Saturday, 3 September 2011

Horningsea, Cambridgeshire

St Peter was padlocked with no keyholder listed but at the time of my visit I didn't think I was missing much as the heavily 'restored' exterior seemed to indicate that the interior would be a disappointment.

Subsequent research proves I may have been jumping to conclusions viz:

J Charles Cox's Cambridgeshire states: Horningsea is on the east bank of the Cam, 4 1/2 miles N.E. from Cambridge. The stone church (St Peter), 'too thoroughly restored' in 1865, has a chancel and nave under the same roof, without a chancel arch. The chancel E.E., the nave of 5 bays has Trans. N. arcade and Dec. S. arcade. Font E.E.; pulpit Elizabethan; old painting on lower panels of rood-screen.

And apparently it contains a fair bit of medieval glass.

What I did like though were the two gargoyles on the south porch, albeit the east one is in very poor condition.

ST PETER. The church is not big, nor specially attractive. Plastered W tower with lancet windows. The stepped battlements are C19.  Lancets also in the chancel, and there the E end is C19. Dec the E parts of the S aisle (inside with a diagonally placed niche in the SE angle). Part of the S arcade appears the oldest part of the church, i.e. one pier, and one respond. They have decorated many-scalloped capitals and a double-chamfered arch. The aisle ended here originally. The E bay is separated by a piece of wall and different in the details.It corresponds to the N arcade: Octagonal piers, C14 capitals. The lancet windows of the tower make one think of the C13, but the ground floor must be a little older; for the tower arch corresponds to the S arcade: semicircular responds and many scalloped capitals; pointed double-chamfered arch. No clerestory. - PULPIT. Early Elizabethan with tester. Side by side with typically Elizabethan low blank arches still much linenfold panelling. - BENCHES plain, with little buttresses and no poppy-heads. - STAINED GLASS. Bits of old glass in the top of the E and SE windows. - PLATE. Chalice of 1569; Chalice, Paten, and Flagon, given in 1829.

St Peter (2)

Gargoyle (1)

HORNINGSEA. It lies in leafy meadows by the Cam, almost missed by those who often go rowing from Waterbeach to Cambridge. Its long flint church, all under one roof and crowned by an embattled tower, has some things old and beautiful. The arches on the south of the nave come-from the time of our first English builders who learnt from the Normans; on the other side they are 14th century. In the chancel is a double piscina with a pillar and quaint arches, and a niche inscribed, God make us saaf. Two chancel windows have fragments of old glass, and there are remnants of 15th century benches, a font and a coffin stone 700 years old, and a very fine Elizabethan pulpit with rich linenfold, a border of flowers, and an arcaded canopy. The church was much restored in the time of John Chapman, who was 54 years vicar here last century.

An odd thing we found in the south doorway, which in itself is 600 years old, yet is but a child in time compared with one of the stones in it, for where the stone is broken at one side is revealed the fine fossil form of a sea-shell.

No comments:

Post a Comment