Thursday, 25 October 2012

Lambourne, Essex

Although the exterior of St Mary & All Saints is fascinating - particularly the Norman north door - it was the interior I particularly wanted to see. Sadly the church was locked with no keyholder listed so this was not to be.

ST MARY AND ALL SAINTS. A church of quite exceptional charm and historical range. It consists of C12 nave and chancel and C15 belfry, but the exterior and interior were re-modelled boldly, naively and very successfully in the Early Georgian age. Norman windows on both sides, a plain Norman S doorway and a more elaborate N doorway, with one order of columns, an arch decorated by zigzag and a fragmentary tympanum diapered with carved stars. The other windows are C18, pointed in the nave, arched in the chancel. The W doorway with a canopy on carved brackets is dated 1726, the W gallery inside 1704 (the gift of an ironmonger of London). This hides much of the substructure of the belfry which outside is crowned by a leaded broach spire. But more unusual and ingenious is the way in which the C15 roof construction was hidden. The tie-beams are plastered and have Greek-key friezes along their undersides, and one king-post with its four-way struts is clothed in rich acanthus leaves. The chancel arch is low and broad, of segmental form and rests on thick coupled brackets. - FONT. C18, with baluster stem. - REREDOS with Corinthian pilasters and a Gothick ogee arch round the E window. — CHANCEL STALLS with fine openwork foliage carving. - PULPIT. Jacobean. - WALL PAINTING. Upper half of a large figure of St Christopher; C14, of high quality. - STAINED GLASS. Fine small panels of C17 Swiss or German glass. - MONUMENTS. Brass to Robert Barfott d. 1546 and wife, with children below; 18 in. figures; chancel floor. - Many C18 and C19 monuments to the Lockwood family, mostly unsigned, the most ambitious that of John Lockwood, erected in 1778. Largish figure of Hope with an anchor and an urn. By Joseph Wilton.

North door (1)

North door (2)

LAMBOURNE. It is at the edge of the ancient forest of Hainault, and from its high ground above the River Roding it looks across to Epping Forest running along the horizon. On this high ground stands the church, with two Norman doorways through which we pass no more. It is the glass of the east window that strikes us as we come in, a modern scene of Bethlehem in memory of Lord Lambourne. In another chancel window are small gems in quieter tones, a group of five panels brought from Basle, painted about 300 years ago. They represent the choice between Good and Evil, the Adoration of the Wise Men, the Incredulity of Thomas, Christ and Peter on the sea, and the Shepherds. A nave window is in memory of a man who loved to ride about these uplands, and lived to ride in that last Wild charge from which he never returned, against the Russian guns at Balaclava. He was George Lockwood, aide-de-camp to Lord Cardigan.

Engraved in brass are the portraits of a Tudor mercer with his wife and their family of nine sons and ten daughters; and there is a wall monument to Thomas Winniffe, who became Dean of St Paul’s and Bishop of Lincoln, and retired here during the Commonwealth. The pulpit is of his day, and some of the old stalls. There is a gallery of 1704.

Lambourne Hall was built in Queen Elizabeth’s day on the site where lived a warrior bishop who fought in Italy for the Pope and crushed the peasant rising against the taxes of Richard the Second. He was Henry le Despenser, of whom perhaps the best that can be said is that he was loyal to Richard after his fall.

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