Thursday, 28 October 2010

Meldreth. Cambridgeshire

Holy Trinity looks, to me, half finished - it's austerity building at its peak. Inside 12 angel corbels, representing the apostles, support a fine roof but once again this is a plain and puritan interior. Perhaps I'm being harsh and an alternative view can be found here.

HOLY TRINITY. Norman chancel, of clunch rubble (one original N, one S window). Transitional the W tower, also of clunch rubble. Broad, flat buttresses at the angles. The arch towards the nave has tall angle-shafts with shaftrings (an E.E. feature), but scalloped capitals. The arch itself is pointed; and so are the arches of the windows. On the lowest stage they are nook-shafted with scalloped capitals, on the next renewed, on the bell-stage E.E. with only rudimentarily preserved blank arcading in three bays (cf. Orwell). Nave and aisles Dec and Perp - all embattled on the chief facade side, i.e. the S side. The finest feature is the three-light windows in the N wall, of three different early C14 designs, with hood-moulds on head-stops inside. S aisle with big renewed three-light Perp windows; clerestory Perp; S doorway and S porch Perp; the chancel E window C19, but a Perp window near the W end of the chancel with a transom to take the sill to a lower level is original. In the interior the principal Perp contribution is the arcade. The piers are flat towards the nave, then spread in hollow and wave moulds and have towards the arch openings semi-polygonal also hollowed shafts. Only these have capitals. The roof of the nave rests on angel corbels. - FONT. Octagonal, Perp, with quatrefoil panels. - PULPIT. Plain, Perp, with trumpet stem. - ROOD SCREEN. With tall one-light divisions; ogee arches and panel tracery between them and the straight cornice. - PAINTINGS. Traces of red paint and large figures in the chancel. - STAINED GLASS. Early C14 figure of St John in the head of a chancel window.

MELDRETH. Here the men of the Bronze Age left a hoard of axes, spears, and swords, but today it is a place of peace enbosomed in orchards, with thatched houses peeping out from the blossom, and shady trees overhanging the brook on its way to the Rhee. Fame has passed it by except that it was the birthplace of Andrew Marvell, father of the poet of the Commonwealth and himself a very good preacher. He was master of Hull Grammar School and also of Charterhouse, and he died tragically in crossing the Humber.
He would know this church, for the tower was begun 800 years ago and has been finished 600 years, and there are three Norman windows. The north doorway is 12th century, and a blocked arch is a century younger. We come in by the 15th century porch, in which still hangs an ancient door opening to a lofty bare interior. The elegant arcade, the clerestory, and the font are all 15th century, and the beams in the roof and over the chancel arch have traces of medieval carving and painting. Twelve stone angels support the roof. The church has an ancient iron bound chest and a great coffin stone, and it keeps as relics two great firehooks which were used for pulling burning thatch off cottages. A little old glass in the window has a complete figure of John the Baptist in camel hair with a tiny kneeling figure in front of him.

By the chestnut on the green where three ways meet are the old stocks and whipping post, and the stump of a wayside cross.

Flickr set .

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