Friday, 22 October 2010

Little Abington, Cambridgeshire

The first time I visited St Mary I found it locked with keyholders listed who were out but a few months later re-visited and, despite it still being locked, found the very nice vicar who apologised that the church was locked but she was having one of those days and was running late - which sort of implies that it's normally open.

The location is, if you turn your back on the housing estate to the north and look across to Great Abington, lovely but it's all rather boring both in and out.

Ben Colburn and Mark Ynys-Mon have also visited and you can read their review here.

ST MARY. In the grounds of Abington Hall. Flint and rubble. Norman S doorway and blocked Norman N doorway, both very plain. Chip-carving on the abacus of the N doorway. Also Norman the N wall, by the W side of the N transept. - E.E. chancel with renewed lancets, at the E end stepped group of three. Near the W end on the N side a low small square-headed window, on the S side another that starts low, but has, two lights with a transom. Also in the chancel Double Piscina with octagonal shaft and dog-tooth ornament. The responds stand on a 4 ft cross wall. N transept (or rather alcove) with C13 and C14 looking windows which probably date from the C19 (not in Cole’s drawing). W tower early C14, see the (renewed) W window and the tower arch. Dec window on the N, Dec and Perp windows on the S side. Restoration by St Aubyn 1885. - FONT. Square, C13, plain bowl, but octagonal shafts as supports. - ROOD SCREEN. Bits of one-light tracery preserved. - BENCHES. Plain with straight-headed buttressed ends. - STAINED GLASS. Adoration of the Magi, 1901, by Kempe (Chancel, S). - MONUMENT. Oliver Dalton d. 1618, with rustic termini caryatids and little obelisks and achievement above.

Old north door



LITTLE ABINGTON. Little it may be, but its many thatched cottages and its charming corner group of timbered houses make it more of a show than Great Abington across the Granta. Through buttercup meadows a shady lane brings us to the 600 year-old tower of the church with a peep of Abington Hall. The porch has been made new, but its medieval timbers shelter a Norman doorway,simple, deep, and narrow, closed with an ancient door. From still earlier Norman days come the north doorway patterned with stars and a blocked window. For the rest, it is a simple place, with a transept and a font of the 13th century, fragments of stone coffins, some pews with old ends and backs, and a plain old chest. A 15th century screen spans the chancel arch, which has a peephole in one of its pillars. The chancel has a charming double piscina with Norman carving, and in one of its windows are the Wise Men in rich glass. A tiny low window in the north wall has long been a puzzle.

Flickr set.

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