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English Church Architecture -



KETTLEBASTON, St. Mary (TL 966 503)     (October 2001)

(Bedrock:  Neogene to Quaternary, Crag Group)


This is another church situated in a quiet spot in a small, attractive village.  Consisting of just a W. tower rising in two stages, a nave, a chancel and a S. porch, it is Norman-Transitional in its earliest details, most notably the S. doorway (inside the porch), which is pointed yet furnished with an order of shafts at the sides with scalloped capitals that support an arch bearing a flat chamfer and an outer line of triangles.  Inside the building, identical triangles appear on the bowl of the square font (shown left) which Pevsner, surely correctly, considered to be by the same workmen. Less intricately carved than the font at the neighbouring village of Preston St. Mary, unlike that one, it stands on its original supports, of which one is now curiously upside down.  Another piece of Norman evidence surviving in the church is the blocked round-headed window in the N. wall of the nave, visible only internally, with the remains of paintwork on its splay that Pevsner believed to be contemporary, but the chancel and diagonally-buttressed tower are Decorated, as witnessed by one original N. window with curvilinear tracery in the chancel, and the two-light bell-openings with reticulated tracery.  The W. window with supermullioned tracery is a  Perpendicular insertion, as are all the nave windows where these have not been renewed and one chancel window on each side.  The brick S. porch dates from the eighteenth century, its date attested by the Flemish bonding.


Significant post-Norman internal features of the building include the attractive trefoil-cusped, three-bay sedilia in the chancel S. wall, with a piscina beyond, with arches supported on piers composed of four major and four minor shafts (see below), while opposite in the N. wall is an ogee-headed tomb recess.  These are all of early fourteenth century date.  The nave roof is of king-post type and retains at least some beams that are mediaeval.  The rood screen in red, green and white is striking but dates only from 1891 and was repainted, indeed, as recently as 1954.  It goes with the altar and reredos in similar colours, which are set forward of the chancel E. wall to allow passage behind.