Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Coveney, Cambridgeshire

St Peter ad Vincula, locked, keyholders listed but I failed to find the one I went looking for and decided that it didn't look interesting enough to put more effort in. This, it transpires, was a mistake because although the exterior is rather dull the interior is reputed to be full of interest.

ST PETER-AD-VINCULA. A small C13 church of nave and chancel; see the lancet windows preserved in both parts and the remains of the shafted Piscina. Then a little later a W tower was added; for the nave has a W doorway (double-chamfered without capitals - cf. the S doorway) and a lancet which now faces into the tower. The tower has a N-S passage, lancet windows above, diagonal buttresses, battlements, and a pyramid roof. The early C14 builders lengthened the chancel, gave it a new (reticulated) E window, a new Piscina, and a large Dec N side window which cuts into the former Piscina. Also early C14 the S porch and N doorway - see the little breaches in the triple-chamfered arch. - REREDOS. German, c. 1500. Centre the Crucifixion, l. Flagellation and Mount of Olives, r. Christ before Pilate and Christ carrying the Cross. - PULP IT. Danish, of 1706, with painted figures of Christ and the Evangelists, rustic. - BENCH-ENDS. Mid C16, with poppy-heads and the typical heads in proļ¬le, Instruments of Christ’s Passion, keys, the arms of Scrope, an eagle, a triskele etc. - CHANDELIER. Brass, probably Dutch C18: - PLATE. Cup of 1570.

St Peter ad Vincula (3)

COVENEY. Most of its houses line up on one side of the road for a view of Ely Cathedral majestically dark against the sky. Coveney’s little old church shares with the chapel in the Tower of London the rare distinction of being dedicated to St Peter in Chains, as we see him portrayed in oak in the peace memorial lychgate. The 15th century gave a new top to the unusual tower, which stands on three 13th century arches, two forming a passage we can walk through, the third opening into the aisleless church; or we may enter by a medieval door which a porch with a new brick arch has been sheltering for 600 years. From the oddest jumble of windows of all shapes and at all levels the light falls on woodwork of various countries and ages. There is a pulpit with painted panels made in Denmark in 1706, a big reredos of 15th century German work with curious painted carvings of the Passion, and a coloured figure from Oberammergau on top of the green chancel screen of our own day, the work of English craftsmen whose forerunners made the benches 500 years ago with fantastic poppyheads showing men and animals and birds and one a flying lizard. There is a plain font 600 years old, and two double piscinas, one cut in a window.

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