Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire

The unusually named St Vigor can certainly hold its own with the other heavyweights of this visit. I rather suspect that this is a little visited church since whilst about halfway round, I was in the south chapel at the time, a suspicious (as in suspicious of me)looking woman appeared and after fiddling with the hymnals departed with barely a word. If this is true its a shame as it is a treasure trove of brass and stone monuments and an interesting exterior.

The pulpit, Wood and Caraway tombs, gargoyles and the Virgin and Christ carving should be mentioned as well as the various brasses, all of which are unnamed except the two to William de Fulbourn and Geoffrey Bishop - this is a richly endowed church.

ST VIGOR. Broad C13 tower with buttresses only at the foot, tall lancet windows, a W doorway with a slightly double-chamfered surround, and C19 bell-openings and battlements. C13 also the first bay of the N arcade and the chancel, see the lancets on the N and S sides and, perhaps, the (renewed) group of five stepped lancets at the E end. Then comes the C14 which was responsible for the S arcade and the completion of the N arcade (after a slight stretch of wall between the first arch and the new arcade). The S arcade is of piers with four shafts and four hollows in the diagonals and has moulded capitals and double-chamfered arches; the N arcade is on the same arches, but with broaches at their springing points and octagonal piers. The aisle and S transept windows mostly Perp, the N chancel chapel also, the S chancel chapel and N transept C19. restoration took place in 1869-70. - PULPIT. Perp;5 very pretty tracery with ogee arches and in the spandrels tree and bird motifs. In the panels two PAINTINGS inserted from a former Rood Screen: figures of saints, early C15. -  CHANCEL BENCHES. Fragments are old, with poppy-heads. - MONUMENTS. Recess in the N chancel wall with four-centred arch and below a cadaver or gisant, said to be John Careway, rector of Fulbourn, d. 1443. - Brass to William of Fulbourn, rector, 1377-86 (P), in the chancel floor, good 5 ft 6 in. figure under concave gable. - Brass to Roger Grymm (?), rector, c. 1390; 30 in. figure; N aisle E end. - Brass to a Lady (recently discovered) 18 in. figure, at present in the Vestry. - Again in the chancel floor Geoffrey Bysschop, vicar of All Saints Fulbourn, a church lying in the same churchyard with St Vigor, to its SE, and now completely gone. Bysschop died in 1477; brass; the figure is 20 in. long. - Lady, c. 1475, brass, 19 in. figure. - E. Wood d. 1633 and wife, stone monument with two recumbent effigies on a heavy tomb-chest. Kneeling children against the chest. Back-wall with frieze on corbels and achievement.

St Vigor (3)

C14th Pulpit

Edward Wood 1633 (3)

William de Fulbourn (3)

Arthur says:

FULBOURN. It has rambling leafy lanes, pleasant houses, cottages with long gardens, a farm with thatched barns, an old red manor house with a statue of William the Third in its park, a windmill working for 200 years, and a medieval church with curfew still sounding, calling to the workers among the summer Bowers
which turn this reclaimed fen into a bright patchwork.

For centuries two churches stood here in the same churchyard, serving two parishes, the chancel of one only three yards from the steeple of the other, but two centuries ago the tower of All Saints fell down. The remaining church has a rare dedication to St Vigor, the 6th century bishop of Bayeux which only one other church in England remembers, the little Somerset shrine at Stratton-on-the Fosse.

As a building the church is not remarkable, but it has a fine collection of brasses. A tiny spire raises a bellcote on the top of the 13th century tower. The porch has an upper room. The chancel has a curious piscina, and a king and a bishop among its old roof bosses. Under the tower arch is a scrolled coffin lid which may be Saxon, as is the cross stone found in the nave floor here which we have seen in Cambridge Museum. The oak pulpit incorporates a lot of 14th century work, pinnacles and arches, tiny heads, and surely the earliest of our bluebells among the birds and animals in the spandrels. Some 15th century benches have fleur-de-lys poppyheads, and the solid tower screen has some old tracery.

Two chalk figures of Edward Wood of 1633 and his tiny-faced wife lie on a high tomb, he with a lion at his feet, she with a broken dog, and below them two sons and a daughter. Less pleasant is the cadaverous stone figure of John Careway, which has lain for 500 years in its winding sheet under an arch in the chancel. He was the parish priest, and four other priests have their portraits in brass. A 15th century one in miniature now kneels on a board in the aisle with his brother and his mother, while another lies on the floor, possibly Roger Grymm of 1520. A dainty 15th century lady kneels in prayer in the south aisle, and the two other priests are on the chancel floor, a small one in vestments with his hands crossed downwards being Geoffrey Bysschop of 1477, who came from the fallen church and is remembered for having given 63 acres to the villagers to help them to pay Ely’s farthing tax on chimneys. The splendid lifesize figure under a canopy, in richly embroidered vestments, is William de Fulbourn, chaplain to Edward the Third.

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