Monday, 15 November 2010

Great Horkesley, Essex

Something bad has happened at All Saints at some stage since this is the most securely locked church I've come across to date. Whatever treasure is secured can't, surely, be as amazing as the trove found in Little Horkesley but since an internet search returns little information its secrets shall have to remain unknown.

There are keyholder phone numbers listed but, frankly, I couldn't be arsed to bother trying them, having recently come to the conclusion that listing phone numbers rather than addresses and directions  for keyholders is almost as bad as not listing anything at all. Besides which the insensitive attachment of hasps and clasps to the ancient door indicated a distinctly cold welcome.

ALL SAINTS. The nave has Norman SW quoins; that is all that survives of the C12. Of the C13 the W tower, unbuttressed with some small lancet windows. The rest is Perp, with big three-light windows with panel tracery of usual patterns. The battlements oddly enough are of Roman bricks. Handsome C15 S porch; timber with traceried lights to the sides and a bargeboarded gable. C15 N arcade of three bays on thin piers with a section of four main shafts and four slimmer shafts without capitals in the diagonals. The arches (and also the chancel arch) are decorated with fleurons (cf. e.g. St Peter, Sudbury across the Suffolk border). Hood-moulds with head-stops. Roof on big head corbels. - PULPIT. Elizabethan, with arched as well as moulded panels. - FONT COVER. Of tall, pinnacled Gothic form (cf. Sudbury) but mostly C19. 

All Saints

Lych gate

Locked (2)


GREAT HORKESLEY. The Roman road runs through it from Colchester, straight and wide, past timber-framed cottages and one of red-brick with a distinction all its own. Homely enough now, it goes back to the days before the Reformation, when it was the home and chapel of a priest. On the roof are stepped gables, and in the wall is a delightful little stone doorway, enriched with carvings of leaves and shields. One of its rooms has a tiny piscina with a Tudor rose, designed for the water to run away in the petals.

Just before the Roman road dips to cross the Stour into Suffolk is a splendid church, in company with a cricket green, many fir trees, and a rectory almost hidden by a magnificent cedar. Roman bricks form a corner of the nave; and still left from Norman days, are a window above the tower arch and a rare pillar piscina with a scalloped capital. Nearly all the building, however, is 14th and 15th century - the fine tower with animal heads including  an open-mouthed goat, the roofs with some of their old timbers and a wooden figure holding a shield, the porch enriched with lovely tracery and sheltering a 500-year-old door with ironwork looking even older.

Master craftsmen in stone must have been here in those medieval days, their skill showing in many dainty heads outside the windows, floral designs on the south doorway, shields with bells and chalices on the arcade, and a little carving we liked of a lady in a 15th century hat. Scratched on one of the nave buttresses is a sundial.

The chancel has linen-fold panelling and a chair carved in the 17th century. Just as old are a table in the chapel, and a splendid pulpit with arches and vines and a handsome wooden pillar for the parson to hold as he climbs in.

A tablet to a soldier in the South African War has an epitaph from Shakespeare, as short and fitting a memorial as a warrior could have. It comes from Macbeth:

Siward. Had he his hurts before?
R0ss. Ay, on the front.
Siward. Why, then, G0d’s soldier be he!

Flickr set.

No comments:

Post a Comment