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English Church Architecture -



MINTERNE MAGNA, St. Andrew (ST 659 044)     (April 2007)

(Bedrock:  Lower Cretaceous, Upper Greensand Formation)


Built of flint and local stone, with golden Ham Hill dressings from Ham Hill, Somerset, some ten miles to the northwest, this building consists of a W. tower, nave, N. chapel and chancel, and represents three phases of construction, namely c. 1400 for the nave and chancel, the early seventeenth century for the chapel, and c. 1800 in the case of the tower.


The nave is lit by three S. windows and one N. window (west of the chapel), the former three-light in the centre and two-light at each end, all with alternate tracery and subreticulation, and the latter, two-light, with a straightened reticulation unit in the head.  The chancel has two square-headed S. windows and one N. window, with trefoiled lights and supermullioned tracery, and a three-light supermullioned E. window with triangular archlets.


The N. chapel (shown left) (known as the Napier Memorial Chapel) is Jacobean and very broad. It is lit by a square-headed W. window formed of four equal, uncusped lights, and a larger five-light S. window, with a tall central light and a stepped hood-mould above.


The tower (shown right) rises in two stages to supermullioned bell-openings, stepped battlements, and pinnacles at the corners and wall mid-points.  The W. wall is bowed outwards and there are tall blank arches on each side in the first stage, rising through its full height.  The inscription on the S. wall dated 1888, is misleading, but the tower was heightened in 1894.


Inside the church, the carpentry and furnishings are almost entirely nineteenth century work.  The chancel arch is very odd, being large but rather shapeless, and bearing continuous mouldings without capitals.  No obvious date for this work springs to mind.  However, the chapel arch goes with the chapel itself and is formed of an inner roll and outer wave moulding, separated by a flat chamfer. The mouldings continue down the jambs without intervening capitals.


The principal chapel monument had been removed pending restoration at the time of this visit, but smaller monuments on the side walls are dated 1693 and 1695.   A more substantial monument on the nave N. wall has been attributed to Robert Taylor the Elder (c. 1690 - 1742).  (See also Belchamp Walter in Essex.)  It commemorates the Hon. Charles Churchill Esquire (d. 1714).  “His Martial Genius led him to the Wars and his Distinguished Courage and Conduct made him soon taken notice of by his Princes….  After many Battles fought with Great Bravery in Combat, he was esteemed one of the Best Commanders of Foot in Europe.  By his Royal and Gracious Mistress Queen Anne, he was made Governor of the Tower of London, General of the Army, and General-in-Chief of Foot.”