Thursday, February 26, 2009

St Peter, Draycott, Somerset

Was my first new visit. I must have chosen to ignore this simple cruciform church of 1861 before. Today I found it quite charming, with an east apse and an impressive ironwork chancel screen. Double bellcote over the chancel arch. The seating is grey plastic stacking chairs - quite hideous - but the font is an enormous square bowl on stubby stem, the faces decorated with rosettes and containing a centrally placed relief. The font is the subject of much debate and has been purchased by a collector of the work of Burges for £100,000. It may be removed from the church very soon.

UPDATE 7th December 2011. Thanks to the comments on this post still accessible below. However it is quite appropriate to record now in the main text - often the only part casual visitors see - that although the above entry was correct at the time of writing, it is now completely out-of-date. The future of this font has been secured and it will remain in St Peter's church.

More pictures of this church on my flickr photostream

St Andrew, Cheddar, Somerset

This should be a church that impressed (and it did impress me on my earlier visit) but apart from the tower and its lovely lierne vault inside, there is not that much memorable here and I found it disappointing ultimately and the feel was of a Victorian over-restoration. . However a bonus was that being February I had the church to myself throughout the visit, something which is quite rare in the summer.

A full set of pictures on flickr here including the C15 stone pulpit and some medieval glass.

St Andrew, Cheddar, Somerset

St Andrew's Church, Cheddar, lies on the opposite side of the small town centre to the Gorge and the Show Caves with all its touristy entrapments. It is a large church to, with a splendid west tower, notably tall and slim. The church appears to be a Perp rebuilding until you notice the Decorated clerestory windows and find inside C14 arcades (which are rather plain for Somerset).

Friday, February 20, 2009

St Lawrence, Priddy, Somerset

High up on the Mendips, and still with a fair bit of snow around, but all parts knit together to form a perfect if over-restored church. Here the tower is much more humble than at Chewton Mendip, but with a pierced parapet and eight pinnacles for added sophistication. Inside a nice Perp wooden screen across chancel and N aisle, a stone Perp pulpit and another Jacobean wooden pulpit.
More Priddy pictures here

Church of St Mary Magdalen, Chewton Mendip, Somerset

A full set of pictures available on flickr here

Church of St Mary Magdalen, Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Normally I like Victorian work but the south porch is very bad work, and I was scathing too of the plate-traceried east window which is out of keeping with the rest; a "bad C19 arch from south aisle" into the south chapel is now hidden by a new organ loft (so maybe I got that right!). Medieval glass in the first N window of the chancel was placed here in 1973 and probably that mentioned by Pevsner as being in the (locked S transeptal) vestry.
However for all its imperfections you keep returning to the enigma of Chewton Mendip. Why this tower here? It is fan-vaulted inside and perfection outside, but totally out of scale with and architecturally superior to its church. So why wasn't the latter rebuilt as well?

Church of St Mary Magdalen, Chewton Mendip, Somerset

Clearly I never walked around the church last time as there is no record of the fine Norman doorway in my notes. Inside the chancel arch must have been originally tripartite, see the arched recess on the north side and the remains of a similar recess on the south. The present chancel arch is a later rebuilding and is off-centre.

St Mary Magdalen, Chewton Mendip, Somerset

My notes written in 1973 were far too cruel to this church, although after the magnificence of the west tower it does seem rather low and mean. In fact I remembered it even smaller than it is. My interior shots failed here then, but not today. For one of Somerset's tallest towers it is not very conspicuous as Chewton Mendip is in a valley, yet the tower does pop up above the closer hills in some views.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Detail at Copford

Originally uploaded by ChurchCrawler
The apse is a delight, the colours are quite vibrant, but of course there has been restoration here. There was a time when many if not all of our parish churches were full of colour in the stained glass and the painted furnishings - pulpits, screens and monuments even. And at the heart of this would have been the murals and frecoes, as here at Copford.
A few more pictures of this church on my flickr photostream

Inside Copford

Originally uploaded by ChurchCrawler
The church was a little dark, but preserves some of the best wall paintings in the country. Architecturally there is also much of interest in the remains of the Norman church which was probably vaultd - see the remains of cross arches in the nave. The height of the nave was increased when the aisle was added in the C14 and an overall roof provided.

St Mary the Virgin, Copford, Essex

Originally uploaded by ChurchCrawler
Apologies for the lack of updates to the blog, I hope to get better at this again now I am getting my work-life balance in order!
Not so much as a ChurchCrawl, rather just a one-off visit on the way to a football match in Colchester!
The Alma in the village is an honest pub, not a restaurant, and was a delight to find. Real Ale, a small but traditional menu of British cuisine, sandwiches and jacket potatos, all obviously "home-made" rather than massed produced bought-in for the microwave. A car-load of strangers were duly welcomed by landlady and
locals alike, and were given directions to the church which is between mainroad horrible Copford and Copford Green, the pretty village centre.
The church was much larger than it looks in photographs, which was a surprise. For my friends, the real surprise was inside.