Wednesday, 24 November 2010

White Colne, Essex

It took me ages to find St Andrew, tucked away off the road and hidden by trees, and I only found it by reversing my route. It is so isolated that I was fully expecting externals only but to my delight it was open. My delight was not due to an earth shattering interior, it is plain to the extreme, but merely that its openness restores some of my faith in church custodians.

In truth St Andrew is nothing to write home about (or probably blog about) but I liked both its simplicity and its situation and, as the last visit of the day, it was a welcome treat and one of the nicest churches of the day.

ST ANDREW. So thoroughly restored in 1869 by C. J. Moxon that nothing of interest remains outside. Inside behind the pulpit three odd niches, the taller central one pointed, the Norman, square, of Purbeck marble with zigzag decoration and incised concentric circles in the spandrels on the top.

St Andrew (2)

WHITE COLNE. Its two best possessions are a pulpit and a chair, treasured in a church whose walls are probably 800 years old. The chair is 16th century, rich with flowers, a shield-of-arms, and a lamb with a flag. The pulpit is a splendid piece of Jacobean work, finely ornamented with figures in three panels. We see St James the Great with a staff and a gourd, St Augustine of Hippo with a mitre and crozier, and Charity carrying a babe who holds an orb in one hand and blesses us with the other. Between the panels are pilasters enriched with jewel ornament, and among the decorations of the cornice are two human masks. The church has Roman bricks at its corners, and a high and narrow chancel arch 600 years old. Its companions in the churchyard are several handsome oaks. Here stands Fox and Pheasant Farm, built in Cromwell’s time, with a fox and a pheasant on one of its fireplaces. It has sent treasures of the soil to Colchester Museum, urns and other fragments from a Celtic burial ground discovered in 1924.

Flickr Set.

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