Monday, 22 November 2010

Margaret Roding, Essex

Whilst not usually to my taste Margaret of Antioch took my fancy. Tucked, almost hidden, away in what feels like a woodland clearing even the persistent drizzle and freezing north easterly couldn't detract from its charm nor the fact that it was locked (numbers are provided to contact to arrange a visit). Its charm lies in its simplicity and, despite being smack bang on the A1060, the tranquillity of its setting.

ST MARGARET. Nave and chancel, and C19 bellcote. In the W wall of the nave an odd two-light window which may be of the C17 and above it a small Norman window. In the S wall restored Norman doorway with two orders of columns. The capitals are scalloped, one column is zigzag carved. The lintel is curved, the tympanum has a diaper pattern. Zigzag arches and a billet hood-mould. Norman windows on the N and S sides of the nave. The chancel windows are late C14. Inside the chancel a low ogee-arched recess and damaged Sedilia and Piscina, also a corbel S of the (C19) E window with a caryatid demi-figure. - FONT. Octagonal, Perp, with traceried stem and quatrefoils with shields on the panels. - DOORS in chancel and nave with some ironwork of c. 1200. - PLATE. Cup of 1562; Paten probably of 1562.

Margaret of Antioch (2)

Margaret of Antioch (3)

Arthur liked it too:

MARGARET RODING. There is a fascination about the little churches on the River Roding, but best of them all is this one dedicated to St Margaret, with its medieval belfry looking so charming against the massed trees. The nave, only 35 feet long, has some of the most perfect craftsmanship left by the Normans in Essex. Here they realised the decorative value of four-pointed stars sunk in a small square panel. They placed these panels outside the round arches of their tiny windows and all round the doorways.

The 14th century masons who rebuilt the chancel have left us some portraits, a man’s head on a corbel, and two on the sedilia, where a rude man with his mouth open keeps company with a mitred bishop. The panelled font and the lovely arch over the founder’s tomb were their work. The smiths of seven centuries ago also left their handiwork here, in ornamental iron on the door and in the ornament on a chest dug out of an oak tree in the 14th century. The chest has 13 strong bands and fleur-de-lys patterns wrought in iron; it is ten feet long and three feet wide and deep.

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