Saturday, 6 May 2017

Tadlow, Cambridgshire

Once I'd found St Giles, open, which was harder done than said, I loved its location surrounded by woods and, despite being on the busy main road it was tranquil, almost idyllic. But the building is on its last legs with cracks in the tower, the south west nave pews cordoned off with DANGER FALLING PLASTER signs and a general sense of imminent collapse; I think the main reason I found it open is that the south door will no longer shut. Sadly I don't think there's enough interest here to make it a candidate for a CCT rescue despite it being Grade II* listed.

The Historic England Heritage at Risk assessment is as follows:

Parish church. C13 nave and chancel and C14 west tower. Restored c1860 under supervision of W Butterfield. Fieldstone, clunch rubble with limestone and clunch dressing. Plain tiled roof. West tower of three stages. Crack to second stage of tower on east face. Some displacement and cracking to buttress on north wall adjacent to infilled north door. Further crack to north side of east gable. Cracking to stonework and extensive ivy growth reported, deterioration continues.

I really liked Butterfield's interior, which is strange as I'd normally run a mile from a Victorian re-gloss and even stranger, really liked the contemporary, to the restoration, Alexander Gibbs windows which normally I'd write off as crass. I suppose the sense of imminently losing it all played a part, and perhaps the loss of Wendy, but I'll remember this church long after she falls [the ruin will be spectacular].

ST GILES. Pleasantly placed, in a leafy position. Nave, chancel, and W tower. The chancel and nave are both datable C13 by their lancert windows. The W tower must be Perp, see e.g. the W doorway, W window and arch towards the nave. The S doorway is the only piece of more ambitious designing; two orders of colonnettes, fine arch moulding with one keeled and one unkeeled roll. The S porch is C19.

SW nave Alexander Gibbs glass (5)

St Giles (1)


TADLOW. It is only a step into Bedfordshire from this scattered little place, with a moated farm called Tadlow Bridge and a small cobbled stone church with two cedars overtopping its 500-year-old tower. A block of stone with a socket hole set in the walls of a farm is all that is left of its ancient cross. In the 13th century church is another stone with traces of the lost portrait of Margaret Broggrife, whom they laid to rest here in 1493. Only a few lines of her skirt are left, but a drawing in the church shows us the outline of Margaret’s figure and the picture of her six children before they were trodden away by many feet.

I feel rather smug that I spotted this without being sure that it was an inscribed ledger stone, it was one of those is it or isn't it moments:

Margaret Brogriffe 1493 (2)

Wendy, Cambridgeshire

Oh dear, I really should research my visits. All Saints was demolished in the early 1950s and all that remains is the churchyard and footings. The replacement church is down the road and at first glance I thought it was the village hall - not an inspiring building!

ALL SAINTS. By Rowe 1867. Recently had to be pulled down as unsafe. A new church is to be built. In the same unfortunate district the church of CLOPTON nearby has disappeared and is now only represented by a long low mound in the fields, and SHINGAY was demolished in 1697. Of the Preceptory of Knights Hospitallers at Shingay nothing remains either.

Old All Saints

All Saints (2)

WENDY. It shelters off the Roman Ermine Street, a cluster of cottages and a church of last century overtopped by a cedar. It has for a neighbour the once important place of Shingay, an old home of the Knights Hospitallers of which nothing is now left but a dry moat and a row of limes which led to it. The arms from Shingay’s vanished chapel are over the doorway of Wendy’s church. It is a simple aisleless place with floral paintings covering its walls from floor to ceiling, and the best thing it has is the fine hammerbeam roof of the nave with tracery in the spandrels; it was brought from an old church in Cambridge.

In the churchyard we hear the splash of a natural fountain in the vicarage garden, one of the many springs in the neighbourhood.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Newton, Cambridgeshire

I visited St Margaret back in March but obviously either forgot to write it up or lost the blog entry before I published it. Anyway it was undergoing restoration and a notice by the door said that the church was inaccessible from Mon-Fri whilst work was ongoing which implies, to me at least, that it is accessible at weekends and, hopefully, always once the work is complete. So a revisit is required [revisited last Friday and found it firmly locked with no keyholder listed].

Externally it's rather nice and the location is good too.

ST MARGARET. Built of clunch. W tower, plastered, Perp. Nave with two-bay arcade of octagonal piers and double-chamfered arches - i.e. C14. Of the same design the arches from the aisles into the transepts. No chancel arch. The chancel too much re-done to be of value. The transepts earlier than the aisles. In the S transept a lancet window and some C13 wall painting of red scrolls. The N transept E window nook-shafted inside. - FONT. Square, on five circular supports. Octagonal bowl with, in the diagonals, two volutes meeting at the angles of the square below; C13. - STAINED GLASS. Chancel E and S transept S window 1854 and 1855, and characteristic of the date. - MONUMENTS mostly to members of the Pemberton family: Francis d. 1809 and Mrs Anne d. 1815, both by Rossi, simple designs, one with a sarcophagus, the other with an urn. William d. 1828, by the younger Westmacott, just a tablet without much enrichment. - Christopher d. 1850, by Physick, with Charity and Justice, small relief figures l. and r. of the inscription. - Christopher d. 1870 (as a reporter at the battle of  Sedan), by Noble, with a standing allegorical female. - Mrs Montagu d. 1871, by Boehm, also with a female figure, rising to heaven. - William Ward d. 1900, brass repouss√©, a fine period piece of the Art Nouveau - rare in churches. - In the churchyard MAUSOLEUM in an Antique style, 1922 by Sir Ambrose Poynter.

St Margaret (3)

NEWTON. It is recorded that one summer’s day in 1746 a fire here burnt down most of the village and roasted the apples as they hung on the trees. Today it has a few cottages at the cross roads, a pleasant village hall and handsome farmhouses, a great house in Georgian style, leafy lanes, and green pastures.

Great chestnuts spread themselves against the 14th century tower of the little cross-shaped church. Here is something from four of our building centuries, a fine font from the 12th, transept arches from the 13th, a nave arcade of the 14th, and a clerestory of the 15th, when the old timbers were set in the roof. Perhaps the best thing of all is the graceful tower arch, with continuous moulding.

Here are two memorials of the last great wars in Europe. One is to Christopher Peach Pemberton, who witnessed the most terrible day in the modern history of France, for he was at Sedan. He was there to record the events of the war, and fell towards the close of the battle while advancing with the staff of the Crown Prince of Saxony. The other memorial is to Alexander Rogers, a devoted friend of the village who gave his life for his country in 1915. The name of Rogers comes 12 times on the peace memorial among those who served, all 12 related, and three of them did not come back. By the plain pillar to their memory is a drinking trough.