Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Rushden, Hertfordshire

St Mary has been very unsympathetically restored in the past and the exterior is heavily, and badly, rendered and the interior retains little of merit. Having said that there are some good corbels.

ST MARY. W tower (unbuttressed), nave, and chancel only. The chancel is of white brick and was built in 1849. The rest is essentially C15, including tower arch and chancel arch, but with the exception of the S doorway (capital with broad leaves) which proves that the nave walls must be C14. - FONT. Octagonal, Perp, decorated with small panels with quatrefoils or four-lobed leaves in three tiers.

Corbel (10)

Corbel (7)

Corbel (8)

Corbel (14)

Rushden. We found it far away from the strife of the world, with as lovely a group of thatched cottages as ever stood round a garden of flowers. We found men here carrying on the tradition of their ancestors, climbing up to the roof of the church away in the fields, fixing new beams and carving them as they were carved 500 years before. The beams rest on the 15th-century corbels, some of which are carved into angels and some into queer heads. The chancel was rebuilt of white brick in 1849. There is a niche probably carved by the medieval craftsman who carved the corbels, and the font is from the same time. Almost as old must be the great ladder that curves like a snake up into the tower. On the walls are tablets to the Meetkerkes, who lived at the 16th-century house in the park; Sir Adolphus was ambassador from Flanders to Queen Elizabeth I.


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