Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Sacombe, Hertfordshire

St Catherine was locked when I visited but advertises itself as open between the hours of x and y (I forget when) so I was unfortunate. I feel a re-visit is on the cards, if for no other reason than it is rather unusual in having a south tower which doubles as the porch.

Update - well this is embarrassing and I'm not sure that I want to admit that the church wasn't locked on the original visit either, for the first time ever  I was confronted with a church door that you pull rather push but it never occurred to me to try pulling! Thinking about it I wonder how many other 'locked' churches I've unfairly denigrated?

ST CATHERINE. Nave and chancel, and SW tower, with low stair-turret. The latter was rebuilt in 1865. The whole church is very much renewed and architecturally of no interest. But it contains two monuments by two of the foremost sculptors of their periods: Thomas Rolt d. 1758 by Rysbrack, an epitaph with flags and other trophies at the top and lovely cherubs’ heads; and Elizabeth Caswall d. 1815 by Flaxman, also an epitaph, rather frigid, with a standing allegorical figure with raised arm and a kneeling and weeping one opposite her.

St Catherine (3)

Headstone (1)

Headstone (2)

Sacombe. It was once called Suavecamp because of its quiet charm among the hilltops north of Ware. The charm remains, with a noble park and a lake to add to it, and a church which, though greatly changed, has a handsome piscina to witness that it is 600 years old. The windows and doorways are new, and the tower curiously placed on the south-west side was rebuilt last century; but in the new vestry are a few things from the past; the iron stand of an hour glass, a chalice of 1688, a Hagon of 1715, and a memorial to Sir Thomas Rolt, who must have been high in the service of the East India Company, for his tablet speaks of him as Agent of Persia and President of India. A monument by Rysbrack to another Thomas Rolt recalls a tragic day for Britain. He was a captain of the guards who fell in that disastrous engagement in 1758 when our troops, having failed to capture St Malo from the French, were embarking at St Cast and the Duke of Aigui1lon’s forces fell on them and left a thousand dead.

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