Sunday, 6 March 2011

Woodditton, Cambridgeshire

St Mary is another one of those Cambridgeshire churches with an extraordinary tower and is really rather beautiful, I guess it's sufficiently close to Suffolk to have benefited from cross pollination. It's locked but with keyholders listed but sadly one was out and I couldn't find the other, I'll have to revisit - a burden I'll gladly undertake.

ST MARY. A big flint church, standing alone. Mostly Perp. Earlier evidence only the N aisle W window, the N aisle E window (now looking into the vestry) with the diagonally placed niche to its l., and the first bays of the N arcade. These are clearly Dec. The arcade bays have short piers with four shafts and four small hollows, characteristically moulded capitals and double-chamfered arches. One corbel-head of the hood-mould remains. The rest is Perp. Square W tower with big transomed W window. Squarely framed doorway on angel-corbels and with traceried spandrels. The W front is not straight but slightly canted out towards the buttresses. The upper part of the tower is octagonal. Castellated aisles with late windows (Tudor arches). The S porch has C19 battlements. Chancel with new E window, two niches inside to the l. and r. of it, and straight-headed tall and slim side windows. Arcade (except for the one arch) Early Perp, still of the C14, with piers of complicated section: to the nave elongated polygonal without capitals, to the arch openings triple-shafted (partly with fillets) with capitals. - ROOD SCREEN. With big single-light divisions. The tracery above is of three-light type, i.e. with two pendants. Dado with nice blank tracery. - BENCH FRONT. W part of the nave. No doubt the remains of another screen. BENCHES. With poppy-heads, animals, a kneeling figure. -- SCULPTURE. Interesting fragments of an ALABASTER ALTAR, e.g. Pieta, St Christopher, Martyrdom, a Saint, St Denys, The Souls of the Redeemed. - IRON GATE under the tower arch. French (?), Baroque. Inscribed Petrus Rasorius Oeconomus 1805. - BRASS. Henry English d. 1393 and wife. Good figures, 4 1/2 ft long.

St Mary (1)

Porch carving (1)

St Mary (4)
WOOD DITTON. When the builders before history drew the line of their defensive work of bank and fosse across the open country, known to us as the Devil’s Dyke, they rested one end on the impassable fens where the village of Reach is now and the other end eight miles away on the impenetrable forest at Wood Ditton. Here we may see it, its massive proportions little changed,at the edge of a small wood by Camois Hall.

There are beautiful fields about the village now, and gracious elms and chestnuts, children of the giants of the ancient forest, shade the church, a medieval structure with its ancient door still opening and closing for us, old timbers in the roof of its old porch, its 15th century oak screen still beautiful with roses and tracery and a little colour in its panels. Here is the 15th century font, a curious piscina on the edge of a window, fragments of old glass, and ancient bench-ends carved with griffins, birds, and animals. There is a fine portrait of Henry English of 1393, a knight in armour with a steel helmet and his feet on a lion, his wife headless beside him though still with her mantle and her rosary, and with a fine dog looking up to her with bells on its collar. On an alabaster panel in memory of 30 men who did not come back is another knight, St George, shown as an old man in silver chain armour with a coloured coat, his sword through the dragon. On the panel are the words, They went forth from us and died for England.

Sounds like it's worth a retry! And I have but so far without luck.

Flickr set.

No comments:

Post a Comment