Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Dry Drayton, Cambridgeshire

When I visited SS Peter and Paul in Dry Drayton it was nearing the end of what had been an extensive restoration programme and the interior was spartan. A nice Brass was under perspex protection and was impossible to photograph and the arcades were covered with protective material so Mee's "angels and human folk" were invisible. I liked the exterior with many fine corbels (33 in total) and the location is peaceful and attractive. I think another visit in the future when the restoration, or perhaps conservation, is complete would probably be rewarding.

SS PETER AND PAUL. Tall impressive chancel with slender transomed side windows. The tracery below the transoms is identical with that at Swavesey. The tracery of the heads is plain quatrefoil. The date may be mid C14. The E window dates from 1851. The aisle windows (all renewed) are simple two-light C14 types, probably c. 1320-30, except near the W end, where they are as in the chancel. The clerestory is contemporary: quatrefoils in rere-arches. The tower also has one quatrefoil window, and bell-openings which seem to be C14. Brick battlements. C14 the three-bay arcades (octagonal piers, double-chamfered arches, and hood-moulds with corbel heads), the tower arch and the chancel arch. - STAIINED GLASS. E window, typical of c. 1850. - BRASS. Thomas Hatton and wife, c. 1540, 30 in. figures.

Arthur Mee says:

Dry Drayton. It lies among pretty byways and in peaceful meadows, between two busy roads. On one side of it runs the Roman road to Cambridge, and on the other side stands Childerley Hall, hidden in the trees.

Here it was that the Spanish Ambassador was sent to escape the plague in Queen Elizabeth's reign, and to this hall there came a more reluctant guest in 1647, for Charles Stuart was brought here to be interviewed by Fairfax and Cromwell. The house has been rebuilt and is now on a farm, but the room in which Charles slept is still preserved, with the old barn 100 yards long.

The long grey church has crazy stone walls, medieval windows, and a squat tower of the 15th century, when the chancel arch was built and the font was made. We come in by a 14th century doorway to find angels and human folk looking down from the arcades they have adorned for six centuries. There are brass portraits of Thomas Hutton at prayer with his wife, he in knightly armour with a quaint little face, carefully dressed hair, rings on his fingers, his head on a helmet; she in a pretty pointed headdress and a gown with lace-trimmed cuffs. They are 16th century. In the east window the glass is in memory of Samuel Smith, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, and rector here last century. It has a portrait of him in his robes kneeling at an altar, and a sculpture with seven coloured medals in the south aisle is to one of his sons who was at the Relief of Lucknow.

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