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English Church Architecture -



MELVERLEY, St. Peter (SJ 333 166)     (September 2015)

(Bedrock:  Permian System, undifferentiated sandstones)




This half-timbered little church (shown above, from the south) is more interesting as a curiosity than it is architecturally for although some of the timbers are undoubtedly mediaeval, not only are they difficult to distinguish from later work, but it is also almost impossible to say whether they were first used here or elsewhere. The building consists of a nave and chancel of box-frame construction, with the tall narrow panels more typical of the eastern school of timber construction than the western one (where the panels are usually nearly square), a S. porch, and a little belfry surmounted by a short broach spire sitting over the nave west end. The nave and chancel are built as a single unit externally but this is sub-divided into three inside, forming an entrance vestibule with gallery above, a short nave and a longer chancel behind a rustic rood screen.  The roofs are tiled except for that of the spire which, surprisingly in view of its steep pitch, is covered in slates.  The church is beleived to have had no windows originally and all the existing windows, including the five-light E. window with trefoil-cusped lancet lights beneath a square head, are Victorian.



The nave and chancel roof is carried on a heavy frame formed of tie beams, king posts rising to collars, and "V"-struts rising from the collars to the principal rafters.  (See the photograph below.)  There are purlins one-third and two-thirds of the way up the pitch and tiny cusped wind-braces connecting these with the principal rafters. Nothing else inside requires particularisation.