Monday, 10 May 2010

Bartlow, Cambridgeshire

I visited St Mary in June 2009, some time before I upgraded my camera and also before I had changed what I wanted to record; when I first started collecting churches last year, I was only taking exterior pictures so that I could have a shot to attach to my master location list in my family tree database; as I visited more churches I realised that the monuments, tombs and memorials were also a valuable resource (as well as many being stunning in their own right). In addition to the exterior pictures I also recorded corbels, grotesques and gargoyles - I have a long standing fixation with these and have a large analogue collection of photos going back to when I was 16 or so and I now have a growing digital collection...maybe another blog at some stage!

So although I ventured inside and had a look around I didn't take any interiors, a mistake I will correct if and when we ever see the sun again (luckily I drive through Bartlow on a fairly frequent basis), take some interiors and post here as and when.

ST MARY. Flint and rubble. Circular Norman tower, a rarity in Cambridgeshire (see Snailwell), but usual across the border in Essex. W window Dec, upper stage with quatrefoil and lancet windows. - Most of the windows of the small church are Dec, much renewed by Rowe in 1879. Perp the N porch and N doorway and the S doorway. Also the E window. - COMMUNION RAIL. C17 with balusters identical in their upper and lower halves. - PAINTINGS. An uncommon wealth of C15 paintings. On the S side St Michael weighing souls and (upper half only) St Christopher, on the N wall the ferocious and antediluvially large Dragon of a lost St George. -STAINED GLASS. Canopy work in the N and S chancel windows. E window by Clayton & Bell, c. 1881.

Arthur Mee:

Bartlow. The Bartlow hills from which it takes its name belong to Essex, a last resting place of British chieftains. The small flint church is famous for its round tower and its medieval pictures, the tower perhaps 13th century, with walls six feet thick and an ancient ladder of 27 rungs climbing up to three medieval bells. The ancient door still opens and shuts for us, ancient glass is still in some of the windows, the plain font has been here 500 years, we found a small carved box of 1641 on a windowsill, and the vicar keeps in his vestry two pewter flagons from the days when the church sold ale in them to raise church funds. The pictures are on the walls of the nave, among them St Christopher, a remnant of St George and the dragon and Michael weighing souls, with the Madonna helping to weigh down the scales on one side against a demon and a great clawed dragon on the other.

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