Wednesday, 24 November 2010

West Wratting, Cambridgeshire

I love St Andrew's tranquility and location even if the interior has been, once again, heavily and unsympathetically restored.

The church of St. Andrew is an ancient structure of flint and rubble in the Decorated style, consisting of chancel, nave, south porch and a western tower containing a clock and 5 bells; on the south side of the chancel is a stained window, erected in 1910, to the Rev. J. L. L. Lees, a former vicar, and to his wife, by their daughter, Amy Dearberg; there are also two other stained windows; a new font was added in 1908 and a chancel screen was erected in 1911, both the gift of Edward Purkis Frost esq. D.L., J.P. d. 1922: a new organ was added in 1908;the church was thoroughly restored in 1898 at a cost of £1,600, and affords 300 sittings.

ST ANDREW. C14 W tower with an arch towards the nave which has the typical three-shaft responds; Dec windows; battlements. Perp chancel (see NE window; the window is C19) and clerestory. The nave roof hidden by a ceiling also Perp. Chancel roof C19. Most window tracery also C19. Much renewing was necessary, because the church had undergone considerable changes in the C18. What happened, according to J. C. Cox (Little Guide), is that the church ‘was shockingly disīŦgured . . . in an odious quasi-classical fashion by Sir Jacob Shafto who died in 1740. It was restored to a more comely appearance in 1898’.* The two doorways into the nave, however, may be medieval. Of the C18 only some panelling in the chancel is left. Behind it the original Double Piscina has re-appeared. - PULPIT. Early Georgian. The tester is now above the altar. - COMMANDMENT TABLES. Also Early Georgian. At W end of nave. - PAINTING. Christ before Pilate, big, demi-figures, Italian C17, probably Venetian. - STAINED GLASS. Chancel S side, by Morris & Co., but evidently after the death of both Morris and Burne-Jones.

* The work was done by Sir John Jacob, not by a Shafto (William Cole).

St Andrew (5)

Monument detail (4)



WEST WRATTING. As if the gardens of the thatched cottages were not enough, there is a garden for all by the wayside, a riot of purple and gold when we stopped to read the invitation on its gate: Let all enjoy; let none destroy. Chestnuts make a green bower of the road to the church, which regained last century a little of the attraction it lost 200 years ago when Sir Jacob Shafto brought the 14th century building up to date. Sheltered by the old roof timbers of the porch is a 15th century stoup with a panelled back and an arch matching the two piscinas in the nave and the niche by the chancel arch. A few massive old beams remain in the modern nave roof with its bosses of flowers and leaves. Here we found an old painting showing Christ before Pilate and labelled Titian.

Flickr set.

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