Friday, 23 March 2012

Teversham, Cambridgeshire

On Tuesday I had a window of opportunity and visited Teversham, Cherry Hinton, Barton and Comberton - I rather ambitiously included Wimpole, Harlton and Hardwick (the latter two as re-visits) but ran out of time. When I've visited Wimpole and Royston, and fulfilled five re-visits, the north western quadrant of my circle will be complete.

All Saints rather surprised me by being lovely - I don't generally expect this from Cambridgeshire churches. As usual it's been rather beaten about and the exterior is better than the interior despite Sir Edward Styward's tomb.

I think Pevsner's rather sniffy:

Much E.E. work, much renewed, plus a W tower. E.E. the chancel, see one lancet on the N side, the S doorway into the aisle with two orders of columns carrying stiff-leaf capitals, and a finely moulded and partly keeled arch, and the arcade of three bays with short octagonal piers with upright stiff-leaf capitals. The capitals are dated by Miss Wynn-Reeves c. 1228-30. The NE and SE responds have instead curious long trumpet-shaped corbels covered diagonally with stiff-leaf branches. The nave went on to the W further than it does now. The W tower cut at least one half-bay. The arches have a moulding with two quarter-circles and start with broaches. Above, a very odd contemporary clerestory of oval or rather vesica-shaped windows standing above the spandrels and not the apexes of the arches. They now look into the aisles, and a higher clerestory was provided in the C19. The windows of Teversham church have been so thoroughly restored by St Aubyn in 1888-91 that it is difficult to say what is old and copied and what is new. Later C13 geometrical tracery, especially in the chancel E window (probably not original) and a S window. Other windows Dec looking. The main Perp contribution is the W tower with clasping buttresses and stepped battlements in the Suffolk tradition. Sedilia and Piscina in the chancel are also Perp and cut into a window with Dec tracery. - ROOD SCREEN. With single one-light divisions: ogee arches and panel tracery above. - PULPIT. From Cherry Hinton; Elizabethan or Jacobean. - STAINED GLASS. Some old parts in the W window. - MONUMENT. Sir Edward Styward d.1596 and wife. Alabaster; big tomb-chest with recumbent effigies of indifferent quality.

All Saints (3)

Gargoyle (2)

Sir Edward Styward (8)

TEVERSHAM. It is sheltered by trees and surrounded by great fields of the plain; from the trees a tower peeps out calling us to the little church it crowns. It stands in the place of one founded by a man who fell fighting the Danes. Its tower is 15th century, with the original painted roof with red and green shields and flowers. The  lovely 13th century arcades have delightful capitals at the east end shaped like a slender wineglass and carved with sprays of foliage.

The chancel is five and six centuries old, with beautiful seats for priests elaborately canopied. There is a tiny peephole in each pillar of the chancel arch, and across the arch is a 15th century oak screen.

The panelled roof above it all has bosses of flowers and a cornice of angels wearing crowns and holding ribbons. There is a fine Jacobean pulpit, a plain old font, and a medley of old glass in the west window.

The battered figures of Sir Edward Styward and his wife lie on a table tomb, he in chased armour as he would be seen in Charles Stuart’s day, she in a ruff, a gown with a hooped skirt, and a bonnet. They lived through the exciting years of the Civil War.

Long, long, before them men were fighting here for their existence, for life went on at Teversham in prehistoric days. Even before man and the woolly rhinoceros came to it Time bequeathed to this place some witness of life, for in the gravel men have found fossils of shell fish long extinct in England.


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