English Church Architecture -
SHELLAND, King Charles the Martyr (TM 003 603) (July 2006)
(Bedrock: Neogene to Quaternary, Crag Group)
This small church in a tiny settlement that nevertheless bestraddles a large green, is today a chiefly eighteenth century composition, and this is especially true internally, where the woodwork comprises a remarkably complete set of Georgian church furnishings, not particularly remarkable as individual pieces, but forming together a very atmospheric whole.
The building (shown above from the north-northeast) consists of a chancel and a nave with a N. porch, a balancing S. vestry, and a little bell-turret with an “ogee cap” (Pevsner’s description) above the nave W. end. It is constructed of gault brick part-rendered in stucco to imitate stone. Windows are in somewhat short supply (there are none in the N. and S. walls of the chancel) but the two windows in the N. wall of the nave seem to be the oldest features of the church, being Y-traceried and from appearances, thirteenth century work re-set, though Pevsner, by implication, considered them Victorian. This does appear to be the case with the two Y-traceried windows in the nave S. wall, however, and with the N. and S. lancets (one on each side) in the nave further west, and the E. window in the chancel, with depressed, uncusped ogee archlets and supermullioned tracery. The round-headed S. window in the vestry is clearly Georgian.
The church interior at the beginning of the twenty-first century (shown right, looking east), probably still looks much as it did at the end of the eighteenth. Most striking is the complete set of box pews, of which there are six pairs counting those set transversely at the back - or to be exact, there are six to the north and five to the south, for the easternmost “pew” to the south is actually a two decker pulpit. The pew next to this (i.e. to the west), and the two easternmost pews to the north, have seating round all four sides of the boxes and not merely facing east. The font has a large octagonal bowl crudely carved with leaf forms, and an ogee-domed Georgian font cover. The chancel arch is brick-built and has a little rail and gate with turned balusters running across it (illustrated), in the same style as the communion rail.