Churches

St Mary’s Church, Chidham, West Sussex

A few weeks ago in August 2017, we visited a few churches in Hampshire and West Sussex.  They were all, what I call country churches, lovely and small, sometimes very plain, but all different and all were  open……which pleased me no end.  In St Mary’s Church in Chidham, West Sussex, were the remains of wedding flowers, the smell was wonderful, its amazing how even a small vase of flowers, will fill a church of sweet smells.  

The church was most likely built in the early 13th century, it was first suggested 1210 as the date of construction.  This is supported by the architecture of the lancet windows on the north and south side of the chancel which are classic early 13th century.

During the Reformation which swept away the Rood Screen, it is thought that the old stone font was hidden away under the floor of the nave.  There the font remained, until it was accidentally discovered when major works were carried out in the 19th century.  It was hoped it was of Saxon stonework, but as the Domesday Book does not mention a church, the trail goes cold.

I have posted some of the photos and paintings that I found inside the church.  Sometimes they can tell you a little extra, and its lovely to see have the church has evolved over the years.

There are a few pieces of nice stained glass, and one lovely coloured modern window which was to celebrated the 800th anniversary of the church.

The stone work of the church indicates that the stones came from different stone quarries. Caen, Bembridge, Cocking, Lavent and some were even purloined from Roman walls of Chichester. 

 

The Glory of Albi, South of France

Today 15.09.17, we arrived in Albi in the South of France, and I have managed to download a couple of photos.  This is the view of the cathedral from the window where we are staying and of course it was straight there to have a look and I have downloaded one interior photo so you have an idea of what we saw.  Tomorrow all the public buildings in France are free of charge which we didn’t know about, so as we have a whole day in Albi, we are going to be very busy, much to husbands amusement 🙂  More to follow when we get home.

St Leonards Church, Bursledon, Hampshire

Today 13.09.17, in the South of France, it was another beautiful hot day.  We went along the coast to Nice and Monaco, visited a few places on the coast and then popped over to Italy, and then made our way up into the French Alps.  Found a lovely Alpine Town with a wonderful church, which I will post about when the laptop is better.  So, as I can’t post about the lovely churches I have visited in France, I found an English one that I can.

St Leonards Church is in Bursledon, a village in Hampshire, on the south coast of England.  We were visiting Hampshire back in July and on the way home stopped for something to eat in Bursledon, when I noticed the church.  It was about 7.00 pm, so I knew it would be locked, but it’s such a pretty church I took photos anyway, as goodness knows when we will be passing again.  

A little history…..

The church in Bursledon can trace its history back to the last half of the twelfth century.

All churches can be given a ‘date’ by the styles of architecture they contain: St. Leonard’s has features that seem to confirm that it was indeed founded in the later twelfth century. The simple elegance of the Chancel Arch, dividing the nave from the raised area at the east end of the church, is of early English style and can be dated to 1190-1300. The font is perhaps earlier and, although unfinished and retooled in places, it is of transitional style dateable to 1160-1190.

The blocked doorways in the nave, presumably once the main access points for monks and congregation before the Victorian extension, date to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The small lancet window in the chancel, although restored in 1888-9 is of a thirteenth-century design.

In the 1830′s St. Leonard’s had two transepts added, making a cross-shaped church in plan. However, these proved unsatisfactory and in 1888-9 the church was extensively re-modelled. There is a brass plaque in the nave detailing the work that the architect, John Sedding, carried out. It seems that Sedding kept what was best about the old church and sensitively extended the nave and replaced the transepts, to accommodate the growing population of Bursledon.

 

 

 

All Saints Church & The Dukes Tower, Inveraray, Scotland

On holiday in Scotland 2016, we visited Inveraray, Scotland, and that one thing you can see from quite a distance, is the Dukes Tower, which was added to, All Saints Church, built in 1886.  The freestanding tower was added between 1923 and 1931. This was built as a war memorial and accommodates a ring of 10 bells, reputedly the second heaviest peal in the world. 

The church was for some reason closed, although the sign side it was open, but thats nothing unusual, or its just that I have go use to them being closed.  So next time we are passing I will try again.  It is not as old as some of the churches I visit, but it is in one of the most beautiful locations for a church, so worth a visit next time.

A little history ……..Gothic-style church built 1885 in local red granite, designed by Wardrop and Anderson of Edinburgh. Many of the interior furnishings given by Niell Dairmid, 10th Duke of Argyll. Belltower, in Gothic revivial by Hoare & Wheeler, built 1923-31 as a Memorial to Campbell dead of First World War and previous wars. Peal of ten bells by John Taylor of Loughborough, 1926. 

