St John the Evangelist Memorial Chapel

St John the Evangelist Memorial Chapel St John the Evangelist Memorial Chapel St John the Evangelist Memorial Chapel St John the Evangelist Memorial Chapel St John the Evangelist Memorial Chapel St John the Evangelist Memorial Chapel St John the Evangelist Memorial Chapel

The isolated rural church of St John the Evangelist at Tutu Totara was built by Mrs J.W. Marshall in memory of her son, Second Lieutenant John Willoughby Hadfield Marshall, who had been killed in France on 21 March 1918. A framed brass commemorative tablet inside the church gives the details of John’s military career. He left New Zealand with the 6th Reinforcements in August 1915. After serving in Gallipoli and the Somme, he was offered a commission in the York & Lancaster Regiment 10th Battalion, with whom he fought at Ypres, was then transferred to the 2nd York & Lancaster, “and fell fighting against overwhelming numbers on 21st March 1918 at Lagnicourt, France”.

St. John’s, consecrated in May 1924, was designed by Frederick de Jersey Clere, who had also designed the first church built on the site in 1885. John Willoughby Marshall was the grandson of Major John Williams Marshall who had settled at Tutu Totara in 1862 and gave the land for the church.

There are two other soldiers’ commemorative plaques in St John’s: one honours James Henry Alexander Brock, who died of enteric fever at Bloemfontein, South Africa, on 25 May 1900; the other honours Arthur Richard FitzHerbert, perhaps New Zealand’s oldest actively serving soldier, who had volunteered as a trooper in the NZEF at the age of 62, and been killed in Palestine on 27 March 1917.

The churchyard is notable as the burial place of Octavius Hadfield (d. 1904), missionary, Bishop of Wellington and first Primate of New Zealand.

See: ‘The Memorial Chapel at Tutu Totara’ [note], Evening Post, 12 May 1924, p. 9; Susan Maclean, Architect of the Angels: The Churches of Frederick de Jersey Clere, Wellington, 2002, pp. 66, 118-20; Helen McGregor, A Divine Legacy: A Photographic Study of the Churches of Frederick de Jersey Clere in the Manawatu and Rangitikei Districts, Rewa, 2012, pp. 48-9.

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