Friday, 16 July 2010

Castle Camps, Cambridgeshire

All Saints was locked with no sign of a keyholder but in this case it is understandable since the church is remote, well remote for an Essex church ("hold on" I hear you mutter "the title says Cambridgeshire", technically it is but in reality it is in a bit of that county that pokes into Essex and as such it feels like Essex).

Since it is locked it's probably not worth going out of your way to visit but if you're passing I'd stop and have a look - well I was and I did.

ALL SAINTS. As the church was built near the castle and the castle has gone, the church lies now impressively alone on an eminence overlooking the country to the S. Flint and stone. W tower with diagonal buttresses (three set-offs), blatantly Victorian W window. Nave much renewed, with a king-post roof, the tiebeams on head-corbels. The chancel S doorway looks earlier: plain double-chamfered surround. - ROOD SCREEN. Only the dado remains. - COMMUNION RAIL. Sturdy turned balusters; late C17. - STAINED GLASS. Canopies in one S window. - MONUMENT. Sir James Reynolds d. 1717, standing wall monument, with short boldly modelled sarcophagus in front of a grey obelisk; vases l. and r.; no effigy.

Arthur is remarkably reticent merely saying:

CASTLE CAMPS. In this pointed corner of the county, surrounded on three sides by Essex, Aubrey de Vere, first Earl of Oxford, built his castle as a defence against all comers. It was held by the de Veres for nearly 400 years after their fighting ancestor died in 1194, and its last remnants fell in the 18th century. Now only the great moat with overhanging trees is left as a reminder of its story, with a farmhouse on the site. The church stands by the moat in glorious isolation, in a lovely bower of trees which crown the hilltop. The best thing about it is the picture it makes as we approach. What it has of old work is chiefly 15th century, with a tower rebuilt after falling last century, and many modern windows. Only the base of the old oak chancel screen is here. The baluster altar rails are 17th century, and there are arms among fragments of old glass.

Flickr set.

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