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English Church Architecture -

Bedfordshire Central (U.A.).


EYEWORTH, All Saints (TL 250 456)     (June 2003)

(Bedrock:  Lower Cretaceous, Gault)

The church from the southeast.

Like nearby St. George’s at Edworth, this is another church set down a track in an attractive rural position, although here the lane through the tiny village is visible just a field away.  Situated on boulder clay above gault, the old part of the building is constructed of sandstone cobbles and other fieldstones with limestone dressings, and consists of an embattled chancel and short embattled nave with S. aisle and semi-octagonal stair turret at the southeast angle.  The curious W. end, consisting of a pantiled extension with surmounting bell-cote, was constructed only in 1967, after Pevsner’s visit and after the mediaeval tower with its recessed spire was destroyed by lightning.  The church guide is quite forthright in declaring that it was only the insurance money subsequently received, that enabled the church, previously in poor condition throughout, to be restored to good order.


The oldest work at Eyeworth is Early English.  Of this period is the N. doorway with two flat-chamfered orders and no capitals, and more significantly the S. arcade, which consists of three double-flat-chamfered arches springing from octagonal piers.  Of about the same date is the tower arch, now very off-centre, the inner order of which springs from semi-circular shafts.  By contrast, where not renewed, windows are either Decorated or Perpendicular.  In the former style is a two-light, two-centred window with reticulated tracery in the S. wall of the aisle, a two-light square-headed window next to it (but on the other side of the doorway), and the three-light window with reticulated tracery in the S. aisle E. wall.  In Perpendicular style are the three pairs of two-light, square-headed clerestory windows (for there is a clerestory to the north even though there is no aisle below), all the chancel windows, and one N. window to the nave.  The last has supermullioned tracery and, internally, a keeled roll around the arch, springing from a pair of very narrow keeled shafts with capitals.


There is not much woodwork to mention.  The chancel roof dates essentially from the fifteenth or sixteenth century and is of tie-beam construction and so low pitched that it cuts off the apex of the E. window.  The nave roof is modern.


There are three significant monuments in the chancel, all to members of the Anderson family.  The most important of these is the altar tomb against the S. wall, to Sir Edmund Anderson, Deputy Speaker under Elizabeth I.  A severe, hard man, he presided over the trials of Mary Queen of Scots and Sir Walter Raleigh, acquired Eyeworth Manor is 1594, and died in 1605.  The tomb chest has effigies  of him and his wife, Dame Magdalen (d. 1622), lying on top.  The other monuments are to Sir Francis Anderson (d. 1616) and his two wives (N. wall) (shown right) and to Sir Edmund Anderson (d. 1638) (S. wall) (pictured left), who were respectively son and grandson of the first Sir Edmund.  In the chancel floor are brasses to Richard Gadburye (d. 1624) and his second wife, Margaret.