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English Church Architecture -



DULLINGHAM, St. Mary (TL 632 577)     (October 2004)

(Bedrock:  Upper Cretaceous, Upper Chalk)


This is a fairly large church that has undergone much restoration and renewal. However, where it is still old it is predominantly Perpendicular in style and the new work appears to have copied the old closely.  The building consists of a W. tower, aisled nave, S. chapel, chancel and N. porch and is constructed of flint and pebble rubble with limestone dressings and a flint chequerwork basal frieze around the N. aisle and porch.  The tower is diagonally buttressed and rises in four stages to battlements.  The S. chapel adjoins the S. aisle rather than the chancel, and runs beside its two eastern bays.  The aisle windows, chapel S. windows and chancel E. window are all three-light and supermullioned, and the clerestory windows and chancel S. windows are two-light and untraceried, the latter being square-headed. Of greater interest though is the blocked Y-traceried window in the chancel N. wall, for this shows that at least some of the masonry dates back to Early English times.  Other external features from this period include the priest’s doorway immediately to the right (which is now also blocked), bearing a single flat chamfer, the renewed lancet in the tower W. wall, and the very worn niche below (to the right of the doorway).  Internally there is a contemporary double piscina in the chancel S. wall, but otherwise all is Perpendicular again.


The four-bay nave arcades are composed of arches bearing a sunk quadrant and a recessed chamfer, supported on piers formed of four semicircular shafts separated by hollows.  (The S. arcade is shown left.) There are hood-moulds above, which end in label stops.  The chancel arch is taller but similar, and the two-bay arcade between the aisle and the chapel bears a sunk quadrant and a plain flat chamfer.  None of this work seems likely to be much later than c. 1400 (see Appendix 2 and the entry on Balsham for the dated use of the sunk quadrant moulding in East Anglia)  but the tower arch is more ambiguous and has a complex series of mouldings supported on semi-octagonal responds.


The main features of interest in Dullingham church today, however, are the collection of monuments in the chancel, the majority of which are by Richard Westmacott the Elder (1747-1808) and his son Sir Richard Westmacott (1775-1856), to members of the Jeaffreson family. Westmacott the Elder's finest church monument was considered by Gunnis to be the one to James Dutton in St. Mary Magdalene's, Sherborne, Gloucestershire, which features an angel trampling death.  Here his monuments to Mrs. Jeaffreson (d.1778) and Christopher Jeaffreson (d.1789) are simple and without figures and it is his son's work that is striking.  It was Sir Richard Westmacott who carved the Waterloo Vase that now stands in the National Gallery and also the sculpture that fills the pediment above the British Museum.  He is responsible here for the large tomb chest with reclining effigy on the N. side of the chancel, commemorating Lieutenant-General Christopher Jeaffreson (d. 1824), and the rather better wall monument to Viscountess Gormanston (d. 1826) (illustrated right), showing a sitting figure and bearing the legend "To Maternal Affection".  Lt.-General Jeaffreson was the viscountess's second husband.