St Andrew’s Church

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This is regarded as one of the best examples of a medieval church in the county with its tall elegant spire acting as a local landmark. Most of the fabric is 13/14thC. It is an impressive building, but didn’t quite work for us and we were a trifle disappointed. We felt the medieval heritage was being ignored and disregarded to be replaced by modern furnishings in the chancel.

It is surrounded by a large, well tended graveyard. The large tower at the west end has pinnacles and flying buttresses to the spire and very large plain glass windows at the base. The tall nave has a steep pitched roof with a lower and very long chancel.

Entry is through the north porch with a big wooden door with iron studs. Inside pillars and pointed arches with small carved heads at the base, separate nave and side aisles. The church has a lovely wooden beam ceiling with carved decoration in the centre of the beams.

The plaster was scrapped off the walls by the Victorians, leaving exposed stonework. A small bit of plaster with a painted shield survives between the second and third arches of the south wall. There is the remains of another 14thC wall painting on the south wall above the founder’s tomb. This is described as the Coronation of the Virgin. We could identify Christ with an orb in his left hand and his right raised in blessing. Above him is a moon and stars. On either side are two shields, with the remains of figures beyond them.

The beautiful carved wood chancel screen is 14thC although the doors are later. The high altar is a simple table set under the stained glass east window. On the walls are 18thC marble monuments to the Pye family who were lords of the manor. There is a row of 15thC choir stall with misericords on either side of the chancel. These are no longer used and have modern chairs in front of them. In front are modern pale wood choir stalls dedicated to different members of the congregation. They didn’t quite fir with the rest of the church.

The organ takes up the whole of the end of the south aisle. Behind it is a small Lady Chapel with 14thC carved wooden screens round it. This contains the splendid marble tomb of Sir john Vernon who died 1545 and his wife Ellen. There is an old wooden bier with a flower arrangement on it and tucked away in a corner, an old chest carved out of a solid tree trunk, again with a flower arrangement on it.

On the north wall is a small chapel closed off by glass doors for private prayer or contemplation. This used to be the manorial pew with a small school room above it, reached by a staircase behind a door.

The church is set back from the main street through the village and reached down a narrow lane. We parked outside the brick built village hall which used to be the school room with the school teacher’s house next to it.

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