Monday, 26 February 2018

Kennett, Cambridgeshire

St Nicholas, locked, keyholder listed but with a strange caveat "to phone first" - quite why you should phone first to ask to borrow a church key raises, for me, some odd thoughts...are they secret cross dressers, swingers, perhaps closet Satanists or, perhaps the five minute walk back from the church to their house gives them time to find the key which they placed in a secure place, certain they'd never forget, and then did [another thought: if you're going to keep your church locked but list a keyholder, why not post a keyholder note at the top of the drive instead of posting the notice in the north porch?] and anyway they were out; so no internals.

Putting access aside, St Nicholas is a delight; divorced from the village by a pine wood and surrounded by fields, it's a gem.

ST NICHOLAS. Entirely on its own amongst the trees. Away even from any roads. Flint and pebble rubble. N doorway Transitional (columns with shaftrings and waterleaf capitals, round arch). Chancel E.E. (lancets, and at the E end group of three parallel lancets, shafted inside, with shaftrings). N aisle also with lancets. W tower Perp. Arcade of four bays with C14 octagonal piers and double-chamfered arches. - ROOD SCREEN. Slim single-light divisions with little tracery, ascribed to the C14.

St Nicholas (4)

KENNETT. It takes its name from the brook on which it stands, in a lovely wooded corner near to Suffolk. The woods enfold its old church like a mantle, furnishing it with a setting which surprises and charms us by its unexpectedness. It is a church in which everything pleases, and we come into it through a Norman doorway above which rises a medieval tower, shaded by trees.

Very effective is the 600-year-old arcade with its great strength, and charming is the elegant tower arch seen from the chancel, making a perfect frame for the rich medley of colour in the west window. The east window is a group of three tall lancets, all of one height, their deep splays framed by arches on slender shafts with lovely bell capitals and with stone heads of bishops set between. The double piscina in the chancel is a gem, with grape clusters at the ends of the richly moulded arches and with fine pillars and flowered drains.

The oak chancel screen is 15th century and has richly carved bays with roses in the spandrels. We noticed that William Godfrey, lord of the manor, was rector here for the last 65 years of last century.

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