Sunday, 3 February 2013

Chelmsford, Essex p1

Venturing into Chelmsford I was astonished to find St John the Evangelist, in what used to be the village of Moulsham and which has long since been subsumed, open.

If I'd thought Widford was big this is enormous so much so that the west end/half is used as a community centre but I doubt if the regular congregation remotely fill the remainder of the church.

If I'm honest I didn't like it - I found it cold and austere - but at the same time admire the Victorian builders for the grandeur of the build (I dread to think what the upkeep must cost).

ST JOHN, Moulsham Street. 1841 by Thomas Webb. White brick, in the lancet style, with W tower facing the street. The transepts etc. added in 1851-2. No aisles. - STAINED GLASS. One N and one S window, each of one light, have single figures executed by Kempe as early as 1879. His style then was more flamboyant than later, but the faces and the colouring remained the same.

St John the Evangelist (2)

Glass (9)

The old village of Moulsham, with a few of its 17th century cottages left, has been drawn into the town. Here is all that is left of the old Friary which had become the home of King Edward’s School when its roof fell in in 1663. The school now stands in lovely grounds north of the city. The most famous scholar it has known was Philemon Holland, “the translator-general of his age.” His first years were unhappy, for his father was a Protestant and had to flee to the Continent with Miles Coverdale when Mary Tudor was crowned. On his return the father became rector of Great Dunmow and sent the boy here to school. He wrote much, and the dull poet Pope made cynical fun of the groaning shelves on which his works stood. He would be very familiar with the overhanging timber shops and cottages in Moulsham Street, one of them still with a beam carved in the 15th century.*

* It has to said that I don't recognise Mee's description of Moulsham Street - a lot has changed since he visited and not for the better.


No comments:

Post a Comment