Friday, 23 March 2012

Cherry Hinton. Cambridgeshire

St Andrew is glorious but hard to photograph properly; here's another church I'm uncertain about - both the exterior and interior contain much interest but at the same time much has been's the dilemma: the surviving gems refer to a much more interesting church, so is St Andrew less interesting than it was or is it interesting as it is?

Pevsner: ST ANDREW. A chancel of the noblest design - E.E. at its best, that is of c. 1230-50. Ashlar—faced. Tall coupled lancets along the sides, without any shafts, only separated pair after pair by buttresses. But in order to avoid any academic uniformity, a doorway with shafts and fine arch mouldings pushes up the sill of one pair. The E window, alas, was replaced in the Early Tudor decades by a five-light Perp window. The interior is, as it always should be (according for example to Inigo Jones’s view), far more lavish than the exterior. Here the windows have exceedingly tall shafts between, with shaftrings, and linked high up under the roof by cinquefoiled pointed arches with fine parallel mouldings (cf. Ely). The Sedilia have plain arches,  the Double Piscina trefoiled arches with dog-tooth ornament under one plain arch. The chancel arch is flanked by groups of five shafts, with fillets. The arch itself has mouldings with three quarter-circles. The arcades (five bays) between nave and aisles followed soon. Their piers are tall and consist of four strong shafts with fine diagonal shafts between, and arches of fine mouldings. The N and the richer S doorway belong to this phase. The S porch is Late Perp. The nave had a C15 clerestory, but this collapsed in I792. C15 also the (renewed) aisle windows. But the oldest element in the church has not so far been mentioned. It is the tower arch. From the outside the ashlar-faced tower appears all Late Perp. But the arch is I Norman, at least in its jambs, completely plain with one angle-shaft. On these jambs stands a four-centred Perp arch. - ROOD SCREEN. Dado with a frieze of open-work quatrefoils. One light divisions with depressed round arches and little tracery above. CI9 additions. - BENCHES. Four with poppyheads in the N aisle. - PAINTING. The Virgin with St Simon  Stock, Italian, 0 17. - MONUMENT. In the W wall of the tower coffin lid with bust of a man praying and foliations below.

Poppyhead (1)

Poppyhead (3)

 Glass (1)

CHERRY HINTON. The factory chimneys give place to orchards and elms as we draw near this cherry village with a church of chalk, strengthened outside with cobble and stone. It has a low tower, and a 15th century porch shelters a fine 13th century doorway, in which a medieval door with new tracery opens on a spacious interior where nearly everything is 700 years old - the stately arcades, the perfect chancel, the bowl of the font, the altar stone in the south aisle, and the rare coihn lid carved in relief with the head and shoulders of someone at prayer between two roses. The double shafts of the tower arch are even older though the arch itself is 15th century. So are the five benches with leafy poppyheads, and the oak chancel screen, much patched and with a new cornice.

Loveliest of all is the simple beauty of the chancel, a flawless gem from the 13th century, full of light, with side walls gracefully arcaded from stringcourse to roof, the arches framing elegant lancets in pairs.  There is a charming three-stepped sedilia, an exquisite piscina, and a fine little doorway for the priest. Except for the east window and a doorway altered in Tudor times, still with its ancient door, this chancel is as the builders left it 700 years ago.

There is a tablet in memory of Walter Serocold, who fell in action off Corsica in 1794, when the floating battery he commanded was burnt by redhot grapeshot. Admiral Hood wrote that the king had not a better young captain in his service.

Near by are the remains of an earthwork known as War Ditches, the site of a massacre of men, women, and children in prehistoric days, built over in later centuries by the Romans and the Britons.

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