 

Kilmartin Church & Large Cross, Scotland

This is the last post on Kilmartin, Scotland 2016, for this year, hopefully we will return next year to visit the sites of a much earlier period than the stone crosses and churchyard of Kilmartin Church.   I have saved the best to last, well I think so, ‘The Large Cross’.  One of the most magnificent medieval stone crosses in the West Highlands.  Carved about 1200, on side is the robed Christ sitting with arms raised to show his wounds.  On the other side is the crucified Christ with a winged lion, symbol of St Mark, to his left, and angel for St Matthew above and a winged bull for St Luke below.

 

 

Taken from one of the notice boards……..This cross is undoubtedly one of the most magnificent of the great crosses carved in the Western Highlands in the Middle Ages.  Its form is unusual for the area, and the quadrant brackets which originally helped to support the widely projecting arms must have given it something of the appearance of a wheel-headed cross.  Until recent years only the shaft and side arm were known to survive, but in 1973 the upper arm was found built into a culvert.  The three pieces have been secured together in what is thought to have their correct relationship, with out attempting to replace the missing parts for which there is no evidence.

The cross originally stood 400 metres away, but was later moved to the Kilmartin graveyard.  The arm which was found in the culvert, was fixed back when the cross was brought inside.

The following photos are from a display inside the church.

The shaft and arm of the cross in the graveyard of Kilmartin Church.

The top arm of the cross replaced back onto the shaft.

The reserve side of the cross, once the top arm was fixed back to the shaft.

A little history on Kilmartin Parish Church………..On the site of earlier churches, the present building opened in 1835. The architect was James Gordon Davis. The church is Gothic in style with nave, aisles and a square tower. Three interesting memorial panels from the 18th and 19th centuries to members of the family of Campbell of Duntroon. The church has two outstanding early Christian crosses, with explanatory panels provided by Historic Scotland. The kirkyard contains the mausoleum of Bishop Neil Campbell and medieval tomb slabs. Extensive views over Bronze Age burial cairns, a photo shows one at the bottom of the page.

 

 

 

 

The Antiquity of Kilmartin Churchyard, Scotland

 

Kilmartin Parish Church stands in the centre of  Kilmartin Glen, and just south down the glen, are a profusion of prehistoric remains, including a linear cemetery, numerous standing stones, and several sites with cup and ring carved rocks.  But for me, it was the graveyard and church that lured me in to explore this ancient site.   You can see the church from the road, and in 2014 we didn’t have time to visit, but in May of 2016, we did.  You know when you see sometime, and you hold your breath, think wow, this is going to be amazing, thats what I felt when we walked through the arch to explore.

I have already posted about some of the stones, those thought to be most at risk from weathering, under cover of a former mausoleum building at the rear of the churchyard, this post is of what is still in situ in the graveyard.

Together with the sub-circular form of the church graveyard, the stones hint at a much longer history of religious activity at Kilmartin, ranging in date from the 900’s to the 1600’s. 

 

 

 I think most of the mediaeval grave slabs in the raised enclosure, photos above, beautifully carved slabs that once covered the graves of members of the Malcolm family, are from St Columba’s Chapel in Poltalloch, which have been move to Kilmartin.  Many of the stones were the work of a group of sculptors working in the Loch Awe area through the 14th and 15th centuries.  The carvers may have had a workshop at Kilmartin itself or in the surrounding area.  The quality of the carvings of the highest order, and the designs are similar to others in the West Highlands, such as Kilberry, Keills, and Kilmory Knap.

I found an early Christian Stone with a cross very similar to the one I found on Tiree, a Hebridean Island, but as yet I haven’t found any information on it.

The above slabs are still in situ and have wonderful symbols on them.

I will post about the museum, church and the two remain stone crosses later.  It is worth a visit before going off down the Glen to visit the more well known sites.  

Village Sign & Church of Great Dunham, Norfolk

Norfolk is full of wonderful churches and Great Dunhams Church, St Andrews, is a little gem.  This lovely little church is more Saxon than everything else, so it has a right to be on the village sign, which is great for my ‘Village Sign & Church Category’.   I haven’t be able to find anything out about the sign, but its the church that is really interesting…..post to follow soon.

January 2016 ‘Village Sign & Church’ Category