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BOURTON-ON-THE-WATER, St. Lawrence  (SP 167 209),


(Bedrock:  Lower Jurassic, Middle Lias Mudstones.)


An attractive little church with a W. tower built in 1784 by William Marshall (dates unknown),

and a nave, N. aisle and S. porch built 1875-1891 by Thomas Graham Jackson (1835-1924).


This building may be considered in three separate parts, namely its fourteenth century chancel, which is all that remains of the mediaeval church, an eighteenth century W. tower, which is left from the rebuilding of 1784, and a Victorian nave and N. aisle, which is the most attractive and artistically significant work.


The chancel is Decorated and reliably dated to 1328 when a benefactor, Walter de Burhton, gave money for its construction. Considerable restoration has since taken place however and the work was probably not of especial at the outset.  The S. windows are two-light and simple and the E. window is three-light but looks untrustworthy.


The W. tower of 1784 by William Marshall (dates unknown), a local man who lived at Bourton, is the only Renaissance church tower in the county.  It is interesting rather than attractive, for the details are fairly simple.  The lowest stage is rusticated and the upper two have flat Ionic pilasters at the angles, but the ornament otherwise is limited to the balustrade above the cornice, the urns serving as corner pinnacles, and the small recessed lead-covered dome.  These features together give the tower a simple, classical dignity, yet it looks distinctly plain besides the late Victorian nave, N. aisle and S. porch.


This is the best work here and a testimony to the skill of its architect, Thomas Graham Jackson (1835-1924), a one-time pupil of Sir George Gilbert Scott.  In fact it was executed in stages, with the N. aisle and vestry coming first in 1872-8, the S. porch next in 1890, and the rest of the nave a year later, as Marshall's nave was taken down bit by bit.  The S. façade is especially attractive for although the windows are mostly only two-light, the tracery is delicate and finely proportioned with trefoiled, ogee-pointed lights, subarcuated above mouchettes, and quatrefoils in the heads.  (The three-light, westernmost window is different.)  The S. porch (illustrated above right) is also finely wrought, with a large, crocketed ogee arch over the cinquefoil-cusped outer doorway, which has two orders of colonnettes attached to the jambs and a third order set some 2 feet (60 cms.) behind.  The gable above is decorated with transomed blank arcading.  The N. front is simple by comparison, with two-light aisle windows each with a quatrefoil and two daggers in the head, although inside they are set in splayed, blank arches.  However, the four-light aisle W. window  (left) is the most elaborate feature of all, with trilobes (pointed trefoils) in the heads of the lights, which are subarcuated in pairs beneath ogee arches, the points of which extend up to enclose a wheel of five trilobes.    The whole composition is a testimony to Jackson's good feeling for line and his ability to produce attractive and distinctive work where many a Victorian church builder would have produced just another dull restoration.


Finally, Jackson's five-bay arcade consists of arches with two orders of sunk quadrants on circular piers, and the arches between the nave and chancel and between the aisle and its extension as a N. chapel, are similar except that the responds consist of two orders of shafts bearing fillets.  The nave roof, also by Jackson, is of king post type, with collar beams above at the odd height of halfway between the first and  second  purlins.  The attractive painted ceiling in the chancel and the finely carved screens, date only from the 1920s.