Thursday, 2 December 2010

Hatfield Peveral, Essex

St Andrew was a huge disappointment, first it was locked with no keyholder listed, second the sun was in the wrong place so decent pictures were nigh on impossible and thirdly I've actually researched the priory and so knew that locked away was a treasure trove of an interior.

Pause, take deep breath and avoid ranting.....I succeed but refer readers to earlier comments on locked churches particularly Simon Jenkins viewpoint.

That said this is an intriguing remnant of the old priory which is a hodgepodge of architectural styles - I'll let Arthur write it up since he managed to get inside.

UPDATE: My route home took me through Hatfield Peveral and on the off chance I stopped at St Andrew which has always been locked on previous visits. This time, however, it was open albeit only because of what appeared to be extensive restoration work and the builders let me wander around.

I have to say that I was quite disappointed but that was mainly due to low light levels, it was quite late on an overcast misty afternoon and all the building equipment obscuring some of the more interesting bits like some great early glass in the Lady chapel and south aisle and the stone effigy in the north aisle.

Having said that I did at least get in!

ST ANDREW. Hatfield Peveral possessed a Benedictine priory, a cell of St Albans Abbey. The whole present parish church is the nave of the priory church, with a C15 N aisle and a S aisle of 1873 added. The nave was followed by a central tower and transepts. Of the priory chancel nothing exists now, of the S transept the E wall of the Vestry, of the central tower the W arch, plain and clearly of the early C12, and some wall stumps of the N and S walls. Of the nave the W wall survives, with a doorway with one order of columns with scalloped capitals and zigzag in the arch voussoirs. The S wall of the nave is also original (C13 lancet) to the point where the S aisle adjoins. Of the N wall of the nave one upper window, now above one of the N arcade arches, bears witness. The N arcade of octagonal piers with double chamfered arches is ascribed to the C15. In the N wall one early C14 and one C15 window, the others are C19. The brick battlements and stair turret are of c. 1500. - SCREEN (N arcade, E bay). Perp, with panel tracery. - BENCH-ENDS. Three in the chancel, poppyheads and heads of a King, a Queen etc. - STAINED GLASS. Small fragments of the C14 and C15 in N windows, larger pieces of the C16 to C18, largely foreign, in S windows. - W window by Kempe, 1895. - HELM, GAUNTLETS, SWORD and SPUR mid C17. - MONUMENTS In the chancel a tomb-chest of blue marble with very fine, elaborate quatrefoil decoration. - On the sill of a N window effigy of a man in civilian clothes holding his heart in his hands, c. 1300, badly preserved. - Various C18 and early C19 tablets, e.g. Arthur Dabbs d. 1750, with Rococo cartouche surrounded by flower and putti-heads. Also tablets by Thompson (1817) and Coulman (1818).

Tomb chest

West door (2)

Glass (4)

Glass (3)

HATFIELD PEVERAL. Its church is the nave of the Norman priory church, to which has been added a 15th century aisle, a modern aisle, and a Tudor vestry of brick. The west doorway, a little window, and an arch over the altar are all Norman. A handsome building it is, the interior bright enough to display its old possessions. Part of a 15th century screen stands in the aisle, and Tudor craftsmanship of wood and iron is in the vestry door. There are two carved chairs of Charles Stuart’s days, and three remarkable 14th century bench—ends with traceried panels, poppyheads, and heads of men and women, a king, and a queen. Traces of colour are still to be seen on window-splays, niches, and columns; one column has a much faded scene of the Crucifixion painted about 1400.

There is old glass of every century from the 14th to the 18th, an unusual array. The oldest shows leaves and canopy work; there is a Tudor rose among other fragments; the arms of Queen Elizabeth and a shield showing the three mitres of Evesham Abbey; and some Flemish glass at its best in a window with James and John and a woman on her knees. It is said that much of the glass here was brought by John Wright, a London coachmaker who restored the church in 1760. He lived close by at the 18th century house called the Priory, and is believed to lie in a vault, which was once the wine cellar. A handsome modern screen encloses the pews belonging to the house.

The church has an altar tomb of the 16th century, and a brass showing John Allen of 1572 kneeling with one of his three wives and a group of children. But the most interesting monument is a sculpture lying on a windowsill, a man with his feet on a lion and his hands clasped over a heart. He is thought to be a 13th century man, but there is a tradition that the figure is that of Ingelrica, the English wife of Ralph Peverel, the Norman knight who founded the priory here.

The village post office and many of the cottages are 17th century, and so are two fine windows at Toppinghoe Hall, a mile and a half away. Its barn is a century older, and was part of an earlier hall. At Mowden Hall Farm is a tall dovecot of two storeys, with brick walls over a foot thick.

You've got to admit that this sounds like an intriguing interior.

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