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English Church Architecture -



HORSEHEATH, All Saints (TL 613 474)     (August 2003)

(Bedrock:  Upper Cretaceous, Upper Chalk)


The church (shown left, from the southeast) consists of only a W. tower, nave, chancel and S. porch, but is given proportion and dignity by the transomed, three-light Perpendicular nave windows, of which there are three on each side.  They are untraceried but the cinquefoil-cusped ogee archlets below the transoms and the windows' overall height, give an impression of affluence and make the church seem bigger than it really is, while inside, a feeling of space and airiness is maintained by the almost complete absence of stained glass.  The building is constructed chiefly of flint with limestone dressings.  The nave battlements are of brick.


The oldest part of the church today is principally the diagonally-buttressed W. tower, which is Early English /Decorated transitional work of c. 1300, as shown by the cusped Y-traceried bell-openings.  (The stepped battlements are a later addition.)  The W. wall is lit in the second stage by a lancet and although the two-light window below has been renewed, the original dripstone remains with its two nice head label stops.  Unfortunately, like all the internal stonework, the tower arch has been rendered, but it is composed of three flat-chamfered orders, of which the inner springs from a pair of semi-octagonal shafts and the outer two, continue down the responds without intervening capitals.  The contemporary chancel arch carries two flat chamfers, the inner of which is supported on semicircular shafts.  The nave may have been remodelled about a century and a half after this work was completed for a date of c. 1450 would fit the windows and the very flat couple roof, which can be seen to have replaced an older, steeper one from the remains of the former gable line visible on the tower E. wall, outside.  The porch and chancel owe their present external appearance to a restoration of c. 1880 when they were carefully but unrewardingly faced in knapped flint.


The chancel contains two massive tomb chests of which that to the south commemorates Sir Giles Alington (d. 1522) and his son of the same name (d. 1586), who are represented by two suitable effigies lying one above the other in tiers.  Opposite, another tomb chest honours yet another Sir Giles Alington together with his wife (d. 1613): this is carved from red and white alabaster and has a large wall monument attached to the back and effigies of six of their ten children kneeling along the front.  Finally, between these tomb chests and better than either, is a full-length brass in the floor (illustrated right), dedicated Sir William Audley, who died in 1365.