Monday, January 14, 2008

A long lunch in Wiltshire - part 3

is less than a mile away from Draycot, and here is a church cruelly restored and rebuilt, yet with some of the oddest features collected together in one place. I get a sense that the church was perhaps much grander at one time, and sadly the main parts of the church are Victorian. Very wide nave may be an incorporation of a former north aisle, as the chancel is off centre, and in alignment with the
Victorian south arcade. I do not question that the latter is C19 (it replaced a Doric arcade apparently), but it is also not in line with the tower (which is also off centre to the nave) which seems to have been built into the nave and a small thin arch connects it up to the arcade. On the west wall is a very large Green Man respond, which has probably been retooled and surely original C14. Similar birds in foliage as at St Mary Redcliffe in Bristol. Outside this aisle has much use of ballflower ornamentation in the windows and in a moulding
starting by the tower, arching over the west aisle window and continuing along the south wall above the windows. The east window of the aisle has squashed reticulation tracery, and the foot of the middle light is blocked with an internal image niche and outside a repeat blank representation of this window as seen from inside with flanking niches (only fragments of the south niche actually survives inside) and the central niche!! The interior of the aisle is
far more satisfying than the nave and chancel. Here too a Norman font. The north wall of the nave has handsome Perp square-headed windows, possibly reset from the nave north wall or if in situ the former aisle wall. Perp too and vaulted with cross ribs is the south porch. The final quirk is on top of the tower, also Perp, with an ornate panelled embattled parapet and corner pinnacles, but placed
centrally is also an ornate turret, where a spire might sit and like you might see further west near Bristol but atop the stair turret in an angle position. Take a look too at the odd former rectory SE of the church, Gothicised.

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