Friday, 6 April 2012

Great Parndon, Essex

Out to the west of Harlow and on the edge of the Pinnacles Industrial Estate sits St Mary the Virgin which still believes it is situated in Great Parndon. Now shared by the CoE and Methodist communities (which seems to me to be an excellent decision) it was, of course, locked so I didn't get to see the poppyheads, brass or old glass mentioned by Mee.

Pevsner: ST MARY. All C15, including the unbuttressed W tower. The only exception is the Victorian transepts. Nave and chancel without structural division. - FONT. Perp, octagonal, with traceried stem and a bowl decorated by quatrefoils carrying roses. - BENCHES. A few old poppy-heads. - BRASS. Rowland Rampston d.1598 (chancel floor).

St Mary the Virgin (2)

GREAT PARNDON. It lies in undulating country carved out by Todds Brook, the medieval church on high ground in a ring of stout chestnuts. Just inside is the lovely font, tall and slender and rich in carving, floral bosses enriching its panels, flowers breaking out from the lower moulding, and cusped panels gracing the sides of the stem - a treasure for so remote a church.

In the chancel is a brass of a civilian who died in Armada year, one Rowland Ramston; and in a window are the arms of Lord Burghley, his greatest contemporary, who also died that year. In the same window are gems of 15th century glass, the head of a woman with tears in her eyes, and an angel’s head on which is set a cross. Three windows of modern glass are brilliantly coloured, one showing Queen Victoria kneeling in her youth before the King of Glory; one showing Edward the Seventh in a similar scene, peacemaker kneeling before the Prince of Peace; the third showing the donor, who lived to be 90. He was Joseph Todhunter, who passed away having seen four sovereigns and paid these tributes to two. A splendid St George between two blue-winged angels is in the memorial window to this good old man.


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