Tuesday, June 07, 2011

St Mary and St Barlok, Norbury, Derbyshire

This church was my main target for the day, and it proved rather difficult to find. When I first spotted it I was walking across someone's garden. The owner said he gets it all the time and invited me to park on his drive! Behind his house is the Manor House of the Fitzherbert family, rebuilt mid C15 and again in 1680, with the hall closest to the church dating back to the C13.

The earliest part of the church surprisingly is the chancel, which is large and grand early C14 work; the large external buttresses may indicate a plan to vault. The rest of the church is about the same length, nave with south porch tower, a chapel to the east and west, a north aisle, and all dating from a century or so later. There is no chancel arch and the later Perp roof extends throughout. The nave and aisle offer as much interest as in many churches; the font is C13 EE, there is a stone effigy of a cross-legged knight Sir Henry Fitzherbert d1315 his shield jauntily on his left shoulder and both hands on his sword ready to draw it, and two Saxon cross shafts with interlacing. In the chapel east of the tower medieval glass in both windows with complete figures and below kneeling families of the donors. The screen between nave and chancel is in part C15, thin and delicate. And then into the chancel with its side windows still with their original glass, mainly grisaille and shields, and sadly all looking rather grubby with dulled colours. The glass in the east window consists of strips of medieval glass gathered from the windows in the nave and aisles. The side walls below the windows have stone seating and blank arcading; on the south side below the third bay the arcading and seats have arm rests and to the east a double piscina, oddly not in the sanctuary bay. Two superbly detailed alabaster tomb chests freestanding are also placed in this third bay (were they originally placed against the east wall as the east faces of both are blank). The weepers and detailing of both are really fine. On the floor between them C16 brasses to the Sir Anthony Fitzherbert d1538, and wife, with the children grouped as kneelers below. To the west of the tombs two incised alabaster slabs to Fitzherbert wives, one completely shrouded. [open]
It was hard to drag myself away from all of this interest and splendour, but it was helped once I had realised that whilst I was inside the sun had gone. This was the last church visited for the day and I made my way north through Ashbourne (driving right past the churches) to my hotel in Hartington and my meeting with colleagues.

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