Churches

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Norman stonework in wall of Dunton church  Bucks
The Monday Photo

Even small and simple churches have interesting details, so it’s always worth having a look.

For example, here’s the blocked up North door of St Martin’s church, Dunton. Built in the 12th Century, it is of course Norman; the zigzag (chevron) pattern is typical of the Norman style.

St Martin’s has a small 12th Century nave and smaller 13th Century chancel. It has a low 13th Century tower with clasped buttresses. The South wall of the chancel is 18th Century. Dunton is between Whitchurch and Stewkley.

Have you ever found something you didn’t expect while out exploring?

First printed in 1965 and now out of print, this is still one of the best guides to looking at churches. I often refer to my own copy.


I used a Sony A6000 and zoom lens for daily carrying, when I'm not going out just to take photos. I always carry a a camera.

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Foundation Stone

Akeley church remains

The Monday Photo

There was a church here at Akeley in 1164, but this isn’t the remains of it. Instead, this is what’s left of its 1854 replacement.

Closest to the camera is the corner of the chancel, and you can see the rough layout of the church beyond, from those white stakes placed along the walls. Some sort of excavation work has been going on, perhaps to determine the exact shape of the foundations.

The 1854 church of St James the Apostle was knocked down in 1981, having been found unsafe a couple of years earlier.

There was a nave and a chancel and a nicely proportioned, fairly tall tower on the South side of the nave. It had been a Gothic Revival church, built in the Decorated style.

Entrance was through the base of the tower. The tower stairs came out onto the North East corner of the tower roof. They were capped with an octagonal roof so steeply pointed it looked like a small offset spire.

The earlier church was also dedicated to St James, and local historian Browne Willis described it in his 1755 book, The History and Antiquities of the Town, Hundred and Deanry of Buckingham:

"The Church here… is a mean small Building, consisting only of a Nave which is leaded, and Chancel which is tyled. At the West End is a wooden Turrit, lately rough cast, in which hang two small modern Bells. Over the Porch is this Date, 1656, being the Year when the said Porch was rebuilt.” (Sic)

I used a Sony A6000 and zoom lens just like this one for the photo in this post.

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Nice Glass When You Can Get It

Stained glass dedication  Emberton  BucksWindows dedicated to the dead are common in churches. Here, Hannah Prendergast passed away at about 45 years old. Her husband Harris was a barrister who outlived her by 19 years.
 

When it’s cloudy and wet out, what can I photograph for the NBW? Stained glass windows, from inside a church? Yes! The low diffused light illuminates them nicely.

I remembered that All Saints church at Emberton has a grand selection of stained glass, so I drove up there and walked up to the church through the rain.

The grey weather and the deep colours of the stained glass made the church very dark inside, but I found the light switches and started taking photos.

All Saints is a 14th Century church; the chancel, nave and aisles were built around 1340 in the elegant Decorated style.

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Iron Hart

Wrought iron gates  Hoggeston

The Monday Photo

Sometimes I’ll find something interesting when exploring North Bucks and take a photo of it, but when I get home I can’t find out very much about it. This is a good example.

I noticed this pair of wrought iron gates in Hoggeston last week, and took a photo because I liked the Hart, or stag, design.

At home I quickly found a reference to the stag being the crest of the Micklem family, who used to live in the village. The gates were said to have been made in the 1970s. But I must have confirmation so I looked in my all my Buckinghamshire books and on the internet to see what I could find.

I found that the church yard wall they are in is a listed building and the 1984 listing refers to the gates as “modern”; the date seems accurate. But I can find nothing more about a stag being the Micklem family crest.

There are several graves here of members of the Micklem family so they certainly have a local connection but that’s it; a tiny mystery. It’s a bit of a disappointment, because I do like these gates.

Of course, if you know any more, please comment below.

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Lending Support

Diagonal church tower buttressesDiagonal buttresses on the 15th Century tower of Drayton Parslow’s Church of The Holy Trinity.

All these photos are of buttresses, those ribs of masonry that stick out from a wall. But what is a buttress for?

It’s there to do more with less.

The oldest buttresses we might see are very wide, but don’t stick out very far. These will mostly be on churches, the oldest buildings in most towns and villages.

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More Than Just Wall Paintings

This is the church of St Lawrence in Broughton, Milton Keynes.

I’ve already shown you the well known 15th Century wall paintings here on the NBW, (there’s a fine one of St George battling the dragon) but the rest of the church tends to get overlooked, so here’s a few of its other features.

St Lawrence's church  Broughton  BucksThe nave and chancel date from 1330, though some believe the core of the church might be older. The Reticulated style nave window to the left of the porch is original, but the tracery in the C. 1400 Perpendicular window on the right hand end was renewed in the 1880-1 restoration.

The Perpendicular window to its left is of different design; most likely these two windows replaced the original Reticulated ones at different times. What’s strange is that the one on the right is shorter than the original. I can’t see the Victorians doing this in their restoration, so I suspect it originally came from another church at a rather later date than the left one. The tower is also from about 1400.

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