Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Berkshire/Oxon Sunday Morning - 6

YELFORD Church of St Nicholas & St Swithun
Originally uploaded by ChurchCrawler.

Arrive at 1pm was the invite - and after all this I did, bang on time!

However there was one further treat as the lunch was still in production, and almost on the lawn of the house was

YELFORD St Nicholas & St Swithun, Oxon
Almost all of c1500, and although a parish church was probably more like the chapel of the manor house. The bellcote is Victorian but inside the roof is original as is the screen and the font. Not a lot to see but this is one of those churches that remains in the memory for its siting and atmosphere.

We walked back to an excellent and filling lunch of Roast Beef and all the trimmings.............. yum!! Chat by a log fire took us to nightfall and beyond.

(Further pictures available of this day on flickr - All Pictures enlarge when clicked)

Berkshire/Oxon Sunday Morning - 5

Aston - Church of St James
Originally uploaded by ChurchCrawler.

There was time to squeeze in just one more, and it was

ASTON St James, Oxon
a rather starved EE church of 1839, quite large and cruciform with a tower too short for its broach spire. Not much to detain the visitor here either although the font was quite fun and I really liked the way the roof is grouped over the crossing as a feature.

Berkshire/Oxon Sunday Morning - 4

Bampton - Church of St Mary
Originally uploaded by ChurchCrawler.

I had planned only one stop but all that had gone before was a result of arriving much earlier than expected! And the next church was it. As I approached this one, I lost count of the greetings I had from members of the congregation, and even a big welcome by the stragglers still in the church as I arrived.

BAMPTON, Oxon, St Mary
is awesome, and one of the most interesting churches I have visited for some time. Cruciform with a tall central tower and spire, and in the corners instead of pinnacles are statues of the Evangelists (one replaced c1990 after the original St John was blown down in a storm in 1989 - it is inside the church in the north aisle and is very weathered). In the NW angle and best viwed from outside the north aisle is a large seperate square stair turret rising well above the roofline and of considerable antiquity - Saxon likely. Ornate west portal, with ballflower and rosette decoration and two image niches in the shallow splays of the side walls. Inside all apart from the chancel is scraped and until Ewan Christian was let loose here 1867-9 there was a C15 clerestory on the nave. The low crossing really splits of the chancel from the nave, and indeed the altar for usual services is sited here. The east arch is ancient and sited under an EE three stepped arch; ancient too is the base of the stair turret which almost blocks the east end of the north aisle: and there are traces of blocked arches or windows in both transepts. The south transept has an unusually small Perp south window, the north much more normal. In the south transept is the beautiful Gothick organ case and by it the door to the choir vestry with some very ornate cartouches, in stark contrast to Mary Crofft's memorial mounted on the west wall of the transept's western aisle. In contrast the north transept has chapels to the east side. The chancel seems rebuilt but has interesting features possibly reset - the corbel table outside looks a C19 invention, certainly on the north where everything is crisply and regularly carved, but the south may be in part original. Most notable is the reredos, Christ flanked by the apostles six per side. Below two arched aumbries or shrine low down behind the altar. A large floor to ceiling Easter Sepulchre on the north side of the sanctuary, late Perp, and triple sedilia and piscina with good head corbels and detailing on the south side. Against the crossing arch are return stalls, two seats each with misericords. Brasses are set in the chancel floor, monuments in both transepts, an ornate Norman doorway .........and so the list goes on. Come here and see it if you can for yourself. I cannot believe that anyone would go away dissatisfied!

Berkshire/Oxon Sunday Morning - 3

Clanfield - Church of St Stephen
Originally uploaded by ChurchCrawler.

I crossed the Thames into Oxfordshire via several little humped bridges, two controlled by traffic lights. I pulled up outside the next church as members of the congregation here were dispersing - people looked at me here but no-one spoke to me at all as I headed off to the open door of the porch

CLANFIELD, Oxon, St Stephen
has a medieval tower, an over-restored chancel and the nave and aisle C19 rebuilding (1868). The south porch shelters a recut (to the point of disinterest) Norman doorway. High on the tower is an odd and large statue of St Stephen with beady eyes and carrying a bible and some stones (the symbol of his martyrdom). Inside scraped but I found to be quite handsome and unexpected was the Transitional arcade between aisle and nave.

Berkshire/Oxon Sunday Morning - 2

Littleworth - Church of The Ascension
Originally uploaded by ChurchCrawler.

I proceeded to get lost in Faringdon, thanks to unhelpful road signs or rather their absence for the route I wanted! So I unexpectedly came upon the church at

LITTLEWORTH, Berks, The Ascension
a simple nave and chancel probably of two dates in the C19, 1830s and 1870s (chancel). There is a west porch but this added to the air of not being used. I tried the priest's door in the chancel and it opened. Not much to see inside and I declined a slim history costing £2.50 with lots of pictures of past vicars in but none really of the church!

Berkshire/Oxon Sunday Morning - 1

Great Coxwell - Church of St Giles
Originally uploaded by ChurchCrawler.

Set off on a gorgeous Sunday, to meet friends in Oxfordshire for lunch (Allan - hopefully we will catch up soon! Best wishes for the impending event!). It was an easy date to remember the invitation - "Remember remember the 5th of November" but there was no signs of the gunpowder treason or plot.

Sunday mornings can be difficult and you have to accept that some targets may be in use. All churches were open, one in use and two just used.

The first stop was
GREAT COXWELL, Berks, St Giles
and indeed the sound of sum bum notes, thready singing and a faltering organ accompaniment filled the crisp clean air. The church is a simple affair, tower, nave and chancel but with a wonderful rustic half timbered north porch. I walked around the churchyard but after consulting the service schedule realised that they would continue for at least 30-45 minutes more.
I did get an interior a bit further up the road, but off the wonderful medieval tithe barn.