Saturday, 28 September 2013

Fonthill Bishop, Wiltshire

All Saints was a stumbled upon church and almost certainly the oldest church of the day, it was locked (NKL) but I came across it at 5.20pm so was not surprised to find it so. This is a small cruciform church which Mee missed but British Listed Buildings says:

Anglican parish church. C13, C14, C15. Restorations of 1871 to chancel, complete restoration 1879 by T.H. Wyatt. Limestone rubble  stone, tiled roof. Cruciform church with crossing tower and south porch. Gabled porch with double chamfered pointed doorway, saddleback coping to verge with cross finial. Nave has no south windows. South transept has C19 two-light Perpendicular-style window to south, coped verge with block sundial, stone tablet on east wall to William Baker died 1799 with reeded surround and paterae. South side of chancel has pointed priest's door with hood-mould, C19 two-light square-headed window to left and two cusped lancets to right, east end has group of three C13 stepped lancets with continuous hood-mould, coped verge with cross finial. C19 north vestry has 2-light Y-tracery east window, pointed doorway to north and ashlar stack with offsets, pitched roof. North transept has C13 two-light window to north and pair of C19 lancets to west. North side of nave has blocked chamfered doorway. West end has 3-light C14 window, coped verge. Two-stage square crossing tower has offset bellstage, east and north sides have double chamfered louvred lancets with planked door to south side and Tudor-arched diamond-leaded window to south side, corbelled eaves to pyramidal lead roof.

Interior: C14 pointed moulded inner doorway with hood-mould with king and queen's heads terminals, C19 door. Nave has C19 three-bay crown post roof, tiled floor. Fine C13 crossing with triple-chamfered arches on moulded corbels, some with stiff-leaf or foliated capitals, remains of former rib-vaulted ceiling spring from moulded corbels. South transept has ogee-headed aumbry and cavetto-moulded niche on east wall, both transepts have collar-rafter roofs. Chancel has scissor rafter roof, polychrome tiled floor, pointed chamfered doorway to vestry, east window has cavetto-moulded rere-arch. Fittings: good unsigned glass in east window of 1890s. Two good C17 box pews with doors, rest of pews and choir stalls are C19, octagonal arcaded wooden pulpit on stone plinth. Unusual C12 stone font bowl on short cylindrical base. Two iron and brass C19 candelabras. Christopher Wren's father was rector here 1620-1628.

(N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England, Wiltshire, 1975)

All Saints appealed on a visceral level and is one of a few churches that I'm glad not to have gained entrance to - reading the above I think my expectations would have been let down. Having said that this has to be a top ten Wiltshire church (bear in mind I've only seen nine).

 All Saints (2)

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