St Wendreda in March, Cambridgeshire is really just a roof full of angels and thats all there is to it, angels, angels everywhere. I have explored the exterior of the church on a pervious posting so now it’s the time of the angels.
I have tried hard with the photos to get over the awe inspiring feeling you get when you first see them, unfortunately I am not a photographer in the true sense, I am a snapper as I have said before, hopefully I am improving, but I like to document things more then being artistic, although I suppose you can do both if you are gifted. But I am happy with my attempts and hope the old saying….practice makes prefect…is true. Anyway back to the church, on the exterior posting of St Wendreda there are details of the church, this posting is more about the angels as they really deserve a post of their own.
The roof is a double hammer beam, made of wood that has weathered unevenly so that the rich brown is patched with uneven rosy highlights. This magnificent roof should be in a magnificent building, but the church is just rather pleasant than magnificent, but maybe this is the reason that the angels survived. The building of the roof seems to be dated from 1523 and 1526, with money given by William Dredeman.
During the English Reformation idolatrous items like the angels, were being destroyed throughout the country, and when Henry VIII’s commissioners arrived the angels seem doomed. But some quick thinking on the part of the merchants helped by welcoming them with food, drink and loading them with church silverware, so the 120 angels stayed flying in the roof, well thats how the story goes. But they did survive Cromwell’s troops, death watch beetle, and are still in remarkably good condition.
Although it is called the ‘angel roof’ there are other figures represented which include martyrs, apostles and saints.
The carvings are fixed to the king-post, are of the highest order, and really quite astonishing.
The corbel angels are the best they carry musical instruments, and on their backs they carry statues of the saints. The roof is so rich that is shades everything else, but then what does it matter, the church has one of the best timber ceilings in the county, in my view, in the country so far.