St Mary and St Michael’s Church

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The church is set at the edge of the village overlooking farmland with cows, part of the Doddington herd producing ice cream and cheese. Next to it is a large rectory. It is set in a large walled graveyard with a small watch house in the south east corner. This was built in 18256 when there was trouble with body snatchers operating on behalf of Scottish surgeons. Mourners fron outlying villages brought their dead to be buried here knowing the bodies would be safe.

A sign on the gateway warns that sheep graze in the churchyard. They are friendly and inquistive, but you do need to watch where you put your feet…

There has been a church here since the 12thC but it has under gone many alterations over the years. The present building is the result of a 19thC restoration when the building was a “mean, damp and miserable place – the most comfortless and dilapidated church in the diocese”. The church is unusual as the altar is at the west end. There is no record as to why this change was made.

It is a very simple stone church with a small bell cote. Entry is through the south porch which has the remains of old grave slabs in the walls. Two have crosses carved on them and the third has a pattern of circles. At the back of the church is the font which incorporates part of a Norman base and 18thC bowl with a modern shaft and base. The building was repaved above its original floor which explains why the nave pillars are so low. Octagonal pillars with pointed arches separate the nave and north aisle. The church is very dark as the only light is from narrow stained glass lancet windows. There are long 19thC bench pews and small modern pulpit and reading desk.

Steps lead up to the chancel with altar and low carved wood retable behind it. On the wall is a marble memorial to Horace St Paul who was created Count of the Holy Roman Empire by Emperor Francis 1st for diplomatic services. Next to it is a memorial to his second son.

There is nothing special to bring you to this church. If passing it is worth stopping for a quick look.

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