Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Stapleford, Hertfordshirre

St Mary the Virgin was locked but keyholders were listed - who were both out at the time of my visit.

Did I miss out...I'm not sure.

ST MARY. The church stands outside the village. It has a Norman N doorway (one order of colonnettes, the left capital with upright oak leaves, the outer voussoirs zigzag, the inner zigzag on the intrados) and an altered C13 lancet window in the chancel. But its chief characteristic is its N tower which has the porch below, a weatherboarded upper stage, and then an octagonal timber stage and a spire. This changes a medieval church effectively into one mid Victorian. The tower was built in 1874. - PLATE Chalice and Paten, 1712.

St Mary the Virgin (1)

St Mary the Virgin (3)

Stapleford. Home came a sailor from sea to be rector for 30 years after the Battle of Waterloo. He was Commander Charles Prowett, and the story of his capture of a Dutch ship of 14. guns is told in the church. Many a parson before him trod the yew-shaded path to this church in the meadows by the River Beane, for though it looks so new its walls were built 800 years ago. It was refashioned about 1500 and much renewed in the 19th century, but the restorers have spared the beauty of the Norman doorway, whose chevron moulding and leafy capitals are still the great attraction of the church. There are some 400-year-old beams in the nave roof, fragments of 15th century glass in one of the windows, and stone heads of a medieval king and a bishop outside. The curious tower of wood and lead was added last century.

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