The east end thumb

At the foot of the chancel steps are the lectern and the pulpit. The imposing brass lectern has a desk in the traditional form of an eagle with outstretched wings (the symbol of St John the Evangelist). It is a memorial to Thomas and Mary Vacher and was given by their sons in 1878.

The elaborately decorated late nineteenth-century pulpit commemorates one of those sons, Thomas Brittain Vacher (1805-80). He founded Vacher's Parliamentary Companion, an important reference book which is still published today. The pulpit was designed and presented by Vacher's son Sydney.

The chancel is remarkable for both the east window and the reredos behind the altar.

The east window

The east window, containing some of the finest pre-reformation Flemish glass in London, came by a tortuous route to the church. Since it commemorated the marriage of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon (the kneeling figures in the bottom left and right-hand corners), not surprisingly it later fell out of royal favour.

It is not known with certainty for which church it was originally intended. The most likely candidates are Waltham Abbey or the Chapel of New Hall near Chelmsford. It was in the hands of a number of owners until it was bought by the churchwardens of St Margaret's in 1758.

It is probable that the window was made in Holland in about 1526.

With its detailed portrayal of Jesus’ crucifixion the east window was thought at the time of its installation to be too 'high church'. The churchwardens found themselves in dispute with the Dean and Chapter about its suitability. The eighteenth-century congregation at St Margaret's must have felt strongly about this for they added below the window a lime wood carving in bas relief by Seffrin Alkin (1753) based on Titian's Supper at Emmaus. This combination emphasises the theme of the Eucharist in the window. Led by the Revd Dr Thomas Wilson, then in charge of the church, St Margaret's won the day.

The Reredos

In 1905 the Alkin carving was set in a reredos by C.E. Kempe which is closed during the penitential season of Lent. The altar and the candlesticks were designed by Peter Foster, Surveyor of the Fabric, in charge of the restoration of the church from 1984 to 1992.

Close by is a fifteenth-century wooden statue of the church's patron, St Margaret of Antioch. It was given as a memorial to John Rankin Rathbone MP (1910-1940), a former churchwarden, who died while serving in the Royal Air Force.