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English Church Architecture -

East Riding of Yorkshire (U. A.).


BUGTHORPE, St. Andrew (SE 773 579)     (April 2013)

(Bedrock:  Triassic Mercia Mudstone Group, Keuper Marl)


This is a curious church when viewed from within.  Outside (as shown above, from the southeast) it appears rather more conventional but the chancel is four bays long and the nave, only three, and there is a N. chapel and vestry running alongside the chancel, ending flush with the chancel E. wall except for a protruding semipolygonal stair turret which rises to a projecting pyramidal spirelet that gives access to the roofs. The building has also a tower at the west end but the key to its understanding seems to have been provided by J.E. Morris in his Little Guide to the East Riding of Yorkshire, published by Methuen in 1932, who believed that a decision was taken in the late thirteenth century to extend to the east what was then a Norman church, providing extra accommodation in the nave while keeping the chancel to a length of three bays.  As a result, a new east wall was erected, one bay east of the original E. wall, and the chancel was built up to it on a considerably grander scale, and a new chancel arch was erected, also one bay east of the still remaining one.  However, after that was done and work had progressed considerably on rebuilding what was now intended to be the easternmost bay of the nave and the erection of an adjoining N. transept or chapel, operations were suddenly broken off, leaving the Norman chancel arch still standing and the three original bays of the nave in their unaltered humble state.  A rather crude drawing of the church in this condition (illustrated below), hanging in the tower, shows how odd it must then have appeared.  It was certainly never going to satisfy Victorian sensibilities and so in 1858-9, Mallinson and Healey were commissioned to rebuild the nave in turn, on more appropriate scale.  These phases of construction are evident outside from the slightly greater width of the nave.  The tall S. windows to the chancel each have a quatrefoil above a pair of trefoil-cusped lights without ogees.  Mallinson and Healey's nave windows are similar but shorter and one on each side has a trefoil in the head.  The rather modest W tower rises in two stages without buttresses to battlements and crocketed corner pinnacles, lit to the west by a two-light window with a straightened reticulation unit in the head, possibly suggesting an early Perpendicular (i.e. late fourteenth century) date, although the double-flat-chamfered arch to the nave could be a century or more earlier.


Inside the building, the view to the east (shown below) is dominated by the two chancel arches - the old and new - creating in the bay between them the appearance of a crossing, aided by the N. chapel which according to Pevsner was demolished in the eighteenth century but rebuilt from the old materials in 1905.  (Precisely where these materials lay during the long years in between he does not venture to say!)  The double-flat-chamfered eastern arch, like the arch between the chancel and the chapel, is double-flat-chamfered and supported on semi-octagonal responds, but the western arch, although renewed above the springing, retains three Norman shafts on each side, arranged in two orders (as shown in the photographs at the foot of the page), topped by capitals featuring an assortment of rather crudely carved figures above a reduced form of beakhead running down the outer order of the shafts.



Furnishings in the church include the round, thirteenth century font, with a little line of nailhead running round the top of the bowl, and some remarkable painted carpentry, dating only from 1936, however, when the interior was refurnished by H.S. Goodhart-Rendel (Pevsner).  The altar today stands between the two chancel arches, where it has been provided with a spectacular Canopy of Honour  featuring twenty-five wavy yellow suns in little Cambridge blue panels, set in a red, black and white framework with pendants holding trefoiled arches around the sides.  The other roofs are also strikingly painted, chiefly in deep blue.  Finally, monuments in the church include one dedicated to Sir Edward Payler (d. 1647) on the N. wall of the sanctuary, featuring a pair of black shafts with Corinthian columns on either side, supporting an open pediment, and a particularly large one on the W. wall of the chapel, commemorating Mary Payler (d. 1756) and featuring an image of the deceased in bas-relief in a roundel, set against a grey stone pyramid below a cartouche held up for by a flying putto.  It was not mentioned by Gunnis in his Dictionary of British Sculptors, 1660 - 1851 (pub. the Abbey Library, 1951) but Pevsner considered it to be the work of Sir Henry Cheere (1703-81).