Thursday, 8 September 2011

Wallington, Hertfordshire

The exterior of St Mary belies its amazing interior which contains some old wooden pews and a rather nice chapel screen. It's all rather shabby but wonderful.

Much of St Mary’s is built of local clunch or similar limestone which is relatively easy to carve. It contains several examples of graffiti. The two most interesting being a medieval knight with sword and shield and a hobby horse. It is thought these may relate to a now forgotten Mummers play of St George and the Dragon, once performed at Wallington. A third example, depicting an English long bow, can be found on one of the pillars separating the nave and the north aisle and suggests a link with the local Weston giant Jack o’Legs. The knight can be found carved on the north wall in the base of the tower and the hobby horse in the porch to the left of the west window. This and the bow have dated graffiti close by but it is not known if there is any link.

George Orwell lived here and married his first wife in St Mary.

ST MARY. Perp throughout. Fine S porch with tall entrance and three-light windows. Airy nave with a large S window and large N aisle windows. Arcade to the N aisle with piers with four shafts and four hollows in the diagonals. The N aisle roof is original. The chancel opens in a four-centred arch to a N chapel. The rest of the chancel was rebuilt in 1864. - FONT. Octagonal bowl of Purbeck marble with two shallow pointed arches in each panel. - SCREEN. C15, with very simple tracery. - BENCHES. Completely preserved C15 benches with thin backs. - STAINED GLASS. C15 bits in the N chapel. - PLATE. Cup, 1754 ; Paten, 1840. - MONUMENTS. Tomb-chest without effigy; on the sides alternatingly broad panels with shields and narrow niches with small C15 ļ¬gures under crocketed ogee canopies.

Grafitti (2)

Grafitti (3)

Grafitti (6)

Wallington. We climbed its lonely ridge and found a gaunt church falling to pieces, with ivy growing through the roof, and mice tearing holes in the cloth of the rough medieval pews. But we came again and found the roof repaired, the mice gone, and the bells back in a tower made strong enough to hold them, with a new bell in memory of a man who had rung them for over 40 years. The handsome medieval porch alone could almost hold the villagers, and they were not enough to save the old church themselves, but it was good to be told that a man whose ancestors lie here passed this way, saw the valiant wooden angels striving to hold up the broken roof and came to their rescue. The angels have been here 500 years, and carving of the same age screens the chapel, where are the marks of vanished brasses and a nameless tomb with saints in niches and the arms of the Piggots and Prysots, which appear again in early 16th century glass. Seven fine big windows light the aisle and show up the impressive size of this church which stood for nearly 500 years and then nearly tumbled down. The scent of limes drifts in, and outside queer animal gargoyles watch the swallows under the eaves building their nests of mud from the church pond.

No comments:

Post a Comment