Thursday, 14 October 2010

Horseheath, Cambridgeshire

I first visited All Saints in June 2009 on a purely genealogical mission in quest of recording any monumental inscriptions that the church may have contained and it was here that my general interest was roused from slumber. I'd always been interested in church architecture but it was the Allington monuments that spurred me into a more specific aim to record all the churches, within reason, that Arthur Mee had recorded in his series 'The King's England'.

As I've visited more churches my interests have widened from the monuments to include corbels, glass. poppyheads, interesting fonts and other items of interest. I had a request recently from someone seeking to use one of my Allington photos on their website and this made me realise that I hadn't done Horseheath justice when I first visited. A fortnight ago I was in the general area and diverted to Horseheath with the intention of having a flying photo-shoot but the church was locked (I can't remember if it was locked last time but I think it was open - perhaps I was lucky) and though a key-holder was listed I didn't have time to spare.

I will return if for no other reason than I have a much better camera than I was armed with in 2009 and would like better quality shots of the Allingtons.

I re-visited yesterday afternoon, 16th November, and will upload the pictures to Flickr today. 

ALL SAINTS. Dec W tower. The arch to the nave is steep and triple-chamfered. The inner chamfer rests on a semi-polygonal respond with a moulded capital. One W lancet, two-light cusped bell-openings, later stepped battlements (Suffolk type). The chancel also Dec, see the arch on semicircular responds. The exterior over-restored by Rowe in 1875. Of that time the S porch. Nave without aisles Perp, a  fine impression inside, with very large three-light transomed windows - a veritable glasshouse. The height of the nave was brought down much later and brick battlements put up. Nicely decorated entrance to the former rood-loft in the N wall inside. - FONT. Octagonal, Perp, with traceried stem. - ROOD SCREEN. Two-light divisions, four-centred arches with some panel tracery above, the same design as at Balsham. - STAINED GLASS. In the E window two figures of angels flying downward. - HELMETS. Two funeral helmets in the chancel. - PLATE. Chalice dated 1666; Flagon dated 1715. - MONUMENTS. Sir Giles Alington d. 1522 and his son Sir Giles d. 1586, two tiers each with one recumbent effigy. They are connected by short fluted bulbous columns. The whole superstructure - a canopy - missing. - Sir Giles Alington d. 1613, and Lady Alington, attributed to N. Johnson (Mrs Esdaile). Also a big standing wall-monument. Alabaster. Big tomb-chest with two recumbent effigies. The children kneel against the chest front. Back architecture with two black columns, a flat arch between, the space below it filled by a handsome strapwork cartouche Frieze with upright leaves and achievement.

HORSEHEATH. It was known to the Romans, and it had for a while a fine house in a great park, but both are gone. Now it has a few old houses to keep company with the wayside church, in which are treasured the brasses and monuments of lords and ladies of its greater days. They were the Audleys and the Alingtons. A fragment of old glass in the church has the shield of the Audleys, one of whom distinguished himself at Poitiers.

A brass portrait in the church shows William Audley, who was alive at the time, standing with his feet on a lion, magnificent in armour and with a very long sword. Near him is the brass of Robert
Alington, who has lost his head since they laid him here in 1552. The Alingtons held the manor here, and one of them was slain on Bosworth Field. His son Giles, Master of Ordnance to Henry the Eighth, lies in splendour with his son, one above the other, both in armour, heads on helmets and feet on hounds. The son outlived the father by 64 years.

There is another Giles Alington of Shakespeare’s day on an impressive alabaster monument with his wife and their six children, he in slashed breeches and armour, she in a ruff and hooped skirt. The Alingtons throve under the Stuarts and had the privilege of handing to the king his first drink at his coronation.

Most of the church is 600 years old, but the fine nave, a blaze of light from great transomed windows, is 15th century, and its lofty height is crowned by a noble roof with a great span, with massive moulded beams and carved bosses. The beautiful blocked doorway to the rood stairway has flowers in its mouldings. The oak chancel screen comes from the 15th century and has still traces of painting in its panel. The font is 500 years old and set in the wall behind the pulpit is a fragment of Norman carving from an earlier church. There is a 16th century sundial.

Flickr set.

No comments:

Post a Comment