Thursday, 14 October 2010

Heydon, Cambridgeshire

Holy Trinity has the distinction of having been bombed during the war; as the north porch proclaims: 1298 place of worship established here, church destroyed by Nazis in Battle of Britain 1940, Chancel restored 1952, church completed 1956, consecrated by Bishop of Chelmsford 21 July 1956. As a result it is a rather odd looking church blending old with new but in a tasteful and rather satisfactory way - sadly, due to its bombing, the interior is somewhat devoid of monuments but it was an interesting visit with lots of information about the destruction and rebuilding of the church.

My copy of Mee's Cambridgeshire was first printed in 1939, was re-printed in 1943 and appears to report the church before it was destroyed; although it refers to "the modern chancel".

HOLY TRINITY. The tower was hit by a bomb in 1940, collapsed and tore down half the nave, the N aisle and parts further E. What remains is the Perp S arcade (piers with four semi-polygonal shafts), the S clerestory, and the chancel which dates from 1866.

HEYDON. High in the chalk hills stand its thatched cottages, with a pond for the ducks, and a medieval church hiding behind the trees, one tree a chestnut stretching 18 yards from the gate,nearly to the church door. A key a foot long opens for us the ancient door of this 15th century church, which still has its old font, and has a patchwork of old glass in one of the windows. The glass in the modern chancel makes a fine gallery of colour, one dramatic scene showing Peter walking away as the cock crows. The east wall is decorative with alabaster arcading and gold mosaic, roses in the spandrels, and vines trailing under the arches. A memorial to one of their daughters recalls the Soame family who lived here 300 years ago, and whose right it was to hold the towel at the king’s coronation. The lord of this manor attended with his towel at the coronation of George the Fourth.

There are traces of a defensive dyke which extended three miles to Fowlmere, and a track-way from that misty time still leads to Royston. It is called the Green Road, and was trodden by men before the Romans came to England and dropped their coins and pottery here.

Flickr set.

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