational Chapel up the road. It was built in memory of his wife, Ann, who had an interest in Sunday School work. Originally built as a day school and Sunday School, universal state education made it used as only a Sunday School, though there were other events held in it down through the years (Gardeners’ Question Time many years ago). Changes in regulations and shortage of funds have reduced usage, but it is still used for the Sunday School of the Quinta Independent Evangelical Church (the newer name for the Quinta Congregational Church) which meets in the Quinta Congregational Chapel.

The Quinta Sunday School around 1900

A more recent photograph taken on 5 March 2010

A view of the Sunday School from the opposite side to the above

A more recent photograph taken on 5 March 2010

Text above the stage of the main hall taken 5 March 2010. Can you spot the deliberate mistake (people assume it’s the text—it isn’t).

Stained glass window in main hall of Dorcas

Members of the Quinta Sunday School, probably the same date as the one of the teachers.

Quinta Sunday School teachers, taken on the Jubilee of the Sunday School in 1933.