Mind the Gap
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Fire But No Brimstone

Coal stove at Granborough church

The Monday Photo

This is something you don’t often find in a church nave; a coal stove. It sits on the centre aisle, between the North and South doors of St John the Baptist, Granborough.

There’s a second stove in the corner of the nave, to the right of the chancel arch. It’s not an ideal position for evenly heating the nave, but imagine a wedding if it was in the middle, just where the bride and groom should stand!

This stove isn’t so much of a problem, being off centre and a bit nearer the unused South door; there’s just enough room for the new couple to squeeze by on their way out.

When I visited the church on a Saturday afternoon, both stoves had been cleaned out and a full coal scuttle sat ready by each one. This stove sits next to what looks like a playgroup or Sunday school area.

This 14th Century church is a bit unusual because it doesn’t have any side aisles, often added on over the centuries as the village grew. The nave and chancel are original, but the nave’s windows are late 15th Century.

On the North side of the nave, part of an original window reveal is still visible on the inside, next to the later window. It’s also just possible to see where that window was on the outside, too.

On the South side in the corner behind the second stove is a double sided piscina, and the reveal of the later window cuts into it. This means the piscina is older than the window and especially as it’s a double one, probably as old as the church.

But what is a piscina? It’s a stone basin with a drain hole, usually set into the thickness of the wall and nicely decorated, used for washing communion vessels during a service.

It’s quite unusual to see a double piscina. The second basin is for washing the priest’s fingers, also during a service.

The tower is 15th Century and the chancel’s East window is in the Perpendicular style

Even a small church like this one, though unspectacular, has plenty to see. Worth a visit.

The Observer's Book of Old English Churches (left) is just right for slipping into a pocket when you are out exploring the countryside. I used a Sony A6000 and zoom lens just like this one (right) for the photo in this post.


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