Thursday, 22 March 2012

Chesterton, Cambridgeshire

Arguments abound whether Chesterton is a suburb of Cambridge (technically it is) but I'm treating it as if it isn't - the same applies to Teversham and Cherry Hinton.

If I'm honest this was the best visit of the day, mainly because the sun was out and St Andrew gave so much. If the total number of photographs taken at a church reflects its quality St Andrew comes in high at 233 even though a large percentage of those pictures are of poppyheads.

Pevsner: In spite of the fact that Chesterton is administratively part of Cambridge, the church is still a village church in a village setting, away from the main trailic and with various old houses around. It is quite a large church, built principally of flint. Dec W tower with two-light bell-openings and a spire lit by two tiers of dormer windows. The stair turret is constructed in a very original fashion, half inside and half outside the W wall. Inside it is corbelled out on a lion-bracket. The tower arch is specially typical of the early c 14: steep arch on triple-shaft responds with very thin shafts in the diagonals and an arch-moulding with various quarter-circles. Nave and aisles embattled, N porch embattled and pinnacled. All the windows Perp. Chancel Perp, but much reconstructed in 1844. Charming Sedilia with small ribbed vaults inside the canopies. Indications of an earlier structure externally only in what is now the E ends of the aisles, but may have been transepts. Here the tracery is Dec. The arcades inside of seven bays also belong to the c 14, though they are no doubt later than the transept windows, as they do not take the existence of transepts into consideration. They have octagonal piers of no specially inspired proportions and arch mouldings with two quarter-circles. Chancel arch double-chamfered on semi-octagonal responds. Roofs on good stone-corbels, chancel original, nave more renewed. - PULPIT. Elizabethan. - BENCHES. With poppy-heads except for two which have standing figures of young men instead, clearly in the fashionable costume of c. 1420-30. - PAINTING. Doom, C15, above the chancel arch. It extends into the E bays of the clerestory.

Corbel (26)


Poppyhead (3)

Wallpainting (9)

St Andrew’s church belongs to Chesterton, the riverside village which has been swallowed up by Cambridge. But its fine old church remains from medieval days, with flint walls of the 14th and 15th centuries, gargoyles under the battlements, and a beautiful spire crowning a tower with a turret stairway half in and half out. Its fine 600-year-old arch opens on the impressive arcades of the nave, with their long line of seven bays on each side and the 15th century clerestory over them. The roofs are borne on angels and grotesques and women with draped headdresses, and there is a fine display of carving in the great array of benches, some old and some new. It is a veritable zoo, for we counted 144 animals on the armrests, including dogs, griffins, lions, and antelopes. On two old poppyheads are men in tasselled hats looking at each other across the nave, each with his fingers in his belt. They come from the time when Richard the First was king. On a poppyhead in the north aisle is a monk with a scourge. The low pulpit is Jacobean, the oak chancel screen is 18th century, the canopied sedilia and piscina are 15th. Above the chancel arch and continuing on the wall above the south arcade is a patch of a Doom painting with many clear figures of demons and people, one demon throwing a man into a grave. The churchyard wall has ancient coffin stones in its coping, and among the orchard trees by the vicarage are remains of a medieval building in which we found fragments of an ancient chancel screen. The old church has a new one to keep it company; it comes from last century, and has arcades with clustered piers and a few fragments of old glass. It is one of the finest of our modern churches, impressive in its simplicity, full of light and space, and with a stone statue of St George on the outer side of the west wall.


No comments:

Post a Comment