Thursday, 23 May 2013

Wickham Bishops, Essex P2

St Peter [in the care of The Friends of Friendless Churches] is redundant and now in use as a stained glass studio which seems rather appropriate; much better than conversion into domestic use.

Pevsner incorrectly names St Peter:

ST BARTHOLOMEW. 1850 by Ewan Christian. Quite ambitious, of freestone with a tall steeple with spire. With the erection of this church the old church became superfluous.

ST BARTHOLOMEW. The old church stands 1 m. SW of the new. It consists of nave and chancel with a small belfry. The only remaining feature of special interest is the SE quoin of Roman bricks, evidence of the Early Norman origin of the church.

St Peter (4)

WICKHAM BISHOPS. In the fields, a few yards from the 15th century doorway of a cottage, we came upon an ill-used and deserted church with a shingle spire on a wooden turret. The Normans built it, using Roman bricks for the corners of the chancel and Roman tiles for a doorway. The doorway has been replaced with a medieval brick porch, and there is still hanging in it a door 500 years old. We found the tie-beams of the 15th century roof still strong, but the rest was a picture of desolation, with the pavement broken round the font, which had a lid 500 years ago to prevent the holy water from being stolen for black magic. On the altar is a gravestone with the word Resurgam, and we may hope it will be prophetic for the old church. Only its 600-year-old chest has been moved to the new church with the lofty spire.

Still ringed round with its moat is Wickham Hall, a timbered Stuart house with 15th century glass painted with lively little birds.

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