Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Radclive, Buckinghamshire

St John the Evangelist was, disappointingly, locked, but with a keyholder listed, to protect against prior theft and vandalism which is a shame as it's an interesting building with Romanesque features, some old glass and a good Norman south door arch.

St John the Evangelist (2)

South door (1)

RADCLIVE. Lying in a sharp bend of a valley rich with elms, where the Ouse receives a stream which comes down the slopes from Gawcott, it has much beauty and many cherished possessions. Between the church and the river the gabled manor house, with handsome chimneys, has a fine old oak screen, whose columns support a moulded cornice with carved spandrels; and the original staircase, with ornamental sides like pierced parapets, still runs up to the attics. On the other side of the church is the timbered Grange,with an avenue of beautiful trees ending in a delightful garden, shaded by a copper beech and a giant cedar.

A battlemented tower which has watched the slow tide of change for 600 years looms over a Norman church with a beautiful English doorway. The Norman font remains. In the porch we found two 15th century benches with elaborately carved poppyheads. A chancel arch 500 years old rests on Norman capitals, the round columns set in a framework of chevrons. Above the arch, under original stones reset, the lion and the unicorn rest on corbels which once supported the rood screen. Two double lancets in the sanctuary are interesting examples of the style immediately before the beginning of tracery. A nave window has fragments of 14th century glass, showing under golden canopies a careworn Madonna carrying the Child, with an Apostle. The most notable woodwork is the altar table, actuallya 16th century chest, its boldly carved panels set between uprights carved with figures. Among them are two bearded heads with halos, one with the hair arranged like the rays of the sun. Rich and elaborate carving covers this extraordinary chest. Another chest, occupying considerable floor space under the tower, is of mahogany, with drawers and brass fittings, a rare piece of 17th century work; and to the same period belong the altar rails, with their pierced banisters, and the plain canopy of the modern pulpit.


1 comment:

  1. You may be interested to know that the tenant of the manor of Radclive (held from New College), in the C17, Sir William Smyth, was much involved in Stepney and Hackney, owning a considerable part having acquired mortgages from the Wentworth family.