Holy Rood Church

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Daglingworth is a pretty Cotswold village with stone houses along a small stream. The church is set above the village next to a very large rectory. From the outside there is nothing to attract the attention. Set in a churchyard, it has a solid square tower at the west end with a battlemented nave and simple nave with south porch and chancel.

The first indication the church may be rather special is the simple Saxon arch on the porch and another Saxon arch with its carved capitals leading into the church. Above it is a small Saxon sundial. The beautifully carved door with trefoil arches and studs is C15th.

Steps lead down into the church. This is simple but very pleasing with whitewashed walls, wood beam ceiling and simple wood pews. An arcade of round Norman pillars with carved capitals and round arches separates nave and north aisle. This was added in the C19th, when the chancel was rebuilt. Fortunately the Victorian builders kept the simple Saxon/Norman lines. It is full of light from the plain glass windows, making the church feel bigger than it looks from the outside.

The octagonal font is C15th and has quartefoils round the bowl and trefoil arches on the base. Under the bowl are flower motifs, including a green man.

The Norman Chancel arch was rebuilt in the C19th. Above it are the organ pipes. Behind the plain altar rail is a table altar with a painted reredos with Agbes Dei in the centre and four red shields with the symbols of the four evangelists. This is set in a black border with blue flowers with gold stems, green leaves and bunches of grapes along the bottom.

On the north wall of the chancel is a stone table, a credence table, made from an early stone altar or mensa.

What really makes the church special are the four C10th Saxon carvings which were rediscovered embedded in the chancel arch when it was rebuilt in 1850. This protected the carvings which are in remarkably good condition. They look surprisingly modern with their bold simple outlines.

To the west of the door is a Crucifixion with the bearded figure of Christ with a halo dwarfing the figures of Roman soldiers on either side. One holds a spear, the second a sponge on a reed and a jug of vinegar.

On the wall of the north aisle is Christ in Majesty. A bearded and moustached Christ is sitting on a bench with a cross in one hand and giving the blessing with the other. Close by is St Peter holding a book and a huge key.

Above the pulpit is a smaller and more eroded Saxon carving. This was originally on the outside of the east gable end before being brought into the church to prevent further erosion. This shows the crucified Christ on the cross.

This is a very worthwhile church to visit. The Saxon carvings really are remarkable. The church is open daylight hours and is signed off the main street. There is a small parking area opposite.

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