Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Little Hallingbury, Essex

St Cecilia was locked with no keyholder listed when I visited which was a shame as the curious exterior seems to indicate hidden treasures within. I've not seen a design like this before; two south chapels come off the chancel, a north aisle, a beautiful wooden south porch and a downright odd looking spire all add up to an oddity, but rather a nice one and its setting is great.

ST MARY THE VIRGIN. Norman S doorway with Roman bricks, - C13 chancel with renewed lancet windows. Belfry half-timbered with recessed shingled spire. Interesting S porch of timber with unusual tracery of squashed ogee arches and squashed circles with ogee tops and bottoms - C14. 

Having just read Mee, who is somewhat reticent, perhaps the interior does not live up to the exterior:

LITTLE HALLINGBURY. Among many thatched cottages its shingled spire rises from a square wooden turret set up in Queen Anne’s day. One of the bells has been ringing 600 years, keeping company all the time with a fine timber porch. The nave and part of the chancel (which was lengthened in the 13th century) are Norman. Roman bricks show the position of a lost Norman window, and form the arch and jambs of a Norman doorway, in which swings a door white with age after 500 years. The nave roof is 15th century, and the chancel roof Tudor. Curious things to find in a church are three Celtic urns from a gravel pit near the River Stort, made before the Romans came. One of the windows has pictures of St Etheldreda reading, and of Alan of Walsingham, the 14th century architect of the wonderful lantern of Ely Cathedral. But of nothing can the village be more proud than of the simple wooden tablet with the names of its heroes, among them G. H. T. Paton, the first Grenadier Guardsman to win the VC in the Great War. With his men only 50 yards from the enemy he walked up and down adjusting the line, and later, before he fell, led a heroic defence which saved the flank.

This village just missed the distinction of having the Charterhouse. The Earls of Essex held the patronage of Little Hallingbury down to Tudor days, when Thomas Sutton bought it with the intention of establishing Charterhouse here. He afterwards chose the old site in London (where his great house remained in dignity till the Nazis bombed it in 1940), but every Carthusian, man and boy, knows the name of this village well, as it comes every year into the service on Founder’s Day, when the boys of the school come up from their new home in Godalming to fraternise with the men of the old Charterhouse in the City.

Flickr set.

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