Saturday, July 09, 2011

St James, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire

I walked back to the car eating an ice-cream. Somehow I walked into a low hanging branch and scratched my forehead. I followed a group of German ladies to the church where one seemed to be holding court to the other two, speaking twice as loud as she needed to. As they went into the church I walked around and did the exterior of this one of the grandest "wool churches" in the Cotswolds.

Although I had been here at least twice before I had never taken a series of photographs here. The church was all rebuilt in Perp times in a carefully crafted design. Having recently seen a surfeit of Saxon towers on the AGM weekend, I found myself reminded of them when I looked at the decoration of this tower. On entering through the C13 doorway (one of the few features earlier than c1450-1500) I was disappointed to hear the Frau was still talking at her friends, in fact she was stood on the steps of the south chapel with all the monuments whilst her companions were sat down in the aisle. The view from the door is a disappointing one, lots of blank wall and red carpet and a poor flat panelled wooden ceiling to the nave. However there is also a Cotswolds window over the chancel arch which improves things and the tall arcades are a masterpiece with a shallow arch rising from the piers to encompass the large four-light clerestory windows above. 
The principle feature inside are the monuments and brasses but there is also a very fine C17 pulpit and some good glass especially that of the east window (incorporating some medieval bits in the tracery) by Henry Payne 1923-4. 

Two monuments in the chapel are first rate, a canopied tomb chest with twelve black marble columns and two very detailed larger-than-life effigies of Sir Baptist Hicks Lord Campden d1629 and his wife. On the south wall Edward Noel Viscount Campden d1642, two shrouded upright effigies with the open doors of the tomb carrying the inscriptions.

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