Saturday, 3 September 2011

Kelshall, Hertfordshire

St Faith is another gem of a church both externally and internally packed full of interest.

The church was rebuilt from about 1390 to 1420. It has no later additions but was sympathetically repaired in the 1870s. Much of the painted ceiling in the nave is original, having been whitewashed in the 17th century. The chancel ceiling pattern was repainted in 1880, as insufficient original pattern survived. On the dado of the rood screen are four polychrome panels, which date from 1420 and depict St Edmund, St Edward the Confessor and two bishops.  All colour is original. It is a rare sight in Hertfordshire, being the only figure paintings to survive the period.

I particularly liked Elizabeth Willymott's, buried 6th June 1634 aged 34, epitaph on a ledger slab:

This monument deserves thine eye
Who ere thou art that passest by
So much is due to that blest one
Whose body's underneath this stone
If thou desirest to havet exprest
Who's to this latest nows a guest
Know that the earth below this shrine
All what soere was not divine
Of Mrts Willmott doth interre
Who well deserved this sepulcher
Whose epitaph is thus exprest
Her life was pious her death was blest

Her husband, James, died in 1662 aged 81, and was In his profession knowing, In his practice just, In the times of apostacy and rebellion pious loyal.

ST FAITH. Perp, much restored in 1870. All embattled. Quite a big W tower (diagonal buttresses, Early Perp W window). Big two-storeyed S porch with NW turret. Aisle and largish clerestory windows of Late Perp shapes. The arcades to the aisles (four bays) have their piers with four main shafts and four hollows in the diagonals, the latter without capitals. The arches are two-centred. The tower arch has compound responds with semi-octagonal shafts with concave panels. In the E wall modern window and two old brackets l. and r., an angel and a bearded face. In the NW corner of the N aisle a curious niche 12 ft high and only 1 1/2 ft wide with hinges for a door. What can it have been? The nave and aisle roofs are old and painted. The painting is supposed to be based on old traces and gives a good indication of the colouring of such roofs. - SCREEN. Only the dado survives with four painted figures of saints, C15, poor quality. - DOOR. The S door is probably original including its lock, key, etc. - STAINED GLASS. E window, 1868, good, under Morris influence. - PLATE. Paten, 1685. - MONUMENTS. Brasses to Richard Adam and wife, 1435; the figures c. 2 ft long (E end of nave). - Epitaph to E. Franklin d. 1617, the usual kneeling figures, but to the l. and r.; instead of columns two figures of Faith and Charity; very Flemish.

St Faith

Nave roof

Rood screen (5)
Rood screen (2)

Kelshall. It keeps the basic stones of two old crosses, one at the meeting of the roads, and one in the churchyard marking time as it flies. The High Street has some attractive old brick houses. The 15th century church is light and cheerful, with a flat roof painted in black and red and gold, and four panels of the medieval screen still dimly glowing with the robes of pictured saints. The old door that has been opening for 500 years, with the iron strappings, the great key, and the old lock, still opens for us, and there is another old door strengthened with ironwork opening to the room above the porch - the room in which the village children long ago may have been taught by the rector’s son James Janeway, who was Bunyan’s only rival in the nursery. We read of him and his queer books in the village of Lilley.

Kneeling at the chancel wall is the small figure of Edward Franklin, a rector before the Janeways, and in front of the chancel step are the brass portraits of Richard Adane and his wife, who have been sleeping here for more than 500 years. There is a very curious wall recess, 12 feet high and under two feet wide, which was made for the storing of the processional banners in ancient days.

No comments:

Post a Comment