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English Church Architecture -

Cambridgeshire.

 

DRY DRAYTON, St. Peter & St. Paul (TL 380 620)     (August 2013)

(Bedrock:  Lower Cretaceous, Gault)

 

This building consists of a chancel, an aisled nave with a N. porch, and an unbuttressed, embattled W. tower, and is surely one of the most abysmally restored churches in the whole of South Cambridgeshire - a status which the ghastly external masonry with its loud "crazy-paving" effect, reinforces on almost every side.  One of the window designs is interesting, however, and is encountered (often renewed but occasionally, perhaps, partly original) at the western ends of the north and south walls of the aisles and all along the chancel, where there are three such windows on each side. (See the photograph, left, showing the easternmost S. window.)  It looks very much like the work of two dates, with the section above the transom, formed of two uncusped lancet lights and an encircled quatrefoil, commensurate with the late thirteenth century, and the double-cusped rectangular lights below, almost identical to work at neighbouring Swavesey, where I have proposed a date around 1400.   The argument I set out there is involved and inevitably speculative, but at the least, it seems certain that the lower halves of the windows at both churches can be attributed to the same man, and since the upper halves differ, that he was probably not responsible for those. 

 

Unfortunately, the interior of the building is as stark and stripped of historic interest as the exterior and the only features worthy of note here are the aisle arcades, and the arches from the nave to the tower and chancel.  (See the photograph, right, showing the internal view from inside the chancel, looking west along the nave towards the tower.)  The three-bay aisle arcades consist of double-flat-chamfered arches supported on octagonal piers but differ slightly in their capitals, those to the south being shallower but more prominent.  Both are probably consistent with the first quarter of the fourteenth century, such discrepancies as exist between them, perhaps due to a short pause in the work or to its allocation to a different mason.  The chancel arch is likewise double-flat-chamfered, and has its inner chamfer springing from semi-octagonal responds and its outer chamfer, continuing uninterrupted down the jambs.  The tower arch is triple-flat-chamfered. 

 

There is nothing else.  All the woodwork, including the roofs, is new, and the only surviving scraps of old furnishings are the square base of the font, with polygonal shafts in the cardinal directions, and a few fragments of the triple sedilia, reconstructed in the chancel S. wall